Days out

The Observer - - Focus - Joanne O’Con­nor

With shorts and T-shirt weather on the way, it’s time to blow away the win­ter cob­webs on a coastal walk. Op­tions? Chalkup21 is a new 17-mile ar­chi­tec­ture trail along the top of the white cliffs be­tween Folke­stone and Deal, Kent, which high­lights con­tem­po­rary build­ings en route, such as the Bat­tle of Bri­tain Me­mo­rial build­ing at Capel-le-Ferne and the tim­ber and glass cafe at the end of Deal pier (

If the change in tem­per­a­ture puts you in the fes­ti­val mood, what could be more spring-like than one that cel­e­brates cherry blos­som? In Ja­pan the ar­rival of the flow­ers is greeted with al­most re­li­gious fer­vour. One of the best dis­plays in the UK can be found at Brog­dale farm in Kent. The home of the na­tional fruit col­lec­tion will be of­fer­ing Hanami pic­nics un­til the end of April (book­ing es­sen­tial) and a Ja­panese-in­spired fes­ti­val on 21 April with cul­tural demon­stra­tions and food (brog­dalecol­lec­

For a more for­mal flo­ral dis­play, the Har­ro­gate spring flower show is one of the first big events in the gar­den­ing cal­en­dar – at the Great York­shire Show­ground from 26-29 April, with show gar­dens, flo­ral dis­plays and talks and demon­stra­tions (flow­er­

In Scot­land the Celtic May Day fes­ti­val of Beltane is cel­e­brated with bon­fires, torch­lit pro­ces­sions, drum­ming and the ar­rival of the May on Cal­ton Hill, Ed­in­burgh, on 30 April ( And in Wales you can wit­ness the end of the lamb­ing sea­son at the RSPB Lake Vyrnwy or­ganic farm in Powys. Tours of the lamb­ing sheds will be avail­able at week­ends un­til the end of April (but book­ing is es­sen­tial: go to

For a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, why not try one of the singing with nightin­gales events in Cam­bridgeshire, Es­sex and Kent through­out April and May? Or­gan­ised by singer Sam Lee of the Nest Col­lec­tive, these are in­ti­mate wood­land con­certs held around a camp fire. If you’re lucky, the mu­si­cians will be ac­com­pa­nied by the sound of nightin­gales singing, and you will be able to cel­e­brate this very African bird that takes its sum­mers in Eng­land (then­est­col­lec­


En­joy an ar­chi­tec­ture walk along the white cliffs from Folke­stone, end­ing with a snack at the cafe on Deal pier.

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