It’s that time of the year again when certain pockets of the UK come to life with carpets of stunning bluebells. The unmistakable flowers appear from late March and last until around early May. Almost half of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK, so be sure to seek these rare plants out if you get a chance before the season ends.
Bluebells are usually found in woodland, but you might also see smaller clusters of the plants in parks, fields, or along hedgerows. You’ll be happy to know that they aren’t just found in remote corners of England, but also right here in London.
If you do visit one of the many locations where bluebells bloom, make sure to walk around them, as they can take years to recover from the damage caused by trampling. The plant is even protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so digging them up is prohibited.
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(Image: The wub under CCA-SA4)
Here’s a list of the best spots in London to see these magnificent plants – just be sure to visit responsibly.
The ancient woodland of Queen’s Wood, next to Highgate London Underground station in Haringey, is a great spot to find bluebells. After walking around the wood, you can continue onto Parkland Walk or explore Highgate’s great pubs and cafés.
Nearest station: Highgate
Just over the road is Highgate Wood, where you can also spot bluebells. This ancient woodland is so old that the forest it was originally part of is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Nearest station: Highgate
A bit further north is yet another ancient woodland – Coldfall Woods. This Muswell Hill wood is another striking spot for bluebells and covers 15 hectares.
Other great spots in North London for bluebells are Epping Forest and, of course, Hampstead Heath.
Nearest station: East Finchley
Oxleas Wood in Eltham is another ancient woodland – some parts have reportedly existed since the last Ice Age. After taking a look at the bluebells, if you’d like to keep exploring, head to Severndroog Castle. Severndroog isn’t a real castle – although it looks like one – but a ‘folly’ built as a memorial to Sir William James. Climbing the castle’s turrets brings you some fantastic views over London.
Nearest station: Falconwood
Eltham Park North
Bluebell woods seem to come in groups, as right next to Oxleas Wood is Eltham Park North, another great spot to see the iconic plants. The park is smaller than Oxleas and the woodland competes with communal areas and sports pitches, but bluebells do still raise their heads.
Other good spots include Grangewood Park in Crystal Palace, Sydenham Hill Wood in Dulwich, and Littleheath Woods in South Croydon.
Nearest station: Falconwood
Unsurprisingly, Richmond Park is a reliable spot for bluebell spotting. The best place to go is Isabella Plantation which is also home to rare and unusual trees. There’s even a footpath named Bluebell Walk.
The park makes for a fantastic day out for a long walk watching the deer followed by a visit to one of Richmond’s great pubs or restaurants. Be careful and don’t get too close to the deer, though, as birthing season is approaching.
Nearest station: Richmond
The world-famous Kew Gardens is home to thousands of plant species, including bluebells. You can spot the plants in the woodland areas. Of particular note is the Natural Area which is home to woodland more than 300 years old.
Nearest station: Kew Gardens
North of the Thames in the Georgian country estate surrounding Osterley House winding bluebell trails can be found. The National Trust site dates back to 1570 so once you’re done exploring the woodlands, head to the formal gardens or go wildlife spotting at the lake.
Nearest station: Osterley
Other woods to explore in West London include Gutteridge Wood in Hillingdon and Horsenden Hill in Ealing.
Wanstead Park is a manor park which once surrounded Wanstead House, but the house is no longer there. The best place to see bluebells is in Chalet Wood, which you can access by entering from Warren Road.
The beautiful colony in Wanstead didn’t all happen naturally. A local conservation group called the Wren Group has been working on the land and encouraging the habitat for the plants.
Nearest station: Redbridge
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
This cemetery – one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ established in the 1800s – in Tower Hamlets is yet another London woodland that blooms with bluebells at this time of year.
Nearest station: Bow Road
If you’re looking for a trip outside of London, there are plenty of other beautiful spots to explore in the counties surrounding the capital. In Essex, visit Battle Great Wood. Over in Surrey, two popular spots are Chantry Wood and Hatchlands Park both near Guildford. In Kent, there’s Emmetts Garden and Ightham Mote. Or you can branch out further to the Ashridge Estate in the Chiltern Hills, Standen in West Sussex, or Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex.
Just be sure to go in the next few weeks before the bluebell season ends!
Is there a spot we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
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Seren is a reporter covering the whole capital with a specific patch for Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea. She is particularly interested in human interest stories on topics such as health, housing, and refugees, as well as covering breaking news and crime.
Some of the stories she has written in the past month were on a Black woman who was told she had a year to live only to survive after pushing for alternative treatment, North Londoners living near a nature reserve who were left baffled by a letter from the council that seems to suggest they might be trespassing if they take a shortcut from their homes into the park, and gangs stealing Brompton bikes in Hackney.
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