From St. David’s Day onwards comes the traditional celebration of daffodils, a welcome sight after the long, cold winter. Many of the National Trust’s 200 gardens will be bursting into colour throughout March and April, heralding spring as they spread outwards from the South West to the rest of the country.
Daffodil Weekend, 18 – 19 March, 11am – 4pm
This National Trust property sits right in the heart of the Tamar Valley, a traditional daffodil growing area that historically exported large amounts of daffodils to London. Head down to Cotehele on daffodil weekend to see the wonderful collection grown on the estate. There will be a display of historic and new varieties of daffodils plus a guided tour in the garden. New for 2017, the estate’s gardeners will be experimenting with creating daffodil sculptures. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
Make a weekend of it: There are nine different holiday cottages at Cotehele, each offering the unique experience of discovering the garden and wider estate after hours. Two are at the house, two are at the mill, one is on the quay and four others are scattered in the woods
This stunning landscape garden set around a huge lake is one of the most magnificent places the National Trust cares for, and especially in spring when the grounds are blooming with life. Get together with family and friends for a stroll around the lake and enjoy spotting thousands of daffodils nodding in the sunshine. Afterwards you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in the café, where every penny helps the conservation charity to care for places like Stourhead for future generations.
Make a weekend of it: Set at the entrance to the landscape garden, 89 Church Lawn is an ideal retreat overlooking St Peter's church. With room for seven guests, the cottage is perfect for holidays with friends and family.
Daffodil Show, 25 – 26 March, 10.30am – 5.30pm
See the dazzling display of daffodils as Trelissick showcases a Daffodil Show with rare and hybrid flowers from some of Cornwall’s finest breeders and growers. With the mild maritime climate the garden heralds in spring with daffodils, primroses, rhododendrons and camellias in abundance as well as spectacular magnolias and the vibrant colour of bluebells. After a spring walk with glittering water views, warm up in the café with a cuppa and some delicious homemade cake.
Make a weekend of it: From tall towers and gate houses to water-side cottages, there are six Trelissick holiday cottages, all offering the chance to explore the tranquil varied garden after the days visitors have gone home.
London and South East
See 14,000 daffodils lining the carpark as you arrive at the family home of Sir Winston Churchill, now in the care of the National Trust. The garden embraces all seasons, but looks particularly vibrant in the springtime. Stroll along the lawns to see the orchard and kitchen garden border heralding the start of spring with nodding yellow flowers.
Osterley Park and House, London
Spring flowers follow their schedule like a well-rehearsed play at Osterley, as pockets of snowdrops give way to swathes of golden daffodils, with primroses and crocus popping up all over the estate in bursts of yellow and purple. Get the whole family out to enjoy the show on a spring walk around the estate, and top it off with a picnic on the lawn or a cuppa from the Stables Café.
The daffodils at Mottisfont are a mix of colours and varieties and greet you as soon as you enter the grounds. Take a walk around these tranquil gardens, spotting all the different types of daffodils dotted around the grounds. Listen out for bird song, spot colourful wild flowers and enjoy the freshness of the font stream
Clandon Park, Surrey
Open every weekend from 4 March – 29 October, 10am – 5pm
Clandon Park’s small but lovely garden is particularly delightful in the springtime, when thousands of daffodils nod their heads in the sunshine. Planted by passionate horticulturist William Hiller, the 4th Earl of Onslow and his head gardener in the 1890s, the Spring Garden is one of the best collections of pre-1930s daffodils in the country. The garden features 24 species of daffodil, including some rare Narcissus cultivars, probably obtained on one of the Earl’s many overseas trips at the start of the 20th Century.
East of England
With over 100,000 daffodils, the flower-lined avenues are a magnificent sight at Blickling. Take a walk along around the estate to admire the view and enjoy spotting the colourful display of daffodils on the Ha-ha. Blickling’s 55 acre garden is one of the greatest in England, and throughout the spring months you’ll also be able to spot bluebells, azaleas, rhododendron, wisteria and peonies.
Make a weekend of it: There are nine holiday cottages on the Blickling estate including Itteringham Manor, which offers great value for up to ten guests, while The Tower is an out-of-the-ordinary former race stand for the Earl of Buckinghamshire.
See the pleasure grounds in front of this Italianate palace disappear under a sea of gold as swathes of heritage daffodils pop up throughout the estate. Take a stroll through the tranquil gardens, have a family picnic on the lawn and enjoy stunning views across the whole estate from the Walled Garden.
Make a weekend of it: From a Round House set in a woodland glade next to Fairy Lake to two spacious Victorian cottages there are six cottages on the Ickworth estate offering after-hours access to the gardens and estate.
Visit Wimpole in springtime as thousands of daffodils create a yellow haze across the Pleasure Grounds, West Garden and Old Rectory Garden. Take a walk across the park and meander your way to the Gothic Folly or discover the woodland where trees are just beginning to bud. At Home Farm you can see the pigs being fed and have a go at grooming the donkeys.
Throughout April thousands of golden daffodils pop up at Stoneywell, bringing much-needed colour after the grey winter months. Take a walk through the garden and woodland to find oaks budding with fresh green leaves and magnolias blooming with their beautiful white and pink flowers. Come back in May to see a carpet of bluebells spread across the garden and woodland.
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
There are more than 100 rare varieties of daffodil in Coughton Court’s gardens. The spring garden was opened in honour of the late Dr Tom D Throckmorton (affectionately known as the ‘Dean of Daffodils’), who bred over 50 cultivars in his lifetime. Dr Tom was the first person to build a database for daffodils and later devised a flexible colour-coding system that was adopted by the International Daffodil Register and is used throughout the world. Today you can see over 2,000 daffodils from 20 of Dr Tom’s varieties such as ‘Class Act’, ‘Star Wish’, ‘White Tie’ and ‘Spring Tonic’.
The Weir Garden, Herefordshire
Visit this pretty National Trust garden in early spring to see spectacular views of daffodils as they rise above the remaining snowdrops to steal the show. Throughout spring the Weir Garden is blooming with early flowers from snowdrops and daffodils to primroses, cyclamen and bluebells, not to mention wild garlic and spring vegetables, so you’re sure to be delighted whenever you visit.
Acorn Bank, Cumbria
Acorn Bank has spectacular displays of these joyful spring flowers, starting with the early ‘Lent lilies’, the native variety that blooms in the woodlands, followed by the larger showier hybrids. There are many interesting heritage varieties flowering in the orchards and on the bank above Crowdundle Beck, along with the fragrant ‘Pheasants Eye narcissus’ in the orchards. The former owner of the house, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, titled her autobiography ‘The Lady of a million daffodils’ and said “I have been fortunate, having possessed many lovely things, but it is as the owner of a million daffodils that I should most like to be remembered by all my friends”
Dora’s Field, Cumbria
Just down the road from Allan Bank is Dora’s Field, a semi-open woodland renowned for fine displays of daffodils, which was once owned by William Wordsworth. When Wordsworth’s daughter Dora tragically died, he and his wife planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs there in her memory, and they still look wonderful to this day. A relaxing wander around Dora’s Field is a lovely way to lose half an hour on a warm spring day in Rydal. There are several benches around the garden to allow time for a moment’s pause amid the hectic rush of modern life.
Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
A stroll through the grounds at the National Trust’s Seaton Delaval Hall is sure to put a spring in your step this April. Try one of the woodland walks meandering through historic displays of daffodils and beautiful bluebells then see the West Wing and café dressed with colourful cut daffodils. Why not treat yourself to a cuppa and a sweet treat while you’re there?
Powis Castle, Powys
As the days get warmer Powis Castle Garden blooms back into life, putting on a spectacular show of colour. The famous Welsh daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, thrives in the paddock that was once part of a water garden while early spring flowers fill the banks throughout the garden. Don’t miss the magnificent magnolia trees flowering in the woodland.
Make a weekend of it: Stay in the heart of the estate in The Bothy, which is set within the Edwardian formal gardens beneath the castle and baroque terraces. Enjoy stunning views from every window and relax in front of the roaring open fire in the large, comfy sitting room.
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
During the spring clusters of bright daffodils will be popping up all over Dyffryn’s 55 acre estate. Take a walk around the garden to see the jolly yellow flowers and find an enchanting series of intimate outdoor rooms which have recently been restored back to their 1920s splendour.
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Visit Bodnant in early spring to see a mass of daffodils bloom around the garden. The daffodils are followed by rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and Himalayan blue poppies, so by April and May the garden is a riot of colour. Take a walk under the famous yellow laburnum arch and soak up the spring sunshine with a picnic on the lawn.
Springhill, County Londonderry
There are hundreds of different varieties of daffodil or narcissus at Springhill. Each autumn the National Trust gardeners and volunteers plant 600 mixed bulbs to add to the stunning collection. They then begin to flower from mid-march right through April, displaying a range of colours from white and cream to yellow and orange, in many different sizes and shapes. Explore the grounds as Springhill bursts into life after the cold winter months.
Castle Ward, County Down
Castle Ward blooms and buzzes with life during the spring months, from busy bumblebees collecting pollen from the heather to vibrant yellow daffodils waving in the sun. Look out for pockets of these bright flowers flourishing across the Castle Ward estate throughout March and April. Take a stroll along the Lime Tree Avenue to see primroses then to the Sunken Garden to take a peek at frogspawn in the pond.
Make a weekend of it: Located in the historic working farmyard next to the shores of scenic Strangford Lough, Potter’s Cottage with its cosy one storey interior and open fire offers the perfect place to unwind after exploring the demesne.
Florence court, County Fermanagh
See the Walled Garden at Florence Court come to life amidst a sea of yellow daffodils. The whole Walled Garden has recently undergone a restoration project to return it to its 1930s splendour, so it’s worth exploring. See the kitchen garden planted up with Victorian varieties of vegetables such as sea kale as well as new and unusual vegetables such as tree spinach, callaloo and mooli radish.
Make a weekend of it: The Butler’s Apartment is located on the first floor of the South Wing of Florence Court and offers an atmospheric break within this great Irish House.
For more information visit National Trust.Last modified: February 22, 2017