Thoughts of visiting England in April might bring skipping lambs, a country waking up from hibernation and gentle rain showers sprinkling on frozen land to mind. You wouldn’t be too far wrong but go beyond this dream to discover a reality rich in community, colour and life.
Whether referring to astronomical or meteorological spring, it starts in March in the Northern Hemisphere. By the following month, expect a bright splash of colour across the countryside as new shoots of floral life emerge. From bluebells to daffodils, these flowers promise the end of winter’s heavy blanket and herald the arrival of warmer months and longer days. Add Easter, April Fool’s Day, and St George’s Day to the mix, and you have a month full of English culture and celebration.
Read on to discover why April is one of the best times to visit England, and the fresh experiences and delights await you.
Disney gave April quite a reputation with this sweet tune from its 1942 classic animation. Across the water in England, April is actually the driest month of the year, with an average of just 56.1mm of rain during the month.
Temperatures reach, on average, a high of 13°C/55°F and only drop to lows of 4°C/39°F.
The weather in England in April has a gentle chill to the breeze. Yet the dry climate makes this the perfect time for exploring such a historic country and creates the ideal conditions for spring to reveal itself.
Read more about England’s climate and seasons in our guide here.
No spring adventure would be complete without a cacophony of bright blooms popping up from every nook and cranny. April in England does not disappoint. From pretty primroses to heavenly hyacinths, spring in England offers a refreshingly varied bouquet of blooms.
The bluebell is one of the most iconic flowers to look out for in April. A common flower across Europe in spring, it is telling that around half of the bluebells on the planet are in the UK. These diminutive flowers are often a sign you are walking through ancient woodland as these fragile blooms take a long time to establish in an area.
The best time to see bluebells in Englandis in April. Some of our favourite places to experience romantic fields of soft violet hues are:
If you find a magical grove of bluebells, enjoy them responsibly. Bluebells are very fragile flowers, easily damaged when disturbed, so stick to established paths as you walk through. It is not just feet that threaten the charming English bluebell. Around 300 years ago, the Spanish bluebell was introduced to the UK. This non-native variety is an invasive species, spreading much more readily than its English counterparts.
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If bluebells offer charming blue hues to the colour wheel of spring, the most common British garden flower, the daffodil, makes up the other half of the wheel. From tiny yellow stars to large heads of pinks and oranges, daffadowndillies, as they were once better known, only gained popularity in the United Kingdom and Ireland around 150 years ago.
Early Narcissus breeders, such as Guy L. Wilson and the garden in his name at Ulster University, were generally in Ireland. There were also notable breeders in Scotland, where Ian Brodie, the 24th Brodie clan chief, bred over 400 different varieties of daffodil.
Today, you can find these flowers across the UK and Ireland, and England is no exception. February to May promises a sighting of these regal flowers. The exact timings depend on several factors, from the variety of the flower to the weather. Early April is the perfect time to ensure you catch daffodils at their best.
There are seven national collections of daffodils across the UK, details of which can be found here. Some of our other favourite places to see daffodils are:
From Hercule Poirot to Call the Midwife, gardening is an iconic British pastime. Spring is the perfect time to get stuck in and create floral magic in your garden or head out into the countryside to find nature’s work.
It is almost impossible to think of spring without images of bouncing lambs, fuzzy ducklings and charming calves. April offers all of this, but perhaps a less expected animal icon of the English spring is the cuckoo. First published in the early 1900s, The Cuckoo Song by English novelist Rudyard Kipling captures the emotions of Heathfield Fair. Also known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair, a cuckoo would be released to celebrate the beginning of the season. Spot these birds as they arrive in England from Africa in late April and early May. Cuckoos only spend a few short months in Europe, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, before returning to the warmer climate of Africa in the summer.
From cuckoos back to the better-known symbols of spring, baby farm life. While these adorable signs of new life can be delightful, ensure you are not interacting in a way that will harm the animal. Just like humans, mother sheep, cows and birds can all be protective of their young. Enjoy these amazing animals from a distance, and close any gates behind you while walking in the countryside.
“March has searched and April tried
T’isn’t long to May now.
Not so far to Whitsuntide
And Cuckoo’s come to stay now!”
– The Cuckoo Song by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
With new life skipping through the fields and carpets of colour bobbing in the breeze, April is the perfect time to get back out onto your favourite trails. Why not take this time of promises, throw off the memories of cold winter nights, and explore a new path or even a new part of England? The Peak District, Northumbria and Cornwall are particularly magical at this time of year. Yet spring can be seen dancing across all of England in April.
After a day full of experiences and adventures, treat yourself to some seasonal food too. Purple sprouting broccoli, new potatoes and rhubarb are all enjoyed at their best in April. Taste salads, traditional meat dishes with seasonal vegetable accompaniments, and rhubarb in every form, from cakes and crumbles to ice cream and compotes. The iconic English pub is a great place to find these mouthwatering treats, but don’t overlook your local farmers market or greengrocer if you want to get hands-on in the kitchen and make your own culinary creation.
Look out in the hedgerows for wild garlic, cow parsley and bramble leaves. As always, when foraging, ensure you are doing so safely and responsibly, only picking things if you are sure of their identity.
April in England promises a great day out in nature, perfectly accompanied by delicious seasonal food.
England does not hold back, offering an array of traditional celebrations and events in April. You will find a show of English culture from the country’s patron saint to artisan cheese whenever you visit this month.
April dives into the celebrations with an annual event on the first day, April Fool’s Day. Dating back at least 300 years in England, this is now a day of jokes, pranks and little white lies. From newspapers running surprising headlines to neighbours pulling harmless practical jokes, keep your eyes peeled for things that might not be quite as they seem.
On a variable date set by astronomy, between 22nd March and 25th April, the Christian celebration of Easter has been adopted across much of the western world. England is no exception. Enjoy mouthwatering delicacies such as toasted hot cross buns smothered in butter, egg hunts in village greens for blown painted eggs, and traditional morris dancing. There are Easter celebrations across the country so enjoy a local event where you are. The Easter holidays in England also often mark the beginning of “the season.” This is the time when many heritage spots reopen after their winter closures. From museums to manor houses, this is a great time to visit these sites as they will still be quieter before the crush of summer.
The 23rd of April brings with it the celebration of England’s patron saint, St George. Best known in stories for slaying the dragon, St George has been the Patron Saint of England since the mid-1300s, exalted in Christianity for his virtue and valour. A popular religious feast day since at least the 1400s, today Saint George’s Day is widely celebrated in England with street fairs and gatherings with friends. Several English Heritage properties, such as Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, and Scarborough Castle, North Yorkshire, run excellent events for the whole family. At the same time, the city of Nottingham’s parade includes the largest St George’s flag in England.
At the end of the month, look out for more unusual celebrations, such as the Melton Mowbray Artisan Cheese Fair. The location might bring thoughts of succulent pork pies to mind, but this is also the home of one of only six dairies in the country licensed to produce the famous stilton cheese. It is perhaps no surprise that this town hosts the largest artisan cheese fair in the UK. From brie to blue cheeses, cow’s milk to goat, this is a great way to end the month.