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Snowdrops in Surrey

Snowdrops at Polesden Lacey near Dorking. Photo by Mark Wigmore/National Trust

Polesden Lacey, near Dorking

Arguably one of the prettiest places to spot these winter flowers is Polesden Lacey at Great Bookham, near Dorking. White drifts of snowdrops line the Lime Walk down to the formal gardens, which last year got a snowdrop superburst when an extra 4,000 were planted by staff and volunteers in just over an hour. In the formal garden you’ll get more than just snowdrops though, with the white bloomers mixing in with yellow winter aconites to create a stunning display. Clutches of these beauties have also sprung up across other parts of the estate so it’s well worth a good wander around. And – interesting fact alert – did you know that traditionally snowdrops were used as a painkiller? Nope, me either.

Painshill, Cobham

And there you were thinking Painshill couldn’t get any more picturesque. The gorgeous 18th-century landscape garden originally created by Charles Hamilton in Cobham loves its snowdrops, their cheery heads brightening up even the dullest of winter days. You’ll also find cyclamen as well as some early daffodils unfurling their pretty petals. Dogs on leads are welcome.

Claremont Landscape Garden, Esher

Claremont’s historic royal landscape sees clusters of Galanthus peeking through in the small woodland area of the garden. In addition to the pretty bulbous perennials, you might also be lucky enough to spot the newborn goslings making their first tentative laps of the lake.

Gatton Park, Reigate

You’ll have to be quick if you want to catch the displays in these Edwardian gardens, designed by Capability Brown. The gardens are open to the public only on the first Sunday of each month, but this month they’re open extra days, including every weekday during the half term for ‘Snowdrop Week’ and then again on Sun 24 Feb for ‘Snowdrop Day’. For the best displays head to the rock garden and the Japanese Garden. Dogs on leads are welcome.

RHS Wisley, Woking

As you’d expect from the Royal Horticultural Society show gardens, there are plenty of snowdrops to be found all around Wisley, but for the most dramatic displays head to Oakwood and Battleston Hill. While you’re there, take in the Winter Walk to see the other stars of the winter season including winter-flowering honeysuckle, hellebores and the fire-coloured stems of the Cornus.

Winkworth Arboretum, nr Godalming

The place to head if you want to avoid the crowds and be sure of a dramatic display. The best displays are found outside the tearoom and along the Upper Arboretum and Spring Walk. Look carefully and you’ll spot plenty of other winter-flowering wonders at Winkworth, including witch hazel, camellia and daffodils.

Kew Gardens, Richmond

Th botanical garden is the obvious place to get your snowdrop fix — almost all of the 20 known varieties can be seen here. You’ll find most of Kew’s snowdrop collection in the Rock Garden, and neighbouring Davies Alpine House in the north-east corner of the gardens.

Ham House, Richmond

Known more for its displays of spring bulbs (more than 500,000 crocus, tulips and muscari were planted in 2018), the swathes of snowdrops at Ham House are still a pretty sight. You’ll find snowdrops in the formal gardens, under the acacia trees.

Ankerwycke, Old Windsor

It may be best known for the iconic 2,500-year-old yew tree – said to be where Henry VIII proposed to Anne Boleyn – but in February the star of the show are the carpets of snowdrops. These romantic little white flowers  that cluster around the iconic yew and at around the old priory ruins.

Have a camera, will travel?

One the largest plantings of snowdrops in the UK is at Painswick Rococo Garden in Stroud, Glos.

 

Painswick Rococo Garden, Painswick, Glos

Painswick Rococo Garden has one of the largest plantings of snowdrops in the UK, with more than 5 million popping up each year – making it one of the county’s must see floral pop-ups. It’s a wonderfully quirky place to visit too, the Rococo Garden was built as a ‘pleasure garden’ in the 1740s for the owner of Painswick House so it really gives us that ‘Secret Garden’ feel, explore its glorious glades and the fabulously named Snowdrop Grove near the maze.

Wakehurst, Sussex

Discover beautiful displays of snowdrops at Wakehurst at Ardingly, Haywards Heath which form huge drifts as you walk from the Visitor Centre and around the trees near the Mansion Pond.

Nymans, Sussex

Visitors can spot snowdrops, camellias and magnolias underplanted with daffodils and grape hyacinths at Nymans near Haywards Heath. Snowdrops can also be found in the bulb meadow in the walled garden. By Valentine’s Day, over 150 different types of plant will be flowering at Nymans.

Ightham Mote, Kent

With wintry mists and frosty mornings, the garden and estate at Ightham near Sevenoaks is beautiful at this time of year. And even more so when the bursts of white snowdrops come out.

Chartwell, Kent

The garden at Chartwell near Westerham is a feast for the eyes year-round, and even more lovely when the snowdrops peak through from late February.

Hever Castle, Kent

A heavenly carpet of snowdrops will provide a magical trail for visitors to follow at Hever Castle & Gardens from 8 February. Around 80,000 snowdrop bulbs have been planted in the gardens over the past few years.

Waterperry Gardens, Oxon

It’s snowdrops in abundance over at Waterperry Gardens with over 60 varieties of the white bloomer springing up across the site’s eight acres. A half hour drive west of central Ox, the gardens are running two Snowdrop Weekends, Sat 16 – Sun 17 and Sat 23 – Sun 24 Feb, with free guided tours of the grounds.

Cliveden, Bucks 

Cliveden’s snowdrop scene had an upgrade back in 2017 when former head gardener and Amersham based charity TalkBack planted over 36,000 seeds on the grounds. The flowers sprang up early this year, at the beginning of Jan, with the Long Garden and Blenheim Pavilion promising the best display.

Hughenden Manor, Bucks 

You’ll get more than just snowdrops over at Hughenden, two miles north of High Wycombe. By early spring the huge 680 acres is carpeted in all sorts of seasonal foliage; scilla siberica, daphne mezereum and bergenia cordifolia, adding bright pinks and purples to the grounds.

The Vyne, Hants

The National Trust’s very own Tudor mansion is prime hunting ground for the white blooms. Top tip, head along the lakeside before meandering into Morgaston Wood.

Little Court, Hants

This pretty little garden at Crawley, near Winchester, is protected from the elements by its imposing walls and was even been tipped as one of the nation’s favourite gardens in 2019. Pop along to check out the pretty white flowers, plus some of the tongue-in-cheek garden jokes hidden in the bushes on the open days on Sun 16, Mon 17, Sun 23 or Mon 24 of February.

Mottisfont, Hants

Another National Trust beauty, Mottisfont just outside of Romsey comprises of a historical priory, garden and country estate complete with hidden brooks and plenty of hiding places for the flowers to spring from.

Harold Hillier Gardens, Hants

Also in Romsey is Harold Hillier Gardens a place to find over 20 different varieties of snowdrops. The blooms are out for most of January and February, plus there’s also plenty of other activities if you tire of hunting them down.

Chawton House, Hants

As well as being a spot that champions top female writers and being synonymous with Jane Austen, Chawton in Alton, also boasts a rather spectacular planting of snowdrops.

Swyncombe Downs, Oxon

A lesser known hotspot, south of Ox, snowdrops and bright yellow aconites usually spring up around St. Botolph church’s 1000 year old grounds in Feb and early Mar. If you fancy a walk, you can head on to the ridgeway and across Swyncombe Estate.

Colesbourne Park, Glos

Colesbourne Park near Cheltenham has one of the best reps for snowdrops in Gloucestershire. Brace yourself for 250 varieties of the pretty white flowers. It’s a lovely place to wander through, with a nearby church, waterfall and lake too.

Dyrham Park, Glos

Wander through acres of breathtaking snowdrops at Dyrham Park, near Bath. This stunning 17th century mansion house (you’ll feel like an extra out of Downton Abbey we promise) is home to more than half a dozen types. On a clear winter’s day you’ll be able to see for miles too, with views stretching across to Bristol and the Severn Crossings.

Stowe Gardens , Bucks 

And there we were thinking Stowe gardens couldn’t get any more picturesque. Stowe loves its snowdrops, or should I say Stowedrops, with the vast landscape gardens usually carpeted until the end of Feb. Hit up the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden to see the best of them.

Baddesley Clinton, Warks

This Warwickshire National Trust moated manor house is set in more than 100 acres of lovely countryside. Between January and May head to the churchyard at Baddesley to spot many beautiful spring flowers – first snowdrops, then daffodils and then bluebells. The garden is renowned for its wonderful display of snowdrops.

Chippenham Park Gardens, Cambs 

Snowdrop walks, aconites, and all in gardens landscaped to an Anglo-Dutch design. At one point this estate was bought by a sugar baron, which leads me to the Potting Shed Cafe. Cake!

King’s Arms Garden, Beds 

A smaller space for snowdrops, the one and a half acre woodland gardens open just in time for the season in late Jan. Loads of snowdrop varieties as well as other spring offerings in the pretty space.

Waddesdon Manor, Bucks

The knoll just around from the Aviary is full of snowdrops. The same ground is smothered in daffodils come March so make the most of the white stuff while it lasts.

Basildon Park, Berks

A great spot if you fancy a stroll with your annual snowdrops. Basildon, has loads of different routes around its 400 acre parkland and gardens including the green walk through the woodland, or the longer three mile orange route around the estate’s boundary.

Welford Park, Berks

Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until Sun 3 Mar.

Walkern Hall, Herts 

This stunning Georgian manor house set in a medieval hunting park is also a wedding venue and popular filming location. Eight acres of snowdrops and aconites to admire as well as homemade cakes inside.

Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

Early spring is the perfect time to visit Kentwell’s glorious gardens. The Shrubbery and Back Wood are carpeted with thousands of snowdrops, with little pockets of aconites too. The walk is a muddy one in winter so wear wellies and be prepared for lots of jumping in puddles (the kids, not you!).

Ickworth House, Suffolk

A walk around Ickworth Park is always wonderful with many different length trails to follow and plenty of varying landscapes to choose from. In late winter follow the path along Lady Geraldine’s Walk and wind your way around Albania Walk, where you’ll be rewarded with a carpet of snowdrops and aconites. Lunch in The Orangery restaurant afterwards is a lovely way to round off the visit.

Dimminsdale, Rutland

They’re all peeping out now and it’s a gorgeous view over at the nature reserve. Open all year round and free to visit, Rutland Nature Reserve is a great one for the whole family.

Barnsdale Gardens, Rutland

The perfect time to come and admire the beautiful range of snowdrops planted throughout the gardens. Lots of common snowdrop as well as many rare and unusual varieties to see, all mixed in with so much other winter buds. 

Evenley Wood Garden, Northants

Snowdrops in abundance over at Waterperry Gardens with over 80 varieties of the white bloomer springing up across the site’s impressive 60 acres. Among them are Galanthus ‘Evenley Double’, a special snowdrop which was developed and propagated on site, and other notable varieties such as ‘Hill Poe’ and ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’. 

Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire

Snowdrop heaven! Wrap up warm and wander among four million snowdrops, and winter flowering plants and shrubs with glorious colours and fragrance. The signposted walk through Horse Pasture winds through spectacular carpets of snowdrops. 

Lamport Hall, Northants

Enjoy a refreshing stroll around the gardens to spy the snowdrops and emerging spring flowers. Our gardeners have been busy dividing and replanting spring bulbs in the woodland garden, dating back to the Victorian era. Sun 17 Feb. Light refreshments will be on sale in the carriage house.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

February is the perfect time to see snowdrops as they spring up around the park. There are lots to be found in the Pleasure Grounds, particularly in the lovely ferny dell at the bottom. There’s a bright display of snowdrops on the auricula theatre in the flower garden – you’ll see lots of different varieties of these harbingers of spring. Feb 3.

Pinetum Gardens, Cornwall

Among the 30 acres of beautiful gardens at family-owned Pinetum you’ll find the Woodland Gardens embracing the approach road to the main garden and which is planted with thousands of snowdrops, creating a gorgeous white carpet.

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

A year-round favourite, the gardens at Heligan near Mevagissey always have something of interest. In late Jan and early Feb the snowdrops are coming out on the woodland walks, to be replaced by carpets of daffodils in the coming weeks.

Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Tired of National Trust properties yet? No, us neither. This Victorian house and estate at Lanhydrock, near to Bodmin, has absolutely beautiful woodlands to walk and cycle in. Unlike a lot of Cornwall’s gardens, it is nowhere near the coast which gives it a totally different feel, where the woodland floor is carpeted first with snowdrops then bluebells. You can also do the parkrun here on a Saturday morning if you fancy seeing the snowdrops in double time.

 

 

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