Where to see Daffodilsby bus and train around the UK

Shakespeare’s lost princess Perdita in The Winter’s Tale longs for: “…daffodils,/That come before the swallow dares, and take/The winds of March with beauty.” From March (and sometimes even earlier these days), their yellow trumpets light up the parks and springtime woodland. Here are half a dozen places – from stately homes to villages - where getting to see some dancing daffs doesn’t need to involve a car. These are mostly garden daffodils, rather than the Wordsworthian wild variety, but they’ll raise a smile on a grey, wintry day or on a blazing blue one…

  • County: by bus and train around the UK
  • Great for: birds | castles | family | flowers | gardens | good cafés and pubs | walking | woodland |
  • Refreshments: Tiltyard, Privy Kitchen, and Fountain Court Cafés at Hampton Court; plus lots more choices at each venue.
  • Please note: researched/updated February 2018. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Castle Howard, Yorkshire

    The gardens at Castle Howard become a carpet of yellow in time for the house’s Easter reopening. Arrive by bus and you’ll get a discount.

    • Spring is a particularly magical time to visit these huge, landscaped grounds. Besides the flowers that brighten every corner of the gardens, there are buzzards wheeling over Ray Wood and great crested grebes doing water dances on the lake. There is a reduced-rate ticket in winter for the gardens only.
    • The trusty 181 bus service every couple of hours from York to Castle Howard has recently got a new temporary operator, but still seems to be running reliably to the castle gates.
  1. 4. Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

    Within easy walking distance of Caerphilly station, this huge castle was used as a major location for the hit BBC show Merlin. It’s a great place to see the national flower of Wales reflected in watery moats and lakes.

    • If the half-mile stroll from the station is too far, the 26 bus stops right outside on its way from Caerphilly to Cardiff. Bus 50 from Newport also stops at the gate 15 minutes after leaving Newport railway station.
    • Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare, who built the original Castell Coch, built this massive fortification using a series of defensive walls.
    • Not only are there banks of daffodils framing the fortress, there are also ornamental cherry trees blooming nearby.
  1. 5. Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire

    To enjoy hosts of golden daffodils while strolling in the woods, walk from Moreton-in-Marsh station to Batsford Aboretum, about 1½ miles away, along the Monarch’s Way. March is the best month for daffs and early magnolias

    • Regular First Great Western trains from London Paddington head towards Worcester and Hereford via Oxford.
    • An hour and three quarters through scenic countryside brings you to the gold-stoned Cotswold town of Moreton-in-Marsh.
    • Stroll into the centre of town and head past the historic town hall into Corder’s Lane, following brown signs straight to the arboretum.
    • Together with pale primroses, blue scilla and pink flowering cherries, the daffodils make a great spring show.
    • Half a mile south of the arboretum is the chocolate box village of Bourton on the Water, with several tourist attractions including a historic model village.
    • From Bourton on the Water, the 801 bus runs regularly back to Moreton-in-Marsh or on to Cheltenham.
  1. 6. Greenbank Garden, Glasgow

    Famous for its daffodil collection, nearly 600 different varieties of daffodils burst into life every spring at the National Trust’s Greenbank Garden in Glasgow. This 18th century merchant’s house has an unusual walled garden surrounded by woods and you can buy two tickets for the price of one if you present this voucher with a valid train ticket.

    • Scotrail list Clarkston as the nearest station, but the garden is also half an hour’s walk from Whitecraigs; from Whitecraigs station, turn left off the main road down The Loaning and look out for a path on your left, just before house number 15.
    • This will lead across Cathcart Castle Golf Course. From near the clubhouse, turn right into Mearns Road and left into Flenders Road to reach the garden.
    • The gardens – and the tea shop! – are open from March 1st.

     

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount