Not far from Banbury is a large arboretum which amongst many things, is noted for its collection of snowdrops that fill the grounds in February.

Thenford Arboretum, owned by Lord and Lady Heseltine, makes for a wonderful day out at any time of year, but its huge range of snowdrops — over 600 different species at the last count — are famous for the huge spread across the grounds.

Snowdrops have grown in Thenford’s woodlands and churchyard for decades, carpeting the ground with a wash of white flowers each February, and they’ve been opening the gardens for snowdrop walks each year since 2016.

There will be three snowdrop open days in 2022 and the gardens are open from 1:30pm to 4:30pm on each day.

  • Wednesday 9th February
  • Saturday 19th February
  • Tuesday 22nd February

If you prefer fewer snowdrops and more warmth, the gardens are open a couple of times a month through the summer.

Tickets cost £12 per person and can be booked here.

A review from my visit last April.

(c) Thenford Arboretum

How to get to Thenford Arboretum

If you drive, there’s parking on the very large front lawn.

If you don’t drive, the easiest way to get there is by train to Banbury station. From there, you can take the half-hourly bus (route 500) which gets you to the nearest village, Middleton Cheney, and from there it’s a half-hour walk to Thenford.

Alternatively, if you like a longer walk, go via the church of St Mary Warkworth, which is delightful — but if coming back, catch the bus, as a) you’re tired by now and b) the faster route goes via an unpleasant roundabout.

There is a pub in Middleton Cheney if you miss the bus.

What else to do at Thenford

It’s a very small village, so don’t expect to do much, other than to pay a visit to the nearby church of St Mary Thenford, which is ancient, and looks it, and has a wonderful interior and from the graveyard, views over the arboretum.


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One comment
  1. NG says:

    “600 species”
    Er .. don’t you mean 600 varieties – all of Galanthus nivalis?
    ( Maybe with the odd actual different species, like G. elwesii? )

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