spring blossom Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

The Best Places To Visit In The UK In Spring

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Make the most of the great outdoors on your doorstep with our guide to spring in the UK...

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Despite these difficult and unusual times, spring 2021 is certainly not cancelled. If you’re able to get out, enjoy the great outdoors, even if it is just a walk to your local park, a jog along the river, or a hike up a remote hill away from it all. To get you started, if you’re looking for the best places to visit and things to do in spring in the UK, your search ends here. We’ve rounded up the best seasonal sojourns from every corner of the country…

What are the current travel & holiday rules?

The Best Places to Visit in Spring, UK

Some events will be cancelled, some venues referenced may face temporary closure, but let us be hopeful and look to the future, many of our season highlights will be back with a bang in 2022…

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Ashridge Estate: What to do and visit in the UK in spring

The Home Counties

Between April and May, follow the woodland path on the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, admiring the springtime carpet of bluebells as you go.

Count counties from Leith Hill Tower in Dorking on a clear morning. It’s the highest point in south-east England, which means you might even spot a boat on the Channel.

Pick up a book at the Charleston Festival, or read one at home in its honour, held each May at the Bloomsbury Group’s spiritual home.

puffins

Devon, Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly

Step back to a simpler time on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Here you’ll find puffins, seals… no cars. Bliss. You can stay in castles, old school houses and lighthouses through the Landmark Trust.

Check out our guides to the best things to do in Cornwall, and Cornwall for kids, if you’re able to escape for a spring staycation.

Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Exbury Gardens

Hampshire & The Isle of Wight

Avoid the crowds and the summer heat and get fit at the same time by taking park in the Isle of Wight‘s annual walking festival each May, or do your own version. For those up for the challenge, you can walk round the whole island (72 miles) in 24 hour

See winter shake off its torpor and the year really come alive at Exbury Gardens, the vision of Lionel de Rothschild, who planted copious colourful rhododendrons and azaleas, which are best seen in May.

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Glenfinnan Viaduct

Scotland

Jupiter Artland, set in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house, is an eclectic and fascinating collection of modern art, great for a day out with a difference.

Hop aboard a steam train and take in the Scottish landscape from the comfort of a railway carriage. Harry Potter fans will be delighted to cross the Glenfinnan viaduct, recognisable from the films.

If you’re in Aberdeen, relax and unwind in an outdoor space if you’re able to. Try the Japanese-inspired Johnston Gardens, with flowing waterfalls, trickling streams and gorgeous blooms.

 

Dylan Thomas Boathouse Laugharne Wales

Wales & The Marches

Take a spring walk to see the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall (Aber Falls), home to many rare and beautiful birds from the Great Spotted woodpecker to the pied flycatcher.

If it goes ahead, at the end of every May, join the literati at the UK’s favourite book festival in Hay, where the small town, with more than its fair share of bookshops, attracts names as diverse as Eddie Izzard, Miriam González Durántez (and her husband Nick Clegg), Helen Fielding and Colm Toíbín.

Celebrate Wales’ most famous literary son on International Dylan Thomas day also in May. Do make sure you visit his boathouse in Laugharne, where he wrote many of his most famous works.

Lindisfarne

The North

Visit the stunning formal gardens of Alnwick Castle, redeveloped by the Duchess of Northumberland, which has its very own poison garden and a fantastic restaurant in a treehouse.

Step back in time on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland, and marvel at all that has been preserved. From ponies to seals, the wildlife on the island is also spectacular.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, set in the glorious parkland of Bretton Hall estate, displays works by leading sculptors of the 20th century and is an absolute must-see.

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The Avocet Bird

East Anglia

Crabbing season starts in late April. While Cromer is the obvious choice, gillying in Blakeney Quayside and Wells Harbour is also popular. Wait for high tide and use bacon as bait if you’re using a line.

Hop in a boat to Havergate Island in the middle of the River Ore to spot wading birds. It’s best-known for breeding avocets and terns at this time of year. The boat goes out at 10am on the first Saturday of every month, taking just 12 people, so plan ahead for a birdwatching experience that’s far away from the crowds.

Stratford-upon-Avon

Mid Country

Forgo the long-haul flight to Kyoto and head to the Japanese gardens at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens instead. The Cherry Blossom Festival in March is not to be missed.

Pig out on Melton Mowbray’s most famous export at the Great British Festival of Pies, held in the town centre each March. Or make your own at home with our Melton Mowbray pork pie recipe.

Pay tribute to the Bard on his birthday at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can tread the floorboards of the home where he was born and admire the gardens of Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

Bristol Ferryboat Company Avon Gorge

The West Country

Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues Festival during the May bank holiday is a great way to see live, traditional and modern jazz, or be inspired to have a jazz and blues revival in your own home. The backdrop of the pretty Dorset coastal town makes it even better, if you’re local.

See Bristol from the water and float up the Avon Gorge, beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge and through the famous Bristol floating harbour.

Whether it’s fish and chips or oysters and champagne, head to Weymouth and sample its amazing seafood while looking out over the old harbour.

Cheese Rolling

The Cotswolds

Read our guide to the Cotswolds

The Cheltenham Festival heralds the start of the British Social Season. While it doesn’t have the pomp and ceremony of Ascot, it’s a serious sporting event and you can always wear a hat if you wish (but you may prefer a flatcap).

Ever rolled a cheese down a hill? Perhaps not, but each May health and safety goes out the window and runners hurtle down the exceedingly steep Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire after a 7lb Double Gloucester. You may well ask…

Deptford Creek

Who said you need to leave London to soak in some nature? Deptford Creek is one of the last natural creeks in the UK and it’s bursting with 120 species of wild flowers.For one weekend in May, London’s best art institutions throw open their doors to showcase their collections in unusual and innovative ways. If it can’t happen this year, stick a pin in it until 2021.

If you have a four-legged friend, now is the time to go on one of the best dog walks in London.

Looking for the perfect hotel to accompany your trip this spring? Our new Great British & Irish Hotels Guide has them all, handpicked and arranged by region. Available to purchase in hard copy here. 

MORE SEASONAL GUIDES: Summer | Autumn |Winter