Did you know that almost half the world’s bluebells are located in the UK? That’s a great reason to visit the fields of blueberries in England and they truly are worth it.
Mesmerising blue carpets among lush foliage and beneath old oak trees are a site to behold! If you can only make it to the Southeast of England, here here are my tips on where to find bluebells in London and surrounds.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Handy Bluebell Tips & Facts
- 2 Where to Find Bluebells in (Greater) London
- 3 Are Bluebells in the UK Worth the Trip?
Handy Bluebell Tips & Facts
What is the bluebells flower meaning?
There are various meanings for bluebells (hyacinthoides non-scripta), including humility, gratitude, constancy and eternal love. From olden days, there are superstitions around bluebells as well. It was believed that bluebells could be used to ring up fairies.
If you were unlucky enough to hear the ring, a loved one would soon die. Generally stepping on bluebells or picking them invited was said to bring bad luck. In Scotland, people thought witches would shape shift into hares and hide among the flowers.
Are bluebells poisonous?
All parts of a UK bluebell are poisonous as they contain toxic glycosides. You shouldn’t pick or harm the bluebells flowers, which includes eating them. However, you may be walking your dog and he didn’t get the memo.
In that case, your dog will suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and disorientation for a while. Unless he ate large quantities, he should be fine. So yes, bluebells are poisonous to both animals and humans.
Are bluebells protected?
Yes, bluebells are protected. You mustn’t pick, uproot or destroy them. This also means not walking through them. That will actually kill the plant. Leave them be for other visitors to look at. It takes around 5-7 years for a bluebell to flower. That’s a pretty long time, so don’t make all the effort void.
When do bluebells bloom in the UK?
Bluebells bloom between mid April and late May in the UK. The further south you get, the slightly sooner they bloom. However, if the weather gets warm quickly, the flowers also blossom faster. Once in bloom bluebells will flower again each year and even spread.
Where to Find Bluebells Generally?
Bluebells mostly bloom along the coastlines from Portugal to France and on the British Isles. A popular bluebell spot in the Netherlands, for instance, is Hallerbos. Bluebells love shady areas in forest where sunlight can still fall through.
Why Travel to See the Bluebells in the Woods?
An endless sea of blue dotting the usually green forest floor. The sweet smell of the blossoming flowers punctuating the fresh air and you dancing between the streaks of light through the fresh green tree cover. That is what a walk through the bluebell woods is like.
I had been to the UK multiple times but the only time I ever visited in spring, I missed the short window when bluebells bloom. Even though I visited the bluebells in York in late spring. I managed to only see about 7 bluebells. Let’s make that 70, shall we?
And so I did an extensive google search for bluebells in London and ended up rather confused. Everything cool seemed to be hours away and hard to reach via public transport. Mulling it over and munching on my breakfast, a divine force seemed to be at work when suddenly the Woodland Trust appeared on the TV screen to talk about British bluebells.
Did you know that British bluebells are very much different from other bluebells in that they are droopy, curled and very fragrant? I didn’t either. Even better than this knowledge, was the link that pointed to a list of registered bluebells of England! This way I would surely find bluebells in London.
I recommend scheduling in at least a fair amount of time in London to be able to go on day trips depending on the weather. You can already do great sightseeing done in London in four days, so maybe plan an entire week to have three days spare?
What to Pack for a Bluebell Day Trip
You know that the weather in the British spring can be rather fickle. Especially if you don’t have the luxury of waiting out rainy days during your limited time in England, you better come prepared for rainy or at least windy days.
Umbrellas don’t really last long in England so it’s better to simply put on a rain jacket (which also blocks out the wind) or a poncho. Also wear walking or hiking shoes as forest trails are mostly natural, meaning there will be roots, rocks and puddles.
If you are taking public transportation, don’t forget your oyster card within London and small change for the bus ride outside. For my hike around Nymans Woods I was very happy to see forest paths marked in my free maps.me app. It works offline too!
Do you love taking photos on your phone? In that case, consider bringing an external charger and cable with you so you don’t accidentally drain your battery and find yourself without access of a phone. Happened to me…
Should you bring a dog along, don’t forget to put him on a leash and bring plastic bags along to collect any poop.
Where to Find Bluebells in (Greater) London
Bluebells in London: Holland Park Mews in Kensington
There are quite a few amazing parks and walks in London . But not all have fields of bluebells in them. One that does is Holland Mews near Notting Hill in the west of London. The park itself is really picturesque and various other flower beds and a small wisteria alley.
Stick to the wooded trails in the West of the park to see fields of bluebells popping up left and right behind the fences. Don’t forget: you aren’t allowed to stray from the paths. This includes kids and dogs. Keep them behind the fences.
More information: Learn more about the history and architecture of Holland Park
How to get to the bluebells in Holland Park
Take the Underground to Holland Park tube station, take the exit to Holland Park Avenue and walk down Holland Park Street. (Though, don’t miss out on exploring Holland Park Mews.) One entrance is right next to the Consulate of Greece. The bluebells are very close to that entrance.
Bluebells near Brighton: Nymans Woods in Handcross
Handcrosse is a natural forest with shady trails winding between old trees and quite a big patch of bluebell fields. You need to keep towards the northern end of the forest to see them. Afterwards, take a stroll along the lakeshore and past the cow pastures to conclude a wonderful trip in nature.
Once I found the bluebells, they were everywhere and just as mesmerising as I had hoped for. Left and right they lined the paths, growing thick and dense on the ground. They were bright blue and so pretty with their little bell shapes.
How to get to Nymans Woods in Handcross
Take the bus 173 or 171 from Brighton Old Steine (bus stop D, west of Steine Gardens) to Handcross in front of the pub Red Lion. This takes 50 to 70 minutes. Just opposite the stop, you can see the entrance to the woods. Here is a map of the Nymans Wood walk.
Follow the paths, take a look at the information board and just enjoy the sight! But don’t forget to check the return bus times as they are not regular. If you need to GPS the address, here you go: Nymans, High Weald AONB, Staplefield Ln, Handcross RH17 6EB, UK.
Read this too: What It’s Like to Live in Brighton as an Artist
More Bluebells in the UK
Of course, there are so many more wonderful spots to explore the bluebells in England If you aren’t anywhere near bluebells in London, here are some more suggestions I found during my research on locations for bluebells in the UK.
- Devon and Somerset
- Ashridge Estate, Buckinghamshire
- Bunny Old Wood, Nottinghamshire
- Carnmoney Hill, Newtownabbey
- Croft Castle, Herefordshire
- Kedleston, Derbyshire
- Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
- Nostell Priory, Yorkshire
- Rannerdale, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria
- Stourhead, Wiltshire (they filmed the 2006 film of Pride&Prejudice here!)
- Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
Read this too: The best Jane Austen filming locations
Are Bluebells in the UK Worth the Trip?
I wouldn’t say travel JUST to see the bluebells. (I did that though and have no regrets.) They are seriously pretty and a super unique sight. Walks in England’s nature are always wonderful, if you ask me, and the trip from London or Brighton doesn’t take too long.
However, if you are only visiting England for a few weeks, maybe include a visit of bluebells for only a few hours if you are keen to see them. Holland Park in London is easy to get to, for instance. Or if youare visiting the Bronte Parsonage in Yorkshire, there are bluebells blooming around the graveyard.
Tell me: Which spot for bluebells in London and surrounds was your favourite?
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