Best places to see bluebells in Surrey
PUBLISHED: 10:14 05 April 2017
There’s nothing quite like the sight of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor. Here, Harriet Danhash shares some of the best places in Surrey to see everyone’s favourite springtime flower
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Holly Lane, Chipstead CR5 3NR: reigate-banstead.gov.uk
Tucked away in the north-east of Surrey, Banstead Woods are a haven for walkers, cyclists and those trying to spot the wonderful variety of birds that call the forest their home. Come the springtime, the woods are blanketed with bluebells, dancing in the shadows of the old oak, hazel and ash trees (see more on page 108).
Post-walk refreshment: Head for a spot of lunch at the appropriately-titled Ramblers’ Rest where you will find tasty, seasonal fare and a lovely, paved garden for when the sun shines.
• Ramblers’ Rest, Outwood Lane, Coulsdon CR5 3NP. Tel: 01737 552661. Web: theramblersrest.co.uk
Little Wix Wood
Hatchlands Park, East Clandon GU4 7RT: nationaltrust.org.uk
If you go down to Little Wix Wood this month, you’re sure of a big surprise: an abundance of beautiful bluebells. Regarded by some as the best place to see bluebells, the wood lies at the heart of the National Trust’s Hatchlands Park, which boasts a charming onsite café and shop, a play area for the young and spectacular views of the Georgian manor house.
Recharge those batteries: Head to The Onslow Arms, our Pub of the Year in the 2015 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards. Offering fantastic food and fair trade coffee, it’s the perfect post-walk stop-off.
• The Onslow Arms, The Street, West Clandon GU4 7TF. Tel: 01483 222447. Web: onslowarmsclandon.co.uk
Richmond TW9 3AB: kew.org
A winner at any time of the year, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are always worth a visit with their beautifully-manicured lawns and architectural plants. In April and May, the gardens are always covered in a myriad of spring flowers, the most charming of which are the bluebells, which dance daintily under the sun’s rays.
Time for tea: Leave the gardens at the Victoria Gate and head over to the Original Maids of Honour, a tea room steeped in local history. Take in the delightfully traditional surroundings over cake, lunch or a delicious set tea – there is even champagne on the menu, should you feel so inclined.
• The Original Maids of Honour, 288 Kew Road, Richmond TW9 3DU. Tel: 0208 940 2752. Web: theoriginalmaidsofhonour.co.uk
Shere Road, West Horsley KT24 6AP: surreywildlifetrust.org
Situated on the chalk slopes of the North Downs and managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust, Sheepleas is a delightfully English blend of woods, scrub and grassland. In spring, the landscape really comes into its own, with bluebells peeping out from under the canopy of trees. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of London’s skyline.
Quench your thirst: Set off for the Duke of Wellington, which has recently undergone a smart refit, to enjoy traditional pub fare with an American twist, washed down with one of their fine English guest ales.
• Duke of Wellington, Guildford Road, East Horsley KT24 6AA. Tel: 01483 282312. Web: dukeofw.com
Hampton Court Palace Gardens, East Molesey KT8 9AU: hrp.org.uk
Situated in the gardens of what is surely Surrey’s premier address, the historic Hampton Court Palace, ‘The Wilderness’ is a feast for the senses, no matter what the time of year. Springtime, however, is a real treat, with daffodils and bluebells frolicking in the long grass – a mus-tvisit.
Escape from the wild: Cross over the road to The Mute Swan and enjoy lunch or dinner from the pub’s varied menu, either alfresco on the terrace or whilst admiring the stylishly mismatched furniture and characterful interior.
• The Mute Swan, 3 Palace Road, East Molesey KT8 9BN. Tel: 0208 941 5959. Web: brunningandprice.co.uk/muteswan
Denbies Wine Estate
London Road, Dorking RH5 6AA: denbies.co.uk
Spring is the perfect time for a jaunt to Denbies Wine Estate. The particularly energetic can wander around the estate under their own steam, taking in the views of the picturesque Dorking countryside. For those of us who prefer a more leisurely approach to sightseeing, however, help is at hand, in the form of the charming train tour through the vineyard. Sit back, relax and enjoy spotting the bluebells peeping out from the wooded hillside.
Mid-tour treat: Enjoy a glass of one of Denbies’ own wines at the midway point of the train tour and admire the views with glass in hand, all under the guise of sightseeing. Alternatively, retreat to the main building for the indoor cellar tour, followed by tastings (for full details, see the website at denbies.co.uk).
• Denbies Wine Estate, London Road, Dorking RH5 6AA. Tel: 01306 876616. Web: denbies.co.uk
Hascombe Road, Godalming GU8 4AD: nationaltrust.org.uk
Contrary to what its name might suggest, the National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum is far more than a place to simply admire trees, with shrubs and flowers creating explosions of colour all year-round. Amble around the gardens, taking in the beautiful landscape and see some bluebells while you’re at it!
Well worth a visit: Jump in the car and pootle over to the Dog and Pheasant, where you will find a range of pub classics to enjoy with a pint of real ale, such as local favourite T.E.A, from the Hog’s Back Brewery.
• The Dog and Pheasant, Haslemere Road, Brook GU8 5UJ. Tel: 01428 682763. Web: dogandpheasant.com
Stroud Lane, Shamley Green, Guildford GU5 0ST: surreywildlifetrust.org
To see some of Surrey’s best bluebell displays, why not join Surrey Wildlife Trust’s In and Out of the Dusky Bluebells guided walk through Cucknell’s Wood in Guildford? Meeting on Saturday April 9 from 6.45pm, in Stroud Lane, this group walk is a great way to make new friends, explore the great outdoors and see bluebells aplenty.
Well-earned break: Join the locals at The Red Lion for delicious pub fare, freshlyprepared using ingredients from local butchers and farms. The pub occupies a prime spot, opposite the green, with a lovely beer garden.
• The Red Lion Inn, The Green, Shamley Green GU5 0UB. Tel: 01483 892202. Web: redlionshamleygreen.com
Priory Lane, Frensham GU10 3BT: waverley.gov.uk
If you love the great outdoors, why not consider joining a group of conservation volunteers at a oneday event such as those run by Waverley Borough Council on Frensham Common? The group works to preserve the habitats of Surrey creatures by clearing out invasive weeds from meadowland, mowing grass and cutting back vegetation. No experience is needed, all are welcome and you should get to see some bluebells as a reward.
After all that exertion: Ramble over to the appropriately-named country pub, The Bluebell, to enjoy one of their cask ales and a well-earned spot of lunch. Sunday roasts are a particular delight.
• The Bluebell, Boundary Road, Farnham GU10 4EX. Tel: 01252 792801. Web: bluebelldockenfield.com
Flanchford Road, Reigate RH2 8QR: reigate-banstead.gov.uk
Take a trip over to Reigate Heath to enjoy the splendid views across Surrey from next to the windmill at the top of the hill. Reigate Heath is a wonderful spot to admire all manner of plants, especially bluebells. In the early morning spring light, the dew glistens beautifully on the bell-shaped blooms – a magical sight.
Rest and refuel: Escape any April showers at the cosy Skimmington Castle with a hearty lunch and a thirst-quenching beer. You can even take the kids and family dog along.
• The Skimmington Castle, Bonnys Road, Reigate RH2 8RL. Tel: 01737 243100
• Share your favourite bluebell walks in Surrey by commenting below or tweeting @SurreyLife with the hashtag #surreybluebells...