Seven iconic places to see cherry blossom this spring 

There’s no need to fly to Japan to see beautiful blossom trees at their best.

Cherry blossom is one of the most exciting things about spring – along with the sunny faces of daffodils and the extra daylight from switching to British Summer Time.  

These ephemeral blossoms are loved around the world. Japan is particularly famed for its love of the flowers, of course, with thousands of people flocking to cherry trees to marvel at – and picnic under – the blooms. But there are places much closer to home where you can see the cherry blossom this spring. The iconic Japanese cherry blossom (known as ‘sakura’) season peaks around late March and April.

Woman and child sit under a cherry blossom treeCredit: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum / Colin Hawkins
Visiting places with beautiful cherry blossom is a day out for the whole family

When does cherry blossom flower in the UK? 

Cherry blossom in the UK typically flowers between early March and late April or even early May – it depends on the location, the type of tree and how unpredictable the spring weather has been. 

“A number of factors can influence the timing of the emergence of blossom, temperature being the principal one,” says Andy Jasper, Head of Gardens and Parklands at the National Trust 

“While we had a mild winter overall, the recent cold snaps have affected how quickly nature progresses, and we can see the effects of this across many of our gardens with blooms delayed. 

“Luckily, snow doesn’t generally affect the blossom in the long run – it’s late frost that can really impact the display of blossom, fruiting and harvests.” 

READ: The best places to see bluebells each spring

1. Gloucestershire

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is a magnet for tree lovers, home to 2,500 different species from all corners of the globe and boasting five national tree collections. 

Cherry blossom tree in bloom at Westonbirt, The National ArboretumCredit: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum / Jane Gifford
Westonbirt’s cherry trees in blossom next to an avenue of lime trees

Located near the M4 in the Cotswolds, the park has its own open Cherry Glade. This is a favourite spot for visitors stopping for a snack or picnic as the weather improves. The trees glow for a few weeks each spring with pink hues (getting lighter as they expand and mature) – the varieties growing there have between five to more than 100 petals in each blossom. 

2. Devon

RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon, England

Rosemoor has a number of locations where visitors can catch the springtime spectacle. Cherry blossom can be found in the Woodland Garden, set among camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons 

Two cherry trees at RHS RosemoorCredit: RHS / Jason Ingram
Prunus × yedoensis ‘Pink Shell’ at Rosemoor

Lady Anne’s Arboretum is also home to some of Rosemoor’s oldest cherry trees. RHS recently added 15 ornamental cherry trees as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, which celebrates the UK’s friendship with Japan. 

“One of my favourite cherries for its simplicity, Prunus ‘Jo-nioi’ is bursting with clouds of pure white flowers in the lower shrub border,” says Sheila Dearing, Rosemoor’s Garden Technical Services Officer. “It really is a striking specimen – a magnet for both visitors and pollinating insects.” 

Did you know? 

If you can’t get outside to see the cherry blossoms, you can bring them home to you instead. It’s possible to grow your own cherry blossom trees indoors. This useful guide can help you get started. 

The RHS says acid cherry trees are better suited to growing in pots as they’re less vigorous. Some cultivars – like ‘Gisela 5’ – have been grafted onto semi-dwarfing root stocks to control their eventual size, though they might still grow too large for some houses. The RHS has more advice on growing a cherry tree in a container on its website. 

3. London

Greenwich Park, London, England

If you find yourself in the southeast of England, a trip to Greenwich Park breaks up the city bustle, and each spring erupts in pink plumage.

Greenwich Park path with bench lined with pink cherry blossomCredit: Shutterstock / Jonathan Hoseana
Pathways through Greenwich Park become canopied with blossom

The central pathway through the park becomes blanketed overhead with cherry blossom. It’ll be one of the busier spots on our list, but there is a chance you might see one of London’s infamous green parakeets snacking on the tasty blooms. Greenwich Park also houses a rose garden if you need a moment of calm from the crowds. 

4. Cheshire

Tatton Park, Cheshire, England

The Sakura Cherry Tree Project also led to more than 40 cherry trees planted at Tatton Park in Cheshire.  

A white flowering cherry tree (Prunus Credit: Shutterstock / Rob Lavers RIBA ARPS
White-flowering ‘Tai Haku’ has been planted at Tatton Park

The gardening team there has thoughtfully planted the trees in such a way so that visitors can follow a trail, called the Spring Cherry Walk. This takes them from the Pinetum, past the Japanese Garden and to the Choragic Monument. 

Three types of cherry have been planted as part of the project: white-flowered ‘Tai Haku’, the pink ‘Beni Yutaka’, and ‘Yedoensis’, which grows blushing white blossom. 

5. Argyll and Bute

Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Iconic pink and white cherry blossom pretty much take over the town of Helensburgh each spring. The town’s trees are the only urban tree collection included in the National Tree Collections of Scotland.  

Visitors can find white cherry trees lining Stafford Street and West King Street, while pink cherry chasers should head to Colquhoun Street, West Princes Street, John Street and Lomond Street. There’s even a mile-long avenue of pink cherry blossom on West Argyle Street. 

Helensburgh Tree Conservation Trust has a leaflet and map guide to the flowering trees of the town available to download from its website. 

Prunus incisa Kojou-no-mai flowering early spring ornamental tree, small bright white flowers in bloom on branchesCredit: Shutterstock / Iva Vagnerova
Prunus incisa ‘Kojou-no-mai’ has unusual stem patterns and is ideal for growing in a pot

6. Norfolk

Blickling Estate, Norfolk, England

This Jacobean mansion and its ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows.  

Cherry blossom at Blickling Estate, NorfolkCredit: National Trust Images / Samantha Burgess
Blickling Estate has more than 4,600 acres of woodland, parkland and farmland

Blickling’s Walled Garden underwent a restoration in 2014, which saw the team add 150 cherry, plum, apple and pear trees two years later. Now these trees have had time to mature, their displays of blossom (starting with plum in early spring and closely followed by cherry) are magnificent. The West Garden is also home to some magnolias that are stunning when in bloom. 

7. Wrexham

Chirk Castle, Wrexham, Wales

National Trust property Chirk Castle forms part of the organisation’s annual #BlossomWatch campaign.

The 700-year-old castle is home to stunning formal gardens, and lawns dotted with cherry and pear tree blossoms. Cherry tree blossom gives off a fragrance that drifts throughout the gardens in spring. If you miss the cherry blossom, don’t worry. Later visitors can enjoy the tumbling wisteria in the courtyard, and the late spring rhododendrons in the shrub garden. 

White blossom of cherry tree (Prunus cerasus) close upCredit: Shutterstock / Natalka De
Delicate blossom of Prunus cerasus ‘Morello’

Grow your own

Three cherry trees for your garden

Cherry trees aren’t just great for spring blossom – they provide a bounty of delicious fruit in summer and can transform your garden with rich autumnal hues before resting over winter. 

Here are three trees that are easy to plant and are self-fertile (meaning they don’t need a companion tree to produce that all-important fruit):

For the keen home cooks, Prunus cerasus ‘Morello’ grows large dark red fruits with a sour taste, ideal for some recipes. Harvest the berries in August and prepare your loved ones for a feast of delicious crumbles, pies and jams.  

If you’re new to growing fruit trees, Prunus avium ‘Stella’ is good starting point. The sweet fruit it produces will be ready to pick towards the end of July. It’s easy to grow and of course is adorned with white flowers during mid-spring. 

Like Stella, Prunus domestica ‘Sunburst’ is easy to manage. It was developed in the Sixties as the first ever sweet black cherry. It produces a lot of fruit that ripens in early July. There are dwarf bush versions available if you prefer a smaller tree. 

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her

Updated:

Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller, i-escape.com, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

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