10 Great British spring breaks

Daffodils, blossom and lambs are all starting to make an appearance – so it's time to shake off winter and get outdoors, says Kate Simon

Everyone's keen to see the back of this winter, so it's no surprise that the travel industry across the UK has been quick to roll out ideas for celebrating the arrival of spring. And there are plenty of enjoyable ways to embrace the new season, from foraging the newly blooming hedgerows for edible delights, to breathing in the spring air on a refreshing cycle ride.

Step out in Scotland

Get on the Rob Roy Way in the Highlands on a new self-guided week's walk from Wilderness Scotland (01479 420020; wildernessscotland.com). It traces the footsteps of the Scottish outlaw on the long-distance path, but the journey will be somewhat less arduous, with luggage transfers and cosy rooms laid on at B&Bs along the route. The trip, available from 1 April, costs from £565 per person, based on two sharing, including B&B, luggage transfers and maps.

Follow the scent to Cumbria

The Cottage in the Wood (01768 778409; thecottageinthewood.co.uk), in Cumbria's Whinlatter Forest, has an enviable location for showcasing spring blossoms. Drifts of bluebells and hosts of daffodils are among the natural attractions promising to tempt guests in search of pretty walks in the spring air at this 17th-century coaching inn.

The Spring Watching Retreat is available from March to May for £220pp, based on two people sharing, including two nights' B&B, one afternoon tea and a local tasting menu with wine flight on one evening.

To the tower in Staffordshire

Rising above the Staffordshire Moorlands, the Victorian Grade II-listed water tower at Cheddleton has been a landmark for more than a century. These days, it offers a quirky base for holidaymakers, having just been offered for hire. Inside, the original character remains but there's a distinctly modern touch. The property sleeps 11 in five bedrooms (four bathrooms), and has two living rooms, a kitchen-diner and a games room. Go to the eighth floor for a 360-degree view of the countryside waiting to be explored.

Four nights' self-catering costs from £807 through English Country Cottages (0845 268 0785; english-country-cottages.co.uk).

Get in the saddle in the Derbyshire Peaks

The Peak District is home to two former railways that now provide traffic-free greenways. Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; www.skedaddle.co.uk) has designed a new three-day, self-guided cycle ride for families taking in both. It starts in Bakewell, heading off along the High Peak trail to Ashbourne, then returns along the Tissington Trail. B&B and luggage transfers provided. It's available from April, from £170pp, based on two sharing, with discounts for children.

Cast off in the Brecon Beacons

Fancy trying your hand with a rod and line? Fly-fishing expert Kim Tribe has been enlisted to tutor guests in the art by TasteInnWales (01874 665387; tasteinnwales.com), three hotels in the Brecon Beacons. From the start of the fly-fishing season, 3 March, Kim will take guests into local waters, including the rivers Usk and Towy, to learn to cast and improve techniques, stalking wild trout and landing sea trout.

A two-day fishing break costs £350 per person, based on two sharing, including one night's half board, permits, rod licence, kit and coaching. A three-day break costs £525.

Go lambing in Rye

There's no surer sign that spring is here than lambs frolicking in the fields. At Hare Farm Hideaways (07802 979348; harefarmhideaways.co.uk) near Rye in East Sussex, more than 1,100 ewes are lambed from March into early May, and the newborns and their mothers live around a shepherd's hut that's available to hire. This year the farm is launching lambing courses, where you can learn about sheep care, watch lambs being born and possibly bottle-feed an orphan, too.

The Shepherd's Hut, sleeping two, costs from £100 per night. Lambing courses are available from £50 per person.

Serve up a treat on the Isle of Wight

Sharpen your culinary skills at one of the masterclasses being held this spring at The Hambrough (01983 856333; thehambrough.com). Preparing game, filleting fish and baking bread will be taught in the boutique hotel's kitchen. Pastry goes under the microscope in "Sweet Treats" on 19 March. "Veggie Delights" on 26 March promises to add more unusual dishes to your repertoire and at "From Farm to Plate", on 9 April, basic meat preparation will come under scrutiny.

Masterclasses cost £65pp and include a two-course lunch. B&B in a double room costs from £170 per room per night, based on two sharing.

Stay and sail in Fowey

Ride a speedy RIB around the coast of Cornwall on a thrilling new break being offered from 1 April at The Old Quay House (01726 833302; theoldquayhouse.com) in Fowey. Take your seat in the luxury six-seater vessel and cruise the shores of South Cornwall, your private skipper navigating around little-known coves.

The break costs from £675 in total for two sharing, including two nights' B&B, one dinner, a day on the RIB with a private skipper and all safety equipment.

Forage your own feast in Penzance

Wild Food Taster Days are on offer from March with Caroline Davey of Fat Hen (01736 810165; www.fathen.org), a wild food cookery school near Penzance. Spend the morning combing the seashore and countryside for wild vegetables and herbs, seaweeds and berries. Back at the Fat Hen, you'll turn your stash into dishes such as Japanese knotweed compote and sorbet. The rest of the day is spent learning about fish or game – with vegetarian options also available.

Courses on various dates from £95. B&B at nearby Trelew Farm (01736 810308; trelew.co.uk) costs from £38pp per night.

Hit the road around the UK

Emerge from your winter hibernation and embrace spring on a road trip with Bunk Campers (bunkcampers.com). Pick up one of the modern motorhomes rented out of its bases in England, Scotland (and Ireland, too) and head off into the sunset at your own pace, safe in the knowledge that if the spring nights are a little chilly, you're guaranteed a cosy bolthole as you go.

Motorhomes cost from £65 per day, with fully equipped kitchenettes, heating and electricity.

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'