The Best Apple Tree Varieties for the UK

The English have always loved a good apple. Some of the earliest breeds of apples can trace their lineage to ancient English orchards. Today those orchards are just as likely to contain apples from all over the world, including cross-breeds between traditional English apples and their foreign cousins. Despite this trend, the English are still taking steps to preserve their heritage apples for future generations while still embracing the new breeds.

Newton Wonder

The Newton Wonder is a typical English apple. It has a crisp taste and texture and is known for being very juicy immediately after picking. Traditionally used in cooking, especially for desserts, these apples are considered to be winter apples and can be picked from November through March. Unlike many apples, the Newton Wonder keeps for quite a long time, developing a sweeter taste the longer it is kept. The apples this tree produces are quite round and can vary quite a bit in size.

Cox's Orange Pippin

This is perhaps the best-loved English apple. It has a very distinctive orange-red color and a highly aromatic flavor. Usually eaten as a dessert apple, this apple ripens in October and keeps until December. Cox's Orange is sterile and cannot be grown on its own. In order for the tree to set fruit, Cox's Orange must be grown in threes so that the trees can pollinate each other. While this is a popular and delicious apple, it is highly susceptible to fungus and many diseases.

Pearmain Apples

One of the oldest known varieties of English apple, this strain can be dated back to 1200 CE. The name "Pearmain" was used to describe apples that reminded people of pears, either in shape or in taste. Old Pearmain apples are rather pear-shaped, have a very deep and rich flavor and are especially good for eating. These apples ripen in early to mid October and can be kept into January, sometimes even March if the conditions are right. There are a number of Pearmains still being grown, including Winter, Adam's, White, Golden and Herefordshire.


The medium-sized Saturn apple is a smooth, well-rounded apple with a light green and red skin. The flavor is sweet but with a hint of acid that keeps it from being too sugary. It has a good firm flesh, and is very crisp with plenty of juice. Saturn ripens in September and is a dessert apple.

Hoary Morning

The earliest Somerset apple can be traced back to 1819 and is considered a traditional English apple. The young apple starts out light green and then turns yellow and develops red stripes. The apple itself is large and round and is quite firm. Hoary Morning is a good apple for cooking, with a rich, very sweet taste. Apples should be picked toward the middle of September and will keep for approximately two months before they start to turn.


Sunrise is a fairly new breed of apple An easy apple to grow, Sunrise is an early apple, coming to ripeness in late August. Similar to the Macintosh, Sunrise has a well-balanced flavor with an acidity that gives it a good bite, and the flesh is crisp and full of juice and is a good apple for eating or cooking. It should be picked early in the morning after being exposed to the cool night air. This apple takes a long time to ripen, so it should be left on the tree until you are ready to use it. Best served slightly chilled, these apples can be kept for about a week if they are stored in the refrigerator

Keywords: best english apples, growing English apples, united kingdom apples

About this Author

A former Army officer, Beth Anderle has been writing professionally for many years. She boasts experience as a freelance reporter. Anderle graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and completed a Master of Divinity from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her areas of interest including gardening, genealogy, herbs, literature, travel, the paranormal and spirituality.