Spring is here and now is the best time to see our British bluebells in full bloom. Find out where to see them as it won’t be long before they’re gone.
Every year many of us travel from far and wide to get a glimpse of our elusive native bluebells, though what we really seek are bluebells in the hundreds – an expansive and beautiful blanket covering the woodland floor.
If you go out searching for bluebells then make sure you know the difference between the native, Spanish and hybrid species.
The British bluebell is a protected species and has a thinner, more delicate stem that droops distinctively to one side, the dangling flowers holding a deep violet-blue colour.
The Spanish variant was brought to our shores in the 1680’s as a decorative plant, popular due to how easily it grows – though since first spotted in the wild just over a hundred years ago it now threatens the native bluebell – it has a sturdier stem that stands upright, holding pale to mid blue, pink or white flowers that flare out more so than our native flower.
The hybrid species is the result of what happens when the native and Spanish bluebell come in too close a contact, it shares characteristics of both and is fully fertile – able to breed with the native species – further threatening the purity and numbers of the British bluebell population.
There are a good deal of places that you can visit to see this wonderful natural event, so take a look at just a few of the ones we’ve selected.
Isabella Plantation – Richmond Park, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 7NA
The Isabella Plantation – located about a mile north from the southern entrance of Richmond Park – is always delightful, containing an abundance of plant and wildlife, not to mention that it’s one of the nearest places to guarantee a sighting of bluebells at this time of the year.
The Wilderness – Hampton Court Palace Gardens, Palace Rd, East Molesey, KT8 9DL
Hampton Court Palace – steeped in history as the home of many monarchs including Henry VIII – has suitably grand gardens filled a with a beautiful array of plants, find ‘The Wilderness’ to see patches of bluebells.
Kew Gardens – Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
There’s so much going on at Kew Gardens that it’s hard to find where the bluebells are hidden, if you do visit then seek the woodland behind Queen Anne’s cottage to find its carpet of bluebells.
Claremont Landscape Garden – Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9JG
There are several features that make Claremont Landscape Garden a serene place to visit, with the extra reason to visit now being the bloom of the bluebells – if you’ve not been to the landscape garden before then why not visit now.
Box Hill – Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7LB
The outstandingly beautiful hill offers fantastic panoramic views of the area – great for those days when there are clear blue skies – but what you might not know is of the bluebells they have, most easily found through Box Hill’s Stepping Stones walk.
Horton Country Park – Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8PL
Not too far south from Kingston and Surbiton lies Horton Country Park – a local nature reserve – there’s plenty to see and do, but the best spots to see a sea of bluebells are Pond Wood and Butchers Grove.
Banstead Woods – Holly Lane, Chipstead, Surrey, United Kingdom, CR5 3NR
Banstead woods might be a little less known than the National Trust’s woodland sites but it should not be overlooked, a relatively hidden ancient woodland area with lovely carpets of bluebells.
Do you plan on bluebell hunting this spring? Send us your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!