Here’s a photo album of the National Trust gardens in and around Cheshire opening their gates to the new season and to visitors who want to tiptoe through the tulips... and the cherry blossom and the bluebells and the rhododendrons and the azaleas. A delight for all the senses.

Great British Life: Colourful rhododendrons in full bloom at Quarry Bank. Colourful rhododendrons in full bloom at Quarry Bank. (Image: National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor)
Quarry Bank, Wilmslow

Surrounding a once-bustling 18th-century cotton mill, the gardens at Quarry Bank are full of colour and scent at this time of year, from rhododendrons and magnolia to a carpet of bluebells in the woods. Irises and peonies put on a show-stopping display in the borders, and in the Lower Garden, yellow, red, pink and white Candelabra primulas bloom. Blue-flowered Ajuga runs underneath the crab apple arch in the Upper Garden, with vibrant geums, atlas poppies and euphorbias flowering alongside the Garden Café. Camassia bulbs will be in flower here in May and June too.

During April, in the Walled Garden, visitors have an abundance of blossom to enjoy, including apple, pear, nectarine and peach trees. The first blossom to bloom is the apricot tree. Spot the majestic flowers of ‘The Bride’ along the Riverside Walk. The Apprentice House Garden is home to apple, plum and pear trees, making it the perfect place to enjoy a picnic under a canopy of blossom, in one of the many deckchairs and hammocks dotted around. New interpretation boards bring the history of blossom to life, from Japanese Hanami celebrations to wassailing and planting traditions. One of the oldest apple trees at Quarry Bank is the Malus domestica ‘Worcester Pearmain’. Visitors can also enjoy the blossom of the ‘Withington Welter’, a variety of apple discovered in a garden in Styal village and propagated at Quarry Bank. 


Great British Life: Backlit trees and bluebells in the garden at Dunham Massey.Backlit trees and bluebells in the garden at Dunham Massey. (Image: National Trust Images,/Andrew Butler)
Dunham Massey, near Altrincham

The garden at Dunham Massey is a green oasis on the outskirts of Manchester. Rows of vibrant tulips, from bright orange to deep purple, create a colourful walkway along the canal and the carpet of bluebells that appears in the Winter Garden makes for a great photo. The yellow magnolias usually bloom in April followed by bright pink apple blossom in May, while out in the deer park, 300 fruit trees come to life. Peonies, irises, unusual blue poppies and spring flowering shrubs such as deutzia, rhododendron and viburnum will also soon be in bloom.


Great British Life: The south front of Lyme Park. The south front of Lyme Park. (Image: National Trust Images, Chris Lacey)
Lyme, Stockport

The flowers bloom a little later at Lyme, where the garden – the second highest in the care of the National Trust – is a peaceful space among the rugged moorland landscape. In late spring, the formal beds outside the orangery will be full of bright tulips and the beautiful old Great White cherry tree in the Vicary Gibbs garden covered in blossom. In May, the Rhododendron Walk will be awash with colour and Hase Bank wood carpeted in bluebells. As the days get warmer, head to Turfhouse Meadow to spot wildlife amid the colourful wildflowers.




Great British Life: The tranquil beauty of Hare Hill. The tranquil beauty of Hare Hill. (Image: Annapurna Mellor/Paul Harris)
Hare Hill, Macclesfield 

Set inside a tranquil wooded garden, the walled garden at Hare Hill will be bursting with springtime blooms, predominantly in soothing white, and is the perfect place to pause and escape everyday life. See the symmetrical planting scheme come to life this spring. The ornamental rockery was once a secret garden and after restoration work, you can now twist and turn your way through it once again, while rare and exotic rhododendrons and azaleas will add plenty of colour to the wooded garden.