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6 places to see the spring blossom

By Shona Owen

From beautiful beds of colourful tulips to ancient trees covered in sweet smelling blossom, there’s nothing like spring flowers to lift your spirits. With forests, fields and flowerbeds waking up, I’ve selected some of the best places across the Northern Hemisphere where you can enjoy the delights of spring.

1-Japan-Cherry

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1. Kyoto, Japan | Cherry Blossom

From the last week of March through to the middle of April, a delicate cloud of cherry blossom hovers just above the hypnotised heads of locals and tourists alike. As soon as the pale pink flowers line the canals and hang low over the water gardens, Kyoto erupts with hanami parties, which involve setting out a picnic blanket underneath the loveliest cherry tree and feasting on festive food and drink. A favourite haunt of locals but virtually untouched by tourists, go to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens for the perfect secluded spot underneath the small forest of weeping cherry trees.

2--Netherlands-Tulips

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2. Noordoostpolder, Netherlands | Tulips

The first substantial segment of Flevoland reclaimed from the sea, the pancake-flat landscape of Noordoostpolder is ideal, with well-drained but moist sandy soils, for growing tulips. With the Tulip Festival in full swing between April and May, walk down the straight aisles and pick your own unique bouquet. With three billion bulbs of reds, yellows and pinks, marvel at the incredible sea of colour, as spread across 2,500 acres, you will see spring’s seasonal beauty in every direction.

3--UK-Bluebells

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3. Hertfordshire, UK | Bluebells

The UK is home to around 50% of the world’s bluebell population, so no wonder it’s the quintessential sign of springtime. Head to Hertfordshire to see ancient woodlands blanketed with these tiny flowers from late March. Visit the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate to learn about the area’s beautiful flora and fauna. it is open every day from dawn until dusk with regular ranger-led walks.

4--Washington-DC-Cherry

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4. Washington D.C, USA | Cherry Blossom

In a gesture of friendship in 1912, the Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted Washington DC 3,000 cherry trees which, during spring, dominate the Potomac River. While taking in the impressive sights of the Smithsonian, the White House and the Washington Monument, get involved in the National Cherry Blossom Festival and watch the annual parade of floats, giant balloons and musical performances draw in a crowd of over 1.5 million visitors.

5--South Korea-Azaleas

Photo: Ru Bai Le/ Shutterstock

5. Gyeongsang, South Korea | Azaleas

For those willing to explore further than South Korea’s sprawling capital, head south to the Gyeongsang district for an unheralded delight of majesty, mystery and folklore. Well-known for its beautiful countryside, the area is best visited around April to June, when the rocky ridges and high peaks of Hwangmaesan Mountain are carpeted by a riot of pink royal azaleas. Almost completely clear of other scrubs and trees, you will have uninterrupted views from the 1,108 metre tall mountain top. The spring blossom is celebrated at the Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival when over 10,000 people take part in a marathon following the Hwanggang River lined with splendid cherry blossoms.

6--Texas-Bluebonnets

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6. Texas, USA | Bluebonnets

The bluebonnet is to Texas what the cherry blossom is to Japan and the tulip to Holland. A stunning collection of tiny blue rosette leaves, the bluebonnet is the state flower and resembles the bonnets worn by pioneer women. As the fields and meadows begin to explode with deep blues and whites, the town of Burnet, known as the ‘Bluebonnet Capital’, starts buzzing with anticipation of the omnipresent blossom to come. Make a beeline for central Texas during the second weekend of April to join the festivities.

Exsus Travel can arrange a tailor-made holiday to any of these destinations.

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