See Bluebells In Kent

Find the best places to see blankets of bluebells In Kent, including the many gardens and stately homes, a national pinetum, and historical woodlands flowering in April and May. For things to do in Kent, this is the perfect time to search for the bluebells near you in the Garden of England. Enjoy walks of wonder and trails in the county of Kent with beautiful bluebell sights. Learn fascinating facts about the beautiful flower with our history and folklore highlights, and find what’s on for bluebell visits with our event focus on a bluebell festival, a bluebell charity walk and more.

Check out our Things To Do and What’s On categories for lots more great ideas for attractions and events in Kent. See further features in our blog section for round-ups for Easter, the latest film releases, and a host of articles on all that Kent has to offer.
See Kent, Know Kent

By Julia Roy

BLUEBELLS IN KENT 

FOREST FLOORS
Indicative of Spring are the swathes of bluebells in April and May, the forests of Kent are a great way to walk among these beautiful flowers.
Here’s a double delight of forest sights not to be missed.

Near the east of Ashford, Hemsted Forest offers approximately 398 hectares of woodland for you to explore, with around 5 miles of hard surface road and great networks of unsurfaced tracks. Hemsted Forest makes for a great day out, whatever the season, according to Forestry England, and will be a wonderful place to see bluebells. Free parking and dogs are allowed. See Foresty England’s listing here.

At the Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Goudhurst, Tunbridge Wells see bluebells carpet the Forestry England’s Bedgebury this Spring, including beautiful, tucked away spots within the conifer conservation project on the outskirts of the pinetum. Check their fact or fiction game link below to learn more about the flowers and their history. For more things to do in Kent at this amazing sight, take walks alk and explore this beautiful space, find a Gruffalo sculpture hidden in the forest with an interactive trail and help celebrate Gruffalo’s 25th birthday with the Party Trail.

WOODS OF WONDER
Top places to find bluebells in Kent are the many wonderful woods in the county – enjoy Spring walks and trails in all the corners of Kent. Here are our highlights of what to see and where.

Kent is understandably known as the Garden of England and its many woods and open spaces will be resplendent in bluebells – here are a few highlights:
Shoreham Woods in Sevenoaks is five different woodlands, all linked together by rolling downland grazed by sheep. In Spring, much of the woodland is carpeted with a spectacular display of bluebells and it is also home to several rare orchid species.

Bluebells at Ightham Mote in Sevenoaks will be found just a few steps into the Scathes Wood and is one of their best-loved British flowers. During late April / early May, you’ll be greeted by a carpet of sapphire blue, with a fragrance that is heaven ‘scent’.

See Bluebells In Kent at Chartwell in Sevenoaks head out on a spring walk around the grounds and enjoy panoramic views across the Weald of Kent. Spot the bluebells and blossom in the woodland.

At Barnett’s Wood Local Nature Reserve in Tunbridge Wells don’t miss the bluebells that flower in some areas of the woodland in Spring.

Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve near Ashford is a remnant of an ancient forest that once covered the whole Weald, part of the larger Orlestone Forest after the last Ice Age. In spring the floor of the woods is filled with bluebells, primrose, and white wood anemones. Three way-marked trails between 2.5-5km are mapped on the information board at the entrance.

Banks of bluebells at Ashford Warren & Hoads Wood in Ashford at this wood pasture of geological and historical interest. See also seasonal grazing animals including cattle and Konik horses in the over 43 hectares of woodland. Parking at the end of the lane, is on a slope with an uneven surface. Dogs welcome.

See stunning displays of bluebells in the spring King’s Wood in Challock, Ashford, is in the heart of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty. With 588ha of mixed conifer and broadleaf woodland for you to enjoy. Free parking.

Hucking Estate in Maidstone is a large mix of ancient woodland, planted secondary woodland and open grassland. It is home to woodland archaeology, walks, interesting wildlife and impressive views – all set in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bluebells, broadleaved woodland, and there are two waymarked trails to follow in this nearly 700-acre estate. Free parking and dogs allowed.



WOOD TO GO!
Upper Eliot Pond and Bluebell Woods in Canterbury
is near University Road, within a mixed deciduous woodland that is Bluebell Woods. A stream runs from Upper Eliot down to Lower Eliot Pond, a small to medium pond, south of Bluebell Wood next to a footpath.

Spong Wood,  Canterbury is home to a range of wildlife and fauna including bluebells in this ancient 18-hectare woodland run by the Kent Wildlife Trust. As you see bluebells in Kent here, you may even glimpse roe deer wandering through the trees, and lots more. There are waymarked paths but no wheelchair access. The surface leading from car park slopes and access is via rough track, muddy when wet, with limited parking.

East Blean Wood National Nature Reserve in Herne Bay is a Kent Wildlife Trust site that is one of the richest of all Kent’s woodland habitats and this 122-hectare site has sunny glades surrounded by flora, fauna and wildlife including bluebells. With a network of public footpaths and nature trails, paths are unsurfaced and may be uneven. Dogs are allowed.

In Faversham visit the Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park for blankets of bluebells, described as having an eerie tranquillity as one walks past the series of old gunpowder buildings and Waterways to the sound of singing birds and trickling water.

Areas of bluebells and other plants at Perry Wood in Faversham, part of the Kent Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is described as a beautiful, tranquil mixed woodland with panoramic views that stretch from Sandwich, Wye Downs to the Isle of Sheppey and the Swale. The car park is in Selling, Faversham.

Hop on board the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway in Sittingbourne for incredible sights of wild Bluebells through the woodland and alongside the track. It’s a beautiful location with attractions including unlimited rides on the passenger steam trains from Warren Wood station to Stony Shaw and back again. See our What’s On section below for their Bluebells and Teddy Bear Competition event.

See bluebells in Kent at the Ranscombe Farm Reserve near Rochester, the bluebell blossom plant site and nature reserve that conserves wildflowers and allows wildlife to thrive. You can do circular walks and trails from 2 to 4 and a half miles and experience all the nature this reserve offers. Bluebells, orchards and woods make it an ideal place to visit with three trails to see the flowers in full bloom.  Dogs are allowed on Saxon Shore Way and bridleways, but be mindful that this is a working farm with occasional vehicles on trails and livestock in fields and the orchard.

At Dartford Heath, bluebells thrive as do heathers, gorse, and foxgloves, among a variety of wildlife including lizards, birds such as the chaffinch, and roving, and three ponds create a haven for newts, frogs and toads with dragonflies and damselflies to espy. Also at Jorden’s Wood in Dartford there are bluebells in the woodlands, with two circular waymarked routes.



Look out for the bluebells at Ashenbank Wood in Gravesend, a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The main entrance is accessed from the Woodland Trust car park, which is free. The wood once belonged to Cobham Hall Estate, and areas of the site were managed as traditional wood pasture. Explore the waymarked trail, which takes you on a circular tour, with four-legged friends welcome.

The Trosley Country Park in Gravesend is a Green Flag Park has plenty for walkers, children and nature lovers to enjoy and it is renowned for its bluebell displays in the Spring. Dogs are allowed, and there is a pay & display car park.

GARDENS OF DELIGHT
History and nature combine in our round-up of places in the Garden of England and their bluebell displays. Here are our highlights to see bluebells in Kent in its many gardens.

There is an abundance of bluebells at Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks, and the woods have even been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the English native bluebells that bloom here. Spotting bluebells is one of the best things about a Spring walk and Emmetts Garden doesn’t disappoint for this. Every year the hillside is smothered with the nation’s favourite wildflower. Take care to stay on the paths to avoid damaging the flowers; each damaged bluebell takes between four and six years to regrow. Dogs are allowed, please note the bluebell season is popular and car parking space can be very limited, particularly at weekends. At Hole Park, Rolvenden, Tenterden check out their Bluebells Barometer to see the best time to visit. The colourful gardens enjoy far-reaching views over the hills, woods, and fields of the picturesque Kentish Weald. They are a skilful mix of formal design and more naturalised planting, giving colour throughout the seasons. They also run several events throughout the year.
CARPETS OF BLUE
At Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks they love their bluebells. Their chestnut woods become carpeted in blue and the air is full of the sweet heady scent of bluebells. There is a bluebell trail through the woods that everyone can enjoy and as they say who doesn’t love a bluebell? Welcome Spring at those beautiful gardens. See details of their Bluebell Festival under our events highlights below. Head to Penshurst Place and Gardens, Tonbridge,  and take the Woodland Trail, just a short walk from the adventure playground, to see the bluebells return on this 1km loop walk.
Ashford’s Boldshaves Garden is a secluded private estate surrounded by ancient woodland in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the eastern edge of the Kent Weald, and in this woodland you can see bluebells this Spring.
See blankets of bluebells in the sheltered areas of the garden and in certain areas of the ancient woodland on the estate at Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells this Spring. Ask the staff at the site for the best places to see them.

The back of a child waking through bluebells for Bluebells in Kent blog post full of where to see bluebells in Kent. Picture credit: Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks

BLUEBELL EVENTS IN KENT
A trio of bluebell events in the Garden of England, including a Bluebell Festival, teddy tear hunts, and a charity walk!

At Riverhill Himalayan Gardens Bluebell Festival event in Sevenoaks, from the 24th of April to the 6th of May 2-24 10am to 4pm – including Bank Holiday Monday, enjoy a woodland carpeted with heavenly bluebells and a bluebell-inspired craft fair of of handmade artworks and treats. You can also enter a free prize draw to win an original textile piece of their bluebell wood by Diana McKinnon.

At Steam Event Day – Bluebells and Teddy Bear Competition on the 5th May 2024, 10am4.30pm you can see bluebells and enjoy train rides (see above), and little ones can go on a teddy bear hunt with a prize for those who (mostly!) complete it. They can also take their favourite teddy and dress them with plenty of imagination. There will be tractor rides, a colouring station and lots more family fun.

On the 5th of May 2024, sign up for the Heart of Kent Hospices’ Bluebell Walk 2024. Walkers of all ages can enjoy a ramble through the Kent countryside while enjoying the beautiful bluebell vistas and help raise funds for the Hospice. With 1,226 people entered last year. Sign up now for this annual event and raise money for the charity.

FASCINATING FLORA
Learn more about bluebells with our round of facts and folklore!

Did you know that over half the world’s populations of these iconic wildflowers grow in the UK and that bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981? You would be fined if you dig one up. According to the Kent Wildlife Trust’s Amazing Facts about the flower It takes several years for a native bluebell seed to grow into a bulb & subsequently flower, and folklore indicates that bluebells ring at daybreak to call fairies to the woods. For more delightful bluebell facts click here. According to Great British Life, most are found in ancient woodland as they prefer moist, shady conditions and the stability a well-established habitat offers. Bluebells make the most of flowering early in the spring before the surrounding trees come out in full leaf and completely shade the woodland floor. Because of this, they are an important early flower for many pollinating insects including bees, hoverflies and butterflies. The sweet nectar hidden in the brightly coloured ‘bell’ of the flower can be a lifeline for hungry insects emerging from a dormant winter state.
We were fascinated to learn that the bluebell’s Latin name, Hyacinthoides, comes from a Greek myth: when the Prince Hyacinthus died, the tears of the god Apollo spelt the word ‘alas’ on the petals of the hyacinth flower that sprang up from his blood, according to the Kent Wildlife Trust.

FUN FACT OR FICTION
Download Foresty England’s game of Bluebell True or False to learn more about the fascinating flowers and their history.

See Kent, Know Kent

Picture Credit: © Top to bottom: The Woodland Trust/WTLM and Riverhill Himalayan Gardens.

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