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Five places to find the National’s Trust’s most beautiful spring blossoms in Kent


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Spring is here, and that means some beautiful blossoms are about to bloom. Here’s our guide on where to find five different blossoms across the county’s National Trust destinations, and when to catch them at their best…

Apple blossom in the orchard at Sissinghurst Castle in March. Picture: National Trust / David Sellman
Apple blossom in the orchard at Sissinghurst Castle in March. Picture: National Trust / David Sellman

Apple - late April to May

One of the most widely grown - and delicious! - fruits in the UK, apples are a family favourite in most households. There is a huge variety of apple trees grown all over Kent, from sharp green apples to sweet, juicy reds, with most trees showing pink petals when the flower first blooms before fading to a striking white throughout the season.

Apple blossoms can be found at Chartwell, Ightham Mote, Scotney Castle, Sissinghurst Castle and Smallhythe Place.

Blackthorn in bloom. Picture: National Trust / Hugh Mothersole
Blackthorn in bloom. Picture: National Trust / Hugh Mothersole

Blackthorn - from March onwards

Bearing the fruits of sloe gin, the eye-catching blackthorn is the UK’s earliest blossom. You can spot wild blackthorn creeping out of countryside hedgerows by it’s pure white flowers, black-purple twigs and short stalks, which are unlike any other blossom you’ll see this spring. Blackthorn is also home to birds, butterflies and the Blackthorn Mining Bee, which collects pollen from its namesake as the weather gets warmer.

Blackthorn blossoms can be found at Ightham Mote and Scotney Castle.

Pink cherry blossoms on a wild cherry tree. Picture: National Trust / Rob Coleman
Pink cherry blossoms on a wild cherry tree. Picture: National Trust / Rob Coleman

Cherry - April to May

Nothing says springtime like the cherry blossom. You might be familiar with the blooming Japanese Sakura tree, which is a delightful shade of pale pink, or the small baubles of white flowers from the wild cherry tree. However, there are a huge number of different species and some cherry trees can produce blossoms of dark pink and even yellow - if you know where to find them.

Cherry blossoms can be found at Chartwell, Emmetts Garden, Ightham Mote, Scotney Castle, Sissinghurst Castle and Smallhythe Place.

Crab apple blossoms can be found across Kent. Picture: National Trust / Mel Peters
Crab apple blossoms can be found across Kent. Picture: National Trust / Mel Peters

Crab Apple - March to April

Smaller than its cousin, the apple tree, fruits from the crab apple blossom are commonly used for cooking rather than eating straight from the fruit bowl. The crab apple blossom is a rather fetching white-and-pink colour with a pleasantly sweet scent. The trees attract plenty of wildlife including bees, blackbirds, thrushes and moth caterpillars, while badgers, voles, mice and foxes will come foraging for fruit that falls to the ground.

Crab apple blossoms can be found at Ightham Mote, Scotney Castle and Smallhythe Place.

See the hawthorn blossoms at the end of spring. Picture: National Trust / Emma Weston
See the hawthorn blossoms at the end of spring. Picture: National Trust / Emma Weston

Hawthorn - from May onwards

Hawthorn is one of the late-blooming blossoms and often signals the transition from spring to summer. But don’t worry, it’s worth the wait - the pale green leaves and pretty pink blossoms decorate the impressively large trees, which can grow up to 15 metres tall, and their thorny twigs. The dark red berries that these blossoms produce are equally stunning to look at.

Hawthorn blossoms can be found at Ightham Mote and Scotney Castle.

If you're not sure where to visit first, here's a little more information on each of the attractions...

Chartwell: Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill, near Westerham

Emmetts Garden: Interesting hillside garden, near Sevenoaks, with year-round features

Ightham Mote: Outstanding 14th-century moated manor house between Sevenoaks and Borough Green

Scotney Castle: Picturesque garden at Lamberhurst with a 14th century moated castle and a Victorian country mansion - all in a beautiful wooded estate

Sissinghurst Castle: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a world renowned garden near Cranbrook

Smallhythe Place: Victorian actress Ellen Terry’s early 16th-century house and cottage gardens, near Tenterden

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