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Best places to see wildflowers in the UK

24 March 2015 ( 03 June 2021 )

Find out some of the best places to see wildflowers in the UK, and the best times to see them.

Wildflowers in Muker, Yorkshire
North of Muker, Yorkshire, there are more wildflowers per square metre than you are likely to see anywhere else in the UK

Scottish Western Highlands for avens and parnassia

The beautiful green Isle of Lismore off the west coast of Scotland gets its name from the Gaelic Lios Mor, or Great Garden; this fertile island has an estimated 300 different types of plant with the Grass of Parnassus and mountain avens found in late spring among the highlights. 

Best time to see: late spring

North York Moors for wild daffodils

Every Spring, the 'daffodil dale' of Farndale attracts visitors in the know who visit this lovely part of the North York Moors National Park for a riotous display of wild daffodils. 

Best time to see: late March

Lake District or Brecon Beacons for bluebells

Many people have their favourite patches of bluebells but few can rival Loughrigg Terrace, close to Grasmere in the Lake District for its simply magical carpet of blue in early May. Linger among them on walks from Monk Coniston, a superb National Trust country house close by.

Alternatively Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons National Park offers Coed Cefn wood which has a spectacular May display, the perfect ending to walk up Sugar Loaf.

Best time to see: usually second or third week of May

Visiting the Lakes? Try one of these top walks in the Lake District

Yorkshire Dales for more wildflowers per square meter than anywhere else

But perhaps the flower walk to top them all is early haytime through the fields just north of Muker in Swaledale in Yorkshire. Here there are more wildflowers per square metre than anywhere else you are likely to see in the UK. They include cat’s ear, wood crane’s bill, Lady’s mantle, pignut, and the lovely melancholy thistle.

Hay meadows are at their best for a very short time after grazing animals have been excluded and before the hay is ready to be cut.

Best time to see: between late May and early July

Cornwall for many rare plants

Spring on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall treats walkers to a riot of colour; yellows, oranges, pinks and reds. The area is home to many rare plants including Spring Squill, Bloody Cranesbill, Burnet Rose, Spring Sandwort, and even wild asparagus. The perfect walk to appreciate this stunning spectacle is a section of the South West Coast Path, from Mullion, to picturesque Mullion Cove, and the serpentine rocks of Kynance Cove. The finale has to be the carpet of colour on Lizard Head itself.

Best time to see: second half of May

Cotswolds for orchids

Gentle countryside walks along the Windrush Valley, or south of Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds are famous for their orchids. The picture postcard village of Bourton-on-the-Water is perfectly placed to enjoy them.

Best to see: early to mid June

Our thanks to HF Walking Holidays for providing their favourite sites

Picking wildflowers and the law

Picking wildflowers from restricted areas can get you fined.

Don't pick flowers from any private land or from council-maintained displays at parks, roundabouts, nature reserves and verges. Don't pick flowers from community gardens or National Trust properties. 

In areas where you can pick flowers only pick flowers which are not protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Leave a substantial amount of plant to allow it to carry on growing. Never dig a plant up. Picking one flower out of every 20 is recommended so as not to cause too much damage.

Visit our Days Out section for more exciting ways to explore the country, including some of the best walks in the UK and the best historic church walks in England

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.