A flurry of snowdrops

If you're looking for some late winter magic, seek out a snowdrop walk. GARDENS ILLUSTRATED presents a selection of the best…

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Delicate snowdrops emerging from their thawing surroundings never fail to lift the spirits on a winter's day. It’s no wonder then that many of our best gardens and parks open the gates specially to show off their snowdrop displays. Pull on your hat, grab your gloves and feast your eyes on some of mother nature’s finest.

Here is just a selection of the many gardens that open for snowdrop displays. It's worth checking the National Garden Scheme and local press for other options. We recommend that you contact the gardens before visiting to check when the snowdrop displays are at their peak.

 

Anglesey Abbey
01223 810090; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/angleseyabbey
If it’s variety you want, this is the perfect place to visit. There are around 240 cultivars, some of which are specific to Anglesey Abbey. Join a garden guide for a proper tour around the 114 acres to make sure you don’t miss out on any treasures.
4 January–27 February, 10.30am-4.30pm
Cambridgeshire CB25 9EJ

Benington Lordship
08701 261709; www.beningtonlordship.co.uk
Aside from the huge drifts of snowdrops that cover the grassy moat and the gardens around the castle and house, these Hertfordshire gardens boast a walled kitchen garden with a labelled collection of snowdrops that visitors can view by appointment. Expect rare and unusual varieties.
5-27 February, 12noon–4pm
Hertfordshire, SG2 7BS

Cambo Estate
01333 450054; www.camboestate.com
The gardens at Cambo are home to Scotland’s largest collection of specialist snowdrop. The Victorian walled garden and an informal woodland garden boast 300 varieties and that number is slowly increasing. A limited number of these are for sale.
Snowdrop spectacular: 1 February–13 March 2011, 10-5pm.
Saint Andrews, Fife, KY16 8QD

Chelsea Physic Garden
020 7349 6458; www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
If you’re London-based and keen not to miss out on the snowdrops, make a trip to capital's oldest botanic garden to see 75 types of snowdrop. Enjoy a free guided tour to peruse other winter-flowering highlights.
Snowdrop Days: 5 and 6, 12 and 13 February, 10-4pm
London, SW3 4HS

Chippenham Park
01638 720221; www.chippenhamparkgardens.info
Chippenham Park is home to one of the finest displays of naturalised snowdrops in East Anglia and the park opens for a few weekends for visitors to view the vast carpets of flowers. Take time to also enjoy the fiery dogwoods, aconites and winter blossoms.
View the snowdrops on 29 and 30 January, 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19 and 20 February, 11-4pm.
Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5PT

Colesbourne Park
01242 870264; www.colesbournegardens.org.uk
Offering exclusive tours guided by Sir Henry Elwes or Lady Elwes and Dr John Grimshaw, Colesbourne might be well worth the visit with your gardening club or allotment friends. After admiring the snowdrop collection on a guided tour around the grounds, visitors can listen to a short presentation that includes the history of Colesbourne Park and a brief introduction to the diversity of snowdrops. Booking is advised.
Snowdrop Weekends: every Saturday and Sunday in February plus 5 and 6 March.
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 9NP

Coton Manor
01604 740219; www.cotonmanor.co.uk
The entire nursery will be open for 16 days for visitors to admire winter and spring flowers including erythroniums, primulas, hepaticas and tulips. Alongside these, Coton Manor Garden proudly offers hellebores and snowdrops from Chelsea gold medal winners.
12-27 February, 11-4pm
Northampton, NN6 8RQ

Deene Park
01780 450278; www.deenepark.com
A wide variety of snowdrops will be on view here including head gardener Andrew Jones’ favourites, the ‘Blewbury Tart’ and the ‘Pusey Green Tip’. Snowdrops will be on sale but make the most of the lakeside and garden walks too.
13 and 20 February, 11-4pm
Deene Park, Northamptonshire, NN17 3EW

East Bergholt
01206 299224; www.placeforplants.co.uk
Garden owner Rupert Eley is offering visitors the unique opportunity to join him on a private tour of the garden and arboretum at East Bergholt. The gardens do not re-open to the public until March so seize the opportunity to take in the snowdrops and early flowering trees and shrubs.
17 February, 10.30am.
East Bergholt Place, Suffolk CO7 6UP

Easton Walled Gardens
01476 530063; www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk
Join other snowdrop sightseers at Easton Walled Gardens on their busiest week of the year. Outside, naturalised snowdrops run along the river banks while inside there is an indoor display of unusual varieties and plants for sale. As well as the outstanding collection there will be two free short talks twice a day.
12-20 February, 11-4pm
Lincolnshire, NG33 5AP

Heale House
01722 782504; www.healegarden.co.uk
Popular snowdrop open days are held at this garden where the aconites and snowdrops combine to fill the air with fragrance and set off the winter structure of this riverside garden. Check the website for dates as these are only released as the season progresses.
Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6NT

Hodsock Priory
01909 591204; www.snowdrops.co.uk
Hodsock hosts a snowdrop extravaganza starting at the beginning of February. This is the only place in Nottinghamshire with a public snowdrop garden so make time to wander along the woodland path before thawing out those fingers by the bonfire with a cup of tea.
4 weeks of snowdrops begins 5 February end 6 March, 10-4pm
Blyth, Nottinghamshire, S81 0TY

Painswick Rococo
01452 813204; www.rococogarden.org.uk
If you want to get a full and thorough snowdrop experience this year, Painswick offers one of the best. Not only are their gardens open for visitor viewing, they have produced a free booklet to accompany your short tour and they are also running a series of talks about the history and varieties of snowdrops fronted by garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.
Gloucestershire, GL6 6TH

Rodmarton Manor
01285 841253; www.rodmarton-manor.co.uk
A vast snowdrop collection of 150 varieties is spread across this 8-acre Cotswold garden. Also on display are other winter flowers including hellebores, cyclamen and aconites.
6,13,17 and 20 February, from 1.30pm
Cirencester, GL7 6PF

Waterperry Garden
01844 339254; www.waterperrygardens.co.uk
If you’re within easy access of Oxfordshire, take a look at the 30 varieties of snowdrop on show at Waterperry Gardens. Stroll around the old orchard and down alongside the river to marvel at the beauties in their natural environment.
Snowdrop weekend: 12 and 13 February. Free guided tours start at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm. Free garden tours are available throughout February for groups of 10 plus if booked in advance.
Oxfordshire, OX33 1JZ

Welford Park
01488 608691; www.welfordpark.co.uk
Venture down to the heart of the Lambourn Valley to cast your eye over a spectacular seven-acre drift of snowdrops. The views are particularly stunning in the early morning when the sun is low in the sky and the glow from the bloom and the frost mingle. A gentle wander around the Beech Woods takes up to an hour.
Opening times in February: Wednesday to Sunday 11-4pm.
Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8HU

PHOTOS Torie Chugg

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