When do bluebells flower? And where to see them

Close up of bluebell flowers
Look out for beautiful bluebells appearing in woods in April and May. (Photo: David Chamberlain/WTML)

A carpet of shimmering bluebells is a breathtaking sight! Here in the UK we have more than half of the world’s bluebells and you can see them in woods up and down the country each spring.

When do bluebells flower?

Bluebells usually flower from mid-April to late May, depending on the weather. If spring is mild they tend to bloom early. They'll often first appear in the South West where it’s a little warmer than the rest of the UK.

Bluebells are one of the species we record on our Nature’s Calendar website. People tell us when they first see the flowers so we can map their arrival. Together with the other records we collect, this data helps scientists measure the effect of climate change on the seasons.

Bluebell Wood
Head out to see vibrant bluebells this spring. (Photo: Rob Grange/WTML.)

Do bluebells flower every year?

Yes, bluebells are perennial plants - this means they flower every year. They soak up the early spring sunshine and store it as energy in their bulbs underground. They then use this energy to bloom the following spring.

Where to see bluebells

Bluebells are traditionally woodland flowers. Sometimes they grow very close together creating dazzling blue carpets! If you find lots of bluebells it could be a sign that you're in a very old wood. You may see them growing in hedgerows, fields and gardens too.

Exploring a bluebell wood in spring is a magical experience for the whole family. Check out our top bluebell woods to see if there's one near you.

Bluebells growing among trees
You'll often find bluebells in very old woods. (Photo: Lesley Newcombe/WTML)

Do bluebells smell?

Yes, native bluebells have a strong, sweet scent. Next time you see some, crouch down and give them a sniff!

Are bluebells protected in the UK?

Yes, native bluebells are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It’s against the law to dig up bulbs in the wild and landowners aren't allowed to dig them up to sell them either.

You can help us look after bluebells by staying on the paths while exploring woods. They are delicate plants and can be damaged by lots of people trampling on them, so watch your step!

Children walking along a path through a bluebell wood
Bluebells are very delicate flowers. Always stick to the paths to avoid stepping on them. (Photo: MachineHeadz/iStockphoto.)

Help us protect bluebells for future generations

Woodland Trust family welcome pack

If you and your children enjoy spending time in woods, have a look at Woodland Trust family membership.

When you join, your kids will receive activity packs through the post every season. They are packed with art projects, puzzles, competitions and facts to help children learn about trees and wildlife. And as members you'll help us protect beautiful bluebell woods right here in the UK, so people can enjoy them for many years to come.

Have you seen bluebells?

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