Day Trip from London: A Bluebell Adventure at Ashridge Estate

Spring is my favourite season as all the plants and trees bloom, and everything is colourful. As several years before, I couldn’t resist embarking on a day trip to Ashridge Estate to see a splendid display of bluebells.

Ashridge Estate Bluebells
bluebells are everywhere

Bluebells are famous in London and can be seen in many gardens and parks. However, enchanted blue carpets can only be found in the forests outside of the big city.

Bluebells locations

There are several locations near London where you can enjoy stunning displays of bluebells during their blooming season. Here are a few examples:

Ashridge Estate Bluebells
  • Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire: A National Trust property, the Ashridge Estate boasts over 2000 acres of woodland. The Dockey Wood area is popular for its bluebell display.
  • Hatchlands Park, Surrey: Located on the edge of the beautiful Surrey Hills, Hatchlands Park is home to over 400 acres of parkland and woodland where bluebells thrive.
  • Heartwood Forest, Hertfordshire: This is a Woodland Trust site and the largest continuous new native forest in England. It includes Langley Wood, where people admire vast blue sea in spring.
  • Cliveden, Buckinghamshire: Another National Trust site, Cliveden offers incredible bluebell displays, particularly around Blenheim Pavilion.
  • Epping Forest, Essex: Just on the northeast edge of London, Epping Forest provides an extensive area for bluebell exploration.
  • Banstead Woods, Surrey: Famous for its “Narnia Trail”, Banstead Woods also hosts an annual explosion of bluebell blossoms.
  • Kew Gardens, London: Although not outside London, Kew Gardens is a haven for various flora and fauna, including bluebells. You can explore the stunning bluebell woods in spring.

When to Go

To witness the bluebell spectacle, the timing of the trip is crucial. Bluebells usually bloom between late April and late May. However, the blooming period can fluctuate depending on the year’s weather conditions. For my visit, I opted for a clear day in mid-May, when the bluebells were in full bloom, their distinctive scent filling the air.

Ashridge Estate Bluebells

Getting There

Getting to the estate by train is possible, as they run regularly from London Euston to Berkhamsted. However, you need to take a taxi from Berkhamsted station to the Ashridge Estate. 

It is always better to drive. The journey takes around an hour from central London. There are plenty of parking places available at the estate.

The Ashridge Estate – A Bluebell Wonderland

Ashridge Estate, managed by the National Trust, boasts over 2000 acres of woodland, chalk downlands, and lush meadows. More information are on the official website here.

Ashridge Estate Bluebells

After looking at the map (pdf version here), I decided on the trail I wanted to follow. Having entered Dockey Wood, I was met with an astounding sight: a seemingly endless sea of blue and purple flowers swaying gently in the breeze. The sunlight filtering through the trees bathed the bluebells in a magical glow. It was a breathtaking sight, with the blue haze stretching as far as the eye could see and the air heavy with the sweet, fresh scent of the flowers.

Walking along the designated paths, I couldn’t resist and took many pictures of the bluebells. It’s important not to step on the flowers or pick them as they are protected by UK law due to their rarity. 

The estate is so vast that I spent the whole day walking and enjoying the view of the blue sea of flowers. 

Final Thoughts

My day trip to Ashridge Estate had offered more than just a chance to see the beautiful bluebells. It was an opportunity to escape the city’s noise, connect with nature, and witness the changing seasons’ splendour.

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Ashridge Estate Bluebells

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