Bluebell woods in Cornwall are possibly one of our favourite sights (and smells), bursting into life in April and May. These delicate flowers transform ancient woodlands and hedgerows across the county as they capture the imaginations of all those who gaze upon them.
From coastal copses that merge sea with scent to country estates and Cornish gardens that celebrate both curated displays and wild corners, Cornwall is full of pretty woodland scenes that are made even more beautiful by the carpets of periwinkle blue (we’re sorry, we’re just not convinced bluebells are completely blue). In the immortal words of Emily Brontë:
The bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.
For your chance to see these protected species in glorious action, here are the top bluebell woods to visit in Cornwall this spring…
Top tip: for an extra special sight, visit during golden hour when the sun starts to set, and beams of light create a totally enchanting display of light and colour.
Winner of numerous Chelsea Flower Show gold medals, Caerhays Estate’s 30-acre Burncoose woodland garden is a real Cornish gem. One of the most popular highlights of its garden calendar, spring sees the estate’s beech trees besieged by countless bluebells flourishing in the shade and nutrient-rich soil.
With so much to see and smell, the gardens and bluebell displays are perfect for a Sunday stroll with the family, dogs included! Simply pack up a picnic to enjoy amidst the flowers or pop into the tea rooms for an extra special treat.
Within Enys Gardens’ 30 acres lie picturesque open meadows and lush woodland where spring’s bluebells take centre stage. An idyllic dog-friendly destination for rejuvenating walks, these historic gardens are thought to be the oldest in Cornwall and are a must-visit for wildflower fans and tranquillity seekers. Make sure you check out the aptly named Stumpery, where tangles of sweet chestnut roots create an enchanting, natural sculpture display.
Plus, a pitstop in the Garden Café is always a good idea. Fill your plates with freshly made cakes, scones, sandwiches, and soup… oh, and a pot of tea for good measure. There’s just something so regal about taking a turn around the garden followed by an afternoon tea!
A magnificent late-Victorian country house, Lanhydrock’s extensive 450 acre-estate is home to manicured gardens and sprawling woodland. For a great way to welcome spring this year, follow its indigo trails and enjoy the sight of thousands of bluebells covering the woodland floor (we also recommend visiting in the autumn when the woods take on a golden hue). It’s not just for those on foot either, as many cycle trails loop and wind around the grounds. Can you think of a more beautiful spot for a ride?
Of course, a visit to a National Trust property isn’t the same without a quick dip into the shop for some trinkets or the café for a cream tea – when in Cornwall, after all!
Tehidy Country Park, Camborne
Another famous country park in Cornwall, Tehidy should be on everyone’s list of top places to visit in Cornwall. Boasting 9 miles of paths and 250 acres of woods, bluebell spotting in spring is all but guaranteed every year here, with purple pockets decorating several areas of the estate.
As you amble through the sun-dappled woods, it’s not just bluebells you’ll see though. Home to a myriad of local creatures, a squirrel sighting is often in the cards, resulting in squeals of delight from kids and adults alike (yes, we still get excited to see those cute, furry faces).
Cardinham Woods, Bodmin
A beautiful destination for Cornish woodland walks throughout the year (especially rainy days with a bit of tree cover), Cardinham Woods in North Cornwall are particularly enchanting in spring. Pick up one of the waymarked footpaths, (which vary between 1.5 and 4 miles) and weave between verdant canopies of green and reams of bluebells bobbing in the breeze.
If you fancy making your walk extra memorable, you could perhaps use these bluebells as a beautiful backdrop to a proposal? After your walk (or proposal), indulge in a signature hot chocolate from the onsite Woods Café – the perfect end to any walk!
Featuring picture-perfect bluebell woods, Trewithen is one of Cornwall’s largest privately owned estates – this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good nose around the house and gardens, though! Giving you a chance to explore its tranquil grounds, you can visit the site in spring and wander its woodland glades swathed in seas of purple – utter bliss.
Alongside the blanket of bluebells, another must-see botanical marvel at Trewithen has to be the 65ft tall Magnolia subspecies, which is absolutely stunning when it blooms in early spring.
The National Trust-run Penrose Estate in Helston is one of the best places for long, leisurely walks in Cornwall – and one of the top areas for bluebell spotting in May. Home to farmland, woodland, wetland, the county’s largest freshwater lake, and stunning stretches of coast, it’s a destination you’ll want to revisit every year.
With paths and bridleways that offer a variety of surfaces and scenes, you can bring your bike, horse, dog (Loe Bar is on our list of top dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall), or just yourself as you discover why this popular route is loved by locals and visitors alike.
Pencarrow House and Gardens nestle at the foot of a yawning valley between Bodmin and Wadebridge. While its regal mansion is known for being the seat of the same family since the 1500s, its grounds and woodlands are much-loved for their colourful bluebell displays in spring.
As you walk through the washes of purple, you might notice the pale counterparts of wild garlic (or whitebells, as we like to call them), a popular wild edible you can forage, which grows side by side with their indigo cousins. During your visit, it’s also worth checking out the Iron Age hill fort and ancient Cornish cross, both of which hark back to a bygone era and add a real sense of Cornish history to the grounds.
Near to Torpoint’s Antony House (where Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland was filmed), Antony Woodland Garden awaits with a showstopping spectacle. Featuring 300 varieties of camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and indigenous and exotic trees, the estate is also known for its mass of bluebells that dominate its woodland floor in late spring.
Join one of the guided tours to learn all about your incredible surroundings from the head gardener himself or stroll around the vibrant gardens yourself, discovering all manner of secrets as you go.
A famous tropical garden recognised near and far for its natural beauty and amazing flora and fauna, Glendurgan Gardens near Falmouth are a treat whatever the season. That said, should you venture over in spring, you will be rewarded with huge swathes of bluebells buoying at the feet of fragrant rhododendrons, painting the landscape with gorgeous cerulean hues.
After you’ve meandered around the gently sloping gardens in South Cornwall, a quick detour into the maze is a must, where twists and turns challenge even the most confident navigator. Oh, and no one will blame you if you dart into the café on your way out – the cakes are always a hit!
Ready to fill your camera roll up with hues of violet, blue and green? Explore our lovely holiday cottages in Cornwall and start your tour of the many beautiful bluebell woods in Cornwall.