Ham House and Gardens, Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames TW10 7RS; 10am-5pm;free
The first signs of spring are everywhere in the historic garden at Ham. As you pass through Ham House Meadow in front of the mansion gates, you’ll be walking among English bluebells and primroses.
You might be just outside central London, but once inside this tranquil 17th century walled garden, you’ll find avenues of trees popping into bud, sunny-faced daffodils and thousands of tulips; as all around colourful new plant life bursts up to greet you.
Waves of naturalising narcissus, clumps of bright bluebells, elegant hellebore with their rose-like flowers, delicate snake’s head fritillaries, and cheerful yellow cowslips bring plenty of interest throughout the season to the dappled shade of the Wilderness Garden on the south side of the garden. All are flanked by tall hornbeam hedges starting to green up and a backdrop of field maple.
Closer to the house the sun is already bringing on the formal displays: scented narcissus are budding and pink peony will soon stand out against the cooler bluish-white of Iris Germanica (bearded iris) on the South Terrace border in between tall green yew cones.
Nearby, in the Vine Border you’ll find crocus, narcissus and over 2,000 white tulips are putting on a show.
Please check for the most up to date opening hours before visiting – circumstances are changing rapidly.
Osterley House Parkland, Jersey Rd, Isleworth TW7 4RB; 7am-7:30pm; free
While the house and gardens of Osterley House are currently closed to the public, the parkland remains open for people to enjoy – as long as they maintain social distancing regulations.
Osterley Park in Middlesex is a tranquil refuge from the noise, traffic and crowds of London.
As you wander through the park, you’ll find towering ancient trees and views back to the impressive house.
There are hundreds of acres of grounds to explore, with plenty of space for picnics, games and long, leisurely walks.
As you explore the woodland, you’ll find crowned old oaks and some unusual trees such as the Cockspur hawthorn which is laden with bright red berries in autumn.