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Best places to see National Trust blossom

With spring arriving in spectacular clouds of white and pastel-pink blooms, the National Trust’s annual blossom season celebrations have returned.

Running for a fifth year #BlossomWatch encourages people everywhere to celebrate the beauty of blossom and bask in the sights and scents of spring.

Inspired by the Japanese tradition of ‘Hanami’, (which literally translates to ‘flower viewing’), the National Trust is encouraging people of all ages to pause and take a moment to appreciate the temporary beauty of blossom that can be found in orchards, gardens, and hedgerows.

Each month during spring, there are different blossoms to spot. In March and April, look for clouds of white and pink blooms from apples, pears, plums and damsons. Pink cherry blossoms join the show in April, while hawthorns and rowans close the seasons in May and June with delicate white flowers.

The charity is inviting people everywhere to join in with the celebrations by sharing their blossom images on social media and using the hashtag #BlossomWatch to help everyone enjoy this seasonal spectacle together.

As part of the National Trust’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and nature depletion, the conservation charity plans to plant and establish 20 million trees across England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2030, with around four million of these being blossoming trees. Fruit trees and new traditional orchards are being planted at National Trust places, while native and historic varieties such as blackthorn and hawthorn will be chosen to support nature in other spaces.

Oxburgh Estate

Within the orchard at Oxburgh Hall you’ll find fruit trees from around East Anglia, including heritage varieties from Norfolk. With the exception of a couple of older medlar and quince trees, the apple and pear trees are a recent addition, as we work to re-establish the orchard that once grew here. The best time to see these trees in blossom is late March through April, when the orchard is also surrounded by a wildflower meadow; the woodland walks also put on quite the show, in the form of hawthorn and blackthorn.

Over 20 cherry trees, donated by the Japanese government as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project in the UK, and planted in 2022 will blossom for the first time this spring. In Japanese culture the cherry blossom represents both a new beginning and the fragility of life. Not only beautiful on the trees; the blossom creates a magical effect as it falls like snow to the ground.

Blickling Estate

At Blickling Estate, Blackthorn and Hawthorn create heavenly hedgerows, and you’ll find almond and fruit blossom in the walled garden. Enjoy the soft pinks and whites of the magnificent magnolia trees dotted around the West Garden surrounded by daffodils from mid-March.
This year, between 16 March and 24 May, you are invited to explore spring in the House.

Immerse yourself in nature as you admire the John Hungerford Pollen ceiling of painted flowers and birds in the Brown Drawing Room. Look out for spring themes within items from the collection, including an embroidered floral silk quilt dating from around 1730-1750 on display in the Upper Ante Room. A new family trail features swallows hidden throughout the house – can you find them all? Head into the kitchen to test your origami skills and make some paper blossom.

Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate

Felbrigg’s walled garden is renowned for its beauty and innovative planting. Spring is a joyous time to experience its sensory delights as ‘little beauty’ tulips, ‘fragrant cloud’ and ‘great white’ cherry trees bloom. Fruit trees trained along the walls explode in a succession of blossom displays, starting with apricots and peaches in March, followed by the plums and pears in April and apples flowering in May.

Mostly historic varieties, these trees would have provided a glut of produce to be stored over winter, providing fresh fruit for the household well into spring.

Norfolk Coast & Broads

Although the Norfolk coast is not the most obvious place for blossom, between Morston and Stiffkey you’ll find blackthorn blossoming in hedgerows from March onwards. Swathes of hawthorn, known as the ‘May tree’ then comes into its own in you’ve guessed it, May, marking the point at which spring turns into summer. The month in which hedgerow blossom emerges, is a good way for telling hawthorn and blackthorn apart.

Another place where you might not expect to see blossom is at Horsey Windpump on the Norfolk Broads. The orchard is bordered by a 200ft-long mixed blossom hedgerow, made up of common buckthorn, guelder, hawthorn and field maple. The tranquil haven of the orchard offers an alternative view of the iconic windpump, past delicate mixed blossoms.

Sheringham Park

The flowering rhododendrons and azaleas at Sheringham Park are a spectacle not to be missed. From late April to early June, climb the gazebo tower and marvel at the canopy of colour stretching out beneath you while a steam train charmingly chunters by and coastal views take your breath away.

Closer to the ground, explore the park’s wild garden and discover the last remaining ‘handkerchief tree’ in the park, grown from the original seed brought back from China by plant collector Ernest Wilson. Its beautiful white, flower-like bracts appear to flutter, like doves or handkerchiefs, in the slightest breeze, with a nearby ‘snowdrop tree’ to keep it company. Earlier in spring, plant lovers can enjoy spotting 15 varieties of magnolia and some of the largest Pieris in the country.