The best bluebell walks in Surrey
Blooming 'eck! Bluebells are popping up in their thousands across Surrey. Here's where to find the best of them and where to go for an alfresco pitstop from 12 April.
Banstead Woods, nr Chipstead
There’s nothing more enchanting than stumbling across a vibrant carpet of woodland bluebells. In the Banstead Woods, near Chipstead, bluebells flourish and they are at their best between mid-April and late May.
Pitstop: You can walk to The Ramblers Rest from Banstead Woods, and as well as allowing dogs into the bar, there’s a great garden which is open from 12 April. The White Hart in Chipstead is a couple of miles away and will also open the garden from 12 April.
Chantry Woods, Guildford
The bluebells in this 200 acres of woodlands and meadows are a sight to behold in spring, filling the air with their scents.
Pitstop: The Seahorse in Shalford is a couple of miles away and reopens fully on 17 May, or head into Guildford to The March Hare (reopening on 17 May) or The Weyside (open outside from 12 April and fully open from 17 May) . The African-influenced Percy Arms (open outside from 12 April and fully from 17 May) at Chilworth is 3 miles away, and as well as offering great food, also has boutique rooms.
Kingswood, nr Warlingham
A haven for dog walkers, this woodland near Sanderstead and Warlingham is magically pretty when the English bluebells bud into flower. There are easy-to-follow paths, and it’s all fairly flat, so ideal if you’ve got a buggy in tow, or it’s a gentle walk you’re after. I took this photo last week – this week the carpet of flowers is even thicker.
Pitstop: Walk from Kingswood across country to The Harrow just outside Warlingham which opens the garden from 12 April.
Gatton Park, Reigate Hill
The woodland at Gatton Park become a festival of blue during spring as the native bluebells run riot. The park at Gatton Park is known for the work by English landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The woodlands are managed by the National Trust, and are open access all year round.
Cucknell’s Wood, Shamley Green
These woodlands are well known for their displays of spring flowers, particularly the carpet of vibrant bluebells. The woodlands are on Weald Clay. You’ll find oak, ash, birch, rowan or mountain ash and hazel trees, as well as some holly, wild cherry, hawthorn and crab apple trees.
Pitstop: The Red Lion at Shamley Green is just two minutes away and reopens for garden dining on 12 April.
Kew Gardens, Richmond
The woodlands near Queen Charlotte’s cottage is one of the best places to see the bluebell displays if you live closer to London. This 18th century thatched cottage and these ancient woods, part of which is over 300 years old, were a private haven for Queen Charlotte.
Pitstop: The Kew Gardens Hotel is a 10 minute walk from the gardens and reopens on 12 April. They also have boutique rooms. The Shaftesbury (open fro 17 May) and The Greyhound (open for outdoor eating and drinking from 12 April) are also good choices.
Chinthurst Hill, Wonersh
A steep walk through ancient woodland to the top of the hill rewards visitors with fine views and beautiful displays of bluebells along the way. A quiet and peaceful spot, with many species of tree, including oak, sweet chestnut, hazel and rowan. You’ll also find a stone folly built in the 1930s, which is now a Grade II listed building.
Pitstop: Barnett Hill Hotel is not far at all. There’s a lovely garden and outside terrace which reopens from 12 April – perfect for cocktails! The Grantley Arms in Wonersh is a couple of minutes in the car and also reopens on 12 April outside, and fully from 17 May.
Frank’s Wood, Leith Hill, Coldharbour
A one-mile walk to the historic arboretum, through a conifer avenue and into Frank’s Wood, is where you’ll find these blue wonders at Leith Hill. You’ll most likely see little clusters along the roadside as you drive there too.
Pitstop: The Plough Inn in Coldharbour, at the base of Leith Hill, is a lovely country pub with a fab courtyard garden that reopens on 12 April. It serves artisan beer from its own microbrewery and fabulous food. There are also boutique bedrooms if you fancy a cheeky overnighter.
Little Wix Wood, Hatchlands Park, nr Guildford
There’s a beautiful bluebell walk here, with an abundance of the tiny blue flowers carpeting the woodland. Here’s a link to a great circular walking trail that will take you past some wonderful displays through woodlands and open parkland. There’s a children’s adventure playground along the way, and the trail is great for dog walkers.
Pitstop: The Queen’s Head in Clandon is the nearest – and a brilliant option. Or a few minutes further on you’ll find The Onslow Arms, another great Surrey pub. Both pubs reopen outside from 12 April and inside from 17 May.
Wallis Wood, Walliswood Village, nr Cranleigh
Bluebells thrive in this typical example of a hazel coppice woodland on Weald Clay. There’s a woodland stream running through the site, which also has a small pool and is surrounded by pasture.
Pitstop: The Scarlett Arms in the Walliswood village reopens the garden from 12 April.
The 18th century landscaped gardens at Painshill have some wonderful bluebell displays. Take in the unique 18th century follies including The Ruined Abbey, Turkish Tent, Gothic Temple and Gothic Tower while you’re there.
Pitstop: The Cricketers just out of Cobham is a Muddy favourite just five minutes drive away and worth it for the lovely garden overlooking the green. It reopens on 12 April. Or head to The Plough Inn, another great option just a couple of minutes away and also opening outside on 12 April.
Polesden Lacey, nr Dorking
You’ll find these delicious blue blooms scattered through Preserve Copse within the estate’s gardens, but for the best displays you’ll need to walk a little further. Follow one of the four way-marked walks across the 1,400-acre estate the shadier parts of ancient woodlands. Rangers suggest the Ranmore Common walk, which is way-marked with blue markers and butterflies on the paths.
Pitstop: The obvious suggestion for refreshments would be the Cowshed Coffee Shop at Polesden Lacey which is open and offering takeaway. Or for a pub, The Running Horses in Mickleham (reopening on 12 April) is a short drive, as is The Plough at Effingham, which reopens on 5 May.
Sheepleas, West Horsley
A mosaic of ancient and recent woodlands, scrubs and open grassland on chalk. Look out for bluebells in the woodland of beech, ash and field maple and also stunning displays of cowslips in the meadows.
Great Earls Wood, Limpsfield
In the north-west corner of these woodlands you’ll find the smaller Little Earls Wood which is famed for a fantastic display of bluebells in the spring.
Pitstop: The Bull Inn, in Limpsfield village is gorgeous and reopens outside from 15 April.
Winkworth Arboretum, nr Godalming
From late April a carpet of bluebells covers the floor at Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming, perfuming the woodland air, thriving in the dappled sunlight of the coppiced areas.
Pitstop: The White Horse in Hascombe is a superb country pub with a great choice of drinks, fabulous food and a wonderful garden that opens from 12 April. They’re open inside from 17 May. Another great option, and one with rooms if you fancied an overnight stay, is the Stag on the River, in Lower Easing, just 10 minutes away in the car, and also opening outside on 12 April, and inside fro 17 May.