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Blooming sunshine | where to go on holiday this spring

Spring is a great time to travel, with mild climates and off-peak prices. So here are my favourite spots to visit to enjoy those warmer days and longer evenings..

I breathed a sigh of relief a few nights ago when I noticed it was still light at 5 o’clock. As much as I enjoy cosy evenings in, layering up in knitwear and all sorts of other things that come with the winter weather, I do love it when the sun starts to shine again. And call me romantic, but there’s just something about that first time you see blossom on the trees or buds popping out of the grass.

So what more perfect way to celebrate spring than to get away for a few days and visit somewhere new? Spring is a great time to travel, tickets are often cheaper, crowds are often smaller, and in hotter countries, you get this lovely balmy weather that makes it much easier to sight-see and explore. Here are a few of my favourite spring destinations.

A spring trip to London

London in the winter is just fine – as we retreat inside to its theatres, cinemas and fire-warmed pubs – but there is something about the city in the springtime. As the sun starts to shine, Londoners, dare I say it, start to smile. We all head out for alfresco dining, whether it’s by the river or on a rooftop in the city.

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Ace Hotel Shoreditch | springtime stay with a view

1/4

I recently enjoyed porridge and pastries on the rooftop of the Ace Hotel Shoreditch, which hosts Sunday brunches and themed events for guests and RSVP-ing visitors. Everything from yoga and martial arts to live music and cocktail parties are on the calendar, with soaring views of the East End to boot. I used to live in Shoreditch when I was at university, then it was a renaissance in progress, now it’s a fully fledged coffee shop laden, cultural haven. Ace arrived just as it all started to get cool… Rooms at this trendy hotel are packed with design goodness, with industrial details and extras such as vinyl players and record stacks.

Springtime in the city...

Head west for a spring day out in daffodil filled St James Park and Green Park, or head to my favourite place to sit in the spring sunshine, the rose gardens at Regent’s Park. Kew Gardens is also a great place for bluebells and Easter themed events. Also, having once lived on the route for the London marathon I highly recommend going along to encourage the runners in April (we used to hand out packets of sweets, which were much appreciated). Being an Oxford girl I’m also usually at the boat race in April, head to the Ship pub in Mortlake for the best view of the finish line.

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Top rated
London, 9.1 km to Airport London City
8.5 Excellent (4128 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Gym
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Merry Brighton for a spring break by the sea

Seaside cool and packed with personality, Brighton is a popular beachside haunt filled with character and colour, and it’s an easy day trip destination from London. I love its blend of Brit seashore and grand Regency architecture, and I’ve often wondered what kind of swanky homes can be found behind the fancy doors on its famed Regency Square.

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Artist Residence | creative and inspiring spring-time stay

1/4

You can see for yourself with a stay in the Artist Residence hotel. With interiors designed by artists, it’s eccentric, quirky and cool – completely capturing the creative spirit of the town. Choose a Sea View room for views of the blue and Brighton’s eerily beautiful, crumbling West Pier.

Brighton packs in the culture and has plenty of diverse pockets whether it’s in the hip Seven Dials district, the bohemian North Laine or chic Hove. From gin bars to artisan restaurants to flea markets and walks along the beach, this town shines whatever the season, but you’ll avoid the summer crowds by visiting in spring.

Spring festivals...

Try and catch one of the town’s famous festivals while you’re there, there’s the food and drink festival in April, Brighton festival in May and the Brighton Fringe every weekend in May.

Artist Residence Brighton

Brighton, 1.6 km to Booth Museum of Natural History
8.7 Excellent (525 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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A spring holiday in Dublin for the perfect pint

Colourful year round, Dublin starts to see some sunshine in spring, and aside from the bustling St Patrick’s Festival in March, it’s a quiet time to visit the city.

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The Westbury Hotel Dublin

1/4

I took advantage of the down season to visit some of Dublin’s best sights, such as the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery of Ireland and Trinity College. The college can be found in the Grafton Street district – an area of neoclassical architecture and oodles of culture. It’s also home to the Westbury hotel, with its grand entry staircase, luxe interiors and 30s style bar. The hotel hosts Dublin’s most revered afternoon tea. Here you can sit sipping on Darjeeling, surveying Grafton Street below and pretending the million pounds worth of Irish art on the walls is all yours… fancy.

St. Patrick's Day

If you’d rather join the St. Patrick’s crowds and get ready for hedonism, the parade is the festival highlight, and pretty much every pub and bar will host some sort of infectious revelry. It kicks off on or around 17th March.

The Westbury

Top rated
Dublin, 2.3 km to 3Arena
9.2 Excellent (3918 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
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Visit the tulip fields in Amsterdam this spring

The city of canals – more actually than Venice – museums crammed with treasures, floating flower markets, overflowing vintage shops and weird and wonderful sights, Amsterdam is full of surprises. Wander along the streets and you could stumble upon anything from a music recital to a pop-up restaurant, and it’s way better to get here before the summer tourists.

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Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam

1/4

Amsterdam’s canal-side houses provide the perfect backdrop for a stroll, and they’re also a pretty great place for a fancy hotel. Flowing through 25 of these gabled houses, the Pulitzer hotel dates back to the 17th century. It has all the period features you’d expect from a grand pad on the water – exposed beams, fireplaces, antiques and art – some rooms boast collections that are worthy of any museum even in Amsterdam. Choose a water view room to make the most of such an iconic setting.

Tulip season...

Amsterdam was forever on my spring radar because of the Bollenstreek flower fields. Just half an hour from the city, they’re home to the Amsterdam tulips (and 70% of the world’s commercial flowers for that matter). They stretch across endless fields in every vibrant colour, blossoming between mid-March and mid-May – what better excuse for a spring mini-break?

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam

Amsterdam, 62.4 km to Airport Amsterdam Schiphol
8.9 Excellent (2186 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Gym
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Spring sightseeing without the crowds in Rome

Rome’s ancient sights will forever fascinate me, and even more so in the spring, when icons such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon are considerably quieter.

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Palazzo Dama Hotel

1/3

But that isn’t to say the city is on downtime. Festivals, fresh food, crumbling ruins and ancient art all thrive in a perfectly pleasant climate that calls for wandering aimlessly to take it all in. Stay at the heart of the city in Palazzo Dama, an 18th-century pile that feels like a cool pad that belongs to your even cooler Roman friend. Inside is dripping with paintings, photography and sculptures, with chandeliers from New York’s Plaza Hotel. Outside you’ll find a marble swimming pool – a rare find in the middle of the city – you might just be able to brave a dip in the spring sunshine. There’s even a nightclub downstairs if you fancy an Aperol nightcap.

A short stroll from the hotel you’ll find Piazza del Popolo and The Spanish Steps. The Steps are at their most beautiful when surrounded by springtime flowers, as are most Roman streets in this season – you’re sure to win any wisteria hysteria hashtag on Instagram with the purple flowers popping up all over the city, not to mention the orange blossom, cherry blossom and Azaleas.

The Rose Garden- 'Roseto Comunale' - is my must see. It truly sums up Rome at springtime - beautiful, alluring, classic, and oh so difficult to leave.

Palazzo Dama

Top rated
Rome, 25.3 km to Al Pescatore
8.8 Excellent (174 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Gym
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
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A spring trip to cool Copenhagen for a foodie fuelled break

This cool kid is still topping many a list of must-see cities in Europe, and I can see why. Nyhavn Harbour sparkles in the sunshine with its coloured buildings and Rosenborg Castle gardens are a wonderful place to stroll in the spring. You can also take advantage of true Danish style treasures such as the collection of trampolines I found next to the water, free for anyone to stop and bounce. Yes, this city is charming, and the locals have regenerated so many districts there are hipster hotspots all over the place. There’s the ultra cool Meat Packing District, the Reffen street food market and Jægersborggade, all lined with hip restaurants, buzzy bars and art galleries.

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Nobis Design Hotel

1/3

Tivoli Gardens has joined the Copenhagen renaissance, now opening throughout the winter instead of closing its fairground rides in cold weather. Stay opposite in ultra stylish Design Hotel, Nobis. It sits in a classic, beautiful building but inside is super slick and achingly cool. Its typically Scandi interior is warm but sharp, with traditional features such as a marble staircase and high ornate ceilings set against statement modern pieces such as a concrete block reception desk and moody blue painted walls. I want to live here, please.

Nobis Copenhagen

Copenhagen, 2.2 km to Amager Centret
8.6 Excellent (140 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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A spring trip across the Atlantic | Hello, New York springtime

Spring is my favourite time in New York. Everyone’s ecstatic that they’ve (hopefully!) seen the last of the snow, the rooftop bars start to come into their own, there are flowers all over the city, locals enjoy lazy brunches in sidewalk cafes, and walks in the park become standard.

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1 Brooklyn Bridge

1/4

Brooklyn is my ideal NY neighbourhood; I have fond memories of finding a brand new Chloe dress in a vintage warehouse here that had been priced incorrectly… a few dollars later and I was one happy tourist. But designer dresses aside, the pizza slices, breakfasts in Egg and views of Manhattan put Brooklyn on my radar for spring. One of the best views comes courtesy of 1 Brooklyn Bridge. It looks out over the East River, with that iconic Manhattan skyline in the background.

The hotel was designed by local artists, it's eco-friendly - using reclaimed materials and seasonal produce - and the rooftop plunge pool is to die for!

1 Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn, 14.1 km to Coney Island
8.9 Excellent (1332 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
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