For that first glimpse of spring, there’s nowhere better than the places cared for by the National Trust, which have beautiful displays of snowdrops across the country. The delicate white flowers transform woodland and garden floors in early spring and are one of the first signs of life after the winter months.
Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens for the National Trust said, “Beautiful drifts of white snowdrops are one of the great pleasures of visiting gardens at the end of winter. But look closely and you’ll soon discover variation among the carpet of white flowers. At Anglesey Abbey there are over 300 different snowdrop varieties growing in the garden.
“Snowdrops are promiscuous plants, they cross-fertilise easily, producing new varieties. The differences are very subtle and it’s always a challenge to spot them but this is what makes snowdrops so fascinating to collectors.”
From stunning bulb meadows to the UK’s largest winter garden, here are the special National Trust places to enjoy a family day out surrounded by snowdrops:
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Snowdrops, 1 – 29 February, 10am – 4pm
Kingston Lacy welcomes a dazzling blanket of snowdrops each year. The garden wakes up to spring in January and February when thousands of flowers burst through the soil, transforming areas of the garden into a sea of white. Special snowdrop openings have long been a tradition at Kingston Lacy so visitors can wander through the displays and salute this first welcome sign of spring. Keep an eye out for the estate’s fine herd of Red Ruby Devon cattle and explore the Japanese Garden which is sure to look even better with a dusting of frost.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply). For more information please call 01202 883402
Newark Park, Gloucestershire
Snowdrops Season, 13 – 15, 17 – 22, 24 – 29 February, 11am – 4pm
At Newark Park there are snowdrop drifts throughout the garden and they mingle with aconites and cyclamen to give an impressive show. Grab your walking boots and a camera and head to Newark where the carpets of snowdrops provide dazzling photo opportunities. Afterwards, warm up with a hot drink and well-deserved slice of cake in front of the fire in the Tudor sitting room.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply). For more information, please call 01453 842644
A walk amongst the snowdrops, 4 – 31 January, 10am – 4pm
Standing high above the River Plym with magnificent views across the estuary, Saltram’s 500 acres of rolling parkland and woodland provide the perfect setting for a stunning snowdrop display. As the snowdrops frame the pathways take a stroll and explore the tranquil garden, 18th-century orangery and magnificent lime avenue. Return in February to plant a snowdrop with the garden team.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply). For more information please call 01752 333500
London and South East
Open daily, 10am – 5pm
Snowdrops thrive along the banks of the Font stream, where the warming effects of the water creates its own microclimate, teasing them into bloom a week or two before their companions in colder corners of the garden. Elsewhere, the open acres of the river garden are magically transformed by drifts of purest white.
Price: Garden admission charges apply
For more information please call 01794 340757
Nymans, West Sussex
Open daily, 10am – 4pm
This 20th-century garden is famed for its amazing collection of rare and important plants. At the start of spring, spot wonderful displays of snowdrops followed by camellias and magnolias underplanted with a host of daffodils and grape hyacinths. The bulb meadow in the walled garden is full of snowdrops and early narcissus and there are rare hellebores all around the garden. By Valentine’s Day, over 150 different types of plant are flowering at Nymans and the snowdrop drifts offer cool contrasts to fiery witch hazel oranges and the rich red stems of dogwoods.
Price: Garden admission charges apply. For more information please call 01444 405250.
Make a weekend of it: For people who love being close to nature, a stay at Woodlands Cottage is a great way to discover Nymans. The perfect retreat, the pretty cottage is surrounded by beautiful lakes and woodland walks.
Open daily, 10am – 4pm (from 13 February onwards 10am – 6pm)
Snowdrops are so cherished at Stowe that they even have their own season. The beginning of the year is ‘Stowedrop’ time as the delicate peeping blooms develop into white drifts in the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden. Take a walk amongst the snowdrops in this magical landscape of myths, lakes and temples.
Price: Garden admission charges apply. For information please call 01280 817156
East of England
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens & Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire
Snowdrop Season: 25 January – 28 February
Anglesey’s garden has over 300 different varieties of snowdrop scattered across 114 acres. Meander through the paths and soak up the fabulous show that the garden offers during this time. But snowdrops won’t be all that you see: the Winter Garden packed with vibrant colours, textures and the heady scent of winter flowering shrubs can brighten-up the darkest of winter days.
Price: Garden admission charges apply. For more information please call 01223810080
Open daily, 9am – 5.30pm
Throughout Ickworth Park, along the oak walk and the trim trail, snowdrops are complemented by the golden glow of aconites. Geraldine’s and Erskine’s walks are woken from their winter sleep by Galanthus ‘S Arnott, a relatively large snowdrop with a strong honey scent providing a feast for the senses. Discover amazing views of the estate or warm up in the West Wing restaurant with delicious food and drink (Friday to Tuesday).
Price: Free event (garden admission charges apply). For more information please call 01284 735270.
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Snowdrop Walks, 30 January – 16 March, 11.30am and 2pm
Feast your eyes on the stunning sights of Oxburgh, a huge moated Hall surrounded by 70 acres of gardens and woodlands. Join the team for a guided walk, or wander independently around the woodlands and take in the stunning carpets of snowdrops, aconites and other spring flowers.
Price: Garden admission charges apply. For more information please call 01366 328258
Attingham Park, Shropshire
Open daily, 8am – 5pm
Watch the woodland floor transform into a stunning carpet of snowdrops during Attingham’s snowdrop season. Take a stroll around this grand estate and discover over 200 years of history, acres of parkland and a beautiful walled garden. Keep an eye out for deer as you go.
Price: Normal admission charges apply. For more information please call 01743 708123.
Belton House, Lincolnshire
Open daily, 9.30am – 4pm
With delightful gardens and lakeside walks, Belton is a pleasure to explore all year round and never more so as the early signs of spring creep in. Don’t miss the delicate displays of snowdrops that melt away all your thoughts of winter.
Price: Normal admission charges apply. For more information please call 01476 566116
Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire
Open daily, 9am – 4pm (from 13 February onwards 9am – 5pm)
Baddesley Clinton’s intimate gardens feel like a personal winter wonderland during the colder months. In January and February the snowdrops will be out in full bloom, both in the gardens and around the church. Enjoy a gentle stroll around the gardens and lake, and discover some of the estate’s late medieval and Tudor history along the way.
Price: Normal admission charges apply. For more information please call 01564 783294
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Open daily, 11am – 4pm
Throughout January and February, thousands of snowdrops will bloom in Britain’s largest winter garden at Dunham Massey. The garden contains almost 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs specifically bred for the seven-acre wonder. January heralds the first signs of spring, where clusters of over 100,000 double and single snowdrops and 20,000 narcissi begin to bloom amongst the trees.
Garden admission charges apply. For more information, please call 0161 941 1025
Yorkshire and North East
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire
Open 10am – 5pm
Set in 323 hectares of beautiful countryside, this World Heritage Site offers an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate Britain’s heritage and natural beauty. Early spring is the perfect time to explore the picturesque Abbey ruins and amble through the beautiful Georgian water garden, surrounded by white carpets of snowdrops. This is a stunning sight that dates back to the 19th-century, when Earl de Grey planted snowdrops to spell out his name along the backs of the river Skell.
Normal admission charges apply. For more information please call 01765 608888
Open daily 10am – 6pm
As well as the common variety, Wallington’s snowdrop display includes a few specials. The less common varieties include the Northumbrian G. ‘Sandersii’ group which has sulphur yellow markings instead of green, and the pretty G. ‘Flore Pleno’ with double flowers. Don’t forget to visit the winter garden where purple Iris will brighten up any winter day.
Normal admission charges apply
For more information please call 01670 773600
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Open 30 January onwards, 10am – 4pm
Chase away those winter blues with a bracing walk around the beautiful gardens and woodland at Chirk. Glimpses of snowdrops can be found throughout the garden, scattered between clipped yews, shrub and rock gardens, as well as drifting along the woodland floor.
Normal admission charges apply. For more information please call 01691 777701
The Argory, Co. Armagh
Snowdrop walks, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21, 27 – 28 February, 12pm – 5pm
This spectacular riverside estate has a stunning display of snowdrops and other beautiful spring bulbs throughout February. Snowdrop self-guided walks run every Saturday and Sunday in the month, where the scenic walk shows off the garden as the frost thaws, with a stunning backdrop of sweeping vistas. There are also delicate snowdrop plants available to buy in the shop and children can enjoy the adventure playground.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply). For more information, please call 028 8778 4753
Springhill, County Londonderry
Snowdrop walks, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21, 27 – 28 February, 12pm – 5pm
Explore the grounds of this beautiful 17th-century family home where blooms of snowdrops welcome in the springtime. Short walks around the estate are perfect for a leisurely stroll, and kids will be kept busy by the Natural Play Trail. Afterwards, enjoy some hot soup or a delicious tea and scone in the Servants’ Hall tea-room and take home your very own snowdrop plant, lovingly cultivated at Springhill.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply). For more information please call 028 8674 8210