A trip to the seaside
Britain’s coastline runs for a remarkable 17,820km. And every stretch is unique, from the soft sandy beaches of West Wales, to the proms and piers of Brighton and Bognor. At his time of year, millions of sea birds arrive on our shores to breed, and if you know where to look, you can enjoy a breathtaking wildlife spectacle just a few minutes’ walk from your car. At Yorkshire’s majestic Bempton Cliffs you can enjoy close-up views of gannets and guillemots. Or at South Stack in Anglesey, you can gaze down on a bustling colony of razorbills and puffins – pursued by piratical great black-backed gulls and marauding peregrine falcons.
City break – York
If April feels a bit early in the year for venturing down to the coast, why not treat yourself to a city break? At this chocolate-themed time of year, York is the perfect destination, because unlike other northern towns which built their wealth on textiles and coal, York’s prosperity had far sweeter source – confectionary! Home to some of the world’s most celebrated sweet makers, York is a haven for chocolate lovers. Take a walk along the city’s Chocolate Trail and unwrap the secrets of York’s rich and creamy past. And if you’re here over Easter bank holiday, enjoy the delights of the York Chocolate Festival, which runs from 9th – 13th April.
Country retreat – Forest of Dean
Easter is a magical time in Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean, when the early-season wildflowers are coming into bloom and the air carries the fresh scents of spring. This ancient woodland was once a hunting reserve for Saxon and Norman kings, and it remains a haven for our native fauna and flora. The forest’s 20 million trees harbour some of the UK’s largest wild animals, like fallow deer and the elusive wild boar. You’ll need to get up before dawn to catch sight of a boar but walk any of the trails and you’ll see signs of their digging throughout the forest. And if you’re bringing kids, look out for activities like Easter Egg hunts and crafting classes.
Stately homes & historic houses
The weather in early April can be a bit hit and miss, so if you want to play it safe by planning some time indoors, build a break around a visit to some historic houses. Many of Britain’s finest stately homes and period properties are owned by The National Trust and English Heritage, which means they’re well cared for and preserved for future generations, but you’ll usually have to pay an entry fee. Yet some of the UK’s most impressive country estates offer free access to the grounds. Tatton Park near Manchester boasts 1,000 acres of parkland grazed by red deer, fallow deer and two herds of rare-breed sheep. And in Norfolk, the majestic Holkham Hall boasts a 9,000-acre nature reserve encompassing foreshore, dunes, saltmarsh and pinewoods – all with free public access.