tulip festival morton hall gardens

Morton Hall Gardens Tulip Festival

When I found out there was a tulip festival within a reasonable driving distance I booked my tickets fast.  I’m not a gardener at all, but I love looking at others. So the Morton Hall Gardens Tulip Festival was on my list for the May bank holiday.

tulip festival morton hall gardens

The tulip festival only runs for a few days each year. This time over the May day bank holiday weekend.  You have to book in advance and it’s popular for a small place.  One of the staff I was talking to said they were expecting 1400 people on the day I’d booked.  

Morton Hall is a private house, and only opens the gardens to group bookings through the year.  The weekend of the Tulip Festival is the only normal weekend you can attend outside of groups.

The festival has a secondary purpose – other than just showing off the flowers and gardens.  It’s run in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to help raise funds for them.

About Morton Hall

The hall is set in 8 acres of gardens, and is a late 18th century manor house.  It’s just outside Redditch, and has wonderful views from its location.

Arrival at Morton Hall Gardens Tulip Festival

The set up was very well organised, with the traffic management out from the road up and down into the field car park. They’d got mats for driving on across the grass, so that helped avoid too many boggy situations. And exiting worked just as well with the parking stewards and people manning the stop/go signs.

It is a bit of an uphill walk to the festival entrance, but again there’s matting to walk on.  Those who needed aid getting nearer the entrance were able to get a lift up with the organised 4WD vehicle.

Everyone at the entrance checking names and explaining the map and what was there to see was very friendly.  I do love a paper map, it’s so much easier than using your phone especially when taking photos with it.

As well as the RSC, the tulip festival was run with the aid of Bloms Bulbs who have won 70 Chelsea Flower Show gold medals. All of the tulips in the displays were labelled, and you could tick off the ones you liked to order them on the Bloms Bulbs leaflet as you went round.

Informal gardens

There were several pathways mown out of the grass so you could choose any direction to head towards the gardens. The first area was like a beautiful meadow. With trees, purple flowers throughout and the sun streaming through it was so pretty and relaxing.  There are a few benches to sit and enjoy the flowers and view in this informal garden area.

purple meadow flower close up
sun streaming through trees over the grass and flowers

I was in the first slot of the day at 10, so decided to head straight to the formal gardens behind the hall. I wanted to get photos while it was still quiet.

It was a little confusing how to get around the hall to the gardens as the marquee tea rooms was on the main way around. So I just headed further along to see what I could find.

Cut flowers displays

First up around the side of the house was the cut tulips displays. I always thought of tulips as having a really obvious shape, but there were certainly lots of varieties and shapes I’d never come across before. Along with a range of colours.

There were 3 tents. In the leaflet it suggested there would be specialists to talk to there, but I presume there weren’t because it was quite early. I was happy though just to snap away.

vase of red frilly tulips

Formal gardens 

Then onto the formal gardens and the tulips. There’s several garden areas, and you could just explore as you wanted.  

archway tunnel in garden
pink tulips
fiery colour tulips
close up of red triangular tulip

It’s interesting to see all the greenhouses/workshop areas, alongside the potted tulips, and tulip borders.  The tulips were pretty, although a little storm and wind damaged from a few days previously.

I couldn’t believe the variety and colours all in the one place.  With lovely archways and topiary, there’s a lot to see not just the tulips.

wide tulip borders with wall behind
view of morton hall back from the flower borders
arch tunnel with ball hedge shrubs

If you wanted to know more about the tulips you could ask the staff who were in each area of the garden. They were really friendly and happy to tell you about the growing of the tulips and how they try and time it for the tulip festival.

close up of barbie pink tulip
yellow and green tulip
tulip borders leading up path

RSC costumes

As well as flowers, we were able to see some of the original costumes used in different plays. These were able to show different costume making techniques. It was interesting to see the different costumes, all from different plays, and the actor was included too. They were so intricately made.

RSC Henry VIII costume
dress from Richard III performance

I was pleased I was there early because it was really quiet and you could easily feel like you had the gardens to yourself. After a while it started to get a bit busy and I’d seen everything I wanted to.

I decided against going to the tea room.  Plenty of people were sitting enjoying the sun outside, and there was a large marquee if it was wet.

Japanese garden

Walking back out of the formal gardens, and back into the more meadow area, I found the entrance to the Japanese garden.

This was a really lovely little spot, focused around a pond area.  There’s a little tea room building, this time with another of the costumes displayed which you could get right up close to.

japanese garden pond
RSC dress from The Provoked wife

The sun made it quite hard to get photos, and it was busy around the outside walk area of the ponds. But it was so quiet and peaceful considering the people wandering around.  It was lovely to see some different trees and blooms, and at the end a rockery area.

The gardens are so well done at Morton Hall, there’s always something different to see whether in the informal or formal area.

Blossom trees to exit

I followed the exit sign to walk out via the blossom trees. There was a bit of magnolia blossom just clinging on, and the horse chestnuts were looking spectacular.  Again it was lovely with the sun streaming through the trees and down over the flowers.

Both the purple flowers were everywhere, along with meadow buttercups and dandelions. Noone else was walking the same way so it was good to take my time and enjoy it before walking back to the car park.

exit walk out under blossom
purple flowers in the meadow

If you’re in and around the area next May, then keep a watch out for the dates being released, and ticket sales being open.  While it’s probably only an hour out unless you spend a lot of time having refreshments, it was worth the £15 I spent.  Children under 12 go in free, although personally I don’t think it’s really an event that’s going to interest many children. I did see a few of varying ages, but was mostly couples and small adult groups.

We were definitely lucky with the weather, as it was warm and sunny. It was lovely to be out enjoying the tulip festival at Morton Hall Gardens.

Have you got any tulip festivals or fields near you?

You can find places to visit flower fields in the UK at my seasonal flowers post and other days out ideas in Worcestershire.

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  1. My partner and their mum really loved flowers. I may have to suggest this to them as something to do, albeit next year as it appears we’ve already missed it for this year. Great post

  2. I love tulips, they’re one of my favourite Spring flowers, such a huge variety of shapes and colours. I think the purple/blue flowers you saw look like Camassias – they often naturalise in grass, we have some around our pond. A lovely photo record of your visit, thank you for sharing!

    1. Ah you know much more about flowers than I do. I’m a fan of Plant Snap app although hadn’t had chance to use it yet for these.