For many of us, snowdrops are the first floral sign of spring. It brings me so much joy to see their green shoots and then the delicate white flowers each year. A very welcome sign that winter is gradually making way for warmer months. Here are some of the best places to see snowdrops in Derbyshire this springtime, complete with suggestions of cosy pubs or lovely coffee shops to go afterwards.
Snowdrops flower mainly from January to March, although the peak season is often February. When snowdrops flower is dependent on the weather, so it’s worth checking with each property that they’re actually in flower if that’s the sole reason for your visit. That said, all of these would make a perfectly pleasant day out.
Do not pick snowdrops – or indeed any wildflowers. Not only can this result in large fines (and even prison sentences for the worst offenders) but it’s also very selfish. The whole joy of wildflowers is seeing them in their natural environment, and if they are left in peace there is more chance of them clumping up (technical gardening term there!) resulting in more impressive coverage in future years. Please be careful not to trample on snowdrops too.
Where to find snowdrops in Derbyshire
Hopton Hall (near Ashbourne)
Hopton Hall is privately owned and not routinely open to general visitors apart from during snowdrop season (and sometimes for summer roses). However, during February their delightful, calm gardens are open to for visitors to appreciate the seasonal display of snowdrops. This is one of the best places to see snowdrops in Derbyshire. Described by one Trip Advisor review as “snowdrop paradise”.
The inside Snowdrop Café is sadly closed but they hope to offer outside catering options.
The current Hopton Hall can trace its roots back to the 1400s when it boasted an expansive estate of 3,700 acres, some of which now stands under Carsington Reservoir.
The grounds may be closed due to local extreme weather, heavy rain, high winds and snow. Please check before travelling.
How to find it – Located off the B5035 between the turns for Brassington and Wirksworth. The postcode is DE4 4DF but do beware of using Sat Nav on single track country roads.
Prices – Adults £5, Child 6yrs to 16yrs £2.50, Children under 6yrs free. Free parking.
No dogs (except assistance dogs).
Suitable for children but be aware that of open water etc. Also note that the very small play area is for holiday cottage guests only. Visitors are politely asked to keep to the designated paths only.
Opening times – From 1st Feb 2022 to 1st March 2022 (inclusive). 10:30am to 16:00pm last admittance 15:00pm
Facilities – Hopton Hall are hoping to offer outside catering facilities for a bracing cuppa and cake.
Where to go afterwards
Lots of lovely places to explore before/after. Wirksworth is pleasantly quirky. Head for Cromford (Scarthin books), Barley Mow in Bonsall or explore Matlock and Matlock Bath. Or in Brassington there’s Buttermilk Coffee (soon to be hosting the exciting looking Tasting Club pop-up restaurant).
Snowdrops in Chesterfield – Hardwick Hall
There are lovely clusters of snowdrops in Hardwick’s gardens. Interestingly, the snowdrops in the South Court at Hardwick were originally planted in the shapes of the names of the nieces of the 6th Duke (Blanche, Anne, Dorothy and Maud). Since they’ve spread it’s no longer possible to make these out but instead expect to see
Park in Hardwick Hall’s car park. From M1 exit junction 29, follow brown signs. Or use postcode S44 5RW for Sat Nav.
Prices – National Trust members free otherwise you need to buy a ticket, which includes entrance to the gardens and parkland. Until the 11th February (whilst the Hall is still closed) these are Adults £9, Child £4.50. Once the Hall is open it’s £16/£8. This is expensive; I absolutely recommend joining the National Trust so you can enter for free – read why it’s good value here – not an ad.
Lots of parking included in entry price.
Dogs welcome on leads in parkland, stableyard (note not in the restaurant).
Opening times – garden and café open 9am to 4.30pm daily, park open until 6pm daily
Facilities: café and toilet facilities (including baby changing)
Where to go afterwards
The Hardwick Inn is a perfect as you drive right past it as you leave (listed in my guide to the best cosy pubs in Derbyshire). Explore Chesterfield (head to Chatsworth Road for lots of independent shops, bars and cafés) or in the town centre, you can’t go wrong at Bottle and Thyme.
Snowdrop walk from Calke to Dimminsdale
Another wonderful place to see snowdrops in Derbyshire is on this walk from Calke Abbey. This walking trail includes some impressive snowdrops. It’s a moderate walk, 2.5 miles or 4km long, expected to take about an hour and half.
How to find snowdrops at Calke:
Park in the main car park for Calke Abbey, this is well sign posted, if using a Sat Nav the postcode is DE73 7JF. Then follow these walk guidelines. Bear in mind mobile signal can be non-existent in rural areas so print off/write down.
Prices – Parking is free for National Trust members, otherwise entrance is £6.50 for adults and £3.25 for children but this does include entrance to the parkland and gardens. Read what to expect at Calke Abbey and other National Trust properties here.
Dogs are welcome. Read full details here.
Opening times – the nature reserve is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm (restaurant shuts at 4pm).
Facilities – toilet block (including baby changing), café and shop.
Where to go afterwards
To see more snowdrops, The Dower House is open on the 12th and 13th of February (see below).
I hear good things about Tollgate Brewery tap house which is as you exit the Calke estate. Melbourne is lovely for a mooch (lots of lovely independent shops, cafés, restaurants etc – also Tori & Ben’s farm shop for the best steaks ever). Bulls Head in Repton. Stauton Harold is also nice for a wander and coffee.
The National Garden Scheme Snowdrop Festival 2022
The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,500 exceptional private gardens and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. Last year they donated more than three million pounds to charity. You can find a garden to visit via their website.
In February, the NGS are running a snowdrop festival with one hundred gardens taking part nationally, including two in Derbyshire.
The Dower House (NGS, near Melbourne)
The privately owned, nineteenth century The Dower House is opening its private garden to visitors on Saturday 12th February and Sunday 13th February only.
The house enjoys a splendid view of Melbourne Pool from a balustraded terrace running the length of the house. The garden drops steeply by paths and steps to lawn with herbaceous borders and a bank of some 60 shrubs.
Hidden paths and different areas for children to explore and various animals such as a bronze crocodile and stone dragon to find. (Please take extra care due to the open water).
There are snowdrops in a little woodland area and elsewhere in the garden. There are lots of other winter flowers to enjoy too. Elegant reticulata Iris, winter clematis, glorious pools of gold winter aconites, huge shrubs of Daphne covered with intensely fragrant flowers, paths lined with the deliciously scented sarcococca (Christmas box), crocus, cyclamen and of course hellibore dancing amongst the snowdrops.
The garden is owned by Griselda Kerr and her husband William. Griselda’s wonderful book is available to buy here (affiliate link – so I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase via this link) and of course independent bookshops.
How to find it – The Dower House, Church Square, Melbourne, Derbyshire, DE73 8JH. When in Church Square, turn right just before the church by a blue sign giving church service times. Gates are then 50 yards ahead. (Note that parking can be at a premium in Melbourne)
Prices – Adults £4, children free, cashless payments accepted
Opening times – Saturday 12th February and Sunday 13th February only, 10am to 3.30pm
Light refreshments served outside.
Where to go afterwards
You could easily combine this with the snowdrop walk at Calke Abbey.
Lots of gorgeous independent shops, bars and restaurants in Melbourne (see the suggestions listed under the snowdrops in Calke Abbey listing above) e.g. Tea at 3 or Amalfi White. The Bulls Head in Wilson is also lovely.
10 Chestnut Way (NGS, Repton)
This private garden is open to see their snowdrops on 20th February only.
Described as a large and wonderfully diverse garden, there are lots of separate areas of interest and thoughtful planting throughout.
In addition to a lovely garden featuring unusual sculptures, renowned home-made teas make for a memorable visit.
How to find it – 10 Chestnut Way, Repton, Derbyshire, DE65 6FQ
Prices – Adults £4, children free. Tickets can be pre-booked but this is not essential. Cashless payments accepted.
Opening times – Sunday 20th February only, 10am – 3pm
Facilities – Homemade teas and soup.
Where to go afterwards:
The Bulls Head in Repton (owned by the same people who own the Hunloke Arms) or The Dragon in Willington.
Other places to see snowdrops in Derbyshire
Thornbridge Hall (near Ashford in the Water, Bakewell)
There are large clusters of snowdrops to be seen in the lovely gardens at Thornbridge Hall. An added bonus is that these lovely gardens are currently free to visit (until the end of February 2022). Read what to expect here.
Kedleston Hall (near Derby)
Lots of snowdrops on the main walks (ask at the visitor reception/where you pay if unsure) and also several more patches hidden in the woods. Please be careful not to trample on them.
St Oswald’s Church, Ashbourne
The grounds at St Oswald’s are full of snowdrops and will be followed by daffodils. The church is a short walk from the Tissington Trail or stroll into town for coffee and calk at one of the lovely independents. I particularly like The Little Shed.
Baslow Village Green
There is a lovely show of snowdrops in the centre of Baslow just opposite The Devonshire Arms. This one is perfect for anyone who wants a drive-by show. My own beloved Grannie used to get so much joy from seeing seasonal wildflowers from the car, long after she was able to walk very far.
After a potter around the village, The Devonshire Arms is perfectly nice for a drink or lunch etc (and then you could park in their car park). Or head to the Cavendish Hotel for a more decadent treat.
To combine seeing the snowdrops with a proper walk, the fabulous Peak District Kids website lists this pram friendly walk which starts and ends in Baslow.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best places to find snowdrops in Derbyshire. I would love to hear if you know of anywhere else with impressive displays. Please comment below or tag me on social media – scroll down for the pink icons on the right hand side to follow me on your favourite channel.