If you want to know the best places to see cherry blossom in London, check out my London Parks Cherry Blossom Guide, which tells you all you need to know about my recommended parks – Kew Gardens, Regent’s Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, Alexandra Park and Greenwich Park. But knowing where to go is only half the story. You also need to know when. And that’s what I’m going to tell you now.
April is cherry blossom time in London. In an average year flowering begins at the end of March, peaks in mid to late April and dies away at the start of May. BUT you can’t predict for sure when the blossom will appear because it all depends on the weather. A warm spring will see the season begin a couple of weeks earlier while a cold one will delay the start and see blossom still flowering well into May. (If you see blossom in February or early March, chances are it’s plum, not cherry. See my plum v. cherry blossom guide).
Individual trees flower for about one to two weeks within that period. Some parks, like Kew Gardens and Regent’s Park, have a lot of trees so there’s always something in bloom during the season, while others, like Alexandra Palace and Greenwich Park, have only one kind of tree so their season is short.
I’ve divided the season up into three periods – early, middle and late – so you can work out the best time to go.
Early blossom (flowering roughly at the beginning of April in an average year)
Kew Gardens – some of the trees behind the Palm House. Weeping cherry by the Palm House pond. White blossom in the Secluded Garden.
Regent’s Park – the grove at the south end of Avenue Gardens
Kensington Gardens – a few trees near the Italian Gardens
St James’s Park – the grove near Storey’s Gate, and a few trees at the Buckingham Palace end of the lake
Alexandra Park – all blossom is early
Greenwich Park – no early blossom
Mid to peak season blossom (flowering roughly from mid to late April in an average year)
Kew Gardens – the main blossom area behind the Palm House
Regent’s Park – Chester Road, some of the trees in the English Garden and Queen Mary’s Garden, the arch by Avenue Gardens
Kensington Gardens – no mid season blossom
St James’s Park – the trees around the lake
Alexandra Park – no mid season blossom
Greenwich Park – no mid season blossom
Late blossom (flowering roughly at the end of April in an average year)
Kew Gardens – the avenue between the Palm House and the Temperate House
Regent’s Park – some trees in the English gardens and Queen Mary’s Gardens and at Jubilee Gate
Kensington Gardens – the grove near the Albert Memorial
St James’s Park – no late blossom
Alexandra Park – no late blossom
Greenwich Park – the avenue behind Regent’s House
Here’s what the blossoming season has looked like over the last few years.
In 2013 the cherry blossom at Kew was at its best at 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 was exceptionally early, about three or four weeks ahead of 2016. Blossom at Kew Gardens and Regent’s Park lasted until the end of April . The Greenwich Park cherry blossom avenue flowered in mid April, as did the little grove of trees near the Albert Memorial in Kensington gardens. The blossom at Alexandra Palace and St James’s Park flowered even earlier. The season was over by the beginning of May
2018 Early cherry blossom came into flower in time for Easter – see my 29th March report on St James’s Park. The Alexandra Palace blossom flowered in the first week of April. The brief spell of good weather brought out the blossom – Kew Gardens and Regent’s Park were at their peak over the weekend of 21/22 April. And Greenwich Park flowered at the end of April.
2019 As of mid March, early cherry blossom is already in bloom, some two to three weeks ahead of the average year. This means that (subject to the weather) we’re likely to see the season peak around the beginning of April and late blossom will probably flower in the second half of April.
Update 29 March: the Alexandra Park cherry trees are just past full bloom – should still be lovely this weekend but don’t leave it any longer! Avenue Gardens in Regent’s Park is in bloom but Greenwich is still in tight bud.
Update 7 April: The cherry blossom avenue at Kew Gardens is now in flower. The Greenwich Park avenue is beginning to blossom and should be in full flower next weekend so long as the weather stays warm.
Update 18 April: There’s plenty of late blossom for the Easter weekend. Greenwich has been in full flower for several days and should still be lovely over the weekend Kew has trees in blossom behind the Palm House, at the far end of the Temperate House and by the Japanese Landscape. Regent’s Park offers late blossom too.
PS If you’re wondering about the photo of St Paul’s at the top of this post, there are a couple of cherry trees on the Millennium Bridge side which you can use to frame a picture like I did, but it’s not a blossom viewing spot.