Spring garden highlights
With longer, brighter days and the warmth gradually returning, it's time to get out and start exploring. Experience spring in all its glory with a visit to one of our expertly cared for historic gardens in England.
Enjoy delicate snowdrops, spring daffodils and vibrant blossoms as our gardens burst into colour. Here's our pick of some of the best spring gardens to visit this season.
1. Audley End House and Gardens
Discover the majestic 18th century landscape of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown at Audley End House and Gardens. Take in the sweeping vistas and look out for pockets of vibrant seasonal planting, including delicate snowdrops, aconites, hellebores and some early daffodils by late February. In the parterre and Pond Garden, watch as our striking displays of spring bedding plants come into flower.
In March make sure you visit our Victorian Kitchen Garden, where you can enjoy stunning pink peach blossoms, later followed by apple and pear blossoms. Watch our gardening team hard at work growing heritage fruit and vegetables ready for the season ahead, using varieties in keeping with those grown and used in the 1800s. Look out for new growth on the deciduous trees in April, and around Easter, don't miss the celebrated arrival of tulips.Visit Audley End House and Gardens
2. Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
Take a stroll around the 15-acre grounds of Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, originally designed for the Victorian mansion in the 1860s. The gardens are still maintained in Victorian style with colourful flowering and ornate topiary, some of which dates back 150 years.
Highlights this season include the blossoming of over 500,000 snowdrops and 36 varieties of daffodils in early spring, and colourful displays of hyacinths in the 32 parterre flower beds in March. At the end of April, watch as sweet-smelling bluebells come into flower, followed by geraniums and camassia in the Fern Dell. The flowering of rose Rosa primula in the Rose Dell from early May onwards is a real must-see for any plant lovers.Visit Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
Pay a visit to the holiday home of Queen Victoria at Osborne this season, where the flowering of more than 14 varieties of pink, red and white camellias is a sure sign that spring has sprung. In March, watch the gardens really come to life with the early flowering of 28 different historic varieties of daffodils, all of which were introduced to the UK before Queen Victoria died in 1901.
Make sure you look out for Parma violets, one of Victoria's favourite flowers, which flower over the winter but stop around mid-March as the temperature starts to rise. In the Pleasure Garden, take in colourful displays of hellebores, followed later in the season by vibrant tulips and daffodils in April.Visit Osborne
4. Walmer Castle
Wander through the historic grounds of Walmer Castle this spring, and discover its transformation from 16th century defence force to the idyllic country estate of today. Meander through the enchanting Woodland Walk, where the white dalanthus blossoms in February, before the entire woodland bursts into colour later in the season. Enjoy the Queen Mother's Garden with Eranthus, Muscari, hellebores and Leucojum aestivum, all surrounding a tranquil pond in the late Queen's honour.
Don't miss the displays of heritage daffodils in the glasshouse, but you'll need to be quick as some varieties will only last for a few weeks in March. As April comes around admire the cherry blossom in the paddock and apple blossom in the orchard, which makes for the perfect garden stroll.Visit Walmer Castle
5. Witley Court
Imagine lavish Victorian garden parties taking place around the romantic 19th century ruins of Witley Court as the gardens become a riot of colour this spring. Wander alongside Rhododendrons in pinks, reds, whites and purples with plenty flowering in the Parterre Gardens and in the wooded area of the Ornamental Walk. Throughout the season be inspired by the flowering of magnolias and bulbs such as daffodils, bluebells and fritillaries, as well as snowdrops as early as February.
Plus, you're in for a treat this April as the grand Perseus and Andromeda Fountain roars back into action following a winter of conservation works. Elsewhere delight in the restored East Parterre, designed in 1854, with a colourful array of brightly coloured bedding plants including wallflowers, Myositis and tulips.Visit Witley Court