London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five

Kensington Gardens cherry blossom Welcome to my London cherry blossom top five, the definitive guide to the best cherry blossom viewing spots in the capital. Japan may be famous for its cherry blossom but here in London the cherry blossom is just as pretty if you know where to look. All you need is a guide to tell you where to go and when. And here it is! 

No. 1: Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens cherry blossom

Kew Gardens gets its place at the top of the list because it’s got more blossom and more varieties than anywhere else in London. The famous cherry walk begins at the Rose Garden behind the Palm House with a great collection of Japanese cherries, including ‘Hatazakura’, with white single flowers, that originated from a tree grown in the Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo, the pink-blossomed Prunus ‘Kanzan’  and the Great White Cherry (Prunus ‘Taihaku’).

The walk continues via King William’s Temple and the Temperate House and ends with a formal avenue of fifteen pairs of chrysanthemum-flowered Prunus ‘Asano’.

Take a tour of the Kew Gardens cherry blossom

Kew Gardens cherry blossom

Prunus Cerasifera cherry plum at Kew Gardens

Prunus Ichiyo in Kew Gardens

No. 2: Regent’s Park

A good bet if you’re looking for some blossom in the centre of London is Regent’s Park, which offers a whole variety of cherry blossom experiences. For early blossom, there’s a beautiful grove of pink-blossomed trees at the south end of Avenue Gardens.

2015 April Regent's Park cherry blossom

Next to flower is a lovely group of white cherry trees in the Community Wildlife Garden near York Bridge, but the real glory comes later in the season when the English Garden is in full bloom.

Regent's Park English Garden

There are more trees along the southern edge of Queen Mary’s Garden and some fabulous white cherries at the Jubilee Gate. Best of all is the avenue of cherry trees on either side of Chester Road. The old trees were cut down in 2015 due to disease, but the new trees, a paler variety called Sunset Boulevard,  are now in place. You can help preserve this avenue by sponsoring a cherry tree.

Take a tour of the Regent’s Park cherry blossom

Regent's Park cherry blossom

No. 3: Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens has a fine grove of pink and white trees near the Lancaster Gate entrance.

Kensington Gardens cherry blossom

And some wonderful trees near the Albert Memorial on the East Albert Lawn.

Albert memorial with cherry blossomThe Japan Society Conversation Group hold their annual hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in April in the grove of cherry trees just north east of the memorial.

Kensington Gardens

No.4: St James’s Park

St James’s Park has some lovely blossom but it’s individual trees that have impact rather than massed ranks. There’s a group of cherry trees near Storey’s Gate (in front of the Treasury building) and a beautiful little grove of four white cherry trees on the south side of the lake, plus a lovely tree by the lake at the Buckingham Palace end.

Take a tour of the St James’s Park cherry blossom

St James's Park Cherry Blossom 2016

St James's Park Cherry Blossom 2016

Joint No. 5: Alexandra Palace and Greenwich Park

I’ve put these in at joint number five because one is in North London and the other in South London, so you can pick the nearest.

Alexandra Palace has nearly thirty trees, with grass to sit on and fantastic views over London.

Take a tour of the Alexandra Palace cherry blossom.

Alexandra Palace cherry blossom

Greenwich Park has a lovely avenue of cherry blossom leading up to the rose garden at Ranger’s House (at the top of the hill, not far from the Observatory).

Take a tour of the Greenwich Park cherry blossom

Greenwich Park cherry blossom

When to see cherry blossom in London

It’s always difficult to call the timing on cherry blossom. The season generally runs from late March to early May but precise timing depends on the weather and the variety.

If you see early blossom, in February or March, chances are it’s plum not cherry. See my Plum v Cherry Blossom Guide to help you tell the difference.

In 2013 the cherry blossom at Kew was at its best at the end of April.

In 2014 the St James’s Park cherry blossom flowered in late March, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens in early April and the Kew season ran right through from late March to the end of April.

In 2015 the first cherry blossom buds opened in in March, began to bloom at the beginning of April and peak blossom came towards the end of April. Late blossom in Greenwich Park and Kew Gardens appeared at the end of April.

In 2016 the blossom ran about a week behind 2015. The trees in St James’s Park were in full flower in mid April, the new trees on the cherry blossom avenue in Regents Park were out in late April and the cherry blossom avenue in Greenwich Park was in full bloom a week into May.

In 2017 the blossom is running about two weeks ahead of 2016. So, if you’re planning to take advantage of the sunshine forecast for this weekend (25/26 March) you should be rewarded with plenty of blossom, including Regent’s Park ( in the south grove and English Garden) Kew Gardens, St James’s Park and Alexandra Palace. But don’t expect to see late flowering blossom in Greenwich Park and Chester Avenue in Regent’s Park just yet.

The Cherry Blossom Murder

If you like cherry blossom, you might like my East-West fusion murder mystery, The Cherry Blossom Murder – Join expat Londoner Josie as she finds a body under the cherry blossom and tracks down a backstage killer in Tokyo. Available on Kindle or in paperback, it’s the first book in my Josie Clark in Japan mystery series.

four-books

50 thoughts on “London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five

  1. Such a fantastic idea for a post! Since my brother told me all about it (he has been to Japan several times) I always dreamed to see the cherry blossoms (sakura?) flowering in Kyoto but, silly me, I never thought I could enjoy the same view here in London. I hope spring will arrive soon so to follow your great advice. Thank you!

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  2. Although it is a main road, The Hampton Court Way, from Hampton Court to the Scilly Isles, is fantastic for Cherry Trees when they do flower (When will Spring arrive ???). Thanks for the post.

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  3. What a wonderful post! I didn’t even realise we had a variety of cherry blossom growing in our London Parks. I’ve been in Japan this sakura season so perhaps I’ve missed London’s flowers this year, but next year I will certainly go looking for them. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m following your blog for more Japan-in-Britain goodness to help me stave off the holiday blues when I’m home!

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  4. This is such a great post! I was wondering which London parks to visit with my camera in order to snap some great cherry blossom pictures. The residential streets around Herne Hill are beautiful right now, multicoloured cherry blossom all over the place.

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  5. Hi Fran, Thank you for visiting my site – I’m delighted because I love your blog. I totally agree with you about THAT tree in Deansway. I know exactly which one you mean. I’ve been oohing and aahing over it for the past few weeks. Every year I go on a walk around that area, raving over the trees and saying how much they remind me of one magical night near Osaka Castle!

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  6. Hello! Thanks for liking my ‘about’ page. I’ve just read your recommendations for cherry blossom in London. I’d not realised that there were so many places to see them! Although I’ve probably missed them this year (as I assume they only flower during April/May..?) I’ll look out for them next year. Your blog has definitely inspired me to go to Kew Gardens too. A lot of my china has flower patterns or garden scenes and I want to learn more about flowers so that I can recognise them better!

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    • Yes, I’m afraid it’s too late for cherry blossom this year, but there’s always something lovely to see at Kew. I find I go there a lot now, even though it’s a bit of a trek from North London. I like your china blog very much – good luck with it!

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  7. Pingback: Looking for cherry blossom? You’ve come to the right place! | Sequins and Cherry Blossom

  8. Superb… I’m a photographer and looking to do an Japanese/Anime style shoot and looking for places with cherry blossom to give a more natural Japanese feel. These places will be perfect for creating something beautiful..

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  9. Pingback: Cherry Blossom Monday | Fran Pickering

  10. PHOTOGRAPHER LOOKING FOR PINK BLOSSOM BACKDROP!

    Hi Fran, fantastic site! It’s very decent of you to share all this info so openly. Thank you 🙂

    I’m a photographer and I’m planning a portrait shoot with a model. What I’m after is a PINK cherry blossom back drop. I’m after a big mass of rich thick pink blossoms to position my model in front of, like this (posted on Bill Bailey’s Facebook page on 5th April this year from Ravenscourt Park in London)…

    https://scontent-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/11130207_1047638638583844_5143058136392651552_n.jpg?oh=f36777929137c9104d38caae4bd2916a&oe=55B06A17

    I was wondering if you’d be able to tell me where you think my best bet would be for this kind of thing? Am I too late for the pink blossoms or do I still have time do you think?

    Many thanks! Keep up the great work 😀

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    • Thanks, Jon.
      Your best bet is the cherry blossom avenue in Greenwich Park which is currently still in bud. It should be in full flower in a week or two, depending on the weather.

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  11. Thank you so much for all these posts related to the cherry blossom in London… What would be the best time this year to visit Kew Gardens? I can’t be there next weekend, so it would be either the next couple of days or towards the end of April… How long do the flowers last?

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  12. What a wonderful post! I will be in London in this year, I love blossom in my country. And I just want to check is there any blossom in London and yey, I found this post. I visited Greenwich last week but I didn’t see blossom road. Am I late? Or should I go next weeks, Could you explain me where it is exactly in Greenwich park. I am a tourist maybe I didn’t find it. Thank you!

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  13. Hi ~ The cherry blossom pics are so pretty! Thank you so much for your sharing ! I will visit London on early of April, may i know which places or gardens is better place to see the cherry blossom ?

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