15 best snowdrop strolls
Let me out! … (locally of course). How better to get some fresh air and exercise than with a mood-boosting meander through thousands of pretty snowdrops. Check out where you can go in Surrey (and a little beyond).
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 recently had a snowdrop superburst when an extra 4,000 were planted. 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. Bookings a must.
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. You must book in advance.
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. Bookings a mus.
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, and this Sun 7 Feb is ‘Snowdrop Day’. For the best displays head to the rock garden and the Japanese Garden. Dogs on leads are welcome. Book ahead.
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. Book your entry time in advance.
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. Booking ahead.
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. Bookings a must.
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.
Timber Hill, Chobham
One of the few gardens open to the public via the National Open Garden Scheme. Here you’ll find 16 acres of garden, park and woodland giving an undulating walk with views to North Downs. It’s open most Wednesday from Jan to March and right now the snowdrops are in abundance. Booking in advance is a must.
Chartwell, Westerham, 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, Edenbridge, 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.
Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks, 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.
Wakehurst, Haywards Heath, 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, Haywards Heath, 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.