Bluebells at Winkworth Arboretum

Bluebells at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Take a walk through the still glades of Winkworth's woodland in late April and you'll find one of Britain's most beloved natural sights: bluebells growing en masse on the woodland floor.

A uniquely British spectacle

The well-loved riot of purple is a welcome sign of spring and a truly unforgettable display. It's estimated that 50% of the world's population of bluebells is found in the UK; our native species, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, can be identified by its dark shade, cream-coloured pollen and subtle, sweet scent. Hybridisation is difficult to stop, but we work hard to ensure that our native bluebells are not overtaken by their Spanish equivalent, Hyacinthoides hispanica, whose flowers are paler and smell more like onion.

Bluebell Watch

The best time for bluebells varies year on year. To find out when to visit, check our Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates. 

Best bits of blue

Wander through the Arboretum at the right time and you'll be hard-pressed not to come across a pretty patch of purple. For the best views, follow the Spring Walk and you'll head right into Bluebell Wood, where the most spectacular swathes await. This route also takes you through Magnolia Wood, which - if the weather has been kind - may be in bloom at the same time.

Bluebells at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
Bluebells at Winkworth Arboretum
Bluebells at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Looking after what we've got

Bluebell season is hugely popular with visitors across the National Trust. To make sure the purple swathes return every year, it's crucial to look after them as best we can. We do our part by removing the non-native Spanish bluebell, managing the woodland carefully and allowing the dead flowers time to re-seed before removing.

You can help make a difference as well. Trampling on bluebell leaves impedes their ability to create energy and reproduce, reducing their chances of reappearing in subsequent years; so you can help by avoiding walking through the bluebells and keeping to designated pathways. Remember, too, that bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, so please resist the temptation to pick them!

When you help take care of the bluebells, not only are you helping preserve these stunning natural scenes for years to come, but you're also helping to look after one of Britain's most vulnerable habitats and home to hundreds of threatened species including butterflies, plants and invertebrates.

Planning your visit

Like all other places with spectacular shows of bluebells, Winkworth can be busy between April and May. Check our social media pages for the best times to visit; it's usually quieter outside school holidays, on weekdays and earlier in the morning. Please avoid arriving before we open, as the gates are locked until 10am and queues on the road can cause traffic blockages on the narrow country lanes.

When you arrive, you'll find parking to the left of the entrance gate, extended for the peak season. Please have your membership cards ready for fast-track entry (you'll need both your cards if you're a family or joint member).

The tea-room serves hot and cold drinks, as well as lunches and snacks. There are also additional toilets available over the bluebell period, including disabled loo and baby-changing facilities. For any other information, please call us on 01483 208 477.