The drifts of snowdrops that sweep across Britain’s varied landscapes is a sight for your bucket list. The dainty white flowers transform woodland and garden floors in January and February each year and are one of the first signs that spring is on its way. There are houses, castles, parklands and woodlands across the country that form the backdrop to this dazzling natural display – take your pick:
South West England
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Kingston Lacy welcomes a dazzling blanket of snowdrops each year. Special snowdrop openings have long been a tradition here and you can wander through the sea of white blooms. Keep an eye out for the estate’s fine herd of Red Ruby Devon cattle and explore the Japanese Garden which looks extra special with a dusting of winter frost.
Stay the night: With pink walls and a thatched roof, 524 Pamphill Green Cottage is a delightful semi-detached cottage tucked away in a quiet part of the Kingston Lacy estate.
Newark Park, Gloucestershire
At Newark Park there are snowdrop drifts throughout the garden and they mingle with aconites and cyclamen to give an impressive show. Blow away the winter cobwebs and enjoy stunning views of the Gloucestershire countryside on a walk around the estate. The incredible landscape of Newark Park is located deep within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Afterwards, warm up with a hot drink and well-deserved slice of cake in front of the fire in the Tudor sitting room. In 2017, you can catch the Spectacular Snowdrop Weekend 4-5 February.
Standing high above the River Plym with magnificent views across the estuary, Saltram’s rolling parkland and woodland provide the perfect setting for a stunning snowdrop display. With the snowdrops framing the pathways, take a stroll and explore the tranquil garden, 18th-century orangery and magnificent lime avenue. Family events even mean you can plant your own snowdrops with the garden team.
London and South East England
Ham House and Garden, Surrey
Not far out of London, sitting by the side of the River Thames is Ham House where snowdrops can be found under the very old Acacia trees. You can also explore the maze-like wilderness of the gardens with 16 compartments to discover, then head over to the kitchen garden to see which herbs are around at this time of year. Warm up with a cup of tea and a sweet treat at the Orangery café.
Nymans, West Sussex
This garden is famed for its collection of rare and important plants. At the start of spring, see wonderful displays of snowdrops followed by camellias and magnolias underplanted with grape hyacinths. By Valentine’s Day, more than 150 different types of plant are flowering at Nymans, with the snowdrop drifts contrasting with fiery witch-hazel oranges and the rich red stems of dogwood.
Stay the night: Love being close to nature? A stay at Woodlands Cottage in the grounds of Nymans is a great way to experience the gardens and surrounding countryside.
Take a crisp winter walk through Ickworth’s estate to discover carpets of snowdrops. The pretty white flowers are perfectly complemented by the golden glow of aconites scattered throughout the gardens. After a chilly stroll, warm up in the West Wing restaurant with delicious food and drink.
Stay the night: Stay at the heart of the estate in one of Ickworth’s 5 cottages: there’s the quirky roundhouse set in an enchanting woodland glade, 2 redbrick Victorian cottages in the parkland, the former head gardener’s cottage with its own walled garden and new for 2017, Horringer Park Gates, a Georgian gatehouse.
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Feast your eyes on the stunning sights of Oxburgh, a huge moated hall surrounded by gorgeous gardens and woodlands. Join the team for a guided walk, or wander independently around the woodlands and take in the stunning carpets of snowdrops, aconites and other spring flowers.
Stay the night: Located in the grounds of the National Trust's Oxburgh Hall, Chapel Lodge remains true to a 19th-century Norfolk country cottage, with warmth and comfort as added extras. This attractive little cottage is the perfect get-away for 2, surrounded by gardens and tucked just inside the park wall, with views across to the family chapel and beyond.
Peckover House & Garden, Cambridgeshire
The garden gates open early in the year at Peckover so you can enjoy what’s in season. Wrap up warm and head out to spot the snowdrops around this town garden then head into the Orangery where the orange trees are at their best at this time of year. Round off your visit with a warming soup or a hot drink in the Reed Barn tea room.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire
At this World Heritage Site cared for by the National Trust, picturesque abbey ruins look beautiful in amid carpets of snowdrops. This is a stunning sight that dates back to the 19th century, when Earl de Grey planted snowdrops to spell out his name along the banks of the River Skell.
Stay the night: Turn a visit to this magnificent site into a long weekend in a unique cottage. With 11 holiday cottages on offer, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall, a grand house in the deer park, and 5 cottages converted from a group of 18th-century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.
Over the past 2 years visitors have helped plant thousands of snowdrops at Wallington. As well as the common variety, Wallington’s snowdrop display includes a few specials: the less common varieties include the Northumbrian ‘Sandersii’ group which has sulphur-yellow markings instead of green, and the pretty ‘Flore Pleno’ with double the number of petals. Don’t forget to visit the winter garden where purple Iris will brighten up any winter day.
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Chase away the winter blues with a bracing walk through the grounds at Chirk Castle, cared for by the National Trust. Glimpses of snowdrops can be found throughout the garden, scattered between clipped yews, shrub and rock gardens, as well as drifting along the woodland floor. Take a moment in the Pleasure Ground Wood to enjoy more stunning snowdrop displays, warm up around the fire in the Woodsman’s Hut and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate on weekends.
Stay the night: There are 2 holiday cottages on the Chirk estate, the House by the Dyke is a 1930s villa located near the Kitchen Garden while Home Farm Cottage is a traditional stone cottage a few hundred metres from the Castle.