Bluebells about to pop up amongst Kent’s ancient woodlands, shady glades and country parks, it’s time to start planning your Bluebell walks!
The Bluebell season runs from mid April to to late May with that magical covering of bluebell carpets found at the beginning of May. Take a self guided walk from the hand picked selection below of our favourite bluebell walks to take in Kent; from castles to grand parks, you are sure to find a walk suitable for the whole family.
Bluebell walks are perhaps one of the most loved in the calendar, so be sure to take in the splendid delight of bluebells, a much loved and welcome sight of spring and the delicate bell shaped flowers will bring a smile to your face. There is nothing quite like a walk amongst the bluebells to bring spring to life!
Enjoy swathes of bluebells at Scotney Castle from mid to late April and into early May.
The romantic 14th-century moated castle sits within a beautiful wooded estate that spans 770 acres. Enjoy a walk upon one of the three easy-to-follow trails that runs through the parkland and woodland. Four-legged friends are very welcome in the estate, but must be kept on a lead. Afterwards stroll around the beautiful gardens which are a riot of colour and scent, courtesy of rhododendrons, azaleas and wisteria, in late spring and explore the house.
LOCATION: Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 8JN
REFUEL: The Scotney Castle tearoom serves substantial hot lunches and lighter lunches, as well as tasty cream teas. Alternatively head to The Vineyard (01892 890 222), close by for a pub lunch; the food is delicious and there are traditional English options, as well as more interesting dishes and vegetarian choices.
Further information call 01892 893820 or visit the National Trust website.
Drink in the panoramic views of the Weald from the top of Mariners Hill and inhale the scent of bluebells in the woods.
Enjoy short circular strolls or join the Greensand Way, which runs along the hill’s northern boundary. The Octavia Hill centenary trail west, which commemorates the National Trust’s founder, leads you through her birthplace, Crockham Hill, and encompasses Mariners Hill; the six-mile route can be found on the National Trust website. Chartwell is very close, if you fancy exploring Sir Winston Churchill’s 700-year old house, painting studio and hillside garden.
LOCATION: Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 6TB.
REFUEL: Head east to the Fox & Hounds pub (01732 750328) in Toys Hill, which serves traditional English dishes and Sunday roasts, or eat in the new Landemare cafe at Chartwell, which serves hot and cold lunches and cream teas with home-baked scones.
For further information please call 01732 750169 or visit the National Trust website.
Situated within the Kent Downs, this Woodland Trust estate has a good show of bluebells in spring.
A mix of ancient woodland, new woodland and chalk grassland, with archaeological remains and gorgeous views over the Weald of Kent, this is a great place for a walk. There are two way-marked trails – a one-miler (blue route) that begins west of Hucking village, beside the former village pub and a three-miler (red route), which begins at the Woodland Trust car park on Church Road, east of Hucking village.
Ancient and newly planted woodland, carpets of wildflowers throughout the spring and summer, open rides and chalk grassland areas are all home to a wide variety of wildlife. Look out for butterflies; 21 species live at Hucking, a 200-year old beech tree close to the car park and an ancient herdsmen’s road called The Droveway.
LOCATION: Hucking Estate, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1QP
REFUEL: Enjoy a good pub meal at The Dirty Habit (01622 880 880) in the nearby village of Hollingbourne; this 11th-century inn was once used by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.
For further information please visit the Woodland Trust website.
The ancient woodland around the village of Hamstreet is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In spring, carpets of bluebells and wood anemones bloom, and wildlife abounds; rare moths and butterflies, door mice and crested newts all make their homes here and if you visit at dusk, listen out for the song of the nightingales.
This 400-year old wood is the last standing part of the oak forest that once covered the Weald. There are three way-marked trails of up to 5 km, or if you fancy a longer stroll, pick up the Saxon Shore Way or the Greensand Way, which both run through here. There is a car park at the end of Bourne Lane and further parking in the village.
REFUEL: The Cosy Kettle coffee shop (01233 733030) in Hamstreet offers light lunches, cakes and hot drinks.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a joy in spring and summer; at this time of year, the Nuttery, the Orchard, the Delos and the Lime Walk especially are a treat but the surrounding 460-acre estate is also wonderful, producing an indigo explosion of bluebells between April and May.
There is a mapped 3-mile walk on the National Trust website, which take 1½ hours and passes through the bluebell wood, as well as the surrounding fields. Afterwards climb the stairs of Vita’s enchanting writing tower to gaze over the fields you’ve just walked.
LOCATION: Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Biddenden Rd, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2AB
REFUEL: In the castle’s Granary restaurant which prepares hot lunches with produce freshly plucked from Sissinghurst’s organic vegetable plot or the Old Dairy cafe, which serves light snacks and sells second-hand books. Alternatively, head to The Milk House (01580 720200) in Sissinghurst village, which serves interesting and delicious pub food.
For further information please call 01580 710700 or visit the National Trust website.
This lovely hillside garden is a bluebell wonderland between April and May.
The Edwardian estate, now managed by the National Trust, has panoramic views over the Weald and a vibrant spring garden of rhododendrons and azaleas.
For a lengthy bluebell adventure, grab your OS map and do a longer stroll that encompasses the surrounding Scords Wood. Alternatively, you can find woodland walk routes in the ticket office, which you are welcome to enjoy with four-legged friends; dogs are allowed in the gardens as well, but must be kept on a lead. The peaceful Toys Hill Woodland is also very close by.
LOCATION: Emmetts Garden, Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 6AY
For further information please call 01732 868381 or visit the National Trust website.