Get close to nature events
Bluebell walks, nationwide
1 Strolling through sun-dappled, bluebell-carpeted woods is one of spring's most magical experiences. Bluebells flower in April and May, although this year's late cold spell may delay them. The National Trust publishes details on its website of where to find the best bluebell walks in its properties.
Cost: Normal admission charges apply
Woodland Lodges, Norfolk
2 Stay in a stylish wood cabin in the grounds of the beautiful Somerleyton estate on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Some of the lodges boast floor to ceiling glass windows with views of the forest. Enjoy miles of footpaths and a pint at the the Duke's Head.
Cost: From £125 a night for a honeymoon cabin; £215 for a three-day weekend in a two-bedroom lodge
Details: 01493 488666; www.somerleyton.co.uk
Sleep in a tree, Cornwall
3 New for this spring, sleep in a hammock suspended from the treetops in a forest near Newquay. After a candlelit dinner in the forest, you climb the tree, clip on a safety harness and settle into one of the suspended 'tree boats'. Wake up to a dawn chorus and a treetop breakfast.
Cost: From £140pp
Details: 01637 880466; www.mighty-oak.co.uk
Wordsworth's daffodils, Cumbria
4 The 'host of golden daffodils' immortalised by Wordsworth can still be seen on the shores of Ullswater. Throughout April the Rothay Garden Hotel, near Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, is offering reduced prices to guests who wish to follow in the poet's footsteps.
Cost: From £199pp for three nights' dinner, B&B
Details: 01539 435334; www.rothay-garden.com
Farmer for a day, Cheshire
5 It's the British equivalent of the American ranch holiday. Swap suits for Barbour jackets and play at being a farmer at Gorstage Green Farm in Northwich, Cheshire. Learn to milk the cows and stack straw bales.
Cost: £100 full day/£60 half day
Details: 01606 853193; www.farmer4aday.co.uk
Island retreat, Outer Hebrides
6 Convenient timetables have brought these remote North Atlantic islands within easy reach for a long weekend. Leave Heathrow at 7am on Friday and at 11.30am you'll be touching down at Stornoway on Lewis. Stay at Gearrannan, a traditional 'blackhouse village' of dry-stone walled and thatched cottages overlooking the sea.
Cost: Flights from London from £195. Cottage sleeping two, from £35 a night.
Details: 0870 850 9850; www.ba.com. 01851 643416; www.gearrannan.com
Log cabin, Carmarthenshire
7 Caban Cariad is a woodland cabin in beautiful countryside at Cenarth. It sleeps up to four, but is perfect for romantic breaks for couples. It was imported from Sweden in 1973 and refurbished last year in 1960s retro style. There's a famous waterfall nearby.
Cost: From £139 for three nights
Details: 01239 851410; www.underthethatch.co.uk
On the food and drink trail
The culinary hotspot, Devon
8 Torquay, which received two Michelin stars in this year's guide, is rapidly gaining a reputation as Britain's latest gastro destination. The first star was for the fish with a French twist at the stylish Elephant Restaurant (01803 200044; www.elephantrestaurant.co.uk), whose head chef Simon Hulstone won gold at the world Chef Championships in France. The Orestone Manor hotel (01803 328 098) also won a Michelin star. A fashionable new restaurant with rooms, English House (01803 328760; www.english-house.co.uk) is attracting rave reviews, and The Orchid Restaurant (www.orchidrestaurant.net) has three AA rosettes.
Cost: Two-night packages at Orestone Manor, £200pp
Details: English Riviera tourism 0870 707 0010; www.englishriviera.co.uk
Scenic drives to pubs
9 A 60-mile route through the Peak District starting in Bakewell is described on the website, with suggestions for pit stops at various pubs, farm stores and attractions en route. Alternatively, three drives through Cornwall and a list of great pubs are described at www.cornwall-calling.co.uk. Take the north coast route, stopping in Padstow at one of Rick Stein's restaurants (01841 532 700; www.rickstein.com).
Surf and scoff, Cornwall
10 Work up an appetite for a gourmet meal at Jamie Oliver's new West Country outpost, Fifteen Cornwall, with a spot of kite-surfing or mountain boarding. The restaurant is due to open in May in Watergate Bay, near Newquay.
Details: 01637 860840; www.watergatebay.co.uk
Short pub walks in the country
11 The perfect weekend activity for spring, when it's not too hot for a walk, but not too cold to sit outside in a beer garden. The AA publishes two popular books to guide you: 50 walks to Country Pubs (£7.99) and the hardback 365 Pub Walks and Cycle Rides (£30).
A gourmet weekend, Wales
12 With its fabulous food, scenery and a clutch of stylish hotels, including Neil Morrissey's Hurst House (01994 427417) and The Cawdor (01558 823500), which opened last August in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire is the new destination for urban cool-hunters. Everyone's talking about the Fig Tree Restaurant (01558 668187) in Dryslwyn too.
Cost: Double rooms at the Cawdor from £80 a night; Hurst House from £85.
A canalboat pub crawl, Wiltshire
13 Travel from Kintbury towards Hungerford on a horsedrawn narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, with pub stops en route.
Cost: £6.60 per adult, £5.60 per child for two hours. Private charter: £380 for two hours, up to 50 people
Details: 01488 658866; www.kennet-horse-boat.co.uk
Cream teas, nationwide
14 The Tea Guild's undercover inspectors announce the winner of this year's best teashop award on 21 April. If you can't wait that long, last year's joint winner was the Ollerton Watermill Teashop (01623 822469) in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The cream teas, crab dishes and meringues at The Tea Tree (01797 226102) in Winchelsea, East Sussex, and the Victorian recipes and fine brews at Elizabeth Botham and Sons (01947 602823) in Whitby, North Yorkshire, are also highly recommended by the guild.
Vineyard tours, Kent
15 Most homegrown vintages come from the area around Tunbridge Wells, Kent. There are several vineyards to fill a couple of days with tastings and tours. Check out the UK's largest producer, Chapel Down Wines (01580 763033; www.chapeldownwines.co.uk).
Cost: entry is free but tours cost £6.50 per adult, £1 per child
Details: 01892 515 675; www.visittunbridgewells.com
Plot to plate events
16 To promote local and seasonal produce, 45 National Trust properties are participating in From Plot to Plate 2006. Gardening and cooking events run at Upton House in Warwickshire (27 April); there's a Bees, Beekeeping and Honey day at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire (17 May); and a seed sowing workshop at Barrington Court, Somerset (18 May).
Cost: from £4
Details: 0870 458 4000; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plottoplate
Walking Festival, Cumbria
17 The first Ullswater Walking Festival runs from 12-14 May with a plethora of guided walks. Hardy mountain leaders will take hikers off to tackle the Lake District's higher fells, while entertaining speakers will lead the way on gentler lower paths.
Details: 01768 482414; www.ullswater.com
Get high in the forest
18 Negotiate rope bridges and Tarzan swings at one of seven Go Ape centres around the country. Suitable for adults and children over 10. Two new centres have opened in Delamere Forest, Cheshire, and the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.
Cost: £20 for adults, £15 for children
Details: 0870 444 5562; www.goape.co.uk
Hire a skiff on the Thames
19 One of the most relaxing ways of exploring the river is to hire an Edwardian-style camping skiff. Explore attractions such as Hampton Court, Cliveden, Marlow and Henley. At night, unroll the canvas awning and the boat converts into a floating tent.
Cost: from £200 for four days
Details: Tom Balm, 01932 232433; www.skiffhire.com
20 A high-adrenalin take on the coastal walk, involving jumping off cliffs, swimming and scrambling over rocks. Penhale Adventure Centre, near Newquay, is one of the most popular centres.
Cost: From £40 a day
Details: 08007 816861; www.penhaleadventure.com
21 Now the winter sports season is drawing to a close, snowboarders are having to look to grassy hills for their thrills. Mountainboards are big skateboards with foot straps and large, all-terrain wheels. There are centres springing up with tracks, swooping turns and jumps.
Cost: Typically £9 an hour including board hire
Details: 01453 519113; www.ridethehill.com
Dry-stone walling, Derbyshire
22 Pick up a new skill, enjoy the countryside and do your bit for the environment. Dry-stone walling classes are available through BTCV in Ashbourne, Derbyshire (27-29 May); and Bangor, Co Down (19-20 May). The conservation organisation also runs short courses in country-based skills such as map-reading in Kendal, Cumbria (12 May).
Cost: £35 for one-day ; £80 for two days
Details: 01302 572244; www.btcv.org
23 The Royal Horticultural Society has a variety of springtime gardening classes and garden open days. Ness Botanic Gardens in Cheshire hosts a garden walk followed by coffee on 8 April. A lecture on the legends of herbs is at Lodge Lane Nursery and Gardens, Warrington, on 19 April, or there's a 'blossom day' stroll at Norton Priory near Runcorn on 30 April.
Cost: from £4 for members, £5 for non members
Details: 0845 062 1111; www.rhs.org.uk
Campervan surf trips, Devon and the South Coast
24 To surf in style you need to arrive at the beach in a vintage campervan. Two companies are offering VW campervan hire for surfers. O'Connor's Campers, Okehampton, Devon, gives access to West Country beaches and new for this year is VW Camper Adventures in Brighton.
Cost: From £75 a day
Details: 01837 659599; www.oconnorscampers.co.uk. 01273 770671; www.vwcamperadventures.com
Hiking in the Highlands
25 One train can take you from central London to Corrour station, an isolated building more than 1,000ft up on Rannoch Moor. Leave Euston on the sleeper at 9.15pm on Friday and just before 9am on Saturday you step out into the wilderness. After two days of Munro bagging, reboard at 8pm and turn up back in the capital at 8am.
Cost: From £38 return
Details: 0845 601 5929; www.firstscotrail.com
Push the boat out
Classic sports cars, Cotswolds
26 A bright spring day and an E-type Jag with the roof down - what could be better? Classic Motoring arranges two- or three-night breaks with classic car hire staying at Cowley Manor, the Bathurst Arms or the Dial House Hotel.
Cost: From £620 for two nights for two, including accommodation and car
Details: 01452 864050; www.classicmotoring.co.uk
Balloon flights, Hampshire
27 Grange Air operates daily balloon rides with champagne across southern England. For a really romantic trip, you can pay extra to have the balloon basket to yourselves.
Cost: From £130pp or £575 for two
Details: 01420 520717; www.hotairballoonflights.co.uk
Join the yacht set, Devon
28 Twelve luxurious new apartments with views over the water have opened at the Dart Marina in Dartmouth. Guests can use the spa and smart restaurants of the Marina's hotel or charter a yacht to explore the estuary.
Cost: £850 for a week in an apartment that sleeps four. Yacht hire: £225pp
Details: 01803 839600; www.dartmarina.com
Utopia Spa, West Sussex
29 Opening this month at the 17th-century Alexander House hotel, near Turners Hill, the Utopia Spa is set in 170 acres of parkland, has three pools and 25 treatment rooms.
Cost: Day visits including lunch, facial and massage cost £140pp
Details: 01342 714914; www.alexanderhotels.co.uk
30 Why not hire one of the latest supercars? A Mercedes McLaren SLR costs £313,000 to buy, but you can hire one for a spring weekend for about £5,000. The Ferrari F360 is yours for £1,700 for a weekend.
Cost: From £700 to £5,000
Details: Dreamcarhire.com, Oxfordshire (0844 800 0195; www.dreamcarhire.com). Supercar Experiences, Herts (0845 602 2113; www.supercarexperiences.com). Aston-Hire, Humberside (0845 8382 007; www.aston-hire.co.uk
The Big Sheep, Devon
31 Children will love the sheep racing and Ewetopia Adventure Zone indoor playground at this farm-themed attraction in Bideford. Dads can visit the sheep brewery with tours and tastings. See wild horses being trained. The EWEro is legal tender here.
Cost: adults £7.95, children £6.95
Details: 01237 472366; www.thebigsheep.co.uk
Tented Lodge, Pembrokeshire
32 Opening mid-May, the Forest Tented Lodge is in 45 acres of West Wales woodland. It's a safari-style camp that recreates the feeling of being in the bush. For families there is an adventure area, woodland trail and cycle track.
Cost: £300 for a pitch per week
Alnwick Castle and Gardens, Northumberland
33 Harry Potter fans should head for Alnwick Castle, where 'Harry Spotter' tours will take place throughout April; magic will be performed by some familiar Potter characters in the grounds. In Alnwick Gardens, spring flowers are in full bloom.
Cost: Harry Potter tour, £8.50 adults; £3.50 children
Details: Castle: 01665 510777; www.alnwickcastle.com. Garden: 01665 511350; www.alnwickgarden.com
34 Throughout April, National Trust-owned farms and stately homes give visitors the opportunity to get close to spring lambs. Visitors to the Malham estate in the North Yorkshire Dales can feed the lambs from 11am-3pm on 17 April.
Cost: normal admission prices apply
Details: 0870 458 4000; www.nationaltrust.org.uk
35 Beekeeper Mark Dennison will show you how the hives work, how to identify buzzes and how to spot the Queen Bee. Early evenings in May at Beechenhill Farm. B&B is available at the farm.
Cost: £25 for a group (maximum six)
Details: 01335 310274; www.beechenhill.co.uk
Bowood House and Gardens, Wiltshire
36 Bowood House and Gardens, near Calne, Wiltshire. Walk through 60 acres of gardens while the children enjoy the adventure playground.
Cost: adults £7.50; children £3.80
Details: 01249 812102; www.bowood.org
Giant Easter bunnies, Kent
37 Down in the mysterious Enchanted Forest of Groombridge Place house and gardens in Tunbridge Wells, giant rabbits, alpacas, goats and one of Britain's two 'zeedonks' hide. Adventure boardwalks, rope swings, scramble nets and an aerial runway offer a thrilling challenge on the Dark Walk.
Cost: £8.70 per adult, £7.20 per child
Details: 01892 861444; www.groombridge.co.uk
Llama trekking, Surrey
38 Llama trekking through the Surrey Hills, near Chilworth, will give the kids something to tell their school chums.
Cost: £57 for adults, £29 per child
Details: 01483 890555; www.surrey-hills-llamas.co.uk
Knight school, Warwickshire
39 Warwick Castle will be staging pitched battles daily until 23 April. Attend Knight school with combat training, armoury, weoponry and sword play.
Cost: £15.95 for adults, £9.95 for children
Details: 0870 4422375; www.warwick-castle.co.uk
Wild West show, Kent
40 Go wild west at the Hop Farm Country Park in Kent from 29 April-1 May. See spectacular re-enactments and watch fun cowboy shootouts set in a western town.
Cost: £8.50 for adults, £6.50 for children if you book in advance
Details: 0870 0274 166; www.thehopfarm.co.uk
Sexy new hotels
Hambrough Hotel, Isle of White
41 The Isle of Wight is trying to launch itself as a stylish destination as well as somewhere to take the kids. Leading the way is the elegant Hambrough Hotel.
Cost: From £82 per person per night
Details: 0870 458 6392; www.thehambrough.com
Smiths, Gretna Green
42 Now you can go to Gretna Green for a romantic break that does not involve getting hitched. Smiths is Scotland's newest boutique hotel and has hip fireplaces, flat TVs, broadband, suites and a penthouse.
Cost: Doubles from £125 a night
Details: 01461 337007; www.smithsgretnagreen.com
43 Standard-bearer for the new breed of unstuffy country house hotels, Endsleigh opened last summer to great acclaim. It looks down over beautiful gardens to the river Tamar and beyond.
Cost: rooms from £210 a night
Details: 01822 870000; www.hotelendsleigh.com
Zanzibar International Hotel, Hastings, East Sussex
44 By far the best place to stay in town is the Zanzibar, which has six rooms with high ceilings, white walls, cool artwork from around the world.
Cost: Sea-view rooms from £130 for first night, £99 thereafter; others from £85
Details: 01424 460109; www.zanzibarhotel.co.uk
The Forbury, Reading
45 The Forbury opened in February after a £6m refit and is already calling itself 'the UK's sexiest townhouse hotel'. The 24 rooms look fabulous, there's a cool restaurant and bar and the Fat Duck and Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons are within a short drive.
Cost: rooms from £150 a night
Details: 08000 789789; www.theforburyhotel.co.uk
The Punchbowl Inn, Cumbria
46 A 300-year-old inn at Crossthwaite on the edge of the Lake District, the Punchbowl was revamped and reopened towards the end of last year. It now has nine smart rooms, a slate-floored bar with candlelit tables and a smart restaurant with rave reviews.
Cost: From £100 per room per night
Details: 01539 568237; www.the-punchbowl.co.uk
Jazz festival, Cheltenham
47 Highlights of this year's festival, from 27 April-1 May, include Dianne Reeves, Lee Konitz and Claire Martin.
Cost: concerts cost from about £8; and there are fringe performances
Details: 01242 227979; www.cheltenhamfestivals.com
Shakespeare's birthday, Stratford-Upon-Avon
48 The Bard celebrates his anniversary on 23 April and the residents of his home town will join a special parade.
Details: Parade - 01789 204016; www.shakespeare.org.uk/bdayceleb
St George's Day, Scarborough, Yorkshire
49 English Heritage recreates the atmosphere of a medieval crowd for the celebration of England's patron saint, at Scarborough Castle on 22 and 23 April.
Cost: Adults £4, children £2
Details: 01723 372451; www.english-heritage.org.uk
May Day Spring festival, Hastings
50 From Friday 28 April, the town hosts live music, ceilidhs and traditional dancing, culminating with the May Day Jack of the Green festival, a pagan celebration of the coming of spring.
Details: 0845 274 1001; www.visithastings.com