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Where to seeSnowdrops without a cararound the UK
Delicate white flowers that herald the end of winter and the start of spring, forming beautiful flowering carpets under the trees. No wonder they have so many fans - or galanthophiles, as snowdrop-lovers are officially known. “Many, many welcomes, February fair-maid,” wrote Tennyson in his poem The Snowdrop. They actually start blooming from January onwards and often last into March. Here are ten different places where seeing snowdrops doesn’t need to involve a car. Unless you happen to live very locally, they are best saved for next year. But you can find snowdrops and other early spring flowers growing in woods and gardens all over the UK.
1. Myddelton House, Enfield, Greater London
The little valley at the far end of the alpine meadow in the gardens of Myddelton House fills with snowdrops from January onwards. Enfield’s old market cross stands near the carp pond and there are greenhouses with four climactic zones, where you can find exotic blooms even in the depths of winter. The huge grounds of nearby Forty Hall are similarly beautiful in any season.
- Myddleton House is currently closed during national lockdown.
- Getting there: The garden is half a mile from Turkey Street station. Turn right under the railway bridge and keep straight along Turkey Street, under the main road, across the New River and over another road to see Myddelton House ahead of you.
- Food and drink: Myddelton House has its own little tea room and there’s also a great café at Forty Hall, just down Bull’s Cross road.
- Further adventures: Discover more of the area’s hidden gems in our Good Journey guide to car free adventures around Enfield.
2. Gibberd Garden, Harlow, Essex
Landscape designer and architect Frederick Gibberd, designed the sprawling new town of Harlow, where he then lived for the rest of his life. His garden is a microcosm of all the best features of his planning: hidden paths and sculptures, unusual views and water features. Snowdrops spread along an avenue at the far end, flanked by classical urns and fluted columns.
- Open: from Easter and possibly earlier – check website.
- Getting there: The garden is more than a mile from Harlow Mill station (but it’s a nice walk!) and the Gibberd Garden’s website has detailed instructions about how to walk there from the station – or get closer by bus.
- Food and drink: Barn tea room, selling home made soup and cakes.
- Further adventures: Good Journey’s guide to Harlow “Sculpture Town” explores more of the area.
3. Benington Lordship, Hertfordshire
Naturalised snowdrops drift down the banks of a steep-sided moat around a ruined Norman tower at Benington Lordship Gardens. Hellebores, yellow aconites, red-stemmed willow and early daffs add to the February display. Single and double snowdrops grow beside a path above the moat; and hundreds of unusual varieties grow in the borders and kitchen garden, including the large-flowered ‘Mighty Atom’.
- Open: check website
- Getting there: From the railway station at Ware in Hertfordshire, turn left down station road to Amwell End and get bus 384; it runs every couple of hours Monday – Saturday and there’s a bus at 12.12pm, which will get you there in time for lunch and an afternoon wander. The bus from Stevenage station, in the other direction, leaves at 1.27pm and takes half an hour.
- Food and drink: hot soup and cream teas are available in the lovely old tea room Monday to Saturday.
- Further adventures: For more things to see near Hertford and Ware, see our Good Journey feature.