Best bluebell woods in the UK

Places to Go

Best bluebell woods in the UK

The UK is known for many things; fish and chips, historic pubs decorated with every beer mat known to mankind, a rather deep-rooted love of Yorkshire puddings... But did you know we are also home to over half of the world’s population of bluebells?

Oh yes, filling the air with the scent of spring, bluebell woods are one of the great joys to be found across the UK in April and May. Woodlands all over the country burst into life with swathes of purple carpeting forest floors, providing an utterly otherworldly backdrop to a woodland wander.

Excited to see these periwinkle panoramas for yourself? Here’s our guide to the best bluebell woods in the UK so you can fill your camera roll with some spring serenity.

   

Emmetts Garden, Kent

A winding path through the bluebell wood at Emmetts Garden in Kent

Another National Trust property to boast a woodland teeming with bluebells in the spring, Emmetts Garden is a stunning hillside oasis in the rolling reaches of Kent. Oh yes, Kent has certainly earned its title as the ‘Garden of England’ with this one!

The woodland, which is home to a unique variety of pine trees, is the perfect place for bluebells to gather, resulting in a riot of colour when April and May come around. With numerous gardens to explore during your visit, this peaceful spot is ideal for Sunday strolls followed by a bite to eat in the Old Stables Tearoom.

 

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

The sun shining through the trees in a bluebell wood near Badbury Rings on the Kingston Lacy estate in Dorset

With a mild climate and rambling wooded areas, the South West promises an astonishing number of bluebells when spring rolls around – you can normally see them here before anywhere else in the UK! And when it comes to bluebell walks in Dorset, Kingston Lacy is home to one of our favourites, with the ancient woodland boasting a breathtaking display of fairy flowers.

The best areas are around the Iron Age hillfort at Badbury Rings and Abbott Street Copse, which is fondly known as the Pamphill Bluebell Woods because of, well, the bluebells! Carpets of the vibrant perennials create a colourful wonderland, while the pocket-sized wood means you don’t have to walk far to enjoy stunning scenes. The gardens and Venetian palace at Kingston Lacy are well worth exploring too, with spring bringing out the estate’s kaleidoscopic palette.

 

Enys Gardens, Cornwall

A carpet of bluebells amongst the trees at Enys Garden in Cornwall

Carpeting the sprawling meadows and open woodland near Penryn in purple, Enys Gardens boasts one of Cornwall’s most beautiful bluebell woods. The gardens and grounds reach over 30 acres, promising twisting paths through the green and periwinkle displays. One of the oldest gardens in the county, you’ll find ancient trees and a fanfare of wildflowers scattered across the estate, creating a tranquil wonderland waiting to be explored.

At the start of May, Enys holds its annual bluebell festival, welcoming visitors to come and experience the vibrant displays first-hand. You can wander the flower-flecked paths before popping into the Garden Café for a hefty piece of homemade cake and a pot of steaming tea.

 

Micheldever Wood, Hampshire

Tall trees and a carpet of bluebells at Micheldever Wood in Hampshire

With an assortment of trails weaving their way through the mesmerising woodland and a carpet of blue appearing in the spring, Micheldever is one of the best spots for a bluebell walk in the UK. Beech trees climb overhead, while the ground turns violet with the bloom of bluebells, creating an endlessly arresting woodland walk.

Alongside the bluebells, wildflowers scatter the forest floor, with various species of butterfly making the most of the sweet-smelling buffet. You might even spot a muntjac deer grazing through the trees! There is a lovely picnic area too, promising a bluebell-spotted space to feast on some local goodies.  

 

Stourhead, Wiltshire

A carpet of bluebells at Stourhead in Wiltshire with a lake and bushes in the background

Famous for its rare and captivating trees, Stourhead in Wiltshire beckons to nature-loving visitors throughout the year. In spring, you’re rewarded with a sea of bluebells across the iconic estate. While the odd bluebell gathering can be found throughout the gardens, it’s the woods that harbour the best displays, with the Bonham Wood walk promising a truly petal-powered amble.

Of course, Stourhead also boasts several incredible temples throughout the grounds, which offer equally enticing views. You might recognise one as the famous filming location in Pride and Prejudice’s beloved 2005 adaptation, making it a wonderfully romantic spot for a stroll – or proposal!

 

Loch Lomond, Argyll and Bute

A sea of bluebells along the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland

Scotland’s first National Park and the largest lake (by surface area) in Great Britain, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs delivers a powerful punch when it comes to natural beauty. The surrounding mountains and hills boast some of the most spectacular sights in Scotland, especially in early spring when the woods and lakesides bloom with swaying bluebells.

While you can stroll around any part of Loch Lomond to find a sea of bluebells, one of the best spots to find the pretty perennials is on Inchcailloch Island, one of the 22 islands to be found on the lake. You can take a small ferry to reach the island paradise or you can head there under your own steam with a kayak or boat, both of which are hireable nearby from Loch Lomond Leisure. The island is home to fallow deer, osprey, and wild geese too, so taking a pair of binoculars when you visit the bluebells is a must.

 

Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Looking through a bluebell wood in Norfolk carpeted in blue

If the jaw-dropping Jacobean mansion and landscape garden aren’t enough to draw you to Norfolk’s impressive Blickling Estate, then the wash of bluebells is sure to pull you in. You can either park at Blickling Hall and tour the house and gardens first, which is always a mesmerising experience, or you can head straight to the National Trust Woodgate car park.

Almost as soon as you step onto the path, bluebells surround you, turning the once green floor into a festival of colour. A series of winding paths escort you around the ancient woodland, where you’ll find a fascinating mausoleum hidden amongst the trees. It’s a wonderfully short (and dog-friendly) walk, making it perfect for families or anyone looking to step into a painting for a while.

 

Brede High Woods, Sussex

Looking through the trees at the bluebells carpeting the floor at Brede High Woods in Sussex

Home to one of Britain’s rarest beetles, Brede High Woods near Battle in East Sussex is always high on the visit list for nature lovers and in spring this is doubled by the emergence of thousands of bluebells. A stunning spot for a woodland walk at any time of year, it’s extra special when the bluebells are out in force as the woods turn from the atmospheric chestnut hues of winter to the vibrancy of spring.

There’s a tangle of footpaths that wind through the woodlands and surrounding grasslands and heaths of the High Weald National Landscape (formerly known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), providing an almost endless supply of routes to follow as you take in the purple-flecked landscapes.

 

Long Wood, Somerset

Beautiful bluebell woods near Cheddar Gorge in Somerset

When it comes to the best bluebell woods in the UK, Long Wood Nature Reserve in Somerset is hard to beat. The sprawling woodlands take on a haze of colour as bluebells and wild garlic coat the floor in a swathe of white and blue. Around 42 acres in size and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Long Wood is the best place to see bluebells in Cheddar Gorge, alongside a wealth of other flora and fauna, from early purple orchids to roe deer.

Explore the twisting trails that wind across the wood, with some passing ancient caves and trickling streams. Take a picnic to enjoy in the woods – there’s just something about Cheddar Gorge that makes us fancy cheese – or pop into one of the nearby pubs for a refreshing cider as you flick through your favourite shots of the woods in bloom.

 

Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire

A sea of bluebells with the peak of Roseberry Topping in the distance

North Yorkshire is known for its rugged landscapes that boast beauty and wilderness in equal measure, but during spring the undulating moors and woodlands take on a more serene setting as bluebells cloak the ground. With its iconic peak and far-reaching views, Roseberry Topping is a beautiful place to see bluebells in Yorkshire.

The walk up to the peak through Newton Wood takes you through great swathes of bluebells, rewarding you at the end with uninterrupted views across the surrounding North York Moors. The blend of dappled brushwood and purple-blushed fields is utterly magical and one of the best springtime walks in the county.

 

America Wood, Isle of Wight

A red squirrel on the forest floor surrounded by bluebells on the Isle of Wight

Nestled near the enchanting depths of Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight, America Wood is a wonderful spot for nature lovers as it’s home to bluebells and red squirrels! Oh yes, these tufty-eared little critters can sometimes be seen skittering through the trees or pitter-pattering through the bluebells in search of their next meal.

With such enchanting local residents, we recommend enjoying a peaceful wander through the trees before settling down and enjoying a spot of forest bathing (the art of relaxing in nature). The combination of gently swaying bluebells and scuttling critters is a one-way train to peace and tranquillity. 

 

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

A path leading through a sea of bluebells on Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire with the ocean in the distance

This might be a round-up of the best bluebell woods in the UK, but we would be remiss not to mention one of our favourite locations for spotting the spring flower in all its glory. With bluebells and puffins to its name, Skomer Island is heaven on Earth for wildlife enthusiasts in April and May as the dramatic island is covered with a blanket of purple. Usually preferring forest floors, the open and usually rugged landscapes of the Pembrokeshire island burst with colour and life as a heady mix of heather and bluebells spring up from the ground, casting the island in a hazy hue.

The island, which you can access via boat crossings, is home to some beautiful walks, giving you every opportunity to don your walking boots and explore the wild beauty for yourself. While we recommend sticking to paths when touring bluebell hotspots in general, it’s especially important on Skomer Island, as burrows and uneven ground results in wobbly terrain when drifting from the pathways.

 

Emsworthy Mire, Devon

A historic farmhouse surrounded by trees and bluebells at Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor

Although you might associate the purplish hue of heather with Dartmoor, in early to mid-spring it’s bluebells that carpet the rolling moors. One of our favourite places in Devon to see bluebells, Emsworthy Mire promises a dreamy setting, with the valley floor hosting thousands of bluebells every year.

An abandoned farm adds a spot of interest to the bright fields, while the surrounding countryside beckons for walks through copse and moor. We recommend packing a picnic and spending the day exploring this wild and oh-so-beautiful pocket of Devon. It’s close to both Bovey Tracey and Widecombe in the Moor, giving you easy access to some fabulous pubs, too.

 

Where and when to see bluebells in the UK

Bluebells in the UK

Blooming as early as late March and usually lasting until the first few weeks of May, early spring is often the best time to see bluebells in the UK. Bluebells thrive in mild, sun-kissed locations, which is why the country’s woodlands enjoy the most vibrant displays before the canopies have grown over with new leaves. Of course, while these dainty plants can pop their heads up anywhere, there are certain places that boast a show-stealing display.

Bluebells are protected, which means they are there to be enjoyed but not touched or picked. We also advise keeping to the designated paths, as it can take years for bluebells to recover once trodden on.

Fun fact: Did you know that bluebells have gone by many names over the years? Some of our favourites include witches’ thimbles, fairy flower, and lady’s nightcap, although cuckoo’s boots might steal the show! We have no idea where this name came from, but we hope it’s here to stay. Of course, a more scientific name is wild hyacinth, equally charming and a touch more enchanting than the Latin name (hyacinthoides non-scripta).

 

Ready to discover a world of colour this spring? Explore our beautiful holiday cottages across the UK and uncover your own bluebell havens nearby!

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