Britain’s best spring arboreta

Liz Barrett puts a spring in her step through the countryside's finest collections of trees and shrubs

Bluebells at Silk Wood in Westonbirt

Westonbirt Arboretum
Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
Perhaps the most well known of the UK’s arboretums is The National Arboretum, Westonbirt. Created in 1829, Westonbirt is set in 600 acres of glorious Cotswold countryside with seventeen miles of paths along which to stroll and admire more than 18,000 trees.  


Thorp Perrow Arboretum 
Bedale, North Yorkshire   
Among the 85 acres of woodland walks Thorp Perrow holds one of the largest and rarest collections of trees and shrubs in the north of England, including five national collections – Ash, Lime, Walnut, Laburnum and Cotinus. Spring is Daffodil time, followed by Blossom and carpets of Bluebells. The Arboretum is also home to a Falconry Centre, a captive breeding and conservation park.

Arley Arboretum
Arley, Northwich, Cheshire
Nestling in the beautiful countryside of the Severn Valley, Arley is one of the oldest Arboretums in Great Britain. Boasting more than 300 species, the collection includes many rare, domestic and exotic trees. Only just recently open to the public for the first time in its history, highlights include the stunning Magnolia garden and the Azaleas and Rhododendrons in full bloom.

Stone Lane Gardens Arboretum 
Chagford, Newton Abbot, Devon   
Stone Lane Gardens is a five-acre arboretum nestled within the Dartmoor National Park. But don’t let its small size deter you. Stone Lane holds a national collection of Birch and Alder trees in a landscaped and water setting. 

Bedgebury National Pinetum 
Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent   
Host to a world-class collection of conifers, Bedgebury is a beautiful and peaceful place to walk in all seasons. The 2,000 acres of Bedgebury Forest also offer miles of cycling, mountain-biking, riding and walking for all ages and abilities.