Ashridge Estate, Buckinghamshire
Ashridge Estate is one of the prettiest places in the UK to see bluebells. In the vast woodland area, there are two waymarked routes to explore for the best sightings. Here, the trails feel totally remote, especially during weekdays when there are fewer visitors. The huge 5,000-acre estate can also be explored by bike – ideal for a family day trip.
Basildon Park, Essex
At the height of spring, Basildon Park is awash with a sea of bluebells. Walk through the woodland to see a beautiful array of flowers, then head on the green walk – a great option for little ones. Pick up a map from reception or explore the 400 acres of historic parkland and gardens solo. The grand 18th-century house on the estate is also worth a visit if you want to make an afternoon of it.
Wanstead Park, London
Located on the border between east London and Essex, Wanstead Park is one of the capital’s hidden gems. To spot a sea of bluebells, head to Chalet Wood and explore the surrounding area. If you’re after a longer route, follow the signposts to Epping Forest where you can also spot bluebells at Strawberry Hill in Loughton.
Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park, London
Alongside hundreds of types of flowers, Richmond Park is also home to an impressive carpet of bluebells during the spring. The Isabella Plantation is where you’ll find Bluebell Walk, but you can also spot the pretty flowers along the wilder fringes of the managed gardens, too. Until the 31st May, visitors can take part in the annual spring photography competition in Richmond Park where this years’ entries must include pictures of the Royal Park’s trees.
Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Located a few miles from Haywards Heath in East Sussex, Sheffield Park and Garden is a horticultural lover’s dream. The vast woodland areas are surrounded by four lakes, home to a range of wildlife such as kingfishers, birds of prey, butterflies and dragonflies. Visitors can see bluebells throughout the gardens, among other colourful blooms like rhododendrons and fritillaries. Head on the Wood Walk to spot them or venture out on the East Park circular walk which is a great route for dog walkers.
Highgate Wood, London
Lying between East Finchley, Highgate and Muswell Hill, Highgate Wood is one of the best places to see bluebells in London. The 28-hectre wood has two main areas to make a beeline for – Keeper’s Cottage and Cranley Gate in the north corner of the park. Along the route, look out for wildlife like squirrels, bats and several species of butterflies.
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
Since Winkworth Arboretum was bequeathed to the National Trust in the 1930s, the estate has grown over 1,000 different species of trees and shrubs – many of which are extremely rare – as well as several patches of bluebells across the woodland floor. Walk through the arboretum following the Spring Walk, which leads to Bluebell Wood. The route also passes through Magnolia Wood – another scenic spot. Should you want to stop off for refreshments, the property has recently reopened its tearoom which serves a range of tasty snacks and hot drinks.
Standen, West Sussex
Visitors are spoilt for choice at Standen, where bluebells cover around 20 acres of the estate. Head to Rockinghill and Hollybush Wood for the best sightings, though be sure to stick to the path so as to not disturb any seedlings. Along the route, badgers, roe deer and fallow deer are frequently spotted, and from April to May, orchids are also in full bloom where visitors can appreciate the rich fragrances in and around the gardens.
The Vyne, Hampshire
The Vyne in Hampshire was made for history buffs. The estate is home to a pre-Reformation chapel, a Tudor oak gallery featuring 16th-century wood carvings, and remains of medieval fishponds. There are several scenic walking routes to explore, but if you’re looking for bluebells, follow the one-mile trail around the woodland. Once you’ve reached the end of the route, reward yourself with a hot drink at the on-site café.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
Although Sissinghurst was once a prison in the 1700s, it’s now one of the most beautiful National Trust properties in the south east. Make the 90-minute drive from London to the Weald of Kent to walk around the 450-acre estate to see swathes of bluebells. With some of largest numbers in the UK, expect to see around 126 million bluebells between April and May in the woodland areas. Once you’ve explored the estate, pick up a coffee or sandwich at the Granary café on the estate, or book an afternoon tea for a special treat.
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Located on Idle Hill in Sevenoaks, Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate with plenty of flora and fauna to appreciate. Here, the woods are a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) due to the special bluebells that grow around the estate – so be sure to take extra care when visiting. Bluebell season is particularly popular at Emmetts Garden, so it’s best to visit during the week to avoid the crowds. For a lovely afternoon out, bring a picnic to enjoy in the meadow.
Gutteridge Wood, London
This ancient oak wood in North Hillingdon is easily reached from central London via the Metropolitan or Piccadilly line. Covering around 25 hectares of woodland, the area has several scenic walking trails – Oak and hazel woodland burst to life each spring with a blanket of bluebells. Be sure to walk alongside Yeading Brook to spot local wildlife, too.
Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
From early to mid-May, Hinton Ampner is one of the most beautiful parks to see bluebells in the south. The woodland area is a 30-minute walk from the park, but the route can become muddy so it’s best to wear proper walking shoes or wellington boots. Once you’ve explored the woodland areas and immaculate lawns, visit the country house on the estate which has an extensive art collection.
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