After what’s seemed like a very long winter, many of us are looking forward to waving off the cold weather and welcoming in the longer, warmer days of spring.
So if you’re looking for ways to celebrate the beginning of a new season, we’ve put together a list of 12 things to do and places to visit in April in the UK. From food and drink events to outdoors adventures and Easter celebrations, hopefully there’s something for everyone.
1. Sip on some whisky at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Northern Scotland
If you’re a whisky enthusiast, you won’t want to miss Northern Scotland’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. With 51 working distilleries, Speyside’s known as the home of a number of world-class whiskies – including Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan.
During the Spirit of Speyside festival, the distilleries will open their doors to visitors – allowing them to meet the makers, taste some of the world’s finest whiskies, and uncover the mastery behind their creation.
But that’s not all. With arts and crafts, live music, delicious food, and outdoor trails, you don’t have to be a whisky drinker to enjoy this festival. You can find a full programme of events on the Spirit of Speyside website.
This year, Spirit of Speyside will run from 26th April-1st May.
2. Walk Scilly, Isles of Scilly
If you fancy getting away for a bit this April, why not enjoy a week exploring the beauty of the Isles of Scilly?
Returning for its 16th year, Walk Scilly is a festival that celebrates the breathtaking natural beauty and rich heritage of the Isles of Scilly – and its series of carefully planned guided walks are the ideal way to explore.
This year, Walk Scilly will host author of The Salt Path, Raynor Win. Other highlights include talks from resident archaeologist Dr Katharine Sawyer who’ll be sharing her knowledge on the historic significance of the Scilly Islands, and the annual sell-out ‘Scilly Seabirds and Seals’ sea safari. You can find a full event programme on the Walk Scilly website.
The dates for the 2023 event are 15th-21st April.
3. Soar along Ireland’s longest zipline, Belfast
If you’re seeking adventure this spring, why not head to the River Rapid Zipline? At 700m long, it’s Ireland’s longest zipline and offers the ultimate adrenaline rush.
River Rapid first opened in April last year, and now that the weather’s warming up, this month is an ideal time to visit.
Once you’ve climbed up the 100ft take-off tower, you can expect to gather speeds of up to 50mph as you travel down the zipline. Skimming the treetops above the Colin River, the journey also offers breathtaking views of Belfast city and beyond.
4. Indulge at York Chocolate Festival, York
Attendance at the York Chocolate Festival is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth this April.
Known by many as the Chocolate City, York has been sharing delicious sweet treats with its visitors for centuries – producing many classics like Terry’s Chocolate Orange, KitKat, and Rowntree’s.
With workshops, stalls, tasting events, and demos from local traders, chocolatiers, and chefs, York Chocolate Festival is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of indulgence.
This year, the festival will run from 5th-9th April. The event is free, with optional paid-for sessions available.
5. Discover new music at Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool
Liverpool Sound City is the UK’s leading independent festival for new music, and it’s returning this year on the 29th and 30th April.
Being one of the first places to host huge artists like Ed Sheeran, the 1975, Florence and the Machine, and Christine and the Queens, Sound City is the place to discover new giants of the music world.
Headliners include indie band The Reytons and pop singer Maisie Peters. You can find a 2023 full line up here.
6. Go on a bluebell walk, UK-wide
Did you know that almost half of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK? A bluebell wood is one of the sights of spring that never fails to spark joy. And with sunnier days on their way, there’s no better time to head outside on the lookout for these beautiful flowers.
While you shouldn’t have to travel too far to spot bluebells, there are a number of places across the UK that are well-known for being home to particularly beautiful bluebell displays. Among the most popular are Hardcastle Crags in West Yorkshire, Blickling Estate in Norfolk, and Dinefwr Park and Castle in Carmarthenshire.
To find somewhere near you, check out this list of 15 of the best places to see bluebells across the UK from Time Out.
7. Soak in the atmosphere at the London Marathon, London
Both watching and running the London marathon are fantastic experiences – but it must be said that spectating comes with the rather obvious bonus of not having to cover 42.2km on foot, or train for months in advance.
The support given to runners creates a huge buzz along the entire marathon route. So whether you’re cheering someone on in particular or simply want to absorb the atmosphere, watching the London Marathon certainly makes for a fun day out.
Check out this guide to following the London Marathon from TCS London Marathon for information on the best places to spectate, television coverage, and how to get involved on social media. This year, the London Marathon will take place on Sunday 23rd April.
8. Find your groove at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Gloucestershire
Cheltenham Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s biggest jazz festivals. Over 50 fantastic artists are set to perform across a range of genres from classic and contemporary jazz to soul, blues, and pop.
Expect to see artists like Laura Mvula, Gregory Porter, Will Young, Madeline Bell, Tony Hadley, and MIKA. You can find a full festival line up on the Cheltenham Festivals website.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival will take place from 26th April-1st May 2023.
Alternatively, if jazz isn’t for you, you might be pleased to know that this is just one of Cheltenham’s four world-class festivals. There are also science, music, and literature festivals scheduled for later in the year, which you can find more information about here.
9. Meet your favourite crime writers at Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival, Aberystwyth
If you love crime literature, why not head to Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival this year?
Crime Cymru is a diverse organisation of Welsh crime writers with three main aims: to support writers, help in the development of new writing talent, and promote Welsh culture – particularly Welsh crime writing – to the wider world.
The Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival is Wales’ first international crime literature festival. A celebration of all crime writing, expect to discover new writers and meet some of the most popular crime writers from across the world.
Plus, alongside writing events there’ll also be entertainment provided by world-renowned circus act, The Circus Village. You can find a full event programme on the Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival website. This year, the festival will run from 21st-23rd April.
10. Celebrate National Shakespeare Day, Stratford-Upon-Avon
William Shakespeare’s birth date was never officially recorded. However, people across the world have long considered the 23rd April as his date of birth, which has since become known as National Shakespeare Day.
While National Shakespeare may not be an official holiday, there are plenty of ways to get involved. One of the most popular Shakespeare Day celebrations occurs in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Every year, people from across the world flock here to watch parades and special performances of Shakespeare plays. You can find a full programme of events on the official event website.
Alternatively, some people simply like to spend the day getting into character by talking like Shakespeare – substituting ‘thou’, ‘thee’, and ‘ye’ into their language for fun. Others like to take the opportunity to learn more about Shakespeare by delving deeper into his works and life history.
11. Enjoy some Easter-themed events, UK-wide
From egg hunts to parades and chocolate festivals, there’s no shortage of fun-filled Easter events happening across the UK this year.
For example, in Lyme Regis there’s an Easter Bonnet Parade and The Eden Project in Cornwall has a packed Easter programme full of crafts, games, and activities like adventure golf. There’s an enchanted forest Easter trail at The Jungle in Londonderry, a Pirate themed Easter egg hunt in Glasgow, and an Easter Bunny Breakfast in Swansea.
Over 100 National Trust and English heritage properties are also hosting exciting Easter-themed events, including adventure trails and egg hunts that are perfect for all the family. You can browse National Trust and English Heritage Easter events to find one near you.
12. Learn about your role in the natural world at the Eden Project, Cornwall
Hosted by The Eden Project, Super Natural is an exhibition exploring humankind’s ever-evolving role in the natural world. Super Natural will be unlike anything you’ve seen before – as you admire striking artwork by international artists, including Kedisha Coakley and Iman Datoo.
Covering a range of fascinating topics, such as the interdependencies of humans and plants, a trip to Super Natural is perfect for anyone who wants to stir their senses and learn something new this April.
Extended until 1st May 2023, April is the last opportunity to experience Super Natural.
As the days draw out and the weather warms up, April is an ideal time to make fun plans. Whether you decide to welcome spring with an idyllic bluebell walk or attend some of the many exciting events being held across the UK, we hope this list has left you with some inspiration.