Top things to do in spring: our picks

Spring’s here like a surge of enthusiasm. Time to get out from under the winter blankets and off to Britain’s most spring-tastic days out.

 

Walking in bluebell woods

Everybody likes bluebell woods, with the possible exception of hayfever sufferers (and even they can be coerced: just show them a few nice pictures). Sunlight dappling down through the leafy canopy; bright violet-blue flowers edging their way up from the earth. They're gorgeous.

In flower from late April to early May, simply choose a suitable woodland, head off for a spring stroll, and enjoy one of Britain's best natural wonders.

Bluebells
Bluebells flowering in the filtered sunlight

Riding through the countryside on vintage railways

Britain has loads of working vintage railways!  You might recognise the Glencoe Viaduct from the Harry Potter films.

You might recognise the Glencoe Viaduct from the Harry Potter films.
Glenfinnan viaduct

What a way to get around, especially on a sunny spring day; Britain’s wonderfully varied landscapes coming to life again around you, hilly vistas and sea views whipping past the window.

A steam train on the Dartmouth Steam Railway line
A steam train on the Dartmouth Steam Railway line

You'll find plenty of steam railways all over Britain. There’s the appropriately named Bluebell Railway in Sussex, and many National Parks have a steam railway chuffing through them - the Dartmoor Railway is one good example. 

 

Climbing tall buildings and taking in the views

Spring is when you throw off that wintry, hibernatory feeling and start doing things, right? For that reason it goes hand in hand with climbing buildings or hills and looking out over edifying, uplifting views. You can breathe in the fresh spring air, relish the lengthening days, and indulge in a bit of pleasant reflection.

Try the Monument in London: it’s just the right height to give you a feeling of being amongst it all, while giving you a nice vantage over London’s gorgeous sights: St.Paul’s Cathedral (another great place to see views), the River Thames and so on.

The Monument commemorates the beginning of the Great Fire of London. If you laid it on the ground, it would measure the distance to the place where the fire started on Pudding Mill Lane.

If you prefer the countryside, try the Broadway Tower in Gloucestershire. It looks like something from a fairytale. Watch the clouds scudding by and the patchwork of fields and meadows stretching out to the horizon in the valley below.

Autumn in the Cotswolds, Broadway tower, Gloucestershire, England.
Broadway Tower

Find places meant to be magic

Britain has loads of fantastic places that are supposed to be magic.

Giants Causeway
The Giant's Causeway

Great terraced hills that are supposed to be gateways to fairy kingdoms, wells that have red water, pools that turn things to stone, Merlin’s cave, Giant’s Causeways...   

Merlin's Cave
Merlin's Cave  © iStock/heizfrosch

 

A view of the landscape and Glastonbury Tor silhouetted against the dawn.
A gorgeous misty morning over Glastonbury Tor

When spring is in the air, it's the perfect time for adventures like this. Soak up the pleasant weather, the crisp air and the wealth of stories and legends associated with the British countryside and see if you can feel the magic.

 

Go to a city park

If you’re staying in a city, urban parks are great. They’re just like the countryside, only they’re not so far away. Richmond Park is a great example: once the hunting ground of kings, now a great green open space, covered in waving fern, ancient oaks and even herds of deer.

Deer in Richmond Park
Deer in Richmond Park

There are plenty of charming post-stroll pubs nearby, and be sure you keep your eyes peeled for the excellent view of St. Pauls from here.