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Photograph: Kentish Lavender

The best lavender fields in and around London

From rolling fields of indigo to neat patches of mauve, here are the best spots to see lavender blooming in and around London

Sarah Cohen
Written by
Alexandra Sims
Sarah Cohen

Can you sense it? A sudden sweet, herbal scent in the air? An oncoming shock of purple spreading in patches across London? It can only be lavender season. Immerse yourself in a purple haze this summer by visiting one of London’s fragrant lavender gardens, or head out of town on a day trip to find sweeping fields of the stuff.

Lavender season usually runs from June to September, peaking in August, and there are plenty of opportunities to lay your eyes – and nose – on the stuff. Kennington Park, Kew Gardens and Vauxhall Park are top London destinations for lavender and there are farms dedicated to the mauve blooms just outside the capital, in Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire.

Whether you’re after a sweet-smelling picnic spot or just want to watch the bees for a bit, London and its neighbours’ lavender will be happy to oblige. And if all this has lit a purple, sweet-smelling fire in you, why not pay a visit to some of the blooming, beautiful farms across the UK

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do outdoors in London.

London’s loveliest lavender fields

  • Things to do
  • Borough of Sutton

You’ll smell these rolling, perfumed fields long before you see them. Set up in 2006 to help revive the historic lavender industry, which boomed here in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the 25-acre farm harvests its lavender and distills its oil on the original Victorian site. Visitors can wander through the rows of purple, enjoy lavender tea and a scone in the alfresco restaurant and browse the gift shop for aromatic treats.

1 Carshalton Rd, Banstead, SM7 3JA. Until Aug 31, daily 9am-6pm. £5, kids free. No picnics.

Forget Provence. Take a day trip to Castle Farm’s lavender fields, which give the French purple rows a run for their money. With 95 acres of the crop, the folks at Castle Farm cultivate the largest lavender farm in the country, extracting oils in a steam distillery. No need to hop on the Eurostar. 

Pre-book tickets to the fields to avoid disappointment. There are three options: a 45-minute lavender walk, a two-hour lavender picnic or a guided wallk. 

Redmans Lane, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, TN14 7UB. Late-Jun-late-Jul, Tue-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

Hitchin Lavender

Okay – it’s located a little further out of town than you might be used to, but make the journey up to Hitchin Lavender at Cadwell Farm and you’ll be rewarded by a true purple paradise. The farm has been managed by five generations for more than 100 years, and the indigo flowers here were introduced back in 2000. During the flowering season you can wade through the silvery grey foliage and pick some blooms to take home with you.

During the day the farm shop is open for you to stock up on pretty much any kind of lavender product imaginable. Make sure you delve into the glorious sunflower fields, too. Worth going that extra mile for.

Cadwell Farm, Arlesey Rd, Ickleford, Hitchin, SG5 3UA. Jun 26-late-Aug, 10am-5pm. £6.50 (early bird), free for under-fours. Book a time slot in advance.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Kew

London’s botanical treasure trove holds tons of eyepopping flora, but make sure you seek out the spikes of violet-blue lavender peering out from the sculpted foliage of the Duchess Border, growing (appropriately) along the outside wall of the Duke’s Garden. The regal border has been a test bed for Kew’s lavender and other Mediterranean plants since 1990. You can also spot various patches of the purple blooms dotted around the 250-year-old gardens, such as alongside the luscious plant life in the Prince of Wales Conservatory.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AE. Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm. £21.50, £15.50 concs, £5.50 ages four-15, free for under-fours.

Kennington Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Kennington

This green gem holds a compact, but charming, flower patch modelled on an old English kitchen garden. Lavender beds have been planted here for years, but thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant, the 1931 nursery has been renovated and replanted with two different species. Find them beneath olive trees in the garden’s Mediterranean beds and around the sundial at its centre. The bee-friendly plants are also a stone’s throw from Bee Urban’s headquarters, where ten hives are kept at the Keeper’s Lodge.

Kennington Park Rd, SE11 4BE. 7.30am-15 minutes before sunset. Free.

Vauxhall Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Vauxhall

Tucked away behind a miniature model village and a rose pergola, this urban park holds a maze of blue, purple and indigo blooms. Planted to mark the centenary of the Vauxhall Motor Company in 2003, the gardens here may not be as expansive as their out-of-town counterparts, but they’re still a beautifully scented, picturesque distraction in bustling south London. Everyone is welcome to take part in the annual community harvest, where flowers are collected to be turned into oil, sold at South Lambeth Market.

12 Lawn Lane, SW8 1UA. 7.30am-15 minutes before sunset. Free.

More flora?

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  • Things to do

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