Where to seeSnowdrops without a cararound the UK

“Many, many welcomes, February fair-maid,” wrote Tennyson in his poem "The Snowdrop". Around North London’s Myddelton House, the snowdrops often start flowering in early January; these delicate white flowers herald the end of winter and the start of spring, forming beautiful carpets in woods and gardens. No wonder they have so many fans - or galanthophiles, as snowdrop-lovers are officially known. Here are ten different places across the UK where seeing snowdrops doesn’t need to involve a car.

  1. 4. Mottisfont, Hampshire

    From November to March each year, the Winter Garden at Mottisfont comes into its own. Sixteen thousand recently-planted snowdrops add to those already growing by the riverside path. Ornamental willows and red-stemmed dogwood, winter-flowering witch hazel and honeysuckle bring colour to the greyest days.

    • Open: 10am-4pm daily (£15).
    • Getting there: Mottisfont and Dunbridge station is just over a mile away on foot, across fields and along some country roads. The NT website gives you detailed instructions on how to get there.
    • Food and drink: Kitchen and Coach House cafes.

     

  1. 5. Cambridge Botanic Garden

    This may not win the prize for most carpet-like snowdrops, but Cambridge Botanic Garden is just five minutes from the station. And the Winter Garden is full of varied shapes and colours while fragrant wintersweet and viburnum make the air smell like spring. Follow the winter garden trail as you wind past yellow aconites, blue scilla, and scarlet stems of dogwood.

    • Open: 10am-4pm daily (£6).
    • Getting there: Come out of Cambridge Railway station and walk straight ahead. It’s at the end of the road.
    • Food and drink: Garden cafe in the middle of the garden, serving quiches, sandwiches and homemade soup.
  1. 6. Holker Hall and Gardens, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

    The woods, parks and formal gardens at Holker Hall come alive with a mix of spring flowers and, later, the rhododendrons are spectacular. There are snowdrops scattered near the cascade and fountain. Don’t miss the Sunken Garden, Pagan Grove and centuries-old linden tree.

    • Open: Winter Weekends: 9–11, 16–18 and 23-25 February 2018 10.30am-4pm; late March to Oct; Mon – Sun, 10.30am–5pm (£8)
    • Getting there: Cark-in-Cartmel railway station, with regular trains from Manchester and Lancaster, is just a 15 minute walk away. Simply follow Station Road past the Engine Inn and Rose and Crown; Holker Hall is on the left.
    • Food and drink: The courtyard cafe serves food produced on the estate.
  1. 7. Burton Agnes Hall, East Yorkshire

    Spectacular carpets of snowdrops are a feature of the woods at Burton Agnes Hall. The woodland walk winds past millions of the little white flowers and you can warm up afterwards in the cafe.

    • Open: 10 February – 4 March 2018, 11am-4pm daily (gardens only); April-Oct 11am – 5pm (gardens £7).
    • Getting there: Visitors arriving by bus get 10% off entry. There are regular buses services (121 and 45) from nearby Driffield and Bridlington, and further away York, Hull and Scarborough, to Burton Agnes.
    • Food and drink: the licensed, eco-friendly courtyard cafe serves fresh ground coffee, beer from the Wold Top Brewery and hot meals made from local ingredients. Most of the fruit and veg are grown in the grounds of Burton Agnes Hall itself.
  1. 8. Cambo Country House, St Andrews, Scotland

    Feed the piglets, stroll through the woods, visit the tea shop, spot the gnome… there’s plenty to do around Cambo and galanthophiles won’t be disappointed by the 350 varieties of snowdrop in the national collection here. A winding stream-side walk down to the sea makes a perfect setting.

    • Open: Cambo has a snowdrop festival 27 Jan-11 March 2018; daily 10am-5pm (£5.50).
    • Getting there: Bus 95 goes hourly to the gate of the Cambo Estate from St Andrews bus station, which is a short bus ride from Leuchars railway station (Bus 99 runs from Dundee, via Leuchars, to St Andrews every 15 mins).
    • Food and drink: the tea room serves special snowdrop biscuits with tea or coffee. There’s even a whisky distillery nearby.

     

  1. 9. National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, Wales

    A mile of snowdrops spreads beside the lakes, from the Lower Broadwalk of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, all the way to Springwoods. Everything is on a spectacular scale here – 560 acres, 8000 different plants and the world’s largest single span great glasshouse (where Doctor Who episode “The Waters of Mars” was filmed).

    • Open: 10am-4.30pm daily (£10.50).
    • Getting there: An 11am bus from Carmarthen station will take you to the door and gets you half price entry too! (No buses on friday or sunday).
    • Food and drink: a choice of cafes, including Y Pot Blodyn Garden Centre, serving Welsh laverbread with seaweed.

  1. 10. Marl Hall Woods, Llandudno Junction, Wales

    Sailors once used the white limestone cliff under Marl Hall Woods near Llandudno Junction as a landmark to guide them home from sea. The woods are a Site of Special Scientific Interest with mature trees, slopes of spring flowers and ancient caves. From the top of the cliff, there are views across the estuary to Conwy Castle and beyond.

    • Open: all the time (free)
    • Getting there: The woods are about half a mile’s walk from Llandudno Junction railway station. The Woodland Trust have instructions for walking there (over a rather busy road) in the “by train” section. There are also local buses (or a taxi from the station will be about £3).
    • Food and Drink: Heading back to the station, you pass near Enochs award-winning, sustainable chippy (left on Conwy Road) or the equally traditional Old Station Hotel (right instead), serving food every day from noon, including Parisella’s ice cream from Conwy.

     

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