The sight of snowdrops peeping through in January or February never fails to cheer us up – here's our pick of where to go and see them this winter.
Every year some of Britain’s finest gardens have marvellous displays of snowdrops, while many smaller private gardens also open their gates to visitors to see carpets of these delicate blooms.
Once again the National Gardens Scheme is running a Snowdrop Festival, with over 80 gardens across the country opening during February.
The Scottish Snowdrop Festival has dozens of gardens taking part from January 27 to March 11, with highlights including Scone Palace, Culzean Castle, the Craigengillian Estate (which also offers stargazing at the Dark Sky Observatory on 21 February), Abriachan Garden Nursery, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and Duntreath Castle, with its glorious woodland paths and waterfall garden.
The National Trust has events going on throughout the period at many of its locations.
Below, we list some of the finest places across England to go and see these beautiful little flowers.
Berkshire – Welford Park
The snowdrops here are believed to have been planted by Norman monks to decorate their Church for the feast of Candlemas, and also for medicinal use – their snowdrop season runs from January 31 to March 4.
Cambridgeshire – Chippenham Park
Created at the end of the 17th century as an ‘Angle Dutch’ landscape comprising canals, park, woodland and formal gardens. Feb 10 to March 9.
Cheshire – Rode Hall
Boasts a Repton landscape in which snowdrops were first planted in 1833. There’s a farmer’s market on February 3 and March 3; Snowdrop Walks, February 3 to March 4.
Cumbria – Forde Abbey
Founded by Cistercian monks 900 years ago, with a garden developed in the 1700s – open every day with snowdrop weekends throughout February.
Dorset – Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival
The whole town goes Snowdrop mad throughout February, with a Study Day event on February 10.
Essex The Gibberd Garden
Snowdrop Sundays, February 11, 18 and 25.
Gloucestershire – Colesbourne Park
Where Galanthus pioneer Henry Elwes started his world-famous collection. Saturdays and Sundays from February 3 to March 4.
Kent – Goodnestone Park
Home of Jane Austen’s brother. February 11 and 25.
Kent – Hever Castle
Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, with some 70,000 snowdrops that include unusual varieties, such as the 9in-tall Colossus. Snowdrop Walks, February 10-18, daily, and February to March 25, Wednesday-Sunday only.
Lincolnshire – Easton Walled Gardens
400-year-old restored gardens host ‘Snowdrop Week’, February 17 to 25.
Norfolk – Walsingham Abbey
The spectacular priory drew pilgrims for centuries and now the snowdrops bring in the crowds, too. January 27 to March 4.
North Yorkshire Goldsborough Hall
Once home to Princess Mary, the Queen’s aunt. February 11 and 18.
01423 867321; www.goldsboroughhall.com
Northumberland – Howick Hall
The collection here was mostly planted between the World Wars by Lady Grey. February and March.
Nottinghamshire – Hodsock Priory
Further attractions at this time of year include the Whispering Wood Folk’s aerial and acrobatic outdoor theatre (February 16–18). See snowdrops from February 10 to March 4.
Peebleshire – Kailzie
Also has a two-mile stretch of the River Tweed for fly-fishing. February and March.
Somerset – Snowdrop Valley
A privately owned valley in a hidden part of Exmoor, close to Wheddon Cross. January 27 to February 25.
Somerset/Dorset – Forde Abbey
Also boasts the highest powered fountain in England. Weekends throughout February www.fordeabbey-gardens-dorset.co.uk
Surrey – Gatton Park
These marvellous gardens were designed by Capability Brown – every Sunday in February, plus all of half-term week (February 12-18).
West Sussex – West Dean Gardens
More than 500,000 spring bulbs have been planted, not just snowdrops – open every day from February 2.
Yorkshire – Goldesborough Hall
A Species Snowdrop Walk was created in 2012 with expert help from Mike Heagney of Tudor Croft, and Della Kerr, both committed galanthophiles – snowdrops days on Sunday February 11 and February 18.