Wednesday, 13 February 2019

North East Flowers in Bloom - A Seasonal Trail

Ask Simon about my obsession with seeing North East flowers in bloom and he'll probably roll his eyes and tell you about "that time we drove miles to see daffodils that ended up not being there" or how I "tricked him into driving to Scotland just to see some snowdrops" - in fact every time I mention wanting to go out on the seasonal flower trail he will reluctantly agree but only if I promise not to throw a diva strop if we get there and there are no flowers to be seen!

North East Flowers in Bloom - A Seasonal Trail
Luckily, having now lived in the North East a fair few years, I've become somewhat of an expert in where to head to see the most beautiful seasonal flowers and I'm hoping that some of you might be as geeky about flowers as I am.

If you fancy exploring this year and seeing the very best North East Flowers in bloom I've put together this little seasonal trail for you.

Winter

Winter isn't exactly famed for its beautiful floral displays but come February the Snowdrops arrive, and I just love the promise of Spring that they bring. After months of dark, cold days the first sign of flowers in the Winter time always lifts me straight out of my funk and perhaps that makes them the most special.

North East Flowers - Winter
Snowdrops 

Beautifully delicate, the dainty little white flowers give me so much joy and every year we try to head somewhere new to see them.  We are pretty spoilt in the North to have some truly beautiful snowdrop displays to enjoy so there's plenty of opportunity for Winter day trips if you fancy seeing them for yourself.  Best enjoyed on a crisp, sunny day, I absolutely love strolling through the woodlands on a snowdrop spot.

We've had a couple of snowdrop adventures over the years and if you're wanting to head somewhere on the doorstep then I highly recommend a trip to see the snowdrops at Wallington, one of our favourite National Trust sites in the region, visitors have been planting snowdrops since 2015 to ensure each year we are treated to an impressive display.  Most of the snowdrops are in the East Wood and the snowdrop trail offers a beautiful white carpet of flowers. Of course, one of our very favourite things about snowdrop spotting at Wallington is the tea room - snowdrops and cake are a winning combination!

Read more about our adventure to see the Snowdrops at Wallington here

If you fancy heading further afield Floors Castle in Kelso, on the Scottish Borders has an incredible snowdrop display which you can see during their annual Snowdrop Weekend - the perfect showcase for the first blooms of the season. The grounds are usually closed during the Winter months which makes going to see the snowdrops extra special - out of all the displays I've seen I'd say this one is the most impressive!

Read more about our adventure to see the Snowdrops at Floors Castle here 

Best time to see the Snowdrops: February/early March

North East Flowers - Snowdrops
Spring

The arrival of flowers in Spring is one of nature's best displays. The iconic flowers are so bright and colourful and there are so many different types to spot. Perhaps the best thing is you don't have to make a special journey to see Spring flowers, in fact there's a roundabout in Gateshead that's always covered in beautiful daffodils, a nice daily dose of sunshine on the morning commute!

North East Flowers - Spring


Crocuses 

Crocuses are always the first of the Spring flowers to appear and if you want to see a truly magical floral display the Crocus lawn at Wallington is simply breathtaking. The purple flowers are stunning close up but I prefer to take a few steps back to appreciate the effect that they create, it looks like someone has come along and spilt a giant pot of purple paint all over the lawn - absolutely beautiful and a must to include in our seasonal trail.

Best time to see the Crocus Lawn: March

North East Flowers - Crocus at Wallington


Daffodils

There are so many great places to see the daffodils in the North East that I don't even know where to start, we really are vey spoilt.

Wynyard Hall is one of our very favourite places in the region and as well as being one of the best luxury hotels in the North it also has a jaw dropping daffodil display. A short stroll from the hotel entrance you'll find a bright yellow sea of flowers that is definitely worth seeing. Of course, the added incentive of going to Wynyard on the daffodil hunt is that you may as well have a cheeky spa visit or perhaps an afternoon tea while you're there and really made a day out of it!

Read more about our adventures at Wynyard Hall here

I'd heard so many things about the beautiful daffodils at Warkworth yet when we saw them with our own eyes for the very first time they still took my breath away. Probably the most beautiful seasonal flower display you'll find in the North East the yellow flowers cover the hill under Warkworth Castle and look absolutely spectacular in the Spring sunshine. Warkworth is also perfect for a potter so a great place to spend the day with some beautiful walks and tea rooms to enjoy after the daffodils.

Read more about our daffodil adventures at Warkworth here.

Best time to see the Daffodils - late March/early April

North East Flowers - Daffodils at Wynyard Hall
Bluebells

We had some pretty impressive bluebell displays in the Norfolk woodlands where I grew up so seeing these beautiful little purple flowers always takes me back to my childhood. As soon as I see them I'm transported to care free days skipping about the woods with my friends - I just love that flowers can trigger my memories in such a vivid way.

There are a couple of lovely places to see bluebells in the North East. The short woodland walk at Seaton Delaval Hall is perfect if you have little ones and it offers a very peaceful escape if you fancy a moment of silence. I do sometimes wonder if the woodlands at Seaton Delaval Hall are a secret because you don't often find many people there so it's the perfect place to truly appreciate some true natural beauty.

Read all about our bluebell adventure at Seaton Delaval Hall

When you think of Roseberry Topping you probably think about hill climbing and spectacular views but did you know that Newton Wood at the bottom of the hill has a lovely bluebell display in the Spring time? The perfect reward after hill climbing and, if you don't fancy hiking a hill then you can just go and visit the bluebells (I promise I won't tell!)

Read all about our adventure at Roseberry Topping

Best time to see the Bluebells - May

North East Flowers - Bluebells
Blossom 

Is there anything more beautiful than trees full of pink blossom on a beautiful Spring day? When it comes to blossom spotting in the North East you have to be very very quick as it vanishes almost as soon as it appears so this one is definitely a plan best put into the diary!

The Cherry Blossom Orchard at Alnwick Garden is somewhere I'm determined to get to this year (can you believe we've not actually been!) - with the largest collection of Tai-haku outside of Japan, if you want to see it for yourself you have to be quick as it's only in bloom for two weeks a year. The orchard features winding pathways through the trees and huge swings offering a unique way to enjoy the blossoms. I can't wait to visit!

Sometimes the very best floral displays are completely free and one of the loveliest spots to see pink blossom is Saltwell Park in Gateshead where the blossom trees tower above pathways covering them in a pretty trail of pink petals. The perfect place for a nice stroll on a bright Spring day.

Best time to see the Blossom: April/May

North East Flowers - Blossom


Summer

Summer brings the most vibrant colours and exotic flowers to the North East, yet it seems to be a season that we're yet to explore properly. A fair bit of the Summer blooms trail we'll be doing ourselves for the first time this year and I can't wait to discover what's on offer.

North East Flowers - Summer





Rhododendron

We haven't seen the Rhododendron at Cragside for ourselves yet so it's very high on my list of plans for the Summer this year. For a few weeks the estate is transformed into a sea of colour with stunning white, purple and pink flowers on display. There are also plenty of walks to do around the grounds and wider estate so this part of the seasonal trail is best enjoyed on a full day out, perhaps with a picnic basket!

Best time to see the Rhododendron: end of May/Start of June

Lavender 

Another place I'm determined to tick off the list this year is a visit to the Lavender fields and this one involves a bit of an adventure south. Unfortunately there are no lavender fields close to home but there are a couple in Yorkshire that are easily reached from the North East including Yorkshire Lavender near York which offers a lavender maze as well as the lavender gardens and a pretty spectacular view of the Yorkshire Dales.

Best time to see Lavender: late June to early August

Purple Heather

Rural Northumberland is well known for its wide open moorland and if you want to go and see the beautiful purple heather then the ridge of the Simonside hills is where you need to be heading. The Ridge Walk offers very special 360 degree views across the hills of Northumberland. I've had a brief glimpse of the beautiful purple hills but I'm determined to go for a proper explore this year.

Best time to see the heather at Simonside: August

North East Flowers - Northumberland Moors



Autumn

Autumn isn't exactly well known for its seasonal flowers so when it comes to the fall months I love to get out and about hunting the most colourful leaves in the North East. With an abundance of woodlands in the region there are plenty of places to head for a walk in the leaves.

North East Flowers - Autumn


Autumn Leaves

Gibside is one of our favourite places to head for the beautiful colours of Autumn, with plenty of trails through the woodlands each walk tends to take us hours because we just can't resist stopping for endless photographs of the eye catching orange and brown leaves. The landscape is beautiful and if you want a proper kick about in the leaves you won't be disappointed.

Read more about our Autumn adventures at Gibside here

Of course the list of woodland walks we have in the North East are endless so if Gibside doesn't take your fancy there are also some beautiful Autumnal displays at Plessey Woods, Chopwell and Thornley Woods.

Best time to kick leaves: October

North East Flowers - Gibside




This guide only really scratches the surface, if I included all of the amazing places in the North East to see flowers in bloom I wouldn't actually have the time to get out there and enjoy any of them! I know we have so much more to discover so if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them.

Where are your favourite places to see the seasonal flowers?
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6 comments

  1. What a lovely post. I was chuckling at the photo of you in the daffs - I'd forgotten all about that! I can't wait for you to see Alnwick - you're going to LOVE it! AND you can try their new fancy bakery/cake shop when you're there too x

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    1. Ooooh I didn't know they had a fancy new bakery! That sounds right up my street! I just need to make sure I remember to check for when the blossoms will be blooming, so easy to miss!

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    2. A great post. I love Belsay castle - it's magical. There are so many types of flowers and trees, which all bloom at different times.

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    3. We're actually hoping to head to Belsay for the very first time this weekend to see the snowdrops! Can't wait!

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  2. This is a great guide - I love the blossom, but always seem to miss it!

    http://lizziedrippingblog.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I think it helps to put notes in your diary for when the different flowers you want to see are out because it is SO easy to forget to organise it and then you end up missing out.

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