14 spectacular places to banish the winter blues

Chris Leadbeater
Admire the beauty of Holland's floral landscape this spring - ©ake1150 - stock.adobe.com

From Dutch blooms and tours of New England to natural wonders at home, here are 14 ways to spring into action. 

1. Overdue drops in Derbyshire

Right, enough now. No more teetotal parsimony, no more lentils for breakfast, no more grey days. I want vital signs, green shoots, flowers. I want spring. I want a “snowdrop walk” in the grounds of Hopton Hall in Derbyshire (until March 4; £5) and a stay in its Dovecote Cottage (from £456 per week). Thank you. hoptonhall.co.uk

2. Wooly minded in Wales

Ah yes, the spring metaphor of a newborn lamb taking its first steps. It will be there in leaps and bounds at Llanerchaeron – a Georgian villa and a working farm in Ceredigion – next month. No mint-sauce jokes please. £7.81; nationaltrust.org.uk

24 reasons why a trip to Wales is better than a holiday in the Med

3. Birds of play in Scotland

Anyone who says Scotland doesn’t have spring shouldn’t go to Threave Garden (£7.50) near Castle Douglas, where children can meet ducklings. Three-night stays at its Gate Lodge start at £265. nts.org.uk

4. Floral paradise in the Netherlands

That’s the number of bulbs planted every year at the Keukenhof garden – a spring paradise 20 miles south-west of Amsterdam in Lisse. It’s only open for two months though (March 22-May 13; €18/£16) so look sharp. keukenhof.nl

Keukenhof garden Credit: ©standret - stock.adobe.com/STANDRETT

5. Dutch garden cruise

Lisse is a long way to go for a day. But fear not. Saga has an eight-day Keukenhof and the Hague river cruise which visits the garden on a journey across the Netherlands. Lots of sailings in April, from £1,209pp (with flights). travel.saga.co.uk

6. English rose restoration 

Spring is about renewal. And what makes you feel renewed? A massage, for one. Like the suitably floral “Garden of England Rose Restore Massage” (55 mins; £80) at Calcot Manor in Tetbury. Double rooms from £209. calcot.co

Calcot Manor

7. Wild down under

Anything the Netherlands can do, Perth can do just as well. The capital of Western Australia is home to Kings Park, the globe’s biggest inner-city park, and its Kings Park Festival of wildflowers, in September. bgpa.wa.gov.au

8. Spring into September

Wait, what, September? Yes. Australia, being on the other side of the planet, doesn’t bother with spring until the ninth month. Quirky. Try a 10-day Perth and the Ningaloo Reef break, from £3,345pp (flights extra), via steppestravel.com.

The Ningaloo Reef Credit: AP

9. Cherry blossom in Japan

You want spring? Want to fly round the world to see it? Japan is still spring king and cherry blossom champ. Spaces are left in April on the 14-day “Spring Elegance” group tours run by Inside Japan (£3,550pp, flights extra). insidejapantours.com

spring flowers

10. Greek spring flowers

Tokyo? For petals? Anything nearer? OK. Ramblers Walking Holidays has a trio of “Spring Flowers of the Peloponnese” breaks set to stroll the Mani Peninsula in April. From £1,125pp, with flights. ramblersholidays.co.uk


11. Thomas Hardy's Dorset

Greece is still a bit of a trek. Anything in a fictional 19th century West Country? The “Refreshing Spring” range of walks from Foot Trails includes “Thomas Hardy’s Dorset” – from £565pp, with breakfast for four nights. foottrails.co.uk

Thomas Hardy country in Dorset Credit: getty

12. American Beauty

Everyone always talks about the New England autumn. No one mentions its spring. They should. It’s pretty – via events like the Dogwood Festival in Fairfield, Connecticut, which offers 30,000 flowers. May 11-13, greenfieldhillchurch.com

13. The Maine event

The New England spring exists in more than one town. Who knew? So... a road trip. Like a “Historic Inns of New England” jaunt, which stays in five of the region’s six states. Not you, Rhode Island. From £2,675pp, with flights. bon-voyage.co.uk

Providence, Rhode Island Credit: AP

14. Yellow in Yorkshire

English Heritage gets spring. So when it says Brodsworth Hall and Gardens in South Yorkshire boasts “36 varieties of daffodils in early spring, and bright displays of hyacinths in March”, we believe it. £10.90; english-heritage.org.uk