You may not sense the turn in the weather but Nature has her own agenda and thanks to the National Trust you can witness the first buds of spring.
For that first glimpse there’s nothing better than getting out and seeing drifts of snowdrops across the landscape. These dainty white flowers transform woodland and garden floors in January and February and are one of the first signs of life after the long winter months.
Stroll along snowdrop-framed pathways at Saltram in Devon, or explore the UK’s largest winter garden at Dunham Massey in Cheshire.
Here are the top spots are the UK to see the snowdrops:
South West of England
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Open daily, 10am – 4pm
Every year this garden wakes up in January and February when millions 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.
Newark Park, Gloucestershire
Spectacular Snowdrop Weekend, 4 – 5 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. Blow away the winter cobwebs and enjoy the fresh air and stunning views of the Gloucestershire countryside on a walk around the estate. Explore the incredible landscape of Newark Park, located deep within Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Afterwards, warm up with a hot drink and well-deserved slice of cake in front of the fire in the Tudor sitting room.
A winter walk amongst the snowdrops, until 28 February, 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. Bring the whole family back in February to plant your own snowdrops with the garden team.
London and South East
Ham House and Garden, Surrey
Open daily 10am – 4pm
Take a family stroll around the formal gardens at Ham House where snowdrops can be found under the very old Acacia trees. Afterwards, why not explore the maze-like wilderness with 16 garden compartments to discover, then head over to the kitchen garden to see which herbs are around at this time of year. Warm up with a cup of tea and a sweet treat at the Orangery café, open every weekday from 10am.
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 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.
Stowedrop season, until 28 February, 10am – 4pm
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 lakes and temples.
East of England
Open daily, 9am – 5.30pm
Take a crisp winter walk through Ickworth to discover carpets of snowdrops along Lady Geraldine’s walk, as well as The Albana Walk and Trim Trail. The pretty white flowers are perfectly complemented by the golden glow of aconites scattered throughout. After a chilly stroll, warm up in the West Wing restaurant with delicious food and drink (Friday to Tuesday).
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Snowdrop Walks, 28 January – 5 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.
Peckover House & Garden, Cambridgeshire
Open weekends 14 January – 19 February, 12pm – 4pm
The garden gates open early in the year at Peckover so you can enjoy what’s in season. Wrap up warm and head out to spot the snowdrops around this two acre town garden then head into the Orangery where the orange trees are at their best at this time of year. Round off your visit with a warming soup or a hot drink in the Reed Barn tea-room, where every penny you spend helps the National Trust care for places like Peckover for future years.
Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Open daily, dawn to dusk
Sheringham Park looks especially beautiful in January and February when displays of snowdrops brighten up dark days. The Upcher family left the Sheringham estate to the National Trust, so it’s fitting that their namesake (Galanthus plicatus ‘Upcher’) still blooms around the park, among other varieties. Take a stroll to see if you can find an Upcher snowdrop and enjoy woodland walks, a bit of bird spotting and stunning coastal views.
Attingham Park, Shropshire
Open daily, 8am – 5pm
Watch the woodland floor transform into a stunning carpet of snowdrops during Attingham’s snowdrop season. The park holds an annual snowdrop watch to find the first flower, which can come as early as December. Take a stroll around this grand estate and discover over 200 years of history, acres of parkland and a beautiful walled garden.
Belton House, Lincolnshire
Open daily, 9.30am – 4pm
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. Afterwards, warm up with a below stairs tour of the grand 17th-century mansion or a hot drink and a slice of cake from the stables restaurant.
Dudmaston Estate, Shropshire
Snowdrop weekends, 18 – 19, 25 – 26 February, 12pm – 4pm
This February throw on your wellies and waterproofs for a family walk through the Dingle where the snowdrops are out in full bloom. Thanks to the support of visitors, members and volunteers, the National Trust gardeners who care for Dudmaston have been busy planting more snowdrops over the past few years, so the display just keeps getting better. After, why not pop by the café for a warming soup or a sweet treat? Every penny you spend in a National Trust café helps the conservation charity care for special places for years to come, so you can enjoy your cake guilt-free.
North of England
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Open daily, 11am – 4pm
The seven-acre winter garden at Dunham Massey is the largest of its kind in the UK. Since it opened in 2009 over 200,000 double and single snowdrops have been planted, which now create a shimmering white carpet from late December to early February. Keep an eye out for other early spring flowers while you’re there, including striking blue winter irises and bright daffodils.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire
Open daily 10am – 5pm
This World Heritage Site cared for by the National Trust is a paradise for outdoor and nature lovers. The picturesque abbey ruins look beautiful in January and February set alongside 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 banks of the river Skell.
Open daily 10am – 4pm. From 13 February 10am – 6pm.
Over the past two years visiting families have planted more than 200,000 snowdrops at Wallington, and a further 100,000 will be planted this February half-term. As well as the common variety, Wallington’s snowdrop display includes a few specials. The less common varieties include the Northumbrian ‘Sandersii’ group which has sulphur-yellow markings instead of green, and the pretty ‘Flore Pleno’ with double the number of petals. Don’t forget to visit the winter garden where purple Iris will brighten up any winter day.
Acorn Bank, Cumbria
Open on weekends from 18 February, 11am – 4pm
Take a wander through the swathes of snowdrops that carpet the woodland walks beside Crowdundle Beck. This tranquil spot is the ideal place for an invigorating walk on a crisp spring day. Relax afterwards with a treat in the tea-room, where all proceeds go towards caring for Acorn Bank and other special National Trust places for future generations to enjoy.
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Open 28 January onwards, 10am – 4pm
Chase away the winter blues with a bracing walk through the grounds at Chirk Castle, cared for by the National Trust. 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. Take a moment in the Pleasure Ground Wood to enjoy more stunning snowdrop displays, warm up around the fire in the Woodsman’s Hut and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate on weekends.
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Snowdrop Planting, 19 – 26 February, 1pm – 2pm
Take a trip to Bodnant Garden’s Old Park Meadow in February to see swathes of snowdrops out in full bloom. For several years National Trust gardeners, volunteers and visitors have been helping plant thousands of extra bulbs every year and they don’t plan to stop there. Join the team again and help to plant an extra 20,000.