Tulips In London: When And Where To See Them In And Around The Capital

Tulips In London: When And Where To See Them In And Around The Capital
Tulips in London: red and white dappled tulips planted together for the Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival.
Hampton Court Palace is home to some of the best tulip displays in London. © Historic Royal Palaces.

Love tulips? Us too. The colourful flowers — more closely associated with the Netherlands than here — come into bloom in London in mid-April, often lasting into May. While you won't find sprawling tulip fields here in the capital, there are still plenty of parks and gardens, from palaces to Royal Parks, where you can get your fill of tulip-mania. And if you're willing to travel a little beyond London? Even better! Here's your guide on where and when to see tulips this year:

Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival

Tulips in London: a large grey bowl full of red tulips  appearing to float on a pond in front of Hampton Court Palace
You could almost be looking down Museumplein towards the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam © Historic Royal Palaces.

Over 100,000 bulbs have been planted for the annual Tulip Festival in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. For a select few weeks each year, the gardens surrounding the magnificent building are flooded with colour, in the shape of both formally planted and freestyle tulip displays — think regimental rows skirting the edges of lawns, and 'floating' tulip bowls in the Great Fountain in front of the building.

New for 2024 is a display of thousands of tulips spilling from a Victorian horse cart in the palace courtyards, giving the appearance of a Dutch flower seller’s cart.

The Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival takes place 15 April-6 May 2024, and is included in palace admission.

Tulips at Eltham Palace

In previous years, Eltham Palace in south-east London has held its own tulip festival to celebrate the start of spring. There's no such special event this year, but we're still promised tulips in the flower beds in the Inner Court, so definitely one to add to your spring list if you're a tulip fan.

Tulips in St James's Park

Tulips in London: a colourful flower bed full of tulips and other spring flowers alongside a lawn in St James's Park
Tulips in St James's Park. Photo: Pam Fray via creative commons

The Royal Parks' gardeners do an excellent job all year round, but for our money, the parks are at their best in spring. In particular, St James's Park shows off its floral colours; head to the the formal flower beds in the area around the cafe — enter via the north-east corner, closest to Admiralty Arch. The tulips co-mingle with other seasonal blooms for very colourful (but immaculately orderly) displays.

It's also with wandering a few minutes over towards Buckingham Palace, where the public flower beds flanking the Victoria Memorial are often planted up with tulips in the spring.

Other Royal Parks have their own tulip displays, of course. In Regent's Park, the large stone vases on either side of the Broad Walk, to the south of Chester Road, are usually laden with colour. Parts of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park usually put on a decent show too.

Tulip display in Whitehall Gardens and Embankment

A host of red and purple tulips
Victoria Embankment Gardens has a strong tulip game. Image: Mark via creative commons

Down by the river, to the south of Embankment and Charing Cross stations, enter Whitehall Gardens at the gate on the corner of Northumberland Avenue. During tulip season, the lawns surrounding the park's statues are usually edged with flowerbeds rich in tulips — and we're no horticulturalists, but we've spotted what we think are some rather unusual varieties here before.

Also head to Victoria Embankment Gardens, just the other side of Embankment station, for further tulip action in this part of town.

Tulips in the Dutch Garden in Holland Park, Kensington

A formal bordered garden
Unsurprisingly, Holland Park's Dutch Garden is a good place for tulip admiring. Image: JR P via creative commons

Now we think about it, it makes perfect sense that the Dutch Garden within Holland Park would know its way around a tulip or two. Head for the centre of the park, behind the cafe and in front of Holland House, where a large enclosed area of the garden is divided into hedged flower beds with colourful tulips.

There are plenty of pavements carving up the tulip gardens, so you can wander among them and get ever so close for snapping photos and the like. Plenty of benches around the edge too, if you fancy packing a picnic and enjoying lunch with a tulip view.

Tulip displays at Ham House and Gardens

The tulips at National Trust-managed Ham House and Gardens take two forms — formally-planted in the Kitchen Garden, where they mingle among daffodils, lavender and fruit trees, and a less formal planting style at The Plats, the lawns right outside the house. Here, 500,000 bulbs spanning crocus, muscari and tulip varieties carpet the ground each spring.

Other, smaller parks around London which usually have their own tulip displays include The Rookery in Streatham, and Peckham Rye Park in Peckham (which is also an excellent wisteria spot).

Tulip fields and farms close to London

If you're willing to travel a little further afield to get your tulip fix this spring, consider the following gardens and farms near London.

Tulips in London: a field full of red and yellow tulips
Image: Tulleys

Tulleys Tulip Fest, West Sussex

Known for its sunflowers fields in summer, its pumpkin patch in autumn and its Christmas experience in winter, Tulleys Farm in West Sussex (near Crawley) has found a way to crack the spring events market too: Tulleys Tulip Fest. Being held for the first time in 2024, the event promises half a million tulips spanning 10km, in bloom in its fields, along with Dutch street food stalls, and a windmill for photo ops. Early bird tickets have sold out, but keep an eye on its social channels for general tickets, due to go on sale when the flowering dates are confirmed, expected to be the end of March.

Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor, East Sussex

One of the best spots for a bit of tulip-bothering in the south east is Pashley Manor, on the Kent/East Sussex border. Its annual Tulip Festival sees the gardens burst into colour: 45,000 of them are expected to bloom in 2024, for an event running 22 April-6 May. They're planted in colour themed garden 'rooms' throughout the grounds, as well as in pot displays, and cut flowers can be seen in a marquee too.

Hever Castle tulips, Kent

We're huge fans of the magnificent Hever Castle all year round, but it looks its finest in spring. In recent years, it's hosted a Tulip Festival, but for 2024, there's a more general Celebration of Spring in the gardens (15-18 April). We're still promised thousands of tulips, along with cherry blossom, magnolias, hyacinths, bluebells and other colourful flowers.

Arundel Castle tulips, West Sussex

One of the finest castles in Sussex — and, if we may be so bold, in the whole country — the Hogwarts-esque Arundel Castle reopens to visitors each spring with a Tulip Festival (2024 dates TBC) with 100,000 bulbs scattered through the gardens and grounds, from formal gardens to hillsides. An absolute riot of colour, and well worth making the trip for.

Last Updated 11 April 2024

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