Spring would not be complete without stunning displays of dainty white and pink Japanese cherry blossoms.
Thousands of people gather each year in Japan to view these spectacular blooms at world-famous cherry blossom festivals, however, you don’t have to travel that far for a beautiful display. Our Cherry Walk in the gardens of Doddington Hall provides a fabulous display just six miles from historic Lincoln.
Sakura is the Japanese word for flowering cherry trees and cherry blossom.
Japanese cherry trees only blossom for a short period of time, but with diverse varieties with different flowering times, our Cherry Walk has a prolonged blossoming period.
Yoshino Cherry (Prunus × yedoensis)
The Yoshino Cherry tree is the first to bloom on the Cherry Walk with a fragrant cloud of whitish-pink blossoms earlier in spring than many other cherry varieties. Situated closest to the Hall, the steps underneath the tree provide the perfect spot to enjoy Hanami (花見, ‘flower viewing’), the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers. The clouds of blossom are alive with busy bees buzzing around its delicate clusters of flowers.
The Yoshino Cherry was introduced to Europe and North America in 1902 and one of the most famous variety of cherry tree, a standout at cherry blossom festivals across the world for their almond-scented, whitish-pink blossoms. Our Yoshino Cherry tree dates back to 1946 and as well as producing bountiful branches filled with blossom, the blossom also grows on the trunk of the tree providing a beautiful display at a lower level.
Japanese Hill Cherry (Prunus Serrulata ‘Toyama Sakura’)
The next four trees to burst into blossom on the Cherry Walk are the Japanese Hill Cherry trees. Incredibly pretty when in full bloom, these trees have profuse and showy spring blossoms, producing clouds of pink at a height perfect for gazing at the details of the flowers. Toyama is a city in Japan and Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom, so these trees are named after the cherry blossom of Toyama.
Great White Cherry (Prunus Serrulata ‘Tai Haku’)
The following four Great White Cherry trees are a much taller variety and stand proudly towards the end of the Cherry Walk approaching Shakespeare’s statue. These trees bloom later than the previous two varieties, prolonging the display of blossom on our Cherry Walk. As the name suggests, the blossom is white and it is regarded as one of the best pure white cherries with clusters of flowers that emerge from pink buds then hang among young bronze foliage. Well known from historical records and drawings in Japan this spectacular cherry was thought to be lost until a specimen was discovered by chance in the 1920s in a Sussex garden. All the Tai Haku’s including those in Japan are descended from this single specimen.
A haven for wildlife
Most cultivars of Japanese flowering cherry are sterile and produce no fruit, however, some varieties produce small berries. Whilst the berries are too bitter for people to eat, they attract birds and butterflies to the garden and cherry blossom provides an important early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators.
There are many varieties of cherry trees in the gardens and wider Doddington Estate. Other notable varieties of cherry trees include:
Sargent’s Cherry (Prunus Sargentii)
Introduced to Britain from Japan, via America, in 1908. The flowers are pink with a darker centre, 30mm across and open before the coppery-red foliage in early April. The species is named after American botanist Charles Sprague Sargent.
Chinese Hill Cherry (Prunus Serrulata ‘Hupehensis’)
This cherry tree is native to central China.
Snow Fountains (Prunus Snofozam)
Snow Fountains is situated in the Kitchen Garden and one of the only cherry trees where the weeping branches can reach the floor.
The Winter Cherry (Prunus Subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’)
This tree is situated in the heart of the wild garden and starts to flower in December, providing beautifully delicate blossom throughout the winter.
Sakura Cherry Tree Project
Thanks to the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, there is even more opportunity to enjoy the transient beauty of cherry blossom across the Doddington Estate. This project marked 150 years of Japan-UK friendship with aims to plant a legacy for future generations.
In 2021, our Garden team planted 130 gifted cherry trees with support and guidance from Guy Petheram Garden Designer across the wider estate. The three varieties 50 x Prunus ‘Beni-yutaka’, 50 x Prunus ‘Tai-haku and 30 x Prunus x yedoensis cherry trees are all of Japanese origin and they were chosen for their variation in colour, timing and historical significance. It’s a pleasure to see them blossoming so beautifully.
Plan your visit
The Gardens are currently open daily for the Easter holidays until 16 April, 10am-4pm with last entry at 3pm. Gardens only tickets are available on arrival at the Gatehouse.
The Hall is open every Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, 11am-4pm, until 29 September. Tickets include entry to the Gardens 10am-4pm. We recommend pre-booking Hall tickets to guarantee your preferred time slot.
Find out about our Doddington season tickets, the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the seasons. Fantastic value and valid for use during normal opening times, plus Christmas opening for a whole year from date of purchase.
Make a day of it
Make a day of it with breakfast or lunch in our Café or Coffee Shop and enjoy a spot of retail therapy in our shops.