Where to see bluebells in Hertfordshire

Bluebells at Perrywood Lane woods

Bluebell woods in Hertfordshire

With each year that passes, I find there are certain events in the British calendar which start to grow a bit stale. The culmination of the Premier League Football season for example, or the build up to Christmas… no doubt you have your own mental list. However, the appearance of bluebells in Hertfordshire woodlands each spring has yet to lose its appeal.

After years of living in big cities, I moved to a village in Hertfordshire several years ago. Each spring I really enjoy seeing the bluebells appear: a sign the summer isn’t far off. There are certain local bluebell woods which I like to wander through each year while there are other woods which I only visit occasionally. One of my favourites is the Ashridge Estate bluebell woods: this is a particularly well known and impressive display. We also love the bluebell woods at Mardley Heath near Welwyn, a great spot for imaginary play and bike rides.

There are pockets of bluebell woods all over Herts so no doubt I have missed plenty from this list. Feel free to leave me a message in the comments at the end if there’s a bluebell walk in Hertfordshire which you think I should add.

Bluebells in Hertfordshire
Bluebells in Hertfordshire

When do bluebells come out?

So, when is the best time to see bluebells in the British countryside? Well, the end of April and the start of May are pretty reliable for bluebell displays. Some years the blooms can be enjoyed in early April but a particularly cold winter (such as the one we had in 2018) can delay the flowers. If you do not live near a bluebell wood and you are planning to make a special journey to see bluebells, I would recommend going in late April as this should allow for any irregular weather patterns.

Hertfordshire bluebell walks near London

If you live in London and you’re looking for the best bluebell woods near London, many of these Hertfordshire walks are accessible by train from London in under an hour. If you’d like a full day out, I’d recommend Panshanger Woods in Hertford or Bramfield Woods in Watton at Stone as they both offer an extensive walk as well as bluebells, in fact they’re lovely at any time of year. Both can be reached in about 40 minutes from Finsbury Park and are around a mile from the railway station.

The best bluebell woods in Hertfordshire

Ashridge Estate, near Berkhamsted

Perhaps the most well known stretch of bluebells in Hertfordshire, the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate is a fantastic outdoor space. There are woodlands and meadows, plenty of wildlife plus a monument to climb and a cafe to refuel in. We visited Ashridge Estate in mid April several years ago, it must have been a mild winter as the bluebells were already in full bloom.

Bluebells in Hertfordshire Ashridge Estate
Bluebells in Hertfordshire: Ashridge Estate, mid April 2014

Whippendell Wood, Watford

If a walk amid bluebells sounds a bit tame, the Watford 10k race is known as the “bluebell run”. It takes in lovely Cassiobury Park (which features avenues of chestnut trees, a play area, cafe and bandstand) as well as the ancient woodland of Whippendell which will be carpeted with bluebells when the race takes place on the May Day bank holiday. Watford Junction is just 15 minutes train ride from London Euston so if you’re looking for bluebells near London, this is very accessible.

Heartwood Forest, near St Albans

Part newly planted forest, part ancient woodland, Heartwood is a work in progress landscape which I’m keen to visit. There is plenty to keep kids interested including marked trails for little legs, a natural playground and den building areas.

Post Wood, Ware

This little wood is really fun to explore. It’s quite hilly so if you’re bringing a buggy you’ll get a work out pushing it up and down the steep slopes. Our kids love Post Wood: there are lots of trees to climb and fallen trunks to walk along and there are tons of squirrels. Easily accessible from Ware train station, this is a great location if you want a car-free bluebell fix. Ware itself has a great selection of eateries to recharge in after your walk.

Ware is under an hour from London Liverpool Street so it’s a great option if you’re looking for bluebell walks near London.

Panshanger Woods, Hertford

This was our first bluebell success story after moving to Hertfordshire and we return in all seasons as it’s such a great place to bring the children: bluebells, den building, an easy circular walk for youngsters and excellent blackberries come summer.

This is another great option for Londoners looking for bluebells near London. Panshanger Woods is a mile from Hertford North train station which has a regular service into London taking around 40 minutes to Finsbury Park. There are no facilities at Panshanger, so make sure you use the loos at the train station! Panshanger is a huge park with a nature reserve, river, lakes and vast open meadows so it’s a lovely day out. Bring a picnic or head into Hertford for a meal: there are lots of great eateries in the town centre.

Bluebells in Hertfordshire Bluebells at Panshanger woods, Hertford, early April 2016
Panshanger woods, Hertford, early April 2016
Bluebells in Hertfordshire Bluebells at Panshanger Woods, Hertford, mid May 2016
Bluebells in Hertfordshire: Panshanger Woods, Hertford, mid May 2016

Sherrardspark Wood, Welwyn Garden City

This is a particularly large woodland to get lost in, despite its location within walking distance of Welwyn Garden City town centre. Like Post Wood in Ware and Panshanger in Hertford, this is a good option if you’re after a car-free bluebell day trip.

Pryors Wood, Stevenage

Stevenage gets a bad rap but it has hidden gems of brilliance. We love the town’s museum and I’m looking forward to escaping the endless roundabouts and soulless shopping centres for a stroll amid the bluebells at this lovely sounding nature reserve.

Mardley Heath, near Welwyn Garden City

We’ve visited this wonderful woodland in autumn and winter but we’ve yet to visit in spring. The forest floor at Mardley Heath had pockets of green shoots when we wandered through it in February so I have high hopes for a brilliant display in April and May.

Bluebells in Hertfordshire Bluebell shoots at Mardley Heath
Bluebell shoots at Mardley Heath mid February 2018

Tewin Orchard, near Welwyn Garden City

I’ve earmarked Tewin Orchard as a place to bring my boys when they’re a bit older to spy on badgers from the purpose built badger hides. At the moment the kids are too noisy for badgers to dare come close, so we’ll stick to the impressive bluebells in spring and the apple festival at the end of summer.

Gobions Woods, near Potters Bar

This sounds like a really interesting spot with ponds, a canal network and meadows as well as a bluebell wood which has a one mile waymarked trail running through it. Brookmans Park train station is a 20 minute walk from the woods.

Bramfield Woods, Perrywood Lane, Watton at Stone

This is a great spot for cycling or horse riding and it’s buggy-friendly too. There are pathways running from Watton at Stone to Datchworth and Bramfield, each village has some good pubs if you need a pit stop. Otherwise, picnic amid the beautiful bluebells.

Watton at Stone is around 45 minutes from Finsbury Park so it’s an easy day trip if you’re looking for bluebell walks near London.

Bluebells in Hertfordshire Bluebells at Perrywood Lane woods
Bluebells in Hertfordshire: Perrywood Lane woods, mid April 2017

More family-friendly walks in Hertfordshire

Broxbourne Sculpture Trail

Heartwood Forest near St Albans

Watton at Stone circular walk

Mardley Heath near Welwyn Garden City

Where do you recommend going to see bluebells in Hertfordshire? If you have a favourite bluebell wood, let me know in the comments below.

Need refreshments? I’ve put together an extensive list of tried and tested pubs in Hertfordshire which are great for families.

Looking for fun days out in Hertfordshire? I’ve written a guide to the best places to visit in Hertfordshire.

Looking for other ways to get outside in the UK? I’ve written about the best sculpture parks and sculpture trails in the UK which covers some brilliant outdoor art, perfect for families who want to get their kids engaged with art.

If you’re driving in the UK, make sure you take a look at my post about family-friendly places to stop just off the motorway. It covers everything from play areas to picnic spots, castles to nature reserves. 

best bluebell woods Hertfordshire
bluebells in Hertfordshire


  1. 4th April 2018 / 6:30 pm

    We go to see the blue bells in Ashridge forest every year for the last five years. I have not been to the one in Panshanger. I would love to see that. Thank you so much for your recommendation.

    • smudgedpostcard
      4th April 2018 / 6:55 pm

      Glad it’s close enough for you to get to!

  2. pigeonpairandme
    15th April 2018 / 7:42 pm

    Thanks for these – I don’t think I’ve seen bluebells in any of these places, and it’s good to know where you can consistently find them. I was in Highgate Wood the other day, and hoped to spot some there, but you’re right about them blooming a tad later this year. There were none to be seen, anywhere!

    • smudgedpostcard
      15th April 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Yes, really late. I normally drive past a patch every day and there’s no sign yet. But spring is coming this week!

  3. smudgedpostcard
    19th April 2018 / 11:36 am

    Good reason to return, just make sure you get a long weather forecast before you book your flight!

  4. 19th April 2018 / 12:38 pm

    Great list I want to visit this tear #farawayfiled

  5. 19th April 2018 / 1:53 pm

    A few of those are near us so I may try and go see them before they’re gone. Your photos are beautiful. 🙂

    • smudgedpostcard
      19th April 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Hope you get to see some, they should be around for a while yet.

  6. mytripstales
    19th April 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Great. I will try one of the places on the list. Beautiful photos. #farawayfiles

  7. Clare Thomson
    20th April 2018 / 1:25 pm

    How beautiful, Annabel. I love seeing bluebells in the woods. We call one of the woods close to us the Bluebell Wood because it always looks so wonderful in May. I should venture up to Hertfordshire one day to see them around you and compare them with the ones closer to us. Thank you so much for sharing this delightful slice of Spring with us on #FarawayFiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      20th April 2018 / 1:46 pm

      Let’s hope spring continues!

  8. Beth
    20th April 2018 / 1:43 pm

    I have a group hike coming up the first week of May, which “promises” a bluebell wood. That is in the Low Weald of Kent, the hike goes from Staplehurst to Headcorn. (No kids on that hike, it’s with a women’s group.) I also have seen a nice stretch of bluebells in the woodland area of Kew Gardens, so if you are in London, you might see them there. Thanks for the list, the photos are great!

    • smudgedpostcard
      20th April 2018 / 1:45 pm

      I’d love to visit Kew with my kids but we never manage as it’s the wrong side of London. Really must make the effort! The Kent countryside is lovely, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful walk.

  9. 21st April 2018 / 6:04 am

    My favourite sight by far! The sight of a carpet of bluebells just makes my heart sing & the scent too! We’re a bit far from Hertfordshire but happily have lots of beautiful places to see them near us now non Dartmoor – by far my favourite though is still Silkwood at Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury – just beautiful in every way. #FarawayFiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      21st April 2018 / 6:10 am

      That’s good to know, we might be passing by Tetbury in a couple of weeks.

  10. 21st April 2018 / 11:15 am

    What beautiful photos! I have been meaning to visit Dunham Massey for a while – you’ve inspired me to make it happen! #CountryKids

    • smudgedpostcard
      21st April 2018 / 1:48 pm

      Hope you make it there!

  11. 21st April 2018 / 1:16 pm

    We’ve been told to visit Ashridge later this month to see the bluebells, I can’t wait to see them all out, here they are just starting to appear but not in flower #countrykids

    • smudgedpostcard
      21st April 2018 / 1:48 pm

      The ones around here have literally just appeared in the last couple of days!

  12. 21st April 2018 / 1:23 pm

    One can never get tired of seeing flowers bloom especially after a long winter, so seeing bluebells in Herfordshire would be welcoming 🙂 I love your photo of Panshanger Woods in Hertford – they are so pretty! 🙂 #FarawayFiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      21st April 2018 / 1:49 pm

      I’m looking forward to lots of walks after school this week!

  13. 21st April 2018 / 7:08 pm

    I remember marveling at the bluebells in Ashridge Forest when I lived in Hertfordshire. It feels along time ago now though. we have bluebells here on the farm in the woods and they are all behind this year thanks to the cold spring.However the last 4 days is working wonders for bringing things along and I hope to be sharing ours soon too. Enjoy all the lovely bluebells around you this spring.

    Thank you for sharing with me on CountryKids

    • smudgedpostcard
      21st April 2018 / 7:14 pm

      Yes, our woods have literally changed colour in the last couple of days, such a great sight now!

  14. 21st April 2018 / 8:37 pm

    I have to admit we had never seen any round here until we got our dog approx 2 years ago and then we started walking her in the local woods and the place is beautiful with them.
    Great that they are thriving in so many places down near you.
    The red jacket amongst them in May 16 makes for a great contrast. #countrykids

  15. 22nd April 2018 / 7:51 am

    Really hoping to see some on a walk today – you’re pictures have made me so excited. They look so beautiful #countrykids

  16. 22nd April 2018 / 2:59 pm

    What a great idea to do a list! I love seeing bluebells although I always get a bit disheartened when I see people trample over them to get a photo or let their children pick handfuls of them. Such a shame that they don’t just leave them for other people to enjoy.

  17. 23rd April 2018 / 12:06 pm

    My friend lives that way and sends me loads of pics of the bluebells every year! It looks so precious.

  18. 23rd April 2018 / 5:42 pm

    So beautiful! I don’t think I’d tire of visiting bluebell woods either. The bluebells in my garden haven’t bloomed yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing them flower 🙂 #countrykids

  19. 23rd April 2018 / 8:42 pm

    Now that is a comprehensive list of Hertfordshire woodlands fit for any season. Gotta love the bluebells too.

    • smudgedpostcard
      23rd April 2018 / 8:50 pm

      Hope it doesn’t make you too homesick for Stevenage!

  20. 24th April 2018 / 3:14 am

    This post has me excited for spring! Like you we had a long, cold winter and things are JUST starting to bloom around here. Bluebells are always so pretty and it sounds like you’ve found some magical little spots. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      24th April 2018 / 6:20 am

      Hope your springtime arrives soon!

  21. 24th April 2018 / 9:55 am

    I just love bluebell time, and well done on such a comprehensive woodland list for your county! #CountryKids

    • smudgedpostcard
      24th April 2018 / 11:45 am

      Thanks. Yes, it’s one of my favourite times of year!

  22. 24th April 2018 / 6:34 pm

    I do love seeing Bluebell woods but am yet to work out the best places in Devon. Thanks for sharing your Hertfordshire tips on #MondayEscapes

    • smudgedpostcard
      24th April 2018 / 7:18 pm

      I bet there’s some lovely ones in Devon!

  23. sarahmumzilla
    25th April 2018 / 12:16 pm

    I love bluebell glades, but I don’t know of any local ones to me unfortunately! Thanks for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  24. 25th April 2018 / 1:42 pm

    Ah my old neck of the woods! Lovely to hear you say something nice about Stevenage – yes it does get a bad rep! I also like visiting Fairland’s Woods for bluebells, this makes me want to go back and visit! #MondayEscapes

    • smudgedpostcard
      25th April 2018 / 2:53 pm

      Always good to support the underdog!

  25. 25th April 2018 / 3:44 pm

    I LOVE bluebell season and I’ve written a similar post for East Devon and Dorset. I’ll share yours with my friends who live that way. #AdventureCalling

    • smudgedpostcard
      25th April 2018 / 3:51 pm

      Thanks! I’ll look out for yours.

  26. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    25th April 2018 / 4:33 pm

    My aunt used to live near Welwyn Garden City – I should have hunted out some of these fantastic woods when I used to visit.
    I wonder if there are any bluebell woods near me in Lincolnshire – I’ll have to check!

    • smudgedpostcard
      25th April 2018 / 5:58 pm

      You’ve reminded me I really want to visit Lincoln so let me know if I can take in some woods as well as the city!

  27. 25th April 2018 / 5:37 pm

    When I see posts like this one I feel really desperate to get a car again, as most of the great bluebell places around here are otherwise out of our reach. But still, lovely to see your photos of these beautiful spots! x

  28. 25th April 2018 / 7:13 pm

    I love Bluebells. These photos are great. I want to go and get snapping in the local Bluebell fields now. Popping over from #CountryKids xx

  29. 26th April 2018 / 11:07 am

    We have yet to see some bluebells here in Ireland. We saw the first ones in mid April last year, but nothing so far this year after this endless winter. The spring sunshine should wake them up soon though 🙂

  30. ChelseaMamma
    26th April 2018 / 7:02 pm

    I cannot wait to head out and see the bluebells, I have some in my garden now

  31. 27th April 2018 / 11:47 am

    I love Bluebell season! You’ve reminded me to get out and about to our local bluebell forest this week! #MondayEscapes

    • smudgedpostcard
      27th April 2018 / 12:02 pm

      Hope you find some!

  32. 28th April 2018 / 6:25 pm

    I afore bluebells and they were everywhere where I grey up in Essex, there aren’t so many where I live in Lancashire which is so sad as they re the prettiest flower x

  33. 7th May 2018 / 7:17 pm

    I love bluebell time too, it reminds me of visiting local woods when I was a kid. We haven’t made it this year, hopefully they’ll hold out for a little while yet! This is a great list, looks like some really beautiful places to visit. Thank you for linking up with us #AdventureCalling

    • smudgedpostcard
      7th May 2018 / 8:02 pm

      We went for a bluebell wander thousand weekend, they’re just starting to turn so you’d better be quick!

  34. 8th May 2018 / 10:21 am

    We’ve been admiring some bluebells in west Wales this weekend and that, of course, is no bad thing. The Watford 10K sounds like my sort of run and is pretty much why I love trail running as opposed to pavement bashing – the natural beauty of the landscape always makes it appear less painful. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling. We’ll be back open the in the morning for more posts.

    • smudgedpostcard
      8th May 2018 / 5:23 pm

      I have great memories of the bluebells on the Pembrokeshire coast, would love to go back there!

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