Spectacular snowdrops

Carpets of beautiful white flowers will appear all over the region in February and March. Here’s a few places to head for a Snowdrop spectacular…

Snowdrop: ‘Galanthus’ (meaning milk flower) is a small genus of about 20 species of bulbous herbaceous plants in the Amaryllis family. They are lovely flowers and are among the first to raise their heads in the New Year, releasing a fragrance when it is warm. It is native to a large part of central Europe, but was probably only introduced to the British Isles in the early 16th century. In the 19th century, soldiers were so enchanted by snowdrops that they brought them back from the Crimean War battlefields to plant in their gardens.

Chippenham Park The display of naturalised snowdrops at Chippenham Park is among the finest in East Anglia. The many acres of woodland and lakeside gardens are carpeted white for several weeks early in the year and provide an enchanting setting for this magnificent seasonal panorama. Delicious home-made soups, sausages and other  refreshments will be available when the park opens each weekend in February, 11am-4pm. Chippenham, Ely, Cambs 01638 720221 www.chippenhamparkgardens.info

Hedingham Castle Enjoy the grounds, recently restored as part of Channel 4’s ‘Landscape Man’, and wander around the valley walk in awe of all the different varieties of snowdrops. Photograph the snowdrops present within the grounds since the 1900s and enter them in to the yearly photographic competition for a chance to win a Hedingham Castle season ticket. Warm yourself with a free glass of mulled wine and make your way to the Garrison floor of the mighty Norman Keep to purchase a warming bowl of homemade soup. Snowdrop Sundays, open 5, 12 & 19 Feb, 11am-4pm. Castle Hedingham Essex 01787 460261 www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk

The Forgotten Gardens of Easton Lodge See the wonderful display of snowdrops in the gardens and then warm yourself with some homemade soup or perhaps a bacon roll. Sundays 19 & 26 Feb, Noon-4pm. Little Easton, Great Dunmow, Essex www.eastonlodge.co.uk

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Benington Lordship Gardens The gardens are famous for the huge drifts of naturalised Snowdrops that cover most of the moat?and the grounds around the Norman castle and house in February & March. Over 100 varieties now grow around the garden creating a truly spectacular display. There will be a series of concerts in St Peter’s Church each Sunday in February, from 2.30 to 3.15pm. Gardens open daily 4th-26th Feb 12-4pm. Benington Lodshrip, nr Stevenage, Herts 08701 261709 www.beningtonlordship.co.uk

Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill One of the most significant collections in the country with over 200 varieties, some unique to Anglesey. Join a special weekday tour at 2pm to uncover the fascinating snowdrop story and gain expert advice. Watch an introductory snowdrop film in the Visitor Centre or discover more at the ‘tell’ table. Garden Guides share their knowledge and you can start your own collection with the many varieties available in our Plant Centre. 1 – 24 Feb, 2-3pm. Booking advisable on 01223 810080. Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge, Cambs www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Walsingham Abbey The grounds of Walsingham Abbey are famous for the spectacular ruins of the mediaeval priory and place of pilgrimage, together with an unrivalled display of massed snowdrops in February. Snowdrop Walks are open daily from 4 Feb – 4 March, 10am-4pm. Common Place, Walsingham, Norfolk 01328 820510 www.walsinghamabbey.com

The Place For Plants Join a walk around the 15-acre garden and arboretum with Rupert Eley to see the display of snowdrops and rare winter flowering trees and shrubs. £9.95, 21 Feb, 10.30m. East Bergholt Place, Suffolk 01206 299224 www.placeforplants.co.uk

Raveningham Gardens The home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon, it was Sir Nicholas’ mother, Priscilla Bacon, who added snowdrops to the garden. 12 Feb – 4 March, 11am-4pm Mon-Fri, 2-4pm Sun. Raveningham, Norfolk 01508 548152 www.raveningham.com

Where else to see Snowdrops in East Anglia

Peckover House Open weekends 11 Feb – 4 Mar, Noon-4pm. North Brink, Wisbech, Cambs 01945 583463 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Oxburgh Hall Open weekends until 19 Feb, 11am-4pm. Oxborough, nr Swaffham, Norfolk 01366 328258 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Sheringham Park Open weekends until 11 March, 11am-4pm. Upper Sheringham, Norfolk 01263 820550 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Audley End Gardens – open weekends. Saffron Walden, Essex 0870 333 1181 www.english-heritage.org.uk

Fairhaven Woodland and Winter Garden Open daily 10am-4pm. School Road, South Walsham, Norfolk 01603 270449 www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum Open daily from 10.30am. Coggeshall, Essex 01376 563796  www.markshall.org.uk

Ickworth House Gardens and parkland open daily, 8am-5pm. Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 01284 735270 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Kentwell Open weekends through Feb & March, & 21-25 Feb. Long Melford, Suffolk 01787 310207 www.kentwell.co.uk

Moggerhanger Park Grounds open daily 10am-5pm. Park Road, Moggerhanger, Beds 01767 641007 www.moggerhangerpark.com

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