This article may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase through my link, I may gain a small commission which helps to keep this blog going. Read more details HERE. Thank you.
Lavender is a love or hate flower. Some find it calming and dream inducing while others can only think of ‘granny’ and her mothballed drawers. In the heart of the Cotswolds is Snowshill Lavender Farm. This farm extends across undulating fields and a small corner can be visited to view the purple haze of plants and photography.
Lavender Varieties in the U.K.
There are loads of different species and subspecies of lavender grown in the UK. Many fall into the Lavandula family but genetically there is a wide range of variants. There are three main types that are grown commercially in the U.K. for their oils and flowers, but each UK lavender farm will have its own favourite variety.
Also known as English lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia is the most well known and found in many UK gardens. The best known varieties are Hidcote and Munstead. These plants are quite compact and have a swarm of flowers. These flowers produce really high quality oils and can be used for lavender toiletries and are a key ingredient in lavender perfumes and fragranced products.
This species of lavender is a little more unruly and wild compared to the English Lavender. Known as lavandin or cottage garden lavender it is a hybrid of Lavandula Angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia and grows quite tall with long flowing stems. These are the lavender plants found across the world as they produce large volumes of oil compared to other varieties of lavender.
This chunky lavender has a completely different appearance to the previous lavender species. Rather than flowers on a stem, this has a solid flower head that has petal leaves called bracts that stick out from the top of the flower head. This is known as French lavender and is more of an ornamental lavender as it doesn’t produce large amounts of essential oils.
when is the Lavender Season in the UK?
Cotswold lavender photography along with other lavender fields in the UK has a very short time window to visit and capture the amazing colours. English lavender blooms from June to early September. It is always worth checking before heading to Snowshill and other lavender farms around the UK when they are harvesting their lavender. Most harvests are made in July but will depend on the weather conditions and the weather forecast. There is nothing worse than arriving to photograph the Cotswold lavender fields and finding they beautifully cut and green.
Visiting The Snowshill Cotswold Lavender Fields
Cotswold Lavender is located near the small town of Broadway and is surrounded by fields that make up the Vale of Evesham. As you get closer the fragrance of the lavender can be smelt on the air as it rises from the floral fields. A small shop and cafe is the perfect place to stop before heading through the small wooden gate into the lavender fields. While the purple fields stretch as far as the horizon there is one field that you can explore and photograph. This has a whole swathe of lavender in different colours and sizes and beyond the lavender is an area planted with English wild flowers. These contrast perfectly with the fields of crops beyond the farm as well as the purple of the lavender.
The paths meander through the field, criss crossing each other allowing you to get inside the flowers without ever stepping off the path. Bees are everywhere as well as butterflies and insects who feed on this bounty of nectar. It is easy to lose yourself in this flower bonanza for a day without realising the passing of time.
- Take your time to explore the fields and find the perspective that you want. The fields slope gently uphill from the entrance and this provides different perspectives of the fields
- The farmhouse at the bottom of the fields makes a nice focal point especially when taken with a wide aperture, blurring the farmhouse in the background beyond the lavender fields.
- Intentional camera movement can be used to blur the colours of the lavender into stripes. This works especially well in the area closest to the entrance where there are examples of all the lavender types and colours. Bring an ND filter and tripod to allow you to increase your exposure time without over exposing the photograph
- Further up the field the lavender looks like hedgehogs as it slopes back to the house. Make sure you get these lined up to the centre of your frame and use the horizon as a guide or the rows will appear annoyingly wonky. Use the lines of these rows of lavenders to draw the viewer of the photograph into your picture.
- Add something to your photograph, whether it is a person, a bunch of lavender or an insect. Lavender fields are a common photograph – make yours different.
- The best photographs are always achieved at sunrise and sunset where the colours take on a deep tone. This is however not possible in these fields as they are not open during the best times for photograph. You need to work in the worst light of the day and make sure that you don’t over expose.
Tips for Visiting snowshill Lavender Farm
- The lavender farm has set opening times. Make sure you arrive early or late to avoid the crowds. This farm is on many of the Cotswold tours and can get busy
- If you are a professional photographer or group leader you need to pay to photograph the fields
- Don’t be afraid to wander the fields and just spend time inhaling the amazing fragrance
- If the weather has been wet wellies are useful and the paths can become muddy
- Allow time to visit the shop and sample the lavender cakes and potions
- Other than the farm shop there are no facilities, make sure you bring supplies if you are going to stay for the day
Getting to Snowshill
Getting to Cotswold Lavender is fairly easy and is well signposted from the main A44 between Stow-on-the-Wold and Evesham. It is 2 miles south of Broadway near to the National Trust Snowshill Manor and Garden. There is loads of parking just a short distance from the entrance to fields.
The nearest train station is at Moreton in Marsh and you will then need a pre-booked taxi.
When you arrive pop into the shop to pay to enter the fields and then cross the small road to the gate.
Other Places Nearby
- Snowshill Manor – A beautiful National Trust manor house from the 16th Century with an eclectic mix of objects
- Broadway Tower – Historic folly designed by Capability Brown
- Sudeley Castle – 15th Century stately home with ornate formal gardens and resident peacocks!
Other Lavender Fields in England
- Castle Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent – The largest lavender fields in the UK
- Hitchin Lavender, Hertfordshire – Between London and Cambridge
- Mayfield Lavender Farm, Banstead, Surrey – A smaller lavender farm close to London with tractor rides if you want to explore without walking
- Lordington Lavender, Chichester, Surrey – This smaller farm has limited opening times so check before heading off to visit
- The Lavender Fields, Alton, Hampshire – Another very small farm that is only open for two weekends each year
- Somerset Lavender, Faulkland – Close to Bath and Wells with medicinal herbs as well as lavender
- Suffolk Lavender, Bucklesham, Ipswich – A very small lavender farm open weekends during the season
- Norfolk Lavender, Heacham – A fragrant combination of lavender and rosemary at this farm awaits developed in the 1930’s around an old corn mill
- Shropshire Lavender, Pickstock- Open each weekend when the lavender is in flower
- Inglenook Farm, St Helens, Merseyside – A dreamy combination of lavender and chamomile
- Wolds Way Lavender, Malton, North Yorkshire – A beautiful floral experience with wild flower meadows, beehives and trails as well as lavender
- Yorkshire Lavender Farm, Terrington – This farm has a lavender maze and sensory garden in addition to the lavender fields