You may not be familiar with the name Welford Park, a privately owned country house and estate in Berkshire. Situated about five miles outside of Newbury, the current house dates back to approximately 1650 and is surrounded by 3,000 acres of parkland and woodland. The setting may be familiar if you are one of the millions of people who tune into the Great British Bake Off every year, as this it where the famed Bake Off tent has been located every year since 2014 for the filming of the show.
For most of the year the Welford Park estate is closed to the public, but in a tradition that has been running for over 50 years, the grounds are opened up for a few weeks in the spring. The reason for this is that the general public can take in the magnificent display of snowdrops in the five acres of beech woodland near the property.
The dates vary year on year depending on when the flowers are in bloom , but in general you can expect to be able to visit from a Wednesday to Sunday during the month of February. The 2020 season opens on Wednesday 29th January, running through to Sunday 1st March.
The displays themselves are simply stunning – a beautiful carpet of white through Beech Woods. There are plenty of pathways allowing unobscured views of the woods along the way, offering plenty of locations for great photographs. The main walk around the woodland takes about thirty minutes at a good pace, however there are plenty of pathways leading away from the snowdrops as well as the formal gardens to to explore. There are accessible pathways for wheelchairs and pushchairs which are clearly marked. We spent about two hours at the property in total.
Once you have explored the woodland and the formal gardens, allow some time to stop of at The Old Laundry Tearoom and Marquee. Open from 11am serving hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes and they offer lunch options from 12.00pm. There is also a gift shop selling snowdrop related goods amongst other things.
Welford Park is open from 11.00am with last admission at 4.00pm, standard entry costs being £8.00 with concessions and children’s prices available. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a lead, but not allowed in the tearoom. Be prepared to expect crowds on a sunny day, as the snowdrop displays are only for a limited period. We had to queue a little while to get in, but the displays are well worth it. For further information, please check out their website.
If you want to make the most of a day in the stunning Berkshire countryside, the beautiful National Trust property of Basildon Park is approximately half an hour away.
Have you seen a great display of snowdrops that you would like to share?
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