Spring is in the air and the UK is a beautiful place at this time of the year, full of colour and life, of flowers blooming and optimism blossoming.
After several months spent with your noses pressed to the frosty glass peering out for answers (or, at the very least, a sign of warmth!), a staycation somewhere picturesque and pretty might be the perfect tonic after a prolonged spell of wintery weather. But where are some of the best places for a springtime staycation with the family in the UK? Here are 5 cracking suggestions…
The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of central-southwest England with glorious countryside, rolling hills, quaint, chocolate-box villages and plenty of easy-going charm. This makes it an ideal place for a holiday in the gently warming weather as you can (finally) spend your time on rewarding walks and bike rides, exploring the county’s towns and villages, and basking in the intermittent bouts of sunshine.
Designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds covers approximately 800 square miles of land, meaning it’s important to focus your attention a little more squarely on one area of the vast region to ensure you’re getting the most out of your trip. The ‘Cotswolds Capital’ Cirencester is a good place to start.
Cambridge is an iconic British city famed for its university, 13th-century architecture, lively town centre, and botanic gardens. Cambridge comes to life in the spring months and there is a huge amount to see and do as a family here. A few highlights include King’s College Chapel, punting on the River Cam, and seeing the famous Mathematical Bridge.
It also has a fantastic food scene, of both Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants like Midsummer House and of traditional country pubs that happen to do great food – our favourite perhaps being the prosaically named Pint Shop, whose onion bhaji Scotch eggs are the stuff of legend.
The Roman city of York is another excellent choice for a family holiday destination as it’s a welcoming city with plenty of culture and history to discover. A few highlights that the whole family can enjoy here include York Minster, Yorkshire Museums & Gardens, and Dalby Forest, which is an amazing place to visit during spring.
Additionally, the JORVIK Viking Centre is always a hit with kids and a fascinating lesson into the city’s Viking legacy with the ability to step back through time and explore the sights and sounds of 10th-century York.
A short trip west of York is the charming spa town of Harrogate, another lovely place for a family trip in spring. Once a popular destination for wealthy European travellers, Harrogate has beautiful tree-lined streets, charming tea rooms, and shops, and its small size makes it ideal for a stroll. You are also surrounded by beautiful English countryside, including the Yorkshire Dales.
If you’ve got any keen hikers in the family, then consider the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge while you’re in Harrogate. At 24 miles in length, it’s not one for the little ones, but is a beautiful hike for those with the legs.
The walk takes in the Pennine peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, by virtue of a route that rounds the Ribble Valley. It is a common choice for charity walks and hiking challenges, but all the more popular for the excellent views of those aforementioned Yorkshire Dales.
Pembrokeshire & Skomer Island
For some beach time, then consider a trip to Wales, a country with 157 miles of coastline, much of which is rugged and arresting in equal measure.
Head to Pembrokeshire in the south (just under two hours from the capital) for a selection of the finest stretches of sand and surf; both Broad Haven beach and Barafundle beach have been bestowed with the Blue Flag award which celebrates water quality and environmental protection of beauty spots worldwide. What’s more, in 2017 the latter was named as one of the world’s best beaches by Passport Magazine. You’ll never want to leave.
For a longer trip, the incredible Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales is known as an amazing place for wildlife and historical remains.
As a longer journey, you might want to split up the driving and will need to arrange temporary car insurance for any other drivers. In the meantime, the front seat passenger can embrace the scenic views that are to come along the ride.
Snowdonia is home to Wales’s highest mountain and the breathtaking national park, which is incredibly beautiful during spring, when the mist rises just right and temperatures remain crisp and rejuvenating.
Should you have little ones in toe, be sure to take the historic Snowdon Mountain Railway to take you to the summit for outstanding views in every direction. Stick around in Wales and check out these other great activities to enjoy in rural Wales while you’re here.
If you are planning a family holiday this spring then these are all places that should be on your shortlist for a brilliant start to the season!