Snowdrops in Surrey
They're out and right now they're at their best! Here are the loveliest places to catch winter snowdrops across Surrey and beyond over the next few weeks.
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.
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.
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.
AND FURTHER AFIELD
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’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.
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.
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.
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.