Top spots for snowdrops

For that first glimpse of spring, our places have beautiful displays of snowdrops across the country. The delicate white flowers transform woodlands floors in early spring and are the first signs of life after the winter months.

Matthew Oates, our nature and wildlife expert said 'In the garden, the pinnacles of snowdrop leaves provide the very first sign of spring. The flowers themselves arrive later in pure white glory and, on mild, late winter days, are beloved by honey bees. They are best seen in half-light and, of course, amidst the winter snow.'

From stunning bulb meadows to the UK’s largest winter garden, here are our special places to enjoy a family day out surrounded by snowdrops:

    Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

    Anglesey’s garden has 240 different varieties of snowdrop scattered across 114 acres. Meander through the paths and soak up the fabulous show that the garden offers during this time. But snowdrops will not be all that you see: the winter garden shows coloured tree barks, winter flowering shrubs, ground cover plants and even the first signs of daffodils.

    Ickworth, Suffolk

    Throughout Ickworth park, along the oak walk and the trim trail, snowdrops are complemented by the golden glow of aconites. Geraldine’s and Erskine’s walks are woken from their winter sleep by Galanthus‘s arnott, a relatively large snowdrop with a strong honey scent providing a feast for the eyes and nose. Discover amazing views of the estate or warm up in the west wing restaurant with delicious food and drink (Friday to Tuesday).

    Make a weekend of it: Stay at the heart of the estate in one of Ickworth’s four cottages: there’s the quirky round house set in an enchanting woodland glade, two redbrick Victorian cottages in the parkland and the former head gardener’s cottage with its own walled garden.

    The Argory, Co. Armagh

    This spectacular riverside estate has a stunning display of snowdrops and other beautiful spring bulbs throughout February. Snowdrop self-guided walks run every Saturday and Sunday in the month, where the scenic walk shows off the garden as the frost thaws, with stunning backdrop of sweeping vistas. There are also delicate snowdrop plants available to buy in the shop and children can enjoy the adventure playground. After a self-guided walk through the blankets of wonderful snowdrops that cover the estate, enjoy a warm refreshment in the courtyard coffee shop.

    Attingham Park, Shropshire

    Watch the woodland floor transform into a stunning carpet of snowdrops during Attingham’s snowdrop season. Stroll around this great estate near Shrewsbury, look out for deer and see sprinkles of the delicate swowdrops in beautiful parkland, designed to impress.
    Walk up to the bothy along the mile walk and follow the candles and fairy lights through the woods to experience the park and snowdrops in a different light. At the end, step into the warmth of the Bothy and enjoy a cup of mulled wine.

    Belton House, Lincolnshire

    With delightful gardens, a luxuriantly planted orangery and lakeside walks, Belton is a pleasure to explore all year round and never more so as the early signs of spring creep in. Don’t miss the delicate displays of snowdrops that melt away all your thoughts of winter.

    Chirk Castle, Wrexham

    Chase away those winter blues with a bracing walk around the beautiful gardens and woodland at Chirk. Glimpses of the spring bulbs can be found throughout the garden, scattered between clipped yews, herbaceous borders, shrub and rock gardens, as well as drifting along the woodland floor.


    Dunham Massey, Cheshire

    Thousands of snowdrops will bloom in Britain’s largest winter garden at Dunham Massey. The garden contains almost 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs specifically bred for the seven-acre wonder. January heralds the first signs of spring, where clusters of over 100,000 double and single snowdrops and 20,000 narcissi bloom amongst the trees.

     

    Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire

    Set in 323 hectares of beautiful countryside, this World Heritage Site offers an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate Britain's heritage and natural beauty. Early spring is the perfect time to explore the picturesque abbey ruins and amble through the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden, surrounded by white carpets of snowdrops. This is a stunning sight that dates back to the 19th-century, when Earl de Grey planted snowdrops to spell out his name along the backs of the river Skell.

    Make a weekend of it: Turn a visit to this magnificent site into a long weekend in a unique cottage. With eleven holiday cottages on offer, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of 18th-Century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.

    Kingston Lacy, Dorset

    Kingston Lacy welcomes a dazzling blanket of snowdrops each year. The garden wakes up to spring in January and February when thousands of bulbs burst through the soil, transforming the garden into a sea of white. Special snowdrop openings are a tradition at Kingston Lacy so visitors can wander through the displays and salute this first welcome sign of spring.

    Make a weekend of it: With pink walls and a thatched roof, 524 Pamphill Green Cottage is a delightful semi-detached cottage tucked away in a quiet part of the Kingston Lacy estate.

    Newark Park, Gloucestershire

    At Newark Park there are snowdrop drifts throughout the garden and they mingle with aconites and cyclamen to give a very impressive show. There are six varieties and Newark is a haven for Gloucestershire galanthophiles.

    During half term week, why not have fun as a family at Newark Park, following the snowdrop trail around the estate. Get the children to have a closer look at the flowers and take a photo to create a special snowdrop memory.

    Mottisfont, Hampshire

    Snowdrops thrive along the banks of the Font stream, where the warmer water creates its own microclimate, teasing them into bloom a week or two before their companions in colder corners of the garden. Elsewhere, the open acres of the river garden are magically transformed by drifts of purest white.

    Nymans, West Sussex

    This 20th-century garden is famed for its amazing collection of rare and important plants. At the start of spring, spot wonderful displays of snowdrops as well as camellias and magnolias underplanted with a host of daffodils and grape hyacinths. The bulb meadow in the walled garden is full of snowdrops and early narcissus and there are rare hellebores all around the garden.
    By Valentine’s day, over 150 different types of plant are flowering at Nymans and our snowdrop drifts offer cool contrasts to fiery witch hazel oranges and the rich red stems of our dogwoods.

    Make a weekend of it: For people who love being close to nature, a stay at Woodlands Cottage is a great way to discover Nymans. The perfect retreat, the pretty cottage is surrounded by beautiful lakes and woodland walks.

Several of the places featured here also have characterful holiday cottages available - perfect for a countryside getaway or weekend retreat.

Find out more at http://www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk/