National Trust spring gardens in Surrey

Karen Neville


Image: National Trust / Chris Lacey

Here are the best places to see spring flowers at National Trust gardens in Surrey this season. From blossom to bluebells, daffodils to rhododendrons, the signs of spring are sure to raise the spirits.

Everyone’s got a favourite flower, one that makes us happy, or brings to mind someone close to us. The hopeful sight of a swathe of purple crocuses or cheerful carpet of delicate bluebells can make our day.

As we emerge from the hibernation of winter, this is the perfect time to meet up with loved ones for a spring pilgrimage to see the bulbs and blooms, followed by a catch-up over a cuppa.

Find out more about the National Trust’s spring gardens near you:

Spring bulbs and blossom at Polesden Lacey

Near Dorking, Surrey, normal admission applies

Take in the views of the Edwardian house at Polesden Lacey framed by swathes of daffodils and spring bulbs, while the little ones can enjoy the brand new play area. Take a walk through the gardens to find floral fiestas in the spring borders, daffodils along New Lime Walk and anemones in the courtyard.

New for this year are 35,000 spring crocuses planted in the Ladies’ Garden to commemorate Mrs Greville. The garden team are planting a new Blossom Garden as you enter the property. In years to come 40 new cherry trees will blossom, among a meadow of wildflowers.

For well-established blossom trees, wind your way to Home Farm Orchard, where mature apple and pear trees are full of blossom in spring. Perch on a picnic bench under the apple blossom and breathe in the spring.

Image: National Trust / Megan Taylor
Image: National Trust / Eddie Hyde

Bluebells at Hatchlands Park

Near Guildford, Surrey, normal admission applies

The parkland at Hatchlands is a glorious place to visit for a spring walk. Delicate bluebells form a carpet of violet in the ancient woodlands in late April and early May. Pretty anemones and violets are scattered along the Long Walk, followed by the cheery sight of cowslips in the meadow and May blossom. Enjoy the scent of lilac and skimmia in the garden and see daffodils beneath a magnificent London plane tree.

The much-loved Hatchlands donkeys are moving to a new purpose built stable this spring. Close by will be a small play area for pre-schoolers and picnic benches.

Image: National Trust / James Dobson

Daffodils and rhododendrons at Claremont Landscape Garden

Near Esher, Surrey, normal admission applies

Take time out to enjoy the refreshing sights of spring, when Claremont Landscape Garden is at its loveliest. Swathes of daffodils and camellias first herald the new season, with azaleas and rhododendrons following on.

As the days get longer, stroll through corridors of rhododendrons, the sunshine sparkling on the lake and look out for tiny ducklings and goslings. There are wonderful viewpoints and vistas from which to watch the signs of spring emerge as the garden awakens.

Image: National Trust / Andrew Butler
Image: National Trust / Andy Millar

Bluebells and azaleas at Winkworth Arboretum

Near Godalming, Surrey, normal admission applies

Spring arrives at Winkworth with pops of daffodils and magnolias in bloom at first, then an explosion of colour: with rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells spreading glorious colour across the arboretum.

Walking down the azalea steps at Winkworth Arboretum on a May morning is a moment of heaven in Surrey, with their boldly coloured flowers and the echoing song of blackbirds. The upper slopes of the arboretum and bluebell wood fill out with an unmissable carpet of native bluebells.

Thanks to recent conservation work by the countryside team, the bluebells will have even more opportunity to emerge throughout the arboretum this year.

Image: National Trust / John Millar
Image: National Trust / James Dobson

Rhododendrons and bluebells at Leith Hill

Normal parking charges apply

At the foot of Leith Hill, the winding paths of Caroline Wedgwood’s historic rhododendron wood are lined with vibrant rhododendron blooms and gently scented azaleas. The towering specimen trees, including redwoods, provide dappled shade and a place to relax.

A climb up to Franks Wood will be rewarded with the wonderful haze and scent of native bluebells and spectacular views across the south downs.

Christmas with The National Trust

Karen Neville


Set a date to come together with family and friends for a Christmassy catch-up at a visit to a National Trust site in Surrey

Across Surrey, there’s a real variety of Christmas experiences for festive family days this year. There’s spectacle and sparkle for those ‘wow’ moments and selfies. Opulent decorated houses to get glamour-lovers in the mood for the party season. And nostalgic family trails in the great outdoors to rekindle the magic of Christmas.

Michael Leigh, National Trust General Manger for the Surrey Landscapes said: “Christmas at the National Trust is always magical but this year we’ve got more decorations and events than ever before. We can’t wait to see families and friends coming together, making memories, and experiencing the festive atmosphere at the places the National Trust care for.”

Here’s a roundup of some of the National Trust’s best Christmas events across Surrey. For more information visit

The spectacular one

Polesden Lacey

12 days of Christmas – December 3rd to January 2nd (exc 24th & 25th)

Celebrate Christmas in style at Polesden Lacey. Explore this sumptuously decorated house and wintry grounds, sparkling with Christmas splendour and a few spectacles on the way. Breathtaking displays in the decorated house count down the Twelve Days of Christmas, from swans-a-swimming to a golden partridge in a secret, snowy courtyard. Follow children’s trails to find magic across the house and grounds or take a stroll across the gardens. With live music on selected Fridays and Saturdays and festive food and drink in the café, all the sights, sounds and flavours of Christmas are here.

Image: National Trust / Ed Tuddenham
The fun one

Winkworth Arboretum

Walking with the Snowman™ – November 26th to January 2nd (exc 24th & 25th)

The Snowman™ is coming to Winkworth Arboretum this Christmas. Relive the magic of Raymond Briggs’ heart-warming picture book. Find 12 decorated sculptures of The Snowman™ along a wintry woodland trail for all the family. Carousel rides, games and hot chocolate add to the festive fun. Your little ones will be ready for dreams full of Christmas wonder by the end of a fun-filled day. Walking with The Snowman at Winkworth Arboretum is presented by National Trust and Wild in Art in collaboration with Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House UK). Online booking advised.

Image: National Trust / John Miller
The cosy one

Christmas at Hatchlands Park

December 1st to 30th (exc 24th & 25th)

Hatchlands Park has always been a favourite for families at Christmas. Soak up the atmosphere of a traditional country Christmas. See the house dressed for the season and enjoy festive piano music. Outside, enjoy the magic of Christmas in the cobbled courtyard and hand-crafted willow reindeer standing majestically on the lawn. Take a crisp stroll through the parkland – children will love spotting the musically themed animals hiding along the way. Then treat yourself to a warming Christmas treat in the café.

Image: National Trust / Hannah Elliott
The nostalgic one

Claremont Landscape Garden

November 26th to January 2nd

Claremont is the perfect picturesque landscape to get you into the festive spirit. Meet up with family and friends in this historical royal garden. Children can scamper along a traditional Christmas trail, full of nostalgia. Look out for Christmas trees, crackers, cards and elves along the way. Work up an appetite for the tearoom, stocked full of treats and festooned with garlands. With a fun filled family trail, winter warmers from the café and stunning views on walks, Claremont is an enchanting place to visit this Christmas.

Image: National Trust / Chris Lacey