Here in the Lake District we are celebrating because at last the season of Spring has emerged from its battle with Winter to rise victorious, bringing with it a sense of rejuvenation and hope. With Herdwick lambs frolicking in the low lands and spring flowers blooming all around, it really is one of the best times of year to visit the national park. This year, we have even more reason to celebrate, as many of the spring time blooms have arrived a little earlier than usual.

Whilst March is dominated by the glorious display of Wordsworth’s daffodils, May is the month when we celebrate the humble bluebell, also known as Hyacinthoides non-scripta. It is understood that around half of the world’s population of bluebells are to be found in the UK. In woodlands up and down the country, this delicate flower creates a wondrous spectacle of carpets of blue that stretch for acres along the woodland floor. Protected in the UK, it is illegal to harvest the bulbs of bluebells that grow in the wild, whilst in ancient folklore, the flower is believed to have healing properties.

Bluebells thrive in woodland, but they can also be found in more open spaces and in hedgerows. The Lake District, with its vast swathes of rural landscapes, is home to thousands of bluebells and many of the best places to see these beautiful displays are easily accessible for most people. Bluebells have started to bloom across the Lake District, and here we list our top five places to see them.

Important Note for Visitors

Please note that the bluebells - in Rannerdale especially - urgently need protecting. Whilst they have been beautifully maintained by farm tenants over the years, over the last 4 years, 25% of them have been lost to trampling. If you’re visiting any area with bluebells, please stick to the paths so that everyone will be able to enjoy these special spring displays in the future.

5. Skelghyll Woods – Ambleside

Skelghyll Woods is one of the easiest places to see bluebells, being just a short walk from Ambleside town centre. This ancient woodland is home to some of Britain’s tallest trees, including the tallest Grand Fir in England, and the tallest Douglas Fir in Cumbria. The National Trust has created a Champion Tree trail here, with way markers and plaques giving you the opportunity to explore these giants. Bluebells abound here, and there are plenty of spots for a picnic.

Our dog friendly walk takes you through the woodland and up to Jenkin Crag, where you will be rewarded with a delightful view of Windermere. The walk also recommends you take a stroll through Stagshaw Gardens, where you can currently see various trees in blossom.

4. Brandelhow Woods – Derwent Water

Bluebells along the Brandelhow Bay Walk

Woodland Path along the Brandelhow Bay Walk

The birthplace of the National Trust is often overlooked in favour of more popular areas around Derwent Water, but it really is a gem of a place to visit. Combining ancient woodland with the lakeshore, this idyllic section of land is home to thousands of bluebells in the spring. The Cumbria way passes through here, and the Keswick Launch steamer service stops at the jetties at Low Brandelhow and High Brandelhow, giving you the opportunity to reach the area by boat.

Our pushchair friendly walk, Brandelhow Bay takes you through the woodland where you will find copious amounts of bluebells, before heading along the shore of Derwent Water. It’s a great walk for kids, with the option to skim stones in the water or build dens in the wood. Do pack a picnic if you go!

3. White Moss Common (Penny Rock Wood) – Grasmere

Path along the White Moss Common Walk where you will find bluebells in the spring

Woodland along the White Moss Common Walk where you will find ample bluebells in the spring

The two small lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water are separated by a woodland through which the River Rothay babbles merrily. These woods are carpeted with bluebells in Spring, and the whole area is popular with visiting tourists, thanks in part to the accessible pathways that have been created by the Lake District National Park Authority.

Our family friendly walk, White Moss & Rydal Caves takes you through the woodland, before heading up to Rydal Caves, another Lake District spectacular, and then back through the woodlands again. We heartily recommend that you pop into the village of Grasmere after to treat yourself to some world famous Grasmere Gingerbread.

2. Low Wood – Wasdale

Woodland Path along the Low Wood Walk (taken in Autumnal Months) will be flourishing with Bluebells

The Woodland Path along the Wastwater & Low Wood Walk will be flourishing with bluebells this spring

Wild and rugged, the Wasdale Valley is a remote corner of Cumbria that offers outstanding views and wonderful opportunities for walking, with the most famous walk being that up Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head. At the opposite end to Wasdale Head, where the River Irt meets Wastwater, you will find Low Wood. Here you will find what is widely regarded as the best woodland display of bluebells in Cumbria, creating a mythical and enchanting atmosphere that is enhanced by the quiet nature of the Wasdale Valley

Our dog friendly walk, Wastwater and Low Wood, is suitable for some types of pushchairs and brilliant for children. The walk takes you through the woodland, and along the shore of Wastwater. Either bring a picnic, or pop up to the village of Nether Wasdale for a warm welcome in the pub.

1. Rannerdale – Buttermere

Rannerdale bluebells

Rannerdale bluebells

Protect the Rannerdale Bluebells - Stick to Paths

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the bluebells in Rannerdale are in urgent need of protection with a quarter of them now lost to trampling. If you are visiting this area, please fight the urge to take your photo amongst the bluebells and stick to the paths only so that future years may also enjoy this glorious display.

The top spot on our top five places to see bluebells in Cumbria has, of course, gone to Rannerdale. The bluebells here draw visitors from around the world, and local legend has it that they grew in the place where native Briton’s fought their last stand against Norman invaders. Unlike the other places mentioned above, the bluebells at Rannerdale grow in open fields, with most of the valley turning blue when they are in bloom.

Our Rannerdale to Buttermere walking guide takes you through the valley where the bluebells are found in abundance, before heading to the small village of Buttermere, where you can sample a locally made ice cream or enjoy a paddle in the lake.