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Where to spend spring in the UK

Welcome to the expectant cusp of equinox. Stuff a rucksack with swimwear and hiking boots for a week of seclusion in wild Snowdonia, where riverfront cottages await with living moss walls and Nordic hot tubs. Or have a stint at the sky-touching seaside, forging private trails down to Cornwall's most coveted beaches and breakfasting on pastel de nata from the village. From “Hollywood-on-Sea" (with its matcha and good wine) to wild Skomer Island, we're rounding up where to spend spring in the UK; homes from top to toe of the nation, with doors thrown open to welcome you in with the breeze. It's a happy-making conundrum to have.



Best spring break in the UK for… Cornish beaches without the crowds. 

Surfers in wetsuits sit on their boards in Mawgan Porth in Cornwall

What to do
Learn to surf. Less known than Watergate Bay or Fistral Beach further south, Mawgan Porth has some of Cornwall’s best breaks all year round (sign up for lessons with Kingsurf Surf school). Even more peaceful – especially in spring – is nearby Bedruthan Steps Beach, where a narrow set of steps leads down to a sandy shore with dramatic rock formations. Other sandy spots worth visiting include sheltered Porthcothan, and dune-backed Treyarnon Bay.

Where to eat
No stay at the seaside is complete without a fish supper: head to Catch Seafood restaurant for Newquay Bay lobster, freshly shucked Porthilly oysters, and dayboat grilled fish, or queue up for takeaway portions of ale-battered haddock and double-cooked chips from The Blue Fish Bar. The family-run Carnewas Tearooms, overlooking the Bedruthan Steps, is the place for toasted sandwiches or a spoiling cream tea.

Where to stay
Dreamy beach views are the big draw at both Japandi designed, upside-down Moku (it’s hard to beat breakfast on the terrace while watching the waves roll in) and RIBA award-winning Talisman, set on the dunes, with an indoor pool and huge kitchen-diner made for post-swim, wood fired pizza gatherings.



Best spring break in the UK for… wildly beautiful coastal landscapes. 

The view out of the window of modern home Ukiyo in Coverack on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula

What to do
Walk around the rugged tip of The Lizard on the South West Coastal Path, keeping eyes peeled for brightly-coloured spring wildflowers, seals, and migrating birds, including the red-billed chough. To the east of Lizard Point, there’s family favourite Kennack Sands (blissfully empty without the summer throng) and Housel Bay - it’s worth the steep path and boulder-scramble to reach the turquoise water for a bracing swim. Plus, there are plenty of pretty fishing villages to potter round: don’t miss Coverack, Cadgwith, or Mullion.

Where to eat
Who makes the best pasty is always a hot topic in Cornwall, but the Gear Farm Pasty Company in St Martin is a serious contender – order ahead as they often sell out. The family-run Fat Apples Café near Porthallow village reopens for the season in early March, serving breakfast, lunch (think zingy salads, Helford crab sandwiches, fresh-from-the-oven frittatas), and afternoon tea. For Friday or Saturday night supper, book a table at Café Flora on the Trelowarren Estate, which works with a small network of farmers, fisherfolk, and foragers on delicious dishes such as roasted pollock and Mangalitsa pork chops.

Where to stay
For mesmerising horizon vistas whatever the weather, bed down at The Signal Station, a historic maritime home perched high on the cliffs at The Lizard. Equally escapist is Ukiyo, overlooking Coverack Cove and reminiscent of a modern Scandinavian summerhouse. Inland, Tangle Belle on the Trelowarren Estate near St Martin offers creek-side woodland strolls from the doorstep.



Best spring break in the UK for… back-to-nature outdoor activities. 

Lush, green hills under a blue sky on a clear day, with a road through the hills, in Snowdonia in Wales

What to do
For many serious hikers, Yr Wyddfa – Snowdonia’s highest and most popular mountain – is the main attraction, but this National Park has plenty more craggy peaks and winding paths suitable for walkers of all ability, from the bowl-shaped landscape of Cwm Idwal to a circular route that takes in Wales' ancient woodlands, languid lakes, and the Mawddach Estuary. For adrenaline junkies, the roll call of activities also includes white water rafting on the River Tryweryn, kayaking, zip-lining, and canyoning. And on rest days, there are fairytale castles, deserted beaches, and quaint towns such as alpine-like Betws-y-Coed and Caernarfon to discover.

Where to eat
The late Welsh architect Sir Clough William-Ellis might be best known for creating the Italianate village of Portmeirion, but he is also behind Art Deco Dylan’s Criccieth on the beach nearby (Menai mussels are a speciality) and the Conwy Falls Café – ideal for fuelling up with an all-day breakfast. For afternoon tea with a Welsh twist (think rarebit, leek crumpet, and bara brith with whipped cinnamon butter), head to The Gunroom in Plas Dinas Country House, once the home of Lord Snowdon. For a special occasion supper, book ahead at eight-seat restaurant Gwen, little sister to two Michelin-star Ynyshir. Everything on the tasting menu is cooked over fire by Ynyshir’s ex-Head Chef Corrin Harrison.

Where to stay
On the western slopes of the Conwy Valley, The Pandy House is a flamboyant yet peaceful retreat for special family gatherings. Brilliantly positioned for exploring both coast-and-country, Heddwen farmhouse has sweeping views of Cardigan Bay in one direction and Mount Snowdon in the other. Or for couples, there’s Idlewylde, a deeply romantic cottage in the valley of the River Dyfi, with a hot tub on the deck for evening soaks under a starry sky.




Best spring break in the UK for… postcard villages and historic palaces. 

A quintessential honey stone cottage with sage green doors in the Cotswolds

What to do
This picturesque part of the country is known for its charming towns and villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper Slaughter, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Less visitors and cooler temperatures in spring make now a perfect time to hop between them, stopping off a delis, cafés, and shops along the way. Not to mention wandering around Baroque beauty Blenheim Palace (where you’ll find the Icons of British Fashion exhibition from 23 March to 30 June) and former royal residence, Sudeley Castle & Gardens (little ones will love the adventure playground and fort).

Where to eat
There are fantastic foodie pubs galore in the Cotswolds, from Michelin Guide-listed The Bull in Charlbury to The Fox in Lower Oddington (part of the Daylesford stable), The Bell Inn in Langford to The Potting Shed in Crudwell. Pick up provisions at the excellent farmers’ markets, including Stroud on a Saturday (treat yourself to a hazelnut and cinnamon twist from The Artisan Baker). The Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden on the Bathurst Estate outside Cirencester offers casual dining for the whole family: the special Friday menu, featuring buttermilk fried chicken wings, pulled beef sliders, and halloumi fingers is a highlight. And, for a touch of grown-up urban glamour, head to Japanese sushi restaurant Yoku in Cheltenham.

Where to stay
Honey-hued Inkwell Cottage is quintessentially Cotswolds, a hop away from Burford’s antique shop-lined streets. For a dash of history, there’s Under the Yew Tree, a painstakingly restored former monastery near Cheltenham or The Find, a RIBA National Award winner in Cranham which pairs an architect-designed glass-walled holiday home with a traditional listed cottage.



Best spring break in the UK for… wildlife spotting and water sports. 

An aerial view of frothing waves on a sandy beach with rocky outcrops in Pembrokeshire, Wales

What to do
Just off the Pembrokeshire Coast, Skomer Island is a marine nature reserve, known for its migrating puffin colony which arrives back in late March; also in spring, large numbers of seals are often seen sprawled out on the beach. On Ramsey Island, guillemots and razorbills return to their nesting spots and, if you’re lucky, otters can be spotted at Bosherton Lakes near Broadhaven South. For keen walkers, there’s the Pembrokeshire Coast Path while adrenaline-seekers can choose from all kinds of activities, from coasteering and exploring sea caves, to kayaking in sheltered bays.

Where to eat
At the southern end of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the harbour town of Saundersfoot is a foodie favourite for beachfront Michelin-starred Coast led by head chef Fred Clapperton (go for the three-course lunch or tasting menu at dinner), and casual seafood restaurant The Stone Crab. From easter onwards, it’s worth planning a stroll along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path around Café Mor, which serves seaweed-inspired street food from the Josie June boat anchored outside The Old Point House in Angle. And, in Fishguard to the north, try a fish and chip takeaway from regular pop-up Hooked@31.

Where to stay
For on-the-doorstep water adventures choose sustainable, RIBA award-winning Seren Mor which sits high above Newport’s estuary and is kitted out with kayaks to borrow, or Smokehouse Cottage right behind Newgale Beach – a mecca for surfers. Or, for a magical woodland setting on The Milk Wood estate, head slightly inland to Hiraeth where stepping stones connect a traditional cottage and black gabled bothy. Although it feels remote, Newport Beach is only a 10-minute drive away.



Best spring break in the UK for… breathtaking lakes and bluebell fells. 

A cubic building surrounded by trees on the shore of a flat lake, with fells in the distance, in the Lake District

What to do
This is one of the prettiest seasons in the Lake District, with bluebells carpeting stunning spots such as Rannerdale Knotts and Skelghyll Wood, just outside Ambleside. Of course, it’s a walkers’ paradise – the Lake District's top hikes range from the short Tarn Hows circuit to a seven-mile loop around remote Ennerdale – but the lakes can be explored from the water too, whether paddleboarding on Ullswater or canoeing on Windermere. Storybook market towns include Grasmere (visit Dove Cottage, once the home of William Wordsworh) and Hawkshead, for the Beatrix Potter Gallery. Spring showers are a good excuse to spend an afternoon at Rheged in Penrith, a gallery, cinema, and café in one.

Where to eat
The village of Cartmel is renowned for Simon Rogan’s Michelin-star L’Enclume and more informal Rogan & Co; while you’re there, pick up some famed sticky toffee pudding from the village shop (equally celebrated is Grasmere gingerbread, made to a secret family recipe). Run by two brothers, the intimate Old Stamp House in Ambleside, in the former office of William Wordsworth, serves up a set Journey around Cumbria menu or, for a lighter soup-and-sandwich lunch, pop into the Apple Pie Café and Bakery down the road. Michelin Guide-listed the Drunken Duck (also in Ambleside) and The Dog and Gun in Skelton both offer elevated pub grub.

Where to stay
Lakeside. Aquila in Bampton is a secluded forest-fringed retreat right on the shoreline of Haweswater, one of the largest and most easterly lakes, while Winterfell is an old stone hunting lodge within six acres of enchanting private grounds on Lake Windermere.


Browse the full collection of luxury self-catering homes in the UK and Ireland.

Properties featured in this article: Tangle Belle, The Find, Winterfell, Aquila, Seren Mor, The Signal Station, Idlewylde, The Pandy House, Smokehouse Cottage, Heddwen, Ukiyo, Under the Yew Tree, Hiraeth, Moku, Inkwell Cottage, The Milk Wood, Talisman

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