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. Some details updated for 2023 but please check carefully before making a special journey.
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”.
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 (or if you can secure a booking, the 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 there should still be ample clumps of snowdrops to be seen.
Park in Hardwick Hall’s car park. From M1 exit junction 29, follow brown signs. Or use postcode S44 5RW for Sat Nav.
National Trust members free otherwise you need to buy a ticket, which includes entrance to the gardens and parkland. This time last year, these were priced at 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.
Likewise, if you’re not local and wanting to make a full day or even a weekend away – the Peak Edge Hotel is gorgeous and not far from Hardwick.
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 was £6.50 for adults and £3.25 for children (2022 prices) 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
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 11th February and Sunday 12th February 2023 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.
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.
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 2023). 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. Read my recent review of a luxurious holiday cottage in Tissington.
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.
From Baslow, it’s a very short drive to the glorious Peak Edge Hotel – a perfect place for eating and drinking and obviously staying.
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.