10 splendid spring holidays for 2023

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Spring is a fantastic time to take a break in the UK, the rest of Europe or North Africa, with flowers and foliage bursting back into life, mild weather for sightseeing and many attractions almost to yourself before the summer crowds flood back and peak-season prices come into play.

Just like the best autumn breaks, spring holidays are all about celebrating the season and making the most of fleeting spectacles, whether it’s outdoor events or natural phenomena, like the pretty cherry blossom displays.

Spring isn’t only about garden holidays though as there are many fantastic trips to take during the season, such as escapes that invite you into sprawling palaces and getaways that allow you to explore multiple cities when the temperatures are perfect for sightseeing on foot.

From train journeys taking in some of Europe’s most stunning landscapes to leisurely cruises seeing the sights from your sun deck, there’s something for everyone in our pick of the best spring breaks for 2023.

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1

The highlights of Spain and Morocco by rail

After taking the Eurostar to Paris then another train to Barcelona, this epic journey truly gets doing in the compelling Catalan capital, with time to absorb its iconic architecture, art and beaches via a guided tour. From here you’ll set forth on your epic ride to Marrakech via the thrilling cities of Madrid, Tangier and Casablanca.

Staying in four-star hotels with breakfast, you’ll enjoy a coach tour of the Spanish capital before proceeding to Algeciras for your ferry across the Med to Tangier – gateway to the dazzling blue village of Chefchaouen, to atmosphere-drenched Casablanca and to North Africa as a whole.

From here you’ll proceed to Marrakech, where a walking tour will get you under the skin of this mesmerising city most famous for the maze-like medina within its original fortified citadel.

When? March 2023

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2

A Venetian cruise with exclusive experiences

This exclusive new river cruise aboard Uniworld’s Super Ship La Venezia takes you around the spectacular city and its island-dotted lagoon in true style.

There are unique experiences across your six days including a private after-hours visit to St Mark’s Basilica with a special lighting ceremony and visits to the islands of Mazzorbo, Torcello and Burano.

You will also enjoy a private concert, talk and Q&A by globally renowned tenor Russell Watson. Fabulous on-board dining and unlimited premium drinks come as part of your package, leaving you free to sit back and soak it all up.

When? April 2023

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3

A Dutch and Belgian waterways cruise

Scheduled for the season when the Netherlands’ famous flower fields burst into colour, this week-long Amsterdam round-trip aboard the stylish MS Arena brings you up close and personal with Holland’s canal-side windmills, the famed Keukenhof Gardens with their spring tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, Kalmthout Arboretum, Meise Botanic Garden and Appeltern Gardens in Dordrecht.

The latter is the Netherlands’ largest ‘garden ideas’ park, comprised of themed areas including taste, smell and sustainability to inspire you in making the most of your own green space.

Your special guide at Appeltern will be none other than designer, Gardeners’ World presenter and author Adam Frost.

When? April 2023

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4

A tour of the Isles of Scilly’s natural landscapes

This six-day trip takes you in search of many of these blissfully peaceful islands’ loveliest sights, from the sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Garden (‘Kew without the glass’) and delightful harbours of St Martin’s to an array of wildlife such as porpoises, dolphins and seals, including species not seen anywhere else in the UK.

A talk by and dinner with Julian Branscombe, head of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, will give you a deeper insight into local fauna.

Your base is the stylishly comfortable The Atlantic on St Mary’s, with harbour views and excellent local cuisine.

When? April 2023

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Guided visits to Batsford Arboretum, Sezincote House & Gardens and Painswick Rococo Garden are all on the agenda on this exclusive tour of the Cotswolds’ finest gardens, as are trips to Sudeley Castle & Gardens and Chedworth Roman Villa.

You’ll also get a special welcome at the rare-breeds Cotswold Farm Park by owner Adam Henson, who will talk about his conservation work and sustainable farming, as well as his role as a Countryfile presenter, over a private lunch.

Other highlights are an indulgent afternoon tea at the historic Lygon Arms Hotel and time to explore the charming market town of Chipping Campden. Your base will be the Hilton Puckrup in its 140 acres of grounds, with a spa and championship golf course.

When? April and May 2023

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6

A Mont Blanc Express ride and Lake Annecy visit

This six-day no-fly holiday (with Eurostar from London to Paris, then connecting train and coach journeys) includes a day trip through the heart-stirring Alpine scenery of France and Switzerland aboard the Mont Blanc Express, one of the world’s most scenic mountain train lines.

You’ll also have plenty of time to wander the shores of Lake Annecy, explore beguiling French towns, discover the golden-sand beaches and great shopping of Aix-les-Bains, and spend a day exploring the delights of Geneva.

You’ll be based in lovely La Clusaz with its traditional wooden chalet-style architecture, staying in the Hôtel Beauregard with its heated pool, Turkish bath, sauna, cosy fireplaces and terrace.

When? May 2023

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7

A Norfolk getaway with a look inside Sandringham

The deliciously slow pace of life in a region of vast skies and dramatic, often deserted coastline can be imbibed over this five-day break including a Norfolk Broads cruise on a paddle-steamer, three heritage rail journeys and free time exploring Wroxham, Horning and Cromer.

You’ll also enjoy an exclusive talk about Sandringham House and Estate and the modern monarchy by acclaimed historian Lucy Worsley, followed by a tour of the Royal Family’s country retreat led by Lucy herself. This 19,000-acre estate now counting among the royal residences of Charles III sits within the Norfolk Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

When? May 2023

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8

A tour of England’s royal palaces

This two-night break gives you an insight in the lives of the royals with visits to St George’s Chapel (where Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest), Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle – with a private tour of the State Apartments and a glass of champagne at the latter.

The trip will include an exclusive talk and Q&A by royal biographer, commentator and film-maker Robert Hardman, who will give you an unparalleled insight into the workings of the modern British Royal family.

Your historic base with be the former coaching inn The Talbot in historic Ripley in Surrey, said to be where Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton trysted.

When? May 2023

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9

A Scottish Highlands and islands yacht cruise

Over eight days aboard the boutique Lord of the Glens (with just 27 cabins), you’ll discover Loch Ness, Loch Nevis and other beguiling spots, along the way encountering wild, myth-shrouded landscapes, looming castles and majestic wildlife.

Other highlights include the Caledonian Canal, hidden sea lochs and the magical islands of Iona, Mull, Eigg and Skye along Scotland’s western shore.

During this intimate cruise you’ll be regaled by tales of weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s Scottish heritage – including her grandfather’s role in building the breathtaking Glenfinnan Viaduct.

When? May 2023

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10

A horticultural holiday in Madeira

Spring is one of the best times to visit the subtropical volcanic island of Madeira, known as the ‘floating garden of the Atlantic’.

This eight-day gardens tour includes a day at the island’s dazzling Flower Festival with horticulturalist and presenter Christine Walkden, who will also tour some of Madeira’s finest gardens with you – Palheiro Gardens, Funchal Botanical Gardens, the Quinta do Arco Rose Garden and the Garden of Quinta do Lago are all on the itinerary.

You’ll stay in the named Hotel Enotel Magnolia in the gorgeous island capital Funchal, with two swimming pools and a sauna.

When? May 2023

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