10 places to see onset of spring at its best

Published on : Saturday, March 19, 2016

waders-south-uistLooking for the best places to see daffodils or tulips this spring? Here is the list for some quick flower-finding tips!

 

The Uists, Scotland

 

These windswept twin isles off Scotland’s beautifully wild Atlantic coast are perfect for a late spring break. Much of the west coast of both North Uist, South Uist, and the isle of Benbecula connects by causeway and is laced with a necklace of gorgeous white sand beaches, topped with machair – the name for a band of grassy coastal dunes that burst alive with bird song and an explosion of wildflowers in spring. On most stretches of sand here it will be just you, the birds and the odd seal or two admiring the flora. Eager birdwatchers should head to North Uist’s Balranald RSPB Reserve for rare sightings of the corncrake and other ‘machair birds’. Stay local for your family holiday this year and check out our guide to the best UK spring breaks.

 

How to get there

The Outer Hebrides are connected to the mainland by Western Isle ferries from mainland ports like Oban in Argyll and Malaig in Lochaber. Alternatively, flights to Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) operate from Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh and from there you can catch a flight to Benbecula or land dramatically (weather permitting) on the beach at Barra.

 

 

Wiltshire, England

 

Bowood Rhododendron Gardens are an unbeatable place to herald spring’s arrival. Stroll through 60 acres of woodland, the bright colours of thousands of rhododendron flowers bursting around you. The garden was planted in 1854 and as well as its enticing collection of different rhododendron types, it’s also home to azaleas, magnolias and more than 30 hybrid varieties thought until recently to be extinct. Open late April to mid June, depending on flowering season. Admission: adult (13 and over) £7.50, children free. Love gardens in the spring? We’ve got more seasonal treats for you with these beautiful floral oases, right here in the UK.

 

How to get there

It’s easiest to get to Bowood by road. If you’re coming long distance, fly to Bristol, hire a car at the airport and take the M4 towards Swindon, coming off at J17.

 

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El Hierro, Canary Islands

 

The wildest of the seven main Canary Isles is the last thing that Columbus saw as he literally sailed off the map in search of the New World. This little visited oasis is a complete contrast to the massively popular main island of the western Canaries, Tenerife. Its lush hills and meadows glisten with an eye-poppingly vivid blanket of flowers in early spring so head there soon if you want to enjoy the best of the flora. The spring temperatures are balmy here too, with the mercury usually breaking 20°C.

 

How to get there

Ferries between Tenerife and El Hierro take around two and a half hours, but you can fly direct to El Hierro from Tenerife Norte Airport in just 40 minutes.

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

It came as no surprise that Slovenia’s bijou first city was been named European Green Capital this year. Ljubljana’s a seriously green place, with lots of parks and willow trees overhanging the Ljubljanica River – much of the centre has been pedestrianised too. Cycling is the best way to appreciate the late spring air, as the locals emerge from their snow-ravaged winter hibernation. The city’s rich bounty of cafés also start to spring back into life at this time of year as the first supplies of wild dandelion make their way into salads – you’ll have to trust us on this one, it’s a delicious rocket-like peppery taste! Try Cacao near the main square, Prešernov Trg, and celebrate the turn of some warmer weather with a scoop of their famous gelato as well. There are plenty more great things to do in the charming Slovenian capital – here are a few of our favourite Ljubliana attractions.

 

How to get there

easyJet and WizzAir run two hour direct flights to Ljubljana from London Stansted and Luton airports, or you can fly from regional airports like Manchester and Edinburgh in around five hours, usually stopping in Vienna or Brussels.

 

 

Seville, Spain

 

Too hot in summer and too cold in winter, this sultry southern Spanish charmer is perfect in spring. Those renowned Seville orange trees appreciate the rise in temperature, as do the sprinkling of tourists enjoying one of Europe’s most romantic old towns – at this time of year pleasantly devoid of the crowds. Foodies will be in heaven as fresh spring produce makes its way into the tapas bars that line the streets here. Look out for Seville’s Feria de Abril de Sevilla festival, which bursts into life from April 12 to 17, filling the streets with flamenco dancing and horse parades. Pop into the casetas or pop-up pavillions which thrum with live music ’til late, each have their own bar and kitchen and the majority are private parties, but there are always a few that are open to the public.

 

How to get there

Direct flights to Seville are available from London Gatwick or you can often get cheaper deals if you leave from local airports like Newcastle and don’t mind changing planes in Spain.

 

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

Lord Byron’s ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is at its best when the warmth of spring kicks in, as the rugged old walls – which have made the perfect dramatic historic backdrop for Game of Thrones – shine in the sunlight. Fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market in Gruz appear in restaurants and the sands of nearby islands, like Brac and Hvar, once again tempt your toes. Dubrovnik can get very busy in the summer, so get in now and you’ll be ahead of those crowds.

 

How to get there

You can fly to Dubrovnik from many UK airports, including Birmingham, Belfast and Edinburgh, with the best flight time a little over five hours. Alternatively, fly to Zagreb or Split and make the journey south down the spectacular coast by bus or ferry.

 

Kitzbüheler Horn Wildflower Garden, Austria

 

The Alps are famous for the extravaganza of wildflowers that grace their slopes during spring, but where to head? We recommend the Kitzbüheler Horn Flower Garden, reached by a short, scenic cable car ride (€10 a ticket). This famous skiing region takes on new hues as the snows melt on the Großglockner and Wilder Kaiser mountains. Meander across the green hillsides, taking in the wide array of flora collected by plant enthusiasts Eva and Toni Hofer from all over the world, with Alpine natives like edelweis and gentian sitting alongside well-travelled blooms like the Tibetan carnation. May is normally the best time to visit but each year the display is different depending on the harshness of winter and the timing of spring.

 

How to get there

The town of Kitzbühel is in Austria’s Tyrol region and accessible from Innsbruck airport by car or train in just over an hour. You can also fly to Salzburg, slightly further away to the east.

 

 

Dubai, UAE

 

Many places in Europe may say they offer guaranteed sunshine and warmth this time of year, but if you want to be sure of that tan, taking a few extra hours to get down to the Arabian Gulf reaps a balmy reward – average highs in April are around 32°C. Book a Dubai beach hotel like Suha Hotel Apartments overlooking the trendy ‘JBR’ (Jumeirah Beach Resort) and you’ll be soaking in bath-temperature waters and reclining on golden sands instead of taking your chances with the British spring. Read our local’s guide to Dubai to make the most of your stay in the UAE.

 

How to get there

You can fly to Dubai direct from Glasgow with Emirates in around seven hours.

 

 

New England, USA

 

Mention New England and most people instantly think of the famous seasonal colours that have made this the place in the USA to head in autumn. Go in spring though and you’ll see the local trees and shrubs wake up from their winter slumber in a swathe of spring shades. A road trip is the best place to appreciate the blossoms and emergence of new life – call in to Fairfield, Connecticut to see candy-coloured dogwoods and the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Cape Cod for spectacular rhododendrons.

 

How to get there

Boston is a good place to start an east coast road trip – from here you can hire some wheels and get to Cape Cod in just over an hour.

japan

Japan

 

Japan is one of this year’s hottest destinations and spring is a brilliant time to visit. This is when the trees come into their own, with the prized cherry blossoms the undoubted highlight. You can savour this yearly phenomenon in many parts of the country, but if you are a serious fan head for the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival in northern Japan, with key locations in Hirosaki Park and the grounds of Hirosaki Castle. The event normally runs from late April to late May but exact dates depend on when the blooms are at their best. For more on getting outdoors in Japan, check out our guide to the best hiking trails here.

 

How to get there

Fly to Tokyo and make the five hour journey by train to Hirosaki, or take a flight to the regional Aomoori Airport – the journey to Hirosaki then takes less than an hour by road.

 

Source: Skyscanner

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