Bluebells at Chartwell

English native bluebells at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

One of the most anticipated sights of spring across the country, is the arrival of the quintessential English bluebells. See the grounds of Chartwell turn blue as they spread throughout the woodlands.

Blubells at Chartwell

The English bluebell is a classic spring flower, instantly recognisable as it covers the woodland ground with a sea of blue. Their classic dropping heads resembling bells can be seen across the Chartwell estate and all around the West Kent countryside.

We usually expect that the best time of year to see bluebells is mid-April to late-May, although this is reliant on the weather which might see them flowering either earlier or later.

Unfortunately, bluebells are very delicate flowers and if damaged at all, can take four to six years to regrow. If stepped on, the leaves get crumpled and are unable to photosynthesise, meaning they can’t make the food and energy they need to flower.

By sticking to the paths you can help save our bluebells for others to enjoy. Remember to keep your dog on a short lead and under control so they don’t cause any damage either.

Discover more about the English bluebells

Bluebells are generally a wild plant and so the Churchill’s didn’t cultivate them in the gardens around the house, however their careful woodland management did encourage them, particularly around the areas where coppicing took place.

Coppicing is a traditional method of managing woodlands which creates a renewable source of timber by cutting trees to the ground and letting them regrow on a cycle. This process allows more light to reach the forest floor, encouraging a wide range of plants such as bluebells to flower, as well as providing varied habitats for wildlife too.

It is a tradition we’re proud to continue to this day here at Chartwell.

Chartwell rangers using a chainsaw to coppice at Chartwell

Coppicing at Chartwell

Coppicing is an ancient technique to manage woodland, which provides sustainable wood and creates diverse habitats for wildlife. Here at Chartwell, we've recently reintroduced this back to our estate with both sweet chestnut and hazel coppicing taking place every winter.

Mariner's Hill

One of the best places to see the bluebells out in the countryside is up on nearby Mariner’s Hill – accessible from Chartwell – where you can take in sweeping views over the house and out to the Weald of Kent.

Bluebells line the paths underneath the trees of the woodland, making the perfect setting for a quiet walk through the countryside. Keep an eye out for the stone obelisk up at the top, dedicated on the back to Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust.

Pop into the Chartwell Visitor Centre who will be able to point you in the right direction, or download our short Mariner’s Hill loop walk below to take in the views.

Skip the queues by dining al fresco

Our café at Chartwell can get very busy around bluebell time, especially on the Easter weekend as well as school holiday weekends. Queues are to be expected during these peak times.

Why not bring along a picnic instead? Grab a blanket, find a spot on the slopes by the lakes and enjoy the view whilst you eat.

Nature in the shop

Although we ask you not to pick any of the true bluebells growing out across the countryside, why not head into our shop after your walk and find a piece of nature you can take home with you.

As the bluebells come into bloom, pick up a potted flower in our outside plant area to bring a small amount of blue into your own garden.

If you’re looking for a bluebell memento that’s a bit longer lasting, we also have handmade bluebell plant stakes to bring an elegant touch to your flower beds.

Chartwell guidebook 

On your visit, why not collect the Chartwell guidebook from our Visitor Centre or shop? Read about the fascinating history of house and gardens as you make your way around on your visit, or take it home as a wonderful memento of your trip to Chartwell.

Bluebell woods at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent

Bluebells at Emmetts Garden

Spotting bluebells is one of the best things about a spring walk and Emmetts Garden doesn't disappoint for this. The woods have even been designated a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) due to the English native bluebells that bloom here. Every year the hillside is smothered with the nation's favourite wildflower creating a truly beautiful spectacle.