It might seem like a vast sea of concrete, but for its size, London is actually one of the greenest cities in the world. That means you can see all different types of flowers in London during the springtime – if you know where to look. So where are the best places to go for a wander and the city in full bloom? That’s where our guide comes in.
This recently restored giant conservatory is home to one of the oldest Camellia collections outside China and Japan, dating back to the 1830s. Not only do they have some of the earliest varieties brought over to the UK by sea captains, but also some of the rarest examples.
Their annual Camellia showcase usually runs from the end of Feb to the end of March (check website for details) so you can see them in their full glory.
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 7am to dusk all year round
Getting there: Chiswick House and Gardens, Chiswick, London, W4 2RP
Nearest Tube: Chiswick
The “Crocus Carpet” is a popular attraction at Kew and starts to flower when the snow melts from the European Mountains. This is usually from the end of February with March seeing the plant in full bloom.
Opening times: Mon-Sun: From 9.30am to c6pm
Getting there: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens (Overground)
Price: £15 (Admission to all the gardens)
This park was granted Grade II listed status mainly due to the rare and exquisite plants which can be found within it.
It’s only been open to the public in the last 60 years.
Opening times: Mon_Fri: 8am to dusk, Sat-Sun: 9am to dusk.
Getting there: Wimbledon Common, London, SW19 4U
Nearest Tube: Wimbledon Station
The oldest Royal Park in London, has the lions share of the one million bulbs planted across the parks annually.
Opening times: 5am until midnight
Getting there: St. James’s Park, Westminster, London SW1A 2BJ
Nearest Tube: St. James’s Park
The 112 area of parkland around Kenwood House was designed and landscaped by Sir Humphrey Repton.
Opening times: 10am to 5pm
Getting there: Hampstead Lane, Hampstead – NW3 7JR
Nearest Tube: Golders Green or Archway then bus 210
This is the most central place to spot a Magnolia and the best time to see it in is March, but you have to be quick as they don’t flower for long.
The church was built in 1715 and is known as one of the Queen Anne churches as the monarch took an interest in the building.
Getting there: Strand, London WC2R 1ES
Nearest Tube: Temple or Charing Cross at weekends
While the first blossoms start to appear in early March, it’s in April where you get the full benefit of the flowers from these picturesque Japanese trees.
The Cherry Walk at Kew has the largest concentration of Japanese cherries in London and they have been there since 1909.
They have the pink-blossomed Prunus Kanzan and Asano as well as the white cherry Taihaku.
Fran has also produced a virtual tour of Regent’s Park’s blossoms.
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 5am-midnight
Getting there: Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NR.
Nearest tubes: Great Portland Street, Regent’s Park, Baker Street
This 18th Century country estate is one of the last surviving of its kind in London. Take a stroll through the ancient meadows which pre-date the Georgian splendour of the formal gardens.
Opening times: 10am to 5pm
Getting there: Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB
Nearest Tube: Osterley
Price: Garden only: Adult – £4.25
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 7.30am-9pm
Getting there: Richmond, London, TW10 5HS.
Nearest tube: Richmond
There are around 28,000 tulips planted in the Memorial Gardens outside Buckingham Palace each year.
Getting there: Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA
Nearest Tube: St James’s Park or Victoria
This is the best time to visit the Privy Gardens (Built for Henry VIII c1530s) with around 33,000 plants to cast your eye over.
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 7qam to 8pm
Getting there: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey
Nearest Tube: Hampton Court (Overground)
Price: Garden’s only – £5.80
Flowering in May
Azalea & Rhododendrons
This Victorian woodland is most famous for its evergreen azaleas. They are best seen however at their peak, blooming in late April and early May. It is also home to the National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaelas (brought over in the 1920s from Japan by plant collector Ernest Wilson).
You should also check out their colourful collection of rhododendrons.
If you visit Kenwood from the East Lodge entrance you can’t miss Rhododendron ‘Cynthia’ which is on the west side of the gate. There is also a newly planted rhododendron arboreum and you can see rhododendrons in North Wood as you walk up from the West Lodge.
Opening times: The Pergola & Hill Garden: 8.30am-dusk. The rest of the Heath is open 24-hours.
Getting there: Hampstead Heath, NW1, London. Nearest Tube’s include; Hampstead, Golders Green and Kentish Town
Have we missed any of your favourite flower spots in London?