With the changing of the clocks later this month what better way to spend the extra hour of sunshine than embarking on some mood-boosting spring walks. With milder temperatures and flowery signs of life sprouting around us in the form of daffodils, snow drops and crocuses, what better way to engage the kids than immersing them into the colourful British countryside? What’s more, the Easter school holidays are nearly upon us, so even more reason to dig out those walking boots and head on over to one of the UK’s top ten hidden beauty spots for some true quality family time (even if your motive is simply to tire out the little ones!)
The Banks of the River Allen, Northumberland
The river Allen runs right through the biggest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland and as springtime approaches, the forest’s carpet becomes awash with wild flowers. Picture the scene; gentle, running water, pretty flowers, nature all around you – the British countryside really is the most stunning at this time of year and a great place for children can get up close and personal with all types of river wildlife.
A Row Boat on Lake Buttermere, Cumbria
Treat your family to a weekend away in the village of Buttermere and rent a row boat from Wood House which is by the lake. Being out on the open water, overlooking the neighbouring mountains creates an amazing calming effect and makes you feel a million miles away from the bustle of everyday life. Or, if you opt to walk around the lake you must visit Syke Farm to sample the amazing locally produced ice cream.
Ashdown House, Oxfordshire
Ashdown House in Oxfordshire is said to have been built by the Earl of Craven, who was in love with Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, and wanted to offer her a shelter away from London. She died before visiting the house, but the Earl’s sentiments make it an endearing history lesson. Children will love the house itself which looks like a real, life-sized dolls house. Plus, you can venture onto the roof terrace for some breath-taking views of the impressive Berkshire downs.
Explore the cliffs above the Bocastle medieval harbour and see how many species of birds you can spot: kestrels , peregrines, gannets, stonechats and fulmars. Boscastle is the place that inspired renowned poet Thomas Hardy and the sea views that you’ll see when stood on the cliffs are enough to render you speechless , just make sure you all wrap up warm as the winds up there can get quite chilly.
Prior Park, Bath
Found near the centre of Bath, Prior Park’s Landscape Gardens were created in the eighteenth century and make a picturesque picnic spot. Why not pack a hamper, build up your appetite with a leisurely stroll around the gardens and pitch up next to the Serpentine Lake for a very rustic afternoon tea. Perhaps get the children to prepare some home-made cakes first to take along!
Blakeney Point, Norfolk
Head to Morston Quay and catch one of the locally-run ferries which visit Blakeney Point. On the way over, you might just see some mischievous common or grey seals which are bound to get your little ones smiling. If it is high tide the Old Lifeboat House is definitely worth a visit too.
Stonehenge at sunset is a breath-taking sight! Whether you’re into the impressive history the site has or not, there’s an undoubted feeling of spirituality there and a must-visit if you have never been. The chalk grassland meadows surrounding Stonehenge are currently being restored and the colourful wildflowers entice many butterfly species to the area, including the pretty Chalkhill Blue.
Osterley Park, London
For the city-dwellers amongst us who are looking for something different, Osterley Park makes a perfect place for city escapism. It’s one of the last surviving country estates in London and there are three lakes which provide a majestic home to ducks, swans and geese. Don’t forget to take some bread so you can feed the baby ducklings.
Craflwyn Estate, Snowdonia
The Welsh mountains are a sight to behold at any time, but during a clear blue sky in spring they really are even more special. Once home to Cistercian Monks, The Craflwyn Estate is a lovely area to explore and rich in history. Local legends include tales of a red and white dragon and a king who fled there to escape the Saxons, if history is your child’s thing this is the place to go!
Lundy Island, Devon
There are lighthouses on the north and south side of the island and if you can manage the 145 steps up to the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the area- stunning. Once you’ve caught your breath it should be an ideal place to spot Lundy’s famous resident; the puffin. A decline in numbers means that only a few pairs remain here though so you need a beady eye – or perhaps take some binoculars.