They're coming out! The loveliest places to catch winter snowdrops across Suffolk, Cambs and beyond in the next few weeks.
Shorts and sandals at the ready, spring is here. Er, okay maybe not, but the snowdrops are! If you’ve thawed out enough after the cold snap to venture outside and see them, here are the best snowdrop hotspots in our ‘hood and beyond.
Anglesey Abbey, Cambs
Back in the old days snowdrops were planted by monks as a symbol of purity with Anglesey, a former priory, a great example of monastic planting. It’s National Trust, so it offers your usual restaurant and shops and even a second hand bookshop.
Chippenham Park Gardens, Cambs
Snowdrop walks, aconites, and all in gardens landscaped to an Anglo-Dutch design. At one point this estate was bought by a sugar baron, which leads me to the Potting Shed Cafe. Cake!
Peckover House and Garden, Wisbech, Cambs, 25 – 16 Feb
You can pair stunning snowdrops with exotic orange trees at Peckover’s two-acre town gardens. The lovely garden has carpets of beautiful snowdrops in January and February and the 300 year old orange trees in the Orangery are also at their most bountiful. Bit nippy after a bracing winter walk? Head to The Reed Barn tea-room for warming soup and hot drinks.
Wimpole Estate, Cambs
A trip to Wimpole is always a good idea if you’ve got little ones in tow, thanks to the wonderful home farm, but in Jan and Feb you can add a pretty snowdrop walk to the day’s activities. Snowdrops and aconites can be found throughout the Pleasure Grounds, and look their best in February. Being National Trust a tricot the cafe and shop afterwards are a must!
Kentwell Hall, Suffolk, 15 Feb – 8 Mar
Early spring is the perfect time to visit Kentwell’s glorious gardens. The Shrubbery and Back Wood are carpeted with thousands of snowdrops, with little pockets of aconites too. The walk is a muddy one in winter so wear wellies and be prepared for lots of jumping in puddles (the kids, not you!).
Ickworth House, Suffolk
A walk around Ickworth Park is always wonderful with many different length trails to follow and plenty of varying landscapes to choose from. In late winter follow the path along Lady Geraldine’s Walk and wind your way around Albania Walk, where you’ll be rewarded with a carpet of snowdrops and aconites. Lunch in The Orangery restaurant afterwards is a lovely way to round off the visit.
Fancy staying over in the luxe family-friendly Ickworth House during snowdrop season? Check out our special Muddy hotel deal here.
Thornham Estate, Suffolk
This estate in north Suffolk is on the River Dove, and snowdrops spring up across the 2000 acres of parkland each year in late Jan. There are over 12 miles of walking tracks to choose from as well as a walled garden and a cafe.
Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Bury’s Nowton Park is better known for its “host, of golden daffodils” each year, but it also does a pretty good job when it comes to snowdrops too. The park is spread over 200 acres and there’s plenty to keep kids amused while you admire the snowdrops.
Bradfield Woods, Suffolk
Here’s a couple of fun facts for you: Bradfield Woods is one of the finest examples of ancient forest in Britain and snowdrops are just one of 370 species of plant that grows here. There are a number of walks (around 5 miles of trails) that cross cross the woods so you can discover the carpets of snowdrops.
Blakenham Woodland Garden, Ipswich, Suffolk, 16 Feb
This six-acre area of woodland is full of unusual specimens that held a specific personal resonance for former owner and MP Michael Blakenham. The gardens don’t open until later on in the year, but hold an ‘In celebration of Snowdrops’ Day on Sun 16 Feb 2020 under the National Garden Scheme. Tea, coffee and cake will be available to buy while you admire the pretty snowdrop scenes.
Benington Lordship Gardens, 5 Feb – 1 Mar, Herts
The Big One. It’s impossible to talk about snowdrops without naming Benington. Close to Walkern and Stevenage, Benington has the lot and, with 200 varieties surrounding the Norman castle and moat, is often cited as the best snowdrop site in the country. You can also catch a concert, every Sunday at 2.30pm, in St Peter’s Church. No dogs allowed.
Walkern Hall, Herts
This stunning Georgian manor house set in a medieval hunting park is also a wedding venue and popular filming location. Eight acres of snowdrops and aconites to admire as well as homemade cakes inside.
Old Church Cottage, Tring, Herts
Ancient yews, a Norman tower and a four hundred year old thatched cottage make for a perfect backdrop for snowdrops, am I right? Load of different varieties spring up on the churchyard along with pretty cyclamen, crocuses and other spring bulbs.
Cliveden , Bucks
Cliveden’s snowdrop scene had an upgrade back in 2017 when former head gardener and Amersham based charity TalkBack planted over 36,000 seeds on the grounds. The flowers sprang up early this year, at the beginning of Jan, with the Long Garden and Blenheim Pavilion promising the best display.
Hughenden Manor , Bucks
You’ll get more than just snowdrops over at Hughenden, two miles north of High Wycombe. By early spring the huge 680 acres is carpeted in all sorts of seasonal foliage; scilla siberica, daphne mezereum and bergenia cordifolia, adding bright pinks and purples to the grounds *gets camera ready*.
Stowe Gardens , Bucks
And there we were thinking Stowe gardens couldn’t get any more picturesque. Stowe loves its snowdrops, or should I say Stowedrops, with the vast landscape gardens usually carpeted until the end of Feb. Hit up the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden to see the best of them.
King’s Arms Garden, Beds
A smaller space for snowdrops, the one and a half acre woodland gardens open just in time for the season in late Jan. Loads of snowdrop varieties as well as other spring offerings in the pretty space.
Waterperry Gardens , Oxfordshire
It’s snowdrops in abundance over at Waterperry Gardens with over 60 varieties of the white bloomer springing up across the site’s eight acres. A half hour drive west of central Ox, the gardens are runninga Snowdrop Weekend, Sat 22 – Sun 23 Feb, with free guided tours of the grounds.
Swyncombe Downs, Oxfordshire
A lesser known hotspot, south of Ox, snowdrops and bright yellow aconites usually spring up around St. Botolph church’s 1000 year old grounds in Feb and early Mar. If you fancy a walk, you can head on to the ridgeway and across Swyncombe Estate.
Basildon Park, Berks
A great spot if you fancy a stroll with your annual snowdrops. Basildon, on the Berks border, has loads of different routes around its 400 acre parkland and gardens including the green walk through the woodland, or the longer three mile orange route around the estate’s boundary.
Welford Park, Berks
Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until 1 Mar.