7 reasons why spring is Westonbirt Arboretum’s best-kept secret

Spring is bringing new life to one of Gloucestershire’s most popular attractions, with flowering magnolias and blossoming cherry trees among some of Westonbirt Arboretum’s best-kept secrets.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Westonbirt Arboretum in the spring
See nature come alive with spectacular spring blooms all around at Westonbirt Arboretum.
In partnership with Westonbirt Arboretum  |  forestryengland.uk/westonbirt
Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is a popular attraction near Tetbury, delighting families and nature lovers with its impressive botanical collection all year round. With a selection of seasonal highlights collated by its volunteers each week, its Window on Westonbirt is a free online resource that can help visitors scope out must-see botanicals this spring.

Westonbirt Arboretum is famed for its awe-inspiring displays of autumn colour. But for its staff, spring has always been a favourite time of year – with the new season bringing pastel hues, vibrant pinks and more sunshine-dappled days to the Cotswold attraction.

With opportunities to see amazing displays of bluebells, magnolias and cherry trees in blossom, discover 7 reasons why spring is Westonbirt Arboretum’s best-kept secret – and every Instagram lover’s dream…

1. Magnificent magnolias at Westonbirt Arboretum

The aptly-named ‘Westonbirt Diva’ is one of the main attractions in springtime, stealing the show on Circular Drive with its dazzling display of bright pink blooms during magnolia flowering season.

Fans of all things floral can also admire the ‘Westonbirt Hope’, a new hybrid species of magnolia first discovered in 2020.

2. Captivating camellias at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt is home to a thriving collection of ornamental camellias, which have flourished in the arboretum since arriving in the early 18th century.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of ‘Donation’, one of the best-known and most striking varieties, as they pass by the Westonbirt shop – with its soft pink, saucer-shaped flowers creating a stunning spring spectacle.

3. Radiant rhododendrons at Westonbirt Arboretum

Adding bright purple into the mix of pastel hues, the Rhododendron ririeri is a gorgeous addition to the spring flowers along Westonbirt’s Circular Drive. It’s also a national title-holder, having been named the UK Champion for both its impressive height and girth.

4. Brilliant bluebells at Westonbirt Arboretum

Come spring, Westonbirt Arboretum is a prime spot for bluebell growth – and visitors can see the Silk Wood transformed by carpets of the deep violet-blue blooms, springing up below the tree canopy. Dog walkers can let their four-legged friends explore off lead here, too.

5. Charming cherry trees at Westonbirt Arboretum

Escape to Westonbirt’s tranquil Cherry Glade, an open space that’s filled with cherry blossom for a few weeks around April and May. While cherry blossom season is short-lived, the delicate petals are an unmissable highlight – and the calming Cherry Glade is a lovely spot for picnics.

6. Fragrant Chinese witch hazel at Westonbirt Arboretum

A wonderfully unique addition to Westonbirt’s collection, the Chinese witch hazel has ribbon-like petals that fill the arboretum with the smells of spring. Family visitors can have lots of fun exploring the season through their senses, picking up a ‘Sense-sational spring’ activity leaflet from the Welcome Building.

7. Delightful dove trees at Westonbirt Arboretum

Found on the Main Drive, Westonbirt is home to some gorgeous specimens of Davidia involucrata. More commonly known as the dove or handkerchief tree, its papery white bracts, which dangle from the branches, look especially beautiful when fluttering in the spring breeze.

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