Where to see snowdrops: The best places in Britain

The sight of these tiny white flowers peeping through in January or February never fails to cheer us up – here's our pick of where to see snowdrops.

Few flowers are more uplifting on arrival than the snowdrop, the ‘beauteous gems’ brightening the ‘bare and chilling gloom’ of winter, as Mary Darby Robinson put it in her sonnet The Snowdrop.

Hill Close Gardens in Warwick has more than 130 varieties of snowdrops, including an entire border planted with older varieties dating from pre-1900.
The gardens’ annual Snowdrop Weekend will take place on February 4th/5th.

Hever Castle in Kent has a magnificent walk that takes in 100,000 of them, including unusual cultivars such as ‘Green Brush’, ‘Colossus’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, promises an enchanting display with its 120,000 Galanthus bulbs. In Lincolnshire, the exquisitely restored Easton Walled Garden is covered in snowdrops until early March, with a delightful woodland walk. The Gardens open for Snowdrops, and the 2023 season, on Wednesday 15th February, Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am-4pm. In London, meanwhile, the Chelsea Physic Garden has a Heralding Spring trail.

The National Garden Scheme offers plenty of opportunities with its Festival of Snowdrops, which runs throughout February and counts more than 100 participating gardens. Highlights include Copton Ash, Spring Platt and Knowle Hill Farm in Kent; Higher Cherubeer, Devon; Pembury House, East Sussex; and Hollyhocks in Oxfordshire. All are owned by snowdrop specialists — visit www.ngs.org.uk/snowdrops for more.

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From February 13 to 19, the Shepton Snowdrop Festival in Somerset honours the work of Victorian horticulturalist James Allen, the ‘Snowdrop King’, with a memorial lecture, a heritage and snowdrop trail, art and horticulture workshops, poetry and photography competitions and a plant sale that includes rare varieties.

Further west in the county, the famous Snowdrop Valley at Wheddon Cross on Exmoor is open from January 28 until February 26 this year, with parking and refreshments in the market car park.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) growing in a beech forest in Welford Park, Berkshire.

No white-magic tour is complete without a trip to Colesbourne Gardens, Gloucestershire, once home to botanist and galanthophile Henry John Elwes. Open every weekend in February, the garden has 10 acres of formal snowdrop walks with more than 350 cultivars, including the fragrant Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, first sent to Elwes by Scottish gardener Samuel Arnott, and the yellow-tinged G. elwesii ‘Carolyn Elwes’, so sought after that thieves uprooted and stole a clump in 1997.Colesbourne sells potted bulbs in flower, too, not least G. elwesii ‘elwesii’, a descendant of the giant snowdrop originally collected by Elwes.

Snowdrop buyers should also head to Kent for the Plant Fairs Roadshow at Hole Park and the Snowdrop Sensation Plant Fair at Great Comp Garden on Sunday February 19th. To learn more, George G. Brownlee’s new book, A Passion for Snowdrops, is an engaging guide (£15.99, Whittles Publishing).

Below, we list some of the finest places across England to go and see these beautiful little flowers.

Berkshire – Welford Park

Said to have been planted by monks to decorate their church, Welford Park’s show of snowdrops is truly magnificent.  www.welfordpark.co.uk

Borders – Abbotsford

Impressive displays are already showing on the banks of the River Tweed at Abbotsford – snowdrops grow throughout the 120-acre estate, which is freely accessible all year round.


Cambridgeshire – Chippenham Park

Created at the end of the 17th century as an ‘Angle Dutch’ landscape comprising canals, park, woodland and formal gardens.


Cheshire – Rode Hall

There have been snowdrops in the Repton landscape at Rode Hall for nearly 200 years and they are considered one of the natural treasures of the North West. There are snowdrop walks and a farmer’s market on some days.


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.


Exmoor – Wheddon Cross

The mysterious Snowdrop Valley is a remote, privately owned spot close to Wheddon Cross. Magnificent carpets of flowers with a park-and-ride system.


Fife – Cambo

The Cambo estate has 70 beautiful acres of woodland banks that are jam-packed with rare varieties — there are tours every weekday, specialist talks with experts and children’s activities.


Gloucestershire – Colesbourne Park

One of the first gardens to open for snowdrops two decades ago, Colesbourne Park offers some of the finest displays in the UK, with 300 varieties. Weekends only until the start of March.


Kent – Goodnestone Park

Home of Jane Austen’s brother, open 11-4 every day.


Kent – Hever Castle

Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, with some 70,000 snowdrops that include unusual varieties, such as the 9in-tall Colossus.


Lincolnshire – Easton Walled Gardens

The 400-year-old Easton Walled Gardens, called ‘a dream of Nirvana’ by President Roosevelt, open daily in half-term for snowdrop walks.


Norfolk – Walsingham Abbey

The spectacular priory drew pilgrims for centuries and now the snowdrops bring in the crowds, too.


Northumberland – Howick Hall

The collection here was mostly planted between the World Wars by Lady Grey. Open to visitors in February and March.


Peebleshire – Kailzie

Also has a two-mile stretch of the River Tweed for fly-fishing. February and March.


Surrey – Gatton Park

These marvellous gardens were designed by Capability Brown.


Warwickshire — Hill Close Gardens

Hill Close Gardens in Warwick has more than 130 varieties of snowdrops, including an entire border planted with older varieties dating from pre-1900.


West Sussex – West Dean Gardens

More than 500,000 spring bulbs have been planted, not just snowdrops – open every day from the start of February.


Yorkshire – Goldsborough Hall

A former royal residence, Goldsborough Hall, built in 1620 and remodelled in the 1750s, is opening its snowdrop walk on selected February days, with more than 50 rare varieties.