Spring has arrived and what better way to brighten up your day than by taking a walk to see the bluebells emerging across the UK?
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:
Lanhydrock, North Cornwall
Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a family home. The estate is well worth exploring, with tranquil riverside paths and ancient woodlands blooming with waves of daffodils and bluebells.
Travel back in time as you wander around Godolphin’s 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.
Bluebell Festival 18 April – 21 May: Godolphin is famed for its native bluebells, and this year you can attended talks or guided walks about the blooms, or try out the family trail. Check out the bluebell display in the Cider House or pick up a map showing you the best route to see the bluebells - a natural flower display not to be missed.
Buckland Abbey, Devon
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. Visit this spring to discover the sea of bluebells that bloom in the Great North Wood.
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
From Iron Age forts and colourful heathland to water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s plenty to see on the 8,500 acres of estate at Kingston Lacy. In spring, the woodland walk which follows the edge of the formal garden is a great place to see the annual display of bluebells.
Emmetts Garden, Kent
During the spring months, the slopes and hillocks of Emmet’s Garden are a beauty to behold. May is the best time to see this Edwardian hillside garden carpeted with bluebells, creating a sea of hazy blue beneath the trees. You can also enjoy views over the Bough Beech Reservoir and the Weald of Kent.
Benjamin Disraeli, Victorian Prime Minister and former owner of Hughenden, loved spring flowers. He turned his gardens into havens for seasonal blooms, from wooded slopes covered in daffodils to flower-lined paths. Follow the Woodcock Walk trail as it meanders its way through a typical Chiltern beech woodland, which is covered in swathes of bluebells during the spring months.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
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 to see the bluebells as they carpet the woodland floor.
Festival of the Blues 1-31 May
To celebrate beautiful bluebell season, the house will be up-lit in blue for the whole month and the colour scheme will run through the house, gardens and park. Enjoy a guided bluebell walk through the estate, and treat yourself to your own bluebells from the plant centre to enjoy in your own garden. The festivities will culminate in an afternoon of blues music for the final weekend (Saturday 27 May).
Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
Even on a dreary day the sight of delicate bluebells in bloom will surely bring a smile to your face. They carpet the woodland floor at Sutton Hoo, so keep an eye out for bright flashes of blue as you explore this hauntingly beautiful estate with its ancient burial mounds and far-reaching views over the River Deben.
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
During the spring months, carpets of bluebells can be found along the path through Serpentine Wood at Calke. Take a wander through the trees, and rest on a fallen trunk to enjoy the aroma of the flowers. It’s thought that it can take up to 200 years for a continuous carpet of bluebells to develop on undisturbed ground, and this slow spread means bluebells are often an indicator of ancient woodland sites.
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Coughton Court’s bluebells can be found in Timm's Grove, named after a highwayman who reputedly used to hide out in the woods after an ambush. These days it’s much more tranquil, so why not take a stroll to admire the hazy blue carpet that fills the woods in spring?
Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield
Take a stroll around the Oak Walk at Hardwick Hall to see the beautiful carpets of bluebells and daffodils. From spring to early summer the ground is covered with haze of blue and the white flowers of wild garlic, which attract many butterflies and bees.
Hardcastle Crags, Yorkshire
Bluebells are the undisputed spring highlight at Hardcastle Crags, filling the air with their sweet perfume. At their peak they carpet the ground, forming an almost unearthly blue haze through the wooded valley.
Follow the River Walk through the wooded valley cut by the River Wansbeck and take in the colours of spring. Admire the carpets of crocus, wood anemones and daffodils in the Walled Garden as you head down to the river and look out for the swathes of bluebells along the riverbank.
Rannerdale, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria
Sometimes known as the Secret Valley, Rannerdale offers a popular bluebell walk in spring, when the woodland floor becomes an indigo carpet. This area is said to be the site of a battle at which native Cumbrians and Norsemen ambushed and defeated Norman armies in the century after they came to Britain in 1066. Local folklore suggests that the bluebells have sprung up from the blood of slain Norman warriors.
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
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 find some signs of spring. One of its highlights is the enchanting carpet of bluebells spread throughout the woodland in May.
Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Come and see how nature has spectacularly transformed this old industrial area into a tranquil valley garden. In late spring, the woodland offers lovely walks through bluebells and other wildflowers.
Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd
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.