Best Places to See Blossom Across the UK & Europe
Even though our lives have been disrupted this past year, it’s business as usual for mother nature. The sight of Spring blossom brings us reassurance and reminds us of life’s natural rhythm. The dense clusters of tiny pink and white flowers against bluebird skies must be one of the most iconic heralds of Spring promising hope and new life. What better invitation to get outside and enjoy the sunshine? Draw up your Spring Bucket List and discover the best places to see cherry blossom in the UK and Europe….
Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire
We’ve come to associate spring blossom with ornamental fruit trees such as the cherry but it’s also found on plum, pear and apple trees. The Vale of Evesham and its environs has some of the most productive horticultural land in the country. Cherry Blossom season in the UK happens anywhere from mid-March to mid-April and at this time in the Vale of Evesham the apple, pear and cherry blossom explodes. Sheltered by the Cotswold and Malvern Hills, The Blossom Trail, a 40 mile signposted route, comes alive with the sights and sounds of Spring. The area is also packed full of glorious gardens and historic houses full of quirky charm. Check here for further information.
Greenwich Park, London
Picnicking beneath cherry blossom is a Japanese tradition known as ‘hanami’ which translates as ‘flower viewing’. The annual ‘Sakura’ festival is dedicated to cherry blossom and the happiness inspired by seeing it in bloom. Cherry blossom festivals are popular the world over and recently the National Trust announced that they will be planting ‘blossom circles’ in cities around the UK to help people connect to nature. Greenwich Park is a great place to go any time of year – there’s the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich meantime, Greenwich Market, the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum. But it’s worth a visit in April to see the blossom. Behind the Observatory is a straight footpath which leads towards a fabulous Georgian building called the Rangers House. Lined with cherry trees, it makes a lovely photo and is the perfect spot for a picnic under a full canopy of cherry blossom. Check here for information on Greenwich Park.
Acorn Bank, Penrith
A tranquil haven with a fascinating industrial past, Acorn Bank dates back to the 13th Century, the first owners were the Knights Templar. Author Dorothy Ratcliffe donated this fine, red sandstone house and grounds to the National Trust in 1950 and it is now well known for its collection of heritage apple trees. There are over 175 different cultivars in the orchards here and the crops of fruit, along with salad crops, are used in the tearoom. Given their more northerly location, the blossom arrives later here but when it finally bursts forth the orchard appears like a ‘huge frothy bubble bath’ says head gardener Heather Birkett. Check their website for more info.
This historic house and estate, near the pretty coastal town of Aberaeron is also managed by the National Trust. The villa is an example of the early work of John Nash who began work on the property in the 1790’s. Remarkably unaltered for over 200 years, you can still see the service areas and workings of the original estate; prepare yourself for serious Welsh Dresser envy in the house kitchen. But it’s the walled garden and orchard that we’re interested in. Over 50 varieties of apple grow here and the rouge espalier apple trees are covered in blossom throughout April and May. We love the romantic, dreamy atmosphere and the views over the Aeron valley are stunning. More info here.
The Jerte Valley, Cáceres
Known as the best cherry blossom in Europe, Spring in the Jerte valley is signalled by an incredible display – over a million cherry trees bloom white as if carpeting the Valley in snow. The flowering typically starts in mid-March and lasts around two weeks. At over 70 square kilometres, the Valle del Jerte is the largest uninterrupted area in Europe covered with cherry trees. Following a century-long family custom, the cherries are grown in the traditional way on terraces carved out of the high sides of the Valley, among crystal-clear springs and pure clean air. Find out more here.
Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris
Ahhhhhh Paris in the Spring. There are lots of places to see blossom in the French capital. Variants of blossom start blooming as early as February and continue through until late April, the earliest ones being the magnolia blossom in the Jardin du Palais Royal. April is when the real fluffy fun begins though. The Champs Elysees, one of the most iconic shopping streets in the whole of France, is home to some real beauties. Wander towards the Jardin des Tuileries to admire them. On the Champ de Mars, if you stand in the right position, it’s possible to get a photo of the Eiffel Tower poking out through a cloud of blossom. But our favourite spot is outside Paris’s famous English language bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, where their very own tree blossoms around the middle of April. Lots more info on Paris in bloom here.
Bispebjerg Cemetery, Copenhagen
Not the most likely of places to picnic but Bispebjerg Cemetery is a popular spot for blossom worship. Cemeteries in Denmark are often dual-purpose, both a resting place for the deceased and a park for the living to visit and enjoy. Each individual grave has its own small, tended garden creating a peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to reflect. The main entrance to the cemetery is located in front of the monumental Grundtvig's Church where an avenue of Japanese cherry trees forms a spectacular, long pink tunnel when they bloom in Spring. People travel from far and wide to see the blossoms here so arrive early to avoid the crowds. You can find more info here.
We know that travelling abroad and visiting any of the blossom hotspots listed here might not be easy at the moment but you can celebrate Hanami wherever you are and connect with nature to lift your spirits – why not take a different route on your daily walk and see if you can spot a cherry blossom in your neighbourhood? And when it is safe to explore again - don't forget to pack your cherry print Salties!