It's a true sign that spring is on its way - cherry blossom. As fleeting as it is, the pink and white hues fill the streets, parks and gardens with a bit of joy. We have some starting to bloom currently in Surrey but usually the sakura appears in late March and early April in the UK.
So, where are some of the best places to see the blossom in all of its glory? I have picked some top spots in London and the South East.
Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent, TN16 1PS
There are a large variety of British apple trees in blossom towards the end of April at Chartwell on the Kent/Surrey border.
Biddenden Road, Cranbrook, TN17 2AB
There are over 1,000 fruit trees in the main orchard near the entrance, which burst into masses of blossom from the end of April.
Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 8JN
The early flowering cherry trees, frame the views down to the castle ruins. Scotney Castle is a photographers dream.
Bateman's Lane, Burwash, Etchingham, TN19 7DS
Blossom can be found on the native varieties of pear, apple and crab apple trees at Bateman’s from mid-April to mid-May.
Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, TN14 6BA
The young cherry trees at Emmetts Garden come into flower in the first or second week of May.
Mote Rd, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, TN15 0NT
Look out for the pink-tinged cherry blossom on the eastern bank in the garden.
Wisley Lane, Wisley, Woking, GU23 6QB
Cherry blossom and daffodils fill the arboretum with colour and scent.
Greenwich, London, SE10 8QY
Just past the cricket pitch in Greenwich Park is a road of cherry trees that leads you straight to a Georgian villa.
London, NW1 4NR
Walk through the Chester Road entrance and you’ll see an avenue of white cherry blossoms. Then head to the south end of Avenue Gardens, where a cluster of pink trees hang over the path.
St James's Park
London, SW1A 2BJ
Walk the full circle of the park at Storey’s Gate, there are a small cluster of trees, keep walking to the Buckingham Palace side to find more cherry trees by the lake. These trees often flower early.
Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE
Kew Gardens has its own Cherry Walk, starting at the Rose Garden at the back of Palm House, which is home to Japanese cherries.
London, W2 2UH
Many of the colourful pastel homes of Notting Hill Gate are fronted by branches of sakura, but Kensington Gardens is the place to go - start at Lancaster Gate and walk to the Albert Memorial.
Kyoto Garden, Holland Park
Holland Park Ave, Kensington, London, W11 4UA
The Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park was built to celebrate the Japan Festival held in London. This beautiful small area of the park is home to koi carp, a little bridge at the foot of a waterfall and in Spring you'll see the cherry blossom in bloom.
Hascombe Road, Godalming, GU8 4AD
Winkworth comes to life in Spring with blooming magnolia, drifts of bluebells, azaleas and blossoms.
Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ
The Spring Tree Walk offers views of pretty pink blossom trees, head into the centre of the park for a circle of the pond and catch a glimpse of the London Peace Pagoda.
Leith Hill, Dorking, RH5 6LX
There is a rhododendron wood with a bold springtime display and peak times run from April to early May.
Morden Hall Park
Morden Hall Road, London, Morden SM4 5JD
The various avenues become thoroughfares of white blossom and the woodland area is covered with bluebells.
The Richmond Riverside Walk
Whittaker Avenue, Richmond TW9 1TH
Stroll from Twickenham Bridge in Richmond, all the way along the riverside up to Petersham. The blossom trees along the towpath will be bursting with tufts of pink.
Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park
Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS
The plantation is gated away from the rest of the open expanse of Richmond Park, and visitors are guided down narrow pathways with beautiful flowers.
One day, my ultimate dream would be to see the sakura in Japan but at least there are plenty of options closer to home.