RHS Harlow Carr
Europe,  Travel Tips,  UK

14 Top Places to Visit in the UK in Spring (2021 Update)

Want to discover the top places to visit in the UK in Spring? Then read on…

As more of the UK’s lockdown restrictions (hopefully) lift over the spring, many of us are gearing up to get out and about.  

Sure, things won’t be back to ‘normal’, but I’m positive we’ll soon have the opportunity to return to day tripping and exploring beyond our ‘local’ area.

With that in mind I’ve put together this updated list to some of the best UK spring destinations, highlighting top spots for spring picnics, scenic walks and spotting bluebells!

This list is far from a definitive guide to the best UK destinations to visit in Spring – it’s designed more as a taster of the beautiful towns, cities and coastal areas the UK has to offer. But hopefully you’ll be inspired to visit somewhere new, or maybe be reminded of a UK destination you once fell in love with!

Top places to visit in the UK in Spring!

Brighton

There aren’t many places in the UK more beautiful in the sunshine than East Sussex’s favourite coastline, Brighton.

Venture down and you’ll see a city spring to life after its quieter winter season. The Royal Pavillion beams surrounded by beautiful, tropical gardens, the North Laines and its many indie stores and coffee shops are bustling with excitement and the infamous pier is the perfect spot to saunter in the warmer breeze – and enjoy a cheeky bag of chips (if the seagulls don’t get to them first!).

Take a short drive out of Brighton to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature at Beachy Head and Seven Sisters Country Park. Both are great spots for a picnic with family or friends.

Bristol

Cliftonwood Bristol credit andy maybury

Forget London, if you want a spring city break with some va-va-voom then visit Bristol!

The biggest city in the southwest of the UK, it’s a buzzing cultural metropolis with the quintessentially British villages of the Cotswolds to its north and the lush, the green countryside of Somerset to its south.

Also a hop, skip and a jump from Bath, a UNESCO heritage site full of Georgian beauty, Bristol has a rich history of its own, largely focused around the maritime trade.

The city has lots of different things to see and do and there’s something for everyone whether you’re all about the history, into getting up close and personal with cuddly animals or love everything science and high-tech.

Want some more inspiration? Check out our guide to 15 epic things to do in Bristol.

Cambridge

If you’re after a historic university city then you can’t beat a trip to Cambridge (although I may be a little biased as I grew up not too far from here). The city’s beautiful in spring and punting, Cambridge’s version of a gondola trip, is a wonderful, chilled way to see the city – especially the university grounds and the Bridge of Sighs.

Take a picnic and enjoy the city’s green spaces, before heading into the city centre for a bit of retail therapy or culture in one of Cambridge’s many museums…

Cornwall

Fistral Beach, Cornwall
Fistral Beach, Cornwall

One of the original British staycation destinations, the endless beaches, harbours and rolling countryside of Cornwall will take your stress away in an instant.

Rent a VW camper van or pitch up in one of the region’s many campsites, then plan a road-trip taking in Newquay’s surf culture, the Eden Project, Padstow, St. Michael’s Mount and Tintagel Castle.

For those up for a challenge, be sure to check out Via Ferrata CornwalL, A 60-acre outdoor adventure site providing the ultimate high-wire and climbing route around a disused granite quarry. It will soon be offering guests the chance to also try out kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, coasteering and archery.

The Cotswolds

Best of the Cotswolds | Ladies What Travel

As England’s country garden, you’ll find the Cotswolds overflowing with postcard pretty villages, fields of wildflowers, thatched cottages and teashops galore. 

I head here all the time for day trips to beautiful towns and villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, Tetbury and Minchinhampton Common, where the cows rule the roads.

Spring is the perfect time to visit – the flowers begin to bloom and everything comes back to life, plus it’s when all the great country fetes kick off. You can’t beat a tombola, cake sale and a bit of welly wanging!

A while back we asked some local bloggers to share their personal Costwolds’ highlights – why not check it out?

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor places to visit in the UK in spring

There’s so much to do in Dartmoor National Park and the surrounding area that it’s a great destination for a long weekend adventure, as Emma recently discovered.

Take a road trip across the moors, visit the Cistercian monastery Buckland Abbey, the Morwhellam Quay open-air museum or Dartmoor Zoo – whatever your passions they’ll be something to pique your interest…

Harrogate

Harrogate spa trail

The Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate has been voted the happiest place to live in the UK and also the third most romantic destination in the world.

Its compact town centre is easy to get around and there’s quite a lot to do both in the town itself and the neighbouring countryside. If you like spas, good food, castles and gardens, then this is a destination for you!

Find out more about what Harrogate has to offer in spring, including the beautiful RHS Harlow Carr.

The Lake District

places to visit in the UK in spring

Not only is the Lake District a World Heritage Site, it’s best seen in May when the bluebells are out and the weather is at its best. 

Imagine this – long walks through the bluebells at Rannerdale, followed by a picnic by the lake. Once you’re here, there is so much to do and it can all be done for free if you so wish, making it a great choice for the cost-conscious.

Although if you’re happy to spend a tenner or so, then Sally Fielding, of Sally’s Cottages recommends going to Muncaster Castle. 

“I make a pilgrimage there each May as this is the best place in the whole of the Lake District for bluebell woods.  Not only that, but the rhododendrons are in full bloom too.

“When I go, I always combine it with a visit to Stanley Ghyll waterfall which makes you feel as though you’re in the rainforest – and it’s free.

“Oh and  if you’re feeling brave, combine this with a trip over Hardknott and Wrynose passes – Britain’s steepest road!”

Manchester

The Paradise Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater.

Manchester’s great for a cultural weekend escape all year round, but it’s the perfect choice for this Spring because in May RHS Bridgewater Garden opens – The first new Royal Horticultural Society’s garden in 17 years!

 The 154-acre garden is currently the largest gardening project in Europe, and will feature one of the UK’s biggest Walled Gardens, a Kitchen Garden, orchards, and a Chinese Streamside Garden amongst other spaces.

Norfolk

Laura’s been exploring a lot of Norfolk over recent years as this is where her boyfriend is based. She’s discovered the county has so much to offer visitors – from boating on the Broads and exploring Norwich city through to beautiful beaches, which are often visited by sunbathing seals!

Laura shares her top tips for visiting Norfolk in this post.

The New Forest

A New Forest glade in spring
A New Forest glade in spring

The New Forest is one of my favourite UK destinations. Made up of a mix of pastureland, heath and forest, it’s a truly beautiful place to explore, as you visit the towns and villages dotted throughout the boundaries of the national park.

Appointed a royal forest by William I, it was an area used by nobility and royalty to host hunts, although those that lived there – known as commoners – were given special rights including permission for their animals to freely graze the land. Still in place today, this is something that makes the New Forest such a unique place, as its free roaming ponies can be seen throughout the area and often can be found wandering along the town and village high streets!

Whatever the UK spring weather may have in store, the New Forest has a lot to offer from country walks and animal parks through to indoor family attractions and historical sites. There’s also beautiful flowers galore – first to arrive are the carpets of bluebells and snowdrops, swiftly followed by cowslips, daffodils and more…

Skomer Island

Spring is the time to visit Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire as the puffins return early to mid April after the winter and the spring flowers are in full bloom.

Explore the island on foot and meet the migrant birds, witness the first landings of puffins to the island, watch the amorous displays of guillemots and razorbills and see the island start to bloom with daffodils and wildflowers.

places to visit in the UK in spring

During the spring Skomer is covered in a display of beautiful bluebells so vast that the island appears blue. Puffins, rabbits and short-eared owls are particularly active throughout the day, making this the perfect UK destination for wildlife lovers!

Swansea Bay

Rhossili Beach Gower

In the Swansea Bay area of south Wales you’ll find the picturesque Mumbles and Gower, with its cute independent shops and restaurants, ancient castle, undulating hills and fresh sea air.

The region is home to Rhossili Bay, an award winning three-mile stretch of beach that’s considered the best in the UK. But beyond Rhossili, there’s also Pwll Du Bay, which is a little off the beaten track, Caswell Bay and Three Cliffs Bay, meaning there’s a beach for everyone.

Oh, and if you’d like something a bit more quirky, why not have a go at tobogganing at Pembrey Country Park – it’s a blast!

In spring the temperature can get up to a balmy 20 degrees, which makes it a great time to get outdoors and explore the beautiful welsh countryside…

The Yorkshire Dales

Image credit – Rob Whitrow

The Yorkshire Dales are a UK great spring destination – it’s perfect for bluebells, spring lambs and spring salmon!

We recommend a trip to the market town of Sedbergh, a destination that’s totally under the radar but is perfect for an outdoor-focused spring getaway. it’s ideal for quiet riverside walks and lazy picnics. But if you want something more action packed then you can indulge in wild swimming in one of the four rivers, sailing and kayaking on Killington Lake, horse riding. 

The town also sits squarely at the heart of a number of the UK’s most iconic long-distance trails, perfect for those that enjoy walking or horse riding. For walkers highlights include the Pennine Journey, and the Dales Way, for horse riders there’s the outstanding Pennine Way. 

Top Places to Visit in the UK this Spring – pin for later!

14 Top Places to Visit in the UK this Spring
14 Top Places to Visit in the UK this Spring
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Fifi and Hop

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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