Even though bluebell season is almost coming to an end, it’s always worth celebrating the UK being awash with natural colour.
There are very few places in the world that have bluebell woods and bluebell fields as large or as common as the UK does. And with the Chelsea Flower Show taking place this week, it feels only too fitting to write this blog post now.
So although you might be a tad too late to see bluebell woods around the UK right now, I hope this list of the top five places to find bluebells in the UK inspires you ready for bluebell season next year.
1. Leigh Woods, Bristol
In some ways, it was Leigh Woods that inspired this blog post. At every turn, as far as the eye can see, the woods are awash with the beautiful blue-purple colour we all know and love so much throughout April and May.
Aside from bluebells, the woods themselves are a joy to visit year-round. With waymarked walking trails, flat paths, fun cycle routes, and views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Leigh Woods is a great day out for everyone, not just bluebell hunters.
2. Bodnant Garden, Conwy
With over 80 acres of gardens to explore, Bodnant Garden in Wales allows you to see not just bluebell woods, but all kinds of incredible flowers.
Roses, cherry blossom, bluebells, a Laburnum arch; no matter what type of flower you’re looking for, the spring and summer months at Bodnant Garden are bound to have it in abundance!
There are also waterfalls, quaint bridges, towering trees and plenty of mystery to keep you guessing during your visit.
3. Blickling Estate, Norfolk
With several places to see bluebells throughout, such as The Great Wood and Temple Walk, bluebells are forever admired at the Blickling Estate in Norfolk.
In fact, the National Trust even holds the ‘Blue Festival’ every year, in which they light up the old mansion to make it appear blue.
Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed at the festival, but they are free to roam other parts of the estate, such as the park and Farmyard cafe.
4. Godolphin, Cornwall
Another great place to find bluebell woods in the UK is the Godolphin Estate in Cornwall.
Home to lots of history, including an old mine and manor house, Godolphin also offers some of the best views of the stunning St Ives Bay and famous St Michael’s Mount.
As for bluebell woods, there’s a tranquil trail that winds its way through a fantastic sea of blue.
5. Stourhead, Dorset
One of the best bluebell woods in Dorset can be found at Stourhead.
In fact, this grand estate is a wonder to behold at any time of the year, with spring boasting daffodils and bluebells, and autumn boasting yellows and golds.
The bluebell woods at Stourhead surround a large lake, and also offer the opportunity to explore classical temples and even a secret grotto!
Bluebell season: when do bluebells flower?
Within the UK, bluebell season starts in mid-April, and continues through to late-May.
So that you can see the bluebells at their finest, I’d normally recommend hunting for them towards the end of April, or beginning of May. That way, they’ve had longer to bloom fully, and are not coming to the end of their blooming period.
Will you always be able to see bluebells?
One other consideration when it comes to finding bluebells in the UK (aside from the time of year), is how well preserved the woods are, and how popular they are.
Although nearly 50% of the world’s English bluebells can be found in the UK, bluebells are a threatened flower species throughout the world.
In fact, within the UK, they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), which prohibits anyone from digging up the bulbs, either to sell them or just remove them from their land.
Bluebells being endangered is partly to do with deforestation and upsetting their natural habitat, but it’s also due to how popular it’s become to go on the hunt for bluebell woods and bluebell fields.
Lots of preserved woods are trying their best to clear paths for visitors to see the bluebells without trampling all over them, but not all woods will have this kind of commitment. So it’s up to us, as responsible travellers, to admire the bluebells by all means, but ideally from afar, and without stepping on this most delicate of flowers.