Places to see bluebells in Northern Ireland

Beautiful bright bluebells are beginning to brighten the places and spaces in our care. Flowering from mid April to May, these pockets of purple perfection take a long time to get established. Growing best in partial shade, spotting a thick swathe is often a sign that you’re walking through an ancient woodland.

The National Trust is one of the most important organisations in the conservation of bluebells. Browse our list of the top spots to see bluebells in Northern Ireland which includes the chance to admire the rare white bluebell growing in abundance at Derrymore.

A detail of the rare white bluebell at Derrymore

The rare white bluebell 

Discover more about our native bluebell and the rarer white bluebell that grows in abundance at Derrymore Wood

Bluebells at Castle Ward

Castle Ward, County Down

Part gothic castle and part classical Palladian Mansion, this unique 18th century house is famed for its mixture of architectural styles. The wider estate offers plenty to explore from the Georgian farmyard to the shores of Strangford Lough, and in spring time there are around 5 miles of bluebell trails waiting to be discovered.

Bluebells at the Folly

Mount Stewart, County Down

The mild climate around Mount Stewart allows a wide range of plants to grow. From the Mediterranean specimens in the formal gardens to the wooded areas with their range of plants from all corners of the world, the gardens at Mount Stewart are world-class. In spring, the bluebells become the stars of the show as they cover the woodland floor in a carpet of colour.

Bluebells at Castle Coole

Castle Coole, County Fermanagh 

The bluebells in the ancient woodlands of Castle Coole are especially prolific. Planted by the daughters of the 4th Earl over a hundred years ago, the popular wild flowers make their annual appearance between May and June.

Bluebells at Blakes Wood, Essex, in spring

Lisnabreeny, County Down

Take a wander through the wooded Cregagh glen at Lisnabreeny, and follow the path as it winds up to the hill fort on the summit of the Castlereagh hills, just east of Belfast. In springtime the woods are full of flowers, including wood anemone and carpets of bluebells.


Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

Wander into this wild cliff-top garden amongst the ruins of Downhill House and discover a hauntingly beautiful home for bluebells. With awe inspiring views, colourful gardens and wooded glens, you’ll find a stunning landscape with magnificent clifftop walks affording rugged headland views across the North Coast.

Bluebells flowering in Dudmaston garden, Shropshire

Minnowburn, County Down

Set on the southern edge of Belfast, Minnowburn is a tranquil refuge with meadows and woodlands stretching down to the Lagan river. There’s also plenty of wildlife to look out for, from the blue flash of a Kingfisher to an Otter poking its head above the water. Wander through the woods in spring to see a haze of bluebells.

A sea of bluebells at Murlough National Nature Reserve

Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

Murlough National Nature Reserve is home to one of the most stunning beaches in County Down and there are paths running through the dunes and heathland. You’ll see lots of wildlife and carpets of wildflowers in spring, including a dazzling display of bluebells in the woods.

Man walking at Blakes Wood, Essex, in spring

Strangford Lough

Strangford Lough is a unique and wonderful place of immense international importance for nature conservation. It is the largest sea lough in the British Isles, covering an area from Angus Rock at its mouth on the Irish Sea, to the vast sand-flats. It’s one of only three designated Marine Nature Reserves in the United Kingdom. Nugent’s Wood, at Portaferry, is one of the last refuges for the native red squirrel and is the perfect place for discovering bluebells.

Bluebells at Springhill in County Londonderry

Springhill, County Londonderry  

This pretty 17th-century 'Plantation' home looks even more stunning in late May when the lawns and woodlands become blanketed with swaying bluebells. Take a stroll through the Beech Tree walk and enjoy the view from the old tower.