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10 lovely local daffodil walks

We've got spring in our step and we're ready for some botanical colour. Here are the best headline and under-the-radar local spots to see the brightest displays.

Benington Lordship, Stevenage

Although famed for its snowdrops, Benington Lordship will be scattered with huge numbers of daffs, as well as unusual spring bulb varieties, such as Scilla Byzantica and Fritillaries. The Benington Lordship Estate also sits on an ancient Anglo Saxon site so the kids will love exploring the ruins of the Medieval Castle and Norman Keep. It’s only open on select days though – aptly the next is Mother’s Day (27 March), followed by Easter weekend (17 and 18 April).

Wrest Park, Silsoe

Copyright: English Heritage

The gardens of the Grade I-listed English Heritage estate Wrest Park spring into life at this time of year. Explore the rambling woodland trails to catch a glimpse of the happy daffs, primroses and snowdrops. The Walled Garden is positively packed with spring bulbs, while in the Pear Orchard they’ve been left to grow naturally amongst the gladioli and wild cowslips.

River Lee Country Park, nr Broxbourne

On yer bike!

Stretching between Broxbourne and Waltham Abbey on the Essex border, the 1,000-acre River Lee Country Park is positively blooming in spring time with daffodils and camassias. Plus, if you head there soon, you might be to catch the sprays of pretty purple and white crocuses dotted all around too. Besides the family-friendly walks and bike rides, there’s loads to explore, from Waltham Abbey Gardens to Broxbourne Old Mill, as well as a dragonfly sanctuary and animal adventure park.

Hatfield House, Hatfield

While the park and gardens at Hatfield House don’t officially open until 2 April, you can get an early sneak peek on 19 March, when it will open its gates for the NGS Open Gardens and on 20 March for the annual Dogs & Daffs charity event. Enjoy the spring bulbs in the Lime Walk and Sundial Garden and explore the Old Palace Garden (a childhood hangout of Queen Elizabeth I). Or for a longer ramble, head to the adjoining naturalised woodland garden which are carpeted in swathes of yellow.

Cassiobury Park, Watford

Watford’s Cassiobury Park is a 190 acre oasis on the outskirts of the town. There’s no shortage of floral abundance here – The park becomes a sea of yellow in spring, while the Whippendell Woods which are covered in carpets of blue in May and the wildflower meadows come alive with colour in the summer months. Plus there’s a miniature railway for the kids and a splash park if the weather allows.

Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth, Biggleswade

So prevalent are the daffodils at the Shuttleworth Estate that they have a whole festival dedicated to them! Follow a self-guided trail, which involves spotting some of the myriad varieties, like ‘Cheerfulness’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’, or take a tour with the expert guide who can tell you more about the estate’s gardens and history. Daffodil expert Johnny Walkers will also be giving illustrated talks about his desert island daffs.

OVER THE BORDER…

Nip over to Bucks and MK to spot more of these blooming beauties…

Ascott, Wing, Bucks

National Trust gem, Ascott, is still home to members of the eminent Rothschild family. It’s also home to the wonderful Ascott Collection (more fine art and furniture than you can shake a gold-plated stick at). The grounds have been specially designed as winter gardens, with March being the perfect time to enjoy a sea of daffodils. Open from 22 March.

Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

It’s not just watersports in MK’s vast Willen Lake – the land around it amounts to 80 acres of parkland that’s been planted up for year-round colour. For spring daffs check out the area near the Peace Pagoda and Medicine Wheel, but with 250 million daffodils reportedly planted around Milton Keynes over the last few decades, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a few.

Waddesdon Manor, Bucks

The early flowering daffs are already in full resplendent bloom around the rose garden at Waddesdon, but it’s Daffodil Valley that is – as the name suggests – the real show. There’s every shade of yellow in this area near the Aviary (back in 2019, 350,000 spring bulbs were planted around the grounds!) – and it’s even gently sloping to give you the best view across the bobbing heads. Also check out Tay Bridge and Tulip Patch for their daffs and a quiet picnic spot on a sunny spring day.

Stowe, Bucks

Image credit: Peter Adams

The pale stone of Stowe’s colonnaded facade is the perfect backdrop to Stowe’s gazillions of daffodils. They’re out now and at their best between Grenville’s Column and Stowe House and around the iconic (did you pay attention in Classics?!) Temple of Concord and Victory. Note – the house and grounds are closed to visitors from 4-7 April due to filming (considering it was used for Bridgerton, various Bond movies and one of the original Indiana Jones movies, we’re keeping our eyes peeled for megastars in the area…).

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