If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a blue surprise! Between April and May the elusive bluebell comes out to play, creating a carpet of cobalt across the country. Here are the best places to catch them in London. Just remember, no picking them – these native flowers are a protected species.
The sprawling 791-acre heath is patchwork of woodland and meadow where shadier spots, like Lime Avenue Bank, sprout the jewel blue flowers each spring.
Hampstead Heath. Gospel Oak Overground.
In 1916 the Natural History Society said bluebells were almost extinct in this ancient wood but they weren’t giving up without a fight; today they carpet it in a deep blue mass.
Highgate Wood. Highgate.
This ancient oak woodland brims with brilliant bluebells in spring and is a year-round haven for wildlife and wildflowers.
Gutteridge Wood. Ruislip Gardens.
Osterley is one of the last surviving country estates in London and the woods in its sprawling grounds are a bluebell utopia.
Osterley Park and House. Osterley.
Nestled at the back of the botanic gardens, the grounds of Queen Charlotte’s eighteenth-century thatched cottage boast one of London’s finest bluebell woods.
Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens. £15.50 adults.
Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park
Saunter along the Bluebell Walk for a peek at the native English flowers alongside colourful crop of rhododendrons and magnolias.
Richmond Park. Richmond.
Kensington Roof Gardens
UPDATE: Kensington Roof Gardens has now permanently closed.
This rooftop woodland is 75 years old and boasts a bounty of narcissus, crocus and bluebells in spring – plus four resident flamingoes.
Kensington Roof Gardens. High St Kensington.
In 2013 local schoolchildren planted 40,000 native bluebells creating a wildflower meadow to dazzle you on your lunch break.
Hyde Park. Hyde Park Corner.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (Bow Cemetery)
Set in a disused nineteenth-century cemetery this park is the only woodland in Tower Hamlets and the bluebells that pop up between the gravestones make for some beautifully spectral scenes.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Mile End.
Wanstead Park’s woodland becomes an azure haze in spring when thousands of bluebells bloom.
Wanstead Park. Wanstead.
Reckoned by ecologists to be one of the most important woodlands for wildlife in the whole of London, drifts of bluebells appear in spring to accompany this nature fix.
Oxleas Wood. Falconwood rail.
Sydenham Hill Wood
This unique mix of new and ancient woodland, with remnants of a Victorian ornamental gardens contains over 200 species of plants, including the classic bluebell.
Sydenham Hill Wood. Sydenham Hill rail.
Hidden away behind a group of houses and known to locals as the ‘secret wood’, Little Heath puts on a secret display of blue blooms when the weather begins to warm up. ν
Littleheath Woods. Purley Oaks rail.
Want more green spaces? A Princess Diana memorial garden has opened at Kensington Palace.