This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Whether you’re longing to fill your lungs with sea air or are looking to spend some quiet days rambling through the countryside, these UK destinations are all perfectly suited to spring travel. From the ‘Queen of Welsh resorts’ to the region that’s home to the UK’s rarest butterfly species, these are 10 of the best destinations to escape to this Easter holiday and beyond.

1. North York Moors

Driving into the North York Moors National Park is a bit like delving into the pages of The Secret Garden — it was indeed these heather-clothed moorlands that inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel. Granted, this pocket of North Yorkshire might not be such a secret — its hiking paths, country pubs and historic villages have magnetic appeal, and for good reason. Throw in the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which sits on the southern edge of the national park, and you’ve got yourself one of the UK’s most idyllic getaways.  

(Follow in the footsteps of monks and literary giants on the North York Moors). 

2. Llandudno

A Victorian favourite once billed as the ‘Queen of Welsh resorts’, Llandudno has kept much of the charm that made it so popular. The curving promenade framing Llandudno Bay, the aroma of fish and chips wafting in the air, pastel-coloured art deco houses lining the seafront and old-fashioned amusements on Llandudno Pier all combine to deliver a quintessential British seaside break. The town also serves as gateway to a wealth of natural attractions in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park and water-based adventures in Colwyn Bay. And a stay in Llandudno can be combined with a trip to Conwy, across the river of the same name, which has a mighty castle and Britain’s smallest house.

(A break in Llandudno, a vintage Welsh beachside resort with enduring appeal).

Hotel in Wales

 Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno is one of only three National Trust-owned hotels in the UK.

Photograph by John Miller

3. Stour Valley

The beauty of the River Stour and its valley has long attracted artists, not least John Constable, whose paintings gave the area its ‘Constable Country’ sobriquet. This slice of Essex and Suffolk countryside, with its mills, vineyards and walking trails, continues to inspire to this day. In Dedham, one of its most popular villages, the Art & Craft Centre has work from over 60 artisans and collectors for sale; to get involved, join a painting course at the 15th-century manor house of Dedham Hall.   

(A UK break in the Stour Valley — the scenic, underexplored corner of Essex). 

4. Rutland

It has the country pubs, antique shops and honey-hued market towns of the Cotswolds, and the chilled, waterside vibe of the Lake District, and yet many haven’t heard of it. Rutland, England’s smallest county, takes its Latin motto to heart: multum in parvo, much in little. Midway between Cambridge and Nottingham, in the East Midlands, with the 3,100-acre inland sea of Rutland Water at its heart, it’s a place that feels made for a restorative weekend break — and with countryside bolthole The Barnsdale getting a recent makeover, there’s never been a better time to go. 

(A UK break in Rutland — waterside adventure in England’s smallest county). 

a man wind surfing

With water sports, cycling and idyllic English pubs, Rutland is one of the UK’s best kept secrets. 

Photograph by RJP Photographics, Discover Rutland

5. Winchester

Alfred the Great made Winchester England’s first capital in 871, and the Hampshire city long remained at the centre of the action. Narrow streets of medieval and Georgian buildings hint at its past. The nearby South Downs National Park can also be accessed via the South Downs Way. A 100-mile-long walking and cycling route, the trail starts in Winchester and stretches to Eastbourne. 

(A UK break in Winchester: history and South Downs hikes in Hampshire). 

6. Falmouth

Visit Falmouth and you’ll experience a traditional Cornish seaside town embracing its creative side. A pageant of history has sailed through its deep-water harbour — some of it illicit, with ties to piracy in the 18th century. Locals remain tethered to the tides, with a family-run fishery supplying restaurants, and paddleboarders gliding down the estuary.

But what really sets Falmouth apart is its brush with creativity, buoyed by the students enrolled at its two universities — one among the UK’s best for the arts. Indie theatre, music, comedy and art exhibitions fill small venues’ listings, while the annual (and free) sea shanty and oyster festivals are firm fixtures on locals’ calendars.  

(A UK break in Falmouth: Cornish maritime history on the South West Coast Path). 

Books about seaweed and fresh ingredients including lemon and basil on a table.

The Seaweed Institute in Falmouth runs day-long workshops spent foraging, cooking and craft-making using various types of the marine algae.

Photograph by River Anderson

7. Arnside and Silverdale 

Many bypass Arnside and Silverdale, touching Morecambe Bay to the west and the Lake District to the north, on their journey along the M6 motorway. Detour to this AONB — one of the smallest in the UK — and you’re in for a surprise. The region spans just 29sq miles, but its diversity belies its humble size, with woodland, limestone hills and a coastal area all linked by a network of paths. Trails start right from Arnside station, which has direct rail connections to Lancaster and Manchester and e-bikes available for rental at Ease E Ride. 

(A UK break to Arnside and Silverdale, the little-known region of natural wonders).

8. Monmouthshire

Monmouthshire is a stunner: this county in southeast Wales packs a punch with moody mountains, market towns, meandering rivers and Michelin-starred restaurants. It encompasses some of Britain’s best scenery, spanning the dramatic Black Mountains in the north to the Eden-esque Wye Valley, an AONB that sprawls over the border into England, making it an excellent getaway for lovers of the outdoors. 

The county’s length is stitched with walking trails — including the Wye Valley Greenway, which opened in 2021 — that take in pastoral fields, plump forested hills, scores of sleepy castles and the majestic monastic ruins of Tintern Abbey on the River Wye’s banks. Laid-back towns peppered across Monmouthshire include floral Usk, mediaeval Monmouth and the creative and culinary hub of Abergavenny. The latter is lined with indie shops selling art supplies, wild blooms, fermented sourdough loaves, Welsh-made children’s clothing and small-batch coffee. It’s also home to a clutch of celebrated restaurants that plate up knee-slappingly good grub — the town also hosts the renowned Abergavenny Food Festival each September.

(A UK break in Monmouthshire: Tintern Abbey, Michelin-starred food and hiking). 

The ruins of Tintern Abbey.

Tintern Abbey is a 13th-century gothic masterpiece beside the River Wye.

Photograph by Alamy

9. Forest of Bowland

Sandwiched between the great cities of Manchester and Liverpool to the south, and the beauty spots of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales to the north, the Forest of Bowland is every bit as enchanting as its more famous neighbours. This is a land with a deep history peopled by Vikings, witches and kings; where the patchwork fields, coaching inns and pretty villages evoke a sense of time out of mind.

A designated AONB, its gorgeous landscapes are more diverse than its name suggests, with the woodlands of the Lune Valley ascending to the wild moorlands of the Bowland Fells. The new Eco Escapes initiative connects them with local food producers, pubs and B&Bs by public transport, meaning it’s never been easier to explore the region in an eco-minded way. 

(What to do in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire). 

10. Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay was once best known for its caravan parks and fairground attractions, but things have changed over the past decade. Major refurbishments have blown the dust off this arty corner of Tyne and Wear, helping to place the old seaside favourite firmly back on the map. 

The mile-long sandy beach, which has been Blue Flag-certified every year since 1994, is a big draw. Brave locals swim and paddleboard year-round, and surfers are well served by North Atlantic swells.

(A UK break in Whitley Bay: Northeast seafood, beach strolls and the Spanish City). 

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