Gone are the days when lavender was the reserve of Great Aunt Sue. The plant that pops with purple is sought out where it grows, thanks to its Instagram-friendly hues. While you're getting your snaps, stock up on lavender products too. It's worth checking that the lavender is in bloom before you make a special trip, as the season can vary by a couple of weeks each year.
Mayfield Lavender Farm, London
Just, *just* within the boundaries of London itself, Mayfield Lavender Farm gained Instagram fame a few years ago, not least thanks to the red phone box plonked strategically in the middle of a field.
The 25 acre farm is a sea of purple, enticing visitors to walk through it, as if in a purple-tinged dream. It gets very busy at weekends — visit on a weekday if possible. There's a cafe and shop on site.
Photography among the lavender is encouraged (there's even an official competition every year), but if you're taking part in a professional or extensive photoshoot, you'll need to register and pay a fee.
Open to the public: 1 June-1 September 2019. Lavender is expected to bloom from the end of June, but check before you travel. Entry is £2.50 per adult.
The farm also has a nursery and farm shop based in Epsom which is open all year round
The Hop Shop and Castle Farm Lavender, Kent
If you've taken the train between Orpington and Sevenoaks during lavender season, you'll have seen the bright purple fields right next to the railway. They're part of the extensive Castle Farm empire — the largest producer of lavender in the UK.
The farm's 1,100 acres are spread all over this part of Kent, but the activity all takes place at The Hop Shop near Shoreham. It's free to visit, but to access the lavender fields, you need to take a paid guided tour with one of the staff. The tour lasts about an hour, and teaches about the different types of lavender and how they're grown and distilled — and yes, there's a chance to take photos too.
Access to the lavender fields is only via guided tour, although there is a small viewing area next to the car park that you can visit for free.
Other events run through the lavender seasons, including lavender picnics, and photography evenings — and we thoroughly recommend sampling the lavender ice cream available in the farm shop. A plethora of other lavender products are available, along with regular farm shop fodder.
Open to the public: The Hop Shop farm shop is open all year, but access to other parts of the farm is only available in lavender season, late June-late July.
The Hop Shop at Castle Farm, Redmans Lane, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7UB
Hitchin Lavender, Hertfordshire
If you want to know what 25 miles of lavender rows looks like, head to Hertfordshire and wander around in the Hitchin Lavender fields — you can even pick your own to take home.
There's a £6 entry fee (£3 for kids), which includes access to the fields, and a bag to fill with lavender to take home. Extra bags are available at an extra cost, and once you've worked up a sweat, lunches, cakes and drinks are available to buy in the cafe in the 17th century barn. You're also welcome to bring your own picnic.
There's also a small museum on site, with a replica of the Perks & Llewellyn pharmacy, well-known in the 19th century for its lavender products. Events take place throughout the summer, including open air cinema, yoga, beekeeping and meditation.
If you can tear your eyes away from the lavender for a minute or two, the hillside location of the farm means it offers views all over the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire countryside.
Open to the public: From 27 May 2019, with lavender in flower from mid-June.
Hitchin Lavender, Cadwell Farm, Ickleford, Hertfordshire, SG5 3UA
Lavender Fields at Hartley Park Farm, Alton, Hampshire
For a grand day out in the opposite direction, head to the Lavender Fields at Hartley Park Farm. Visiting the lavender itself is restricted to just four open days this year, when you can stroll through the seven varieties of lavender being grown, as well as a wild flower field. Entry is £4 (under 12s £1), with talks and tours about the lavender, plus tractor rides.
The rest of the time, the lavender shop is open to the public, but there's no access to the fields.
Open to the public: open days on 6, 7, 13 and 14 July
Lavender Fields at Hartley Park Farm, Selborne Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 3HP