Blooming Marvels: Where To Find 10 Of Britain’s Best Snowdrop Displays | Short breaks
Cringletie House Hotel, Peeblesshire
It is said that soldiers returning from Crimea brought back the first snowdrops from Cringletie. Thanks to a 30-year garden restoration program, the grounds of this 28-acre estate on the Scottish borders are generously stocked with them and the nature trail is free to all. Other highlights include a walled garden dating from the 16th century and the 19th century Cringletie House has 16 lovely bedrooms, afternoon tea and warming fires.
Double from £ 250 Bed and breakfast, cringletie.com
Walsingham Abbey, Norfolk
Mixed in with the ruins of a crumbling 13th century monastery, this is one of the best places in East Anglia to surround yourself with snowdrops. Spread across 18 acres, including an ancient pack-horse bridge, woods, and under the Dell Gate, millions of snowdrops have divided and thrived over the centuries. The neighboring village of Little Walsingham also embraces snowdrops in its gardens and greens, and the Black Lion is a chic pub with rooms (doubles from £ 125 B&B).
Adult £ 6, walsinghamabbey.com
Walled Gardens Easton, Lincolnshire
On a sunny day, areas of Easton are sufficiently sheltered for the delicate honeyed scent of a snowdrop to emerge. A snowdrop sanctuary for over 500 years, Easton Gardens reopen on February 11, 2022, with cafes and shops in more than 12 acres of bulb-filled grounds. For those who want to linger, cabins overlooking the snowdrops are available by the day for up to six people, complete with chairs and blankets. Linger longer in Easton’s shed, converted into three open-plan apartments (from £ 80 a night) or his gatehouse (from £ 92; sawdays.co.uk) to access the gardens afterwards the departure of visitors.
Adult £ 8.25, visiteaston.co.uk
Rococo Painswick Garden, Gloucestershire
First laid out in the 18th century, decidedly asymmetrical and filled with pastel-hued Gothic follies, Painswick is Britain’s only surviving Rococo garden. In the middle of a valley with paths, streams and beeches, more than five million snowdrops emerge each year, offering an austere but wonderfully unified color palette. Within walking distance of the gardens, the Falcon Inn (doubles from £ 139 B&B; thefalconpainswick.com) has a full assortment of Cotswold honeyed stone charm to augment a visit.
Adult £ 9.60, rococogarden.org.uk
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Possibly introduced by the Romans, loved by medieval monks and seized by the Victorians, winter-flowering snowdrops (Galanthus) are the first heralds of the coming spring. This National Trust estate, with the remains of a 13th-century priory, Jacobean mansion, watermill and gardens, has one of Britain’s best collections – over 2,000 varieties of the delicately drooping white flower. Note in particular the rare Galanthus lagodechianus, discovered by former head gardener Richard Ayres at the site of the garden’s Victorian garbage heap, which can now be seen in all its snow-capped glory.
Adult from £ 10, nationaltrust.org.uk
Bromwich Hall Castle Gardens, West Midlands
Brum’s best snowdrops are found in the gardens of this Jacobean mansion; their flowering marks the arrival of spring and is celebrated with family days on weekends. But these gardens, rediscovered and saved by locals in the 1980s – open Wednesday through Sunday – are a pleasure to visit any time of the year, with volunteer guided tours, evening candle light walks and a courtyard cafe serving hot drinks and snacks.
Adult £ 4, Castlebromwichhallgardens.org.uk
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
Snowdrops propagate naturally – as long as they have trees to cluster around – and this English heritage property provides the perfect incubation conditions. They also have a lot of winter company here; Frost-resistant companions include cheekbones, scarlet berries, and mistletoe balls, while in greenhouses the first camellias begin to bloom. Within the park, Wrest Park has the aptly named Gardener’s House which lets you explore the park after hours (six people, three nights from £ 625).
Adult from £ 12.60, English- heritage.org.uk
Thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, Cornish snowdrops usually bloom before anywhere else in Britain. Head to the Roseland Peninsula and you’ll start to see them in mid-January. At Tregoose, a garden built over 30 years by Alison O’Connor, they mingle with daffodils, including the early flowering Cedric Morris. Alison and her husband, Anthony, have bed and breakfasts in their Regency home, near other renowned gardens. Doublefrom £ 120, B&B, tregoose.co.uk
A series of walks have been created to celebrate this famous hilly Dorset town’s love affair with snowdrops, ranging from a short stroll through the Abbey Gardens to a five kilometer yomp to hone l ‘appetite. As in previous years, the city hopes to end the snowdrop season with a festival combining lanterns in the shape of snowdrops, willow and paper, conferences of specialists and sale of bulbs. Close to the Abbey, the Grosvenor Arms makes a good base (from £ 95, B&B).
Welford Park, Berkshire
This seven-acre estate, the site of a hunting lodge for Henry VIII, had summer fame as a former base for The Great British Cake. However, by the end of winter, its woods and riverbanks are filled with snowdrops, the first thought to have been planted by monks in Norman times and more recent additions by owner Deborah Puxley. Over 150 different varieties are to be discovered for galantophiles during the snowdrop season (February 2 to March 6) when the park is also open to the public and offers plant stands, including specialized nurseries on certain days.
Adult £ 10, welfordpark.co.uk