There’s a sweet waft in the air, a pastel-pink dusting on the treetops. Cherry blossom season is here, at last. A symbol of rejuvenation throughout Asia, these rosé petals also signal that spring has finally sprung on our shores – a time for celebration, or at least a picturesque stroll beneath the boughs.
Here’s where to see Britain’s most spectacular cherry blossom – but be quick, for soon it will turn into nature’s confetti, and vanish without trace until next year. The season lasts throughout March and April, with northern areas blooming slightly later than the south.
The best places to see cherry blossom in England
The Stray, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
The spring highlight of Harrogate, this pink parade was planted to celebrate the Queen’s coronation in 1953. The Stray, a 200-acre historic parkland, is also carpeted with crocuses and daffodils at this time of year.
Upton House, Warwickshire
At this rambling estate you’ll find a number of unusual trees, the result of an eclectic planting spree in the 1930s. Among them, the prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry tree) blooms every spring.
The orchard at Upton House has been declared a “silent space” by the National Trust, which implores visitors to keep phones turned off and conversations to a minimum while beneath the boughs.
RHS Wisley, Surrey
RHS Wisley is among 160 public gardens across the UK that planted new cherry trees in 2019, which were donated by Japanese businesses. The nationwide Sakura Cherry Tree Project “symbolises friendship and cooperation between Japan and the UK,” say organisers – and this spring the trees will blossom for the first time.
The tree planting was coordinated by the garden’s dedicated ‘Sakura Team’ who selected three varieties for their colour, blossom timing and cultural significance: beni yutaka (pink), tai haku (white), and somei yoshino (pale pink).
Sizergh Castle, Cumbria
Sizergh‘s 1,600-acre estate includes the exquisitely-manicured Dutch Garden, whose cherry trees will be blooming this spring.
Nymans, West Sussex
On Nymans‘ tennis lawn and inside its Wall Garden, pink-petalled cherry trees join the colourful ranks of rhododendrons and camellias. The grounds, created by Ludwig Messel in the late 19th century, feature rare plant specimens from all over the world – including a Chilean collection that also flowers at this time of year.
Nymans is also a sure-fire place to see snowdrops when winter thaws.
The V&A, London
The cherry blossom outside London’s V&A museum is a work of art in itself. See our guide to the best things to do in London, and where to stay while you’re there.
Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
The orchards at Hinton Ampner are full of frothy cherry blossom at this time of year. First to appear are the soft pink flowers of variety ‘Kanzan’, followed by the paler petals of ‘Mount Fuji’, among others. Meanwhile, the magnolia walk is spectacular in spring, as the pink-and-white boughs come into full bloom.
Rent a Cherry Tree, Kent
The enterprising owners of Rent A Cherry Tree, an orchard in Kent, have established a tree “adoption” scheme – a must-do for any blossom aficionado. For £50 a year, you can pick the fruits of your very own tree and enjoy a sweet-scented celebration beneath the blossom in April. The festivities, which are invitation-only, include a farmers’ market, picnics, hog roast and licenced bar.
Currently there are no trees available to rent, though you can register your interest for the 2021 season.
Tatton Park, Knutsford
At Tatton Park, near Manchester, you’ll find leafy lawns festooned with blooms. Head to the Japanese garden for the full effect: this carefully-pruned oasis includes water features, bonsai foliage and ornamental sculptures arranged in the traditional style – as well as oodles of cherry flowers, of course.
The arboretum, too, is ablaze with daffodils and crocuses, while the estate’s rhododendrons and azaleas will also be flowering soon.
Greenwich Park, London
In-the-know Londoners head to this cherry blossom hotspot. A short walk from Rangers House, in Greenwich Park, lies a -straight path lined with pretty blushing boughs.
Holland Park, London
In the heart of Holland Park sits the Kyoto Garden, an authentic recreation of a Japanese idyll. Take a stroll around its carp pond (clockwise, as tradition dictates) and you’ll encounter flowering cherry trees, strutting peacocks and a tiny stone waterfall. Visit on a weekday morning to experience the garden at its most serene.
Brindleyplace, in central Brum, might sound like an unlikely place to spy cherry blossom this month – but the dining and entertainment quarter is in full bloom. The best spot for hanami? Just outside Ikon Gallery, a contemporary art space that occupies a magnificent neo-gothic 1880s red-brick. Excellent Instagram fodder.
Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote‘s former owner and a talented landscape designer, planted numerous cherry trees in its orchard. The grounds are divided into a series of “outdoor rooms”: don’t miss the daffodils and Welsh poppies in the Pillar Garden this spring.
Where to see cherry blossom in Scotland
Cycling routes, golf courses, historic ruins… there’s a lot to enjoy in Galashiels at this time of year, but nothing tops a wander beneath the blossom at Bank Street Gardens.
The Meadows, Edinburgh
“A bright and breezy spring day in Edinburgh is delightful,” writes Linda Macdonald in our Edinburgh springtime guide. “The blossom rushes out in all the parks and squares and the city seems to sparkle.” The Meadows, one of the city’s many green spaces, blushes pink at this time of year – a fine sight in this prettiest of cities.
Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline
With its woodland walks and play areas, Pittencrieff is a lovely spot for spring jaunts – especially when the cherries are in full bloom. Take a peek in the tropical glasshouses, brush up on local history at the Pittencrieff House Museum, then stroll along the park’s rose-tinted walkways.
Where to see cherry blossom in Wales
Bute Park, Cardiff
In the Welsh capital, savvy spring picnickers head to Bute Park – where clouds of cherry blossom festoon the treetops. A handy tree-trail booklet is available from visitor centres (and online), detailing the top trees to look out for.
Highlights include the Manchurian cherry, bell-flowered cherry and Japanese cherry, which are all at their best this season.
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Spring has sprung in Bodnant Garden, with its rows of blossoming cherry and magnolia trees. As well as guided walks and talks about the estate’s history, bring your pooch for ‘Wag Wednesdays’ – which sees the gardens open to (well-behaved) hounds and their owners, on Hump Day evenings from April to September.
It’s just the start for this National Trust treasure: in summer, fragrant tangles of English roses take over the gardens, while autumn brings a blaze of fiery fall colours.