It’s the bluebells season in London and the UK. And if you are wondering where to see bluebells near London, than you are at the right place!
One of my favourite locations to see these beautiful wild flowers is Chalet Wood, Wanstead Park, which is actually in London. And it’s open to public free of charge.
The best time to see bluebells near London
The best time to see the bluebells is April. The majority of flowers usually open mid-April (depending on the weather). Although, late spring can hold back the flowering. Sometimes the maximum flowering can be as late as May.
This year the earliest sights of these beautiful flowers were in March. However, the peak of blooming was at the end of April.
Bluebells in the UK
Around half of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK
First of all, bluebell colonies take really long time to establish. You will need 5 to 7 years to grow these tender blue flowers from seeds.
As a result, you will likely spot bluebells at ancient woodland sites. As it can take up to several hundreds years for the bluebells to form a continuous blue carpets of flowers.
Varieties of bluebells
There are several varieties of bluebells in the UK. The native English bluebells, the Spanish bluebells and the hybrids between the two. Chalet Wood at Wanstead Park is famous for its native English Bluebells, which are more colourful and have a nice scent.
Native bluebells have thin leaves (1.5cm), delicate bent stem with thin flowers only at one side of the stem. The flowers are very colourful and have a sweet scent. The petals of flowers are curled back.
Spanish bluebells were introduced in the 17th century. They are more vigorous and easy to grow. They have been spreading to woodlands from suburban gardens and invading the native bluebells. Spanish bluebells have thick leaves (2-4cm), straight stems with flowers growing on all sides of the stem. The flowers have open tips. They are not so colourful and do not have any scent.
Hybrids may have features of both British and Spanish bluebells
A little bit of history of Wanstead Park
Wanstead park was once a hunting park with a royal hunting lodge purchased by Henry VII in 1509. 40 years later Richard, Lord Rich bought the estate (which was in great ruin at the time). He turned it into his country seat and built a Wanstead House – the largest house in Essex. The house is said to be as beautiful as Blenheim Palace. Wanted park was once a gorgeous landscape surrounding the Wanstead House.
The House was demolished. It does not exists anymore. But the beautiful park with its wild woodlands is dedicated to public. And is free of charge.
Chalet Wood, Wanstead Park, E11 2LT
It takes about 1 hour to get here by car from the centre of London. Sometimes more, depending on the traffic.
There are no big parking places at the park. There’s a small parking space near the entrance. For about 10 cars. But you can find plenty of parking spaces on the streets near by.
Chalet Wood is a small part of the Wanstead Park. Easily accessible by foot. You’ll need about 5-10 minutes. From the entrance you’ll need to walk straight for about 75 meters and then turn right to the smaller path. You won’t miss the flowers.
Dogs are allowed. Picnics are also allowed. And there is a small cafe in the park, where you can enjoy a of tea/ coffee with some pastries.