The early flowering daffs are already in full resplendent bloom around the rose garden at Waddesdon, but it’s Daffodil Valley that is – as the name suggests – the real show. There’s every shade of yellow in this area near the Aviary (back in 2019, 350,000 spring bulbs were planted around the grounds!) – and it’s even gently sloping to give you the best view across the bobbing heads. Also check out Tay Bridge and Tulip Patch for their daffs and a quiet picnic spot on a sunny spring day.
Image credit: Peter Adams
The pale stone of Stowe’s colonnaded facade is the perfect backdrop to Stowe’s gazillions of daffodils. They’re out now and at their best between Grenville’s Column and Stowe House and around the ionic (did you pay attention in Classics?!) Temple of Concord and Victory. Note – the house and grounds are closed to visitors 4-7 April due to filming (considering it was used for Bridgerton, various Bond movies and one of the original Indian Jones movies, we’re keeping our eyes peeled for megastars in the area…).
Image credit: ©Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Another grand dame of the Oxon/Bucks historic house set, Shotover House in Wheatley is usually an appointment-only garden to visit and with no direct website, it isn’t all that easy to arrange, so snap up this chance to visit on Daffodil Day. The charity fundraiser is on 20 March 2-4.30pm. There will be tea, coffee and home made cake stands plus a plant and home-made produce stall alongside the swathes of spring daffs.
Oxford’s University Parks is a gem for its daffodils, which adorn the banks of the River Cherwell and the native planting between the sports pitches. You can enter the park through the South Lodge gate off South Parks road and saunter the Riverside Walk, just down from the fabulously named Mesopotamia – the island between the upper and lower channels. Or get a riparian view from a punt – hire at Cherwell Boathouse or Magdalen Bridge.
Another rare glimpse of a seldom-seen garden is to be had at Buckland Lakes, a historic house and parkland near Faringdon that was designed by Georgian landscape architect Richard Woods. Daffodils surround two large lakes and the wooded areas with views across to the Palladian mansion, now owned by racing driver Paddy McNally. It’s on 10 April 2-5pm – you can book in advance through NGS or just turn up and there’s homemade teas, naturally, at the Memorial Hall.
March is the time when the carpet of yellow appears below the tree canopy at Batsford Arboretum and you can say so long to winter (though maybe don’t ditch the duvet coat quite yet…). There’s even a hotline to call for an update on what’s in bloom before you visit (01386 701441)… serious garden geek territory. Ok, so it’s just over the border in Glouc near Moreton-in-Marsh, but totally worth the trip – as is fellow Glouc arboreturm, Westonbirt, with its blooms of wild daffodils. Check out more daff delights and walks on our sister site Muddy Glouc &Worcs.
This winding village, just south of Banbury is a pretty Cotswoldy village with honey-stone houses, impressive 13th century church and Morris dancers (three troupes no less!). But also swathes of daffs at this time of year. Its village store and four pubs should more than cater to your refreshment needs especially if you undertake this easy-going 5km, circular walk and earn that bowl of chips.
There’s daffs galore at the National Trust owned Hughenden Manor, known for its orchard and walled garden, and once the country home of Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli. Also worth a mooch is the neighbouring 25-hectare Hughenden Park, to the north of High Wycombe. It is something of a mecca for daffodil lovers who come to see the carpets of yellow flowers, and among them gnarly old blossom trees. It’s a magic combination and is free!
The 90-acre Capability Brown-designed plot around Hartwell House is ripe for exploring in spring and the fact that this is one of the three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust means you can wake up there too! The gardening team planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs in the grounds near the canal temple 20 years ago so it’s quite a sight at this time of year. If you can’t stay, then at least take afternoon tea overlooking the grounds (pinkies at the ready!).
It’s not just watersports in MK’s vast Willen Lake – the land around it amounts to 80 acres of parkland that’s been planted up for year-round colour. For spring daffs check out the area around the Peace Pagoda and Medicine Wheel, but with 250 million daffodils reportedly planted around Milton Keynes over the last few decades, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a few.