Despite these difficult and unusual times, spring 2020 wasn’t cancelled. If you’re able to get out and 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, breath in the fresh air and remember that this too shall pass. To get you started, if you’re l ooking 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…
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 defiance in 2021…
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.
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
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
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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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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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…
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. start the slideshow
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