Spring has arrived and what better way to brighten up your day than by taking a walk to see the bluebells across National Trust places.
There is something magical about bluebells. With their sudden, mystical takeover of ancient woodlands the flowers have long been linked to the fairy-world.
Get the family together and discover the delights of these delicate flowers that transform Britain’s wonderful woodlands. The blooming date for bluebells varies depending on the weather, but you can usually expect to see them in April and May.
Here’s a selection of the top National Trust places and events where you can enjoy bluebells in all their glory:
Visit Blickling in spring and discover one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Follow the winding paths through the Great Wood and pass through swathes of the dainty blue flowers. Late April to early May is usually the best time at Blickling to see bluebells as they carpet the woodland floor.
Make a weekend of it: From a Georgian Manor House, former estate workers’ cottages to a magnificent tower you’ll find lots of beautiful places to stay near Blickling, perfect for abandoning the car and exploring the estate on foot or bike.
When you visit Buckland, you follow over 700 years of footsteps; from the Cistercians who built the Abbey and farmed the estate, to seafarers Grenville and Drake who changed the shape of the house and the fate of the country. This spring, circumnavigate the estate in search of the bluebell seas sweeping across the woodland undergrowth.
Spring guided walk, 11, 15, 25 May, 1pm – 2.30pm
Join the Buckland Abbey rangers as they take you off the beaten track to discover the sea of bluebells sweeping across the woodland floor and the sights and smells of spring all around the estate.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01822 853607
Complete with a 700 year old castle, far-reaching views across the Cheshire and Shropshire plains and an award-winning garden, Chirk Castle’s 480 acre estate is a great place to follow the signs of spring. One of its late spring highlights is the enchanting carpet of bluebells spread throughout the woodland in May. And while Chirk Castle may be steeped in history it is definitely not stuck in the past; these delicate blue beauties can now be enjoyed on a Segway tour through the estate or of course on a peaceful springtime stroll.
Booking essential for Segway tours.
For more information please call: 01691 777701
With 3,800 acres of parkland, woodland and heathland to explore, Clumber Park is the perfect place for a bluebell-spotting stroll. Take the family for a peaceful walk and experience the grandeur of the estate, then relax in the Garden Tea House with an afternoon cream tea and delicious homemade sweet treats.
Complete with mystical temples, follies and statues around every corner, Croome’s lakeside walk is a true ‘Capability’ Brown masterpiece. Throughout spring the bare parkland floor flourishes with bluebells, creating a natural wonder amongst the sculptures. Take a stroll past the thatched Ice House to the grand Rotunda, where wide reaching views over the parkland are not to be missed at this time of year.
Woodland & Bluebell guided walk, 6 & 7 May, 2pm – 4.30pm
Join the Head Ranger at Croome for a woodland and parkland walk, taking you through around four miles of stunning landscape. Find out more about the woodland work and enjoy the carpets of bluebells in the wider reaches of the parkland.
Dinefwr Park and Castle is an iconic place in the history of Wales and is the perfect spot to take a relaxing stroll through some of Carmarthenshire’s most scenic countryside. It’s the only designated parkland National Nature Reserve in the whole of Wales, where you can discover ancient trees, rare lichen and fungi and some of the best examples of British wildlife you’re likely to see, including dazzling displays of bluebells in spring.
Visit this stunning landscape demesne where you’ll find magnificent clifftop walks, affording rugged headland views across the North Coast. Discover Mussenden Temple and the striking 18th-century ruins of Downhill mansion. Bishop’s Gate garden and glen is a great place for the whole family to relax and enjoy the delights of nature waking up – especially during bluebell season.
At Dunham Massey stroll down camellia walk to see over 10,000 plants in the cyclamen grove, the bluebell meadow and yellow meadow. Take a wander and enjoy a beautiful display of bluebells on the estate. The largest collection of these delicate flowers can be found under the oaks and witch hazels next to the Bog Garden.
Discover Godolphin, rich in archaeology and wildlife and travel back in time as you wander around the 16th-century garden, one of the most important historic gardens in Europe. Get lost in the tranquil and mysterious woodland, where the years of mining have left an unnatural, undulating landscape carpeted in bluebells throughout April and May. Go for a stroll along the river and don’t forget to stop for a refreshing cup of tea and slice of home-made cake in the tea-room.
Bluebell Festival, 15 April – 15 May, 10am – 5pm
Godolphin is famed for its native bluebells, and this year there’ll be walks, talks and family trails to help you celebrate these pretty blue flowers. Learn about bluebells with talks held by Godolphin gardeners, take part in craft activities, or visit the Cider House to learn about the native bluebell with the help of the display.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call 01736 763194
Make a weekend of it: You can rent the whole of the historic Godolphin House for a truly special holiday. Highlights include a dining room which got its carved ceiling and linenfold panelling after a Portuguese ship sank nearby in 1526 and an elegant Saloon running across the front of the house. Sleeps twelve.
Bluebells are the undisputed spring highlight at Hardcastle Crags where they carpet the woodland. At their peak, usually in May they form an almost unearthly blue haze through the woodlands and fill air with their sweet perfume. This wooded landscape is often known as ‘Little Switzerland’ because of the valley sides, pathways and river and in spring the woodland is awash with bluebells.
Make a weekend of it: The Lodge is a pretty one story cottage situated at the entrance to the Hardcastle Crags estate. Sleeping four, plus two dogs it’s the perfect cottage for exploring the enchanting Pennine countryside.
Hatchlands Park, Surrey
Situated on the edge of the beautiful Surrey Hills and surrounded by charming villages, this peaceful parkland is just 45 minutes from central London. Hatchlands Park is one of the largest country estates in the county, including ancient woodland and open parkland, with views of the historic house and Surrey countryside. Wix’s Wood is home to carpets of bluebells which will appear in late April and early May.
Visitors can explore acres of recently opened ancient woodland surrounding this quintessentially English landscape. Stroll slowly through glorious beech avenues and soak up the bluebell phenomenon that appears here. Hinton welcomes picnickers in its woods, and there are woodland ‘sofas’ carved out of fallen tree trunks where you can sit and admire the blue view.
Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a family home. The estate is well worth exploring, with ancient woodlands and tranquil riverside paths. You can take the bikes out on the off-road cycle trails, with special routes for families and novice riders. This fascinating country estate has gorgeous gardens, including a brilliant collection of spring-flowering magnolias and woodland areas blooming with waves of daffodils and bluebells.
Bluebell tour, 30 April, 10am – 1pm
Join Lanhydrock’s Lead Ranger for a stroll through stunning bluebell woodlands, then relax in the restaurant with a delicious lunch and good company.
For more information, please call 01208 265950
Make a weekend of it: Hidden away in its own delightful secluded garden, this large, villa-style cottage was built in the 1920s. Cutmadoc has a truly privileged position: with views over Lanhydrock’s historic parkland.
Rumoured to bloom on St George’s Day (23 April), there are carpets of delicately scented bluebells throughout the ancient woodland surrounding Nymans. Described as a garden lover’s home for all seasons, you can enjoy an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins this spring. Inspired by the setting and the soil, the Messel family created one of the country’s great gardens in the late 19th century. The garden and nearby woods are perfect for walking, picnicking and spotting bluebells.
Make a weekend of it: Set within a working woodland, Woodlands Cottage was built in 1863 and was once home to the estate’s gamekeeper. It’s a short stroll from a tranquil lake and is the perfect spot for bird watching and walking along many woodland paths.
Osterley Park in Isleworth has one of the greatest displays of bluebells in the capital. This large country estate is only eight miles from Hyde Park Corner, a short hop down the Piccadilly line, yet includes acres of parkland and a house that has been described as ‘the palace of palaces’. The bluebells are mainly found around the Long Walk, in pockets of woodland surrounding the great meadow, a breath of dazzling spring colour. Just further along is the natural play trail, perfect for families.
Nestled deep in the Bluebell Wood is the InsideOutHouse, one of the three playful follies in the grounds. This enchanting timber cottage constructed from discarded reproduction Tudor furniture looks all the more magical when surrounded by a sea of bluebells in spring.
Late spring brings a splash of vivid blue to Penrhyn Castle. Bluebells can be seen all around the gardens and woodland in May, a beautiful contrast of colour against the castle’s grey exterior. Follow the new visitor route through a sea of blue, below the hanging boughs of mature and semi-mature oak trees with spectacular views of Snowdonia and the North Wales coast. Penrhyn is also working hard to encourage local wildlife, so follow the nature trails to find out more and explore the lesser-known parts of the castle grounds.
Rufford Old Hall is set within 14 acres of glorious gardens and woodland, laid out in the style found during the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods. Enjoy a walk among the small woodland awash with a variety of native trees as well as a carpet of bluebells and crocuses in springtime. The best time to see them is in late April and early May in Beech Walk and the North Woods – see if you can spot the honey and bumblebees visiting the bluebells as well.
Formed through centuries of landscape design, Sheffield Park and Garden is a horticultural work of art with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown throughout. During the spring months the delicate heads of English bluebells emerge in copses, carpet clearings and spread under the canopies of trees and shrubs throughout the park. The bluebells contrast beautifully with the naturalised planting in the historic ‘Capability’ Brown designed garden and its wider parkland, creating a spectacular spring show.
Bluebell walk, 27 April & 4 May, 10am – 12pm
With swathes of bluebells carpeting the parkland floor, Sheffield Park and Garden is the perfect place to enjoy the changing of the seasons. Explore exclusive areas of the garden and parkland on a guided walk with the Sheffield Park team. Weather appropriate clothing and footwear is advised.
Price: £5 (normal admission charges apply) – booking essential
For more information, please call 01825 790231
Wander through Sissinghurst Castle Garden for inspiring ideas or simply soak up spring and enjoy the rich, warm colours of the Cottage Garden and the swathes of bluebells in the woodland. Also known as the Spring Garden, the Lime Walk is one area where former owner Harold Nicolson controlled the design and planting. Long beds of tulips, fritillaries and hyacinths are marked out by an avenue of pleached limes, every inch bursting with colour during spring.
Bluebell and wildflower walks, 30 April & 2 May, 14pm – 4pm
Take part in a guided walk with a Sissinghurst ranger during the spring season, a great chance to see the array of wildflowers on the estate and experience the marvel of bluebells. Afterwards relax in the restaurant with a delicious homemade cream tea.
For more information, please call 01580 710700
Make a weekend of it: Sleeping six Priest’s House is a beautiful detached brick building on the edge of the White Garden. It retains many original features including mullion and leaded windows, an inglenook fireplace, wooden beams and brick flooring.
Strangford Lough is a unique and wonderful place of immense international importance for nature conservation. It is the largest sea lough in the British Isles, covering an area from Angus Rock at its mouth on the Irish Sea, to the vast sand-flats. It’s one of only three designated Marine Nature Reserves in the United Kingdom. Nugent’s Wood, at Portaferry, is one of the last refuges for the native red squirrel and is the perfect place for discovering bluebells.
If you would like any more information or images please get in touch with Lauren Hoskin at email@example.com