Balmier temperatures and sunnier skies mean ditching the heavy coats to hunt out the blossom... Spring is the perfect time to explore our country’s most picturesque corners
In Britain’s northernmost reaches you’ll find Northumberland National Park with its spectacular waterfalls and open moorland stretching all the way up to the Scottish border. The Kidlandlee estate, with its fabulous views over the hills and valley, is a beautiful place to stay – it’s in a dark-sky area and is 14 miles from the nearest shop in Rothbury, making it a proper escape. Forty-five minutes away by car is Alnwick Castle, which Harry Potter fans will find familiar!
This island in the Bristol Channel is just three miles long and is reached by boat from Bideford or Ilfracombe on North Devon’s coast, or you can even kayak over. There’s castles, old school houses and lighthouses to stay in, cliffs to wander across and wildlife to seek out – bird-watchers come from all over to spot the various species. There’s a single shop and no streetlights, leaving you free to appreciate the island’s rugged beauty and fresh air in total peace.
Isle of Wight
Just two and a half hours’ drive south and an hour’s ferry trip away is this pretty destination covered in countryside and flanked by sandy beaches. Active types can get stuck into horseriding, cycling or golf, or more water-based options like sailing, coasteering or rafting, and there’s over 500 miles of footpaths giving you endlessly interesting walking routes. The Isle of Wight has a plenty of culture too – nights-in can be spent down one of the many pubs, at the theatre or a comedy club. Visit in May and you can take part in the annual walking festival – see if you can walk the 72 miles round the island in 24 hours!
Come to Norfolk for sea air and small-town life. Stay on the coast and you’ll be able to make the most of crabbing season which starts in late April – head to traditional seaside town Cromer and you can catch them for free off the pier. There are cosy pubs and brilliant restaurants, and plenty of lovely places to stay with the whole family or a smaller group. Locally you can make a day trip to the Sandringham Estate, the bird reserve in Titchwell and the magnificent Holkham Hall.