From enchanting winter escapes to rejuvenating spring getaways, relaxing summer breaks and colourful autumn holidays, we love nothing more than revelling in the beauty of the UK and Ireland’s ever-changing seasons. Boasting some of the most varied and beautiful landscapes in the world, from the picturesque honey-coloured villages of the Cotswolds to the beaches and mountain ranges of Wales and the wild undulating hills of Ireland, there are some spectacular places to visit.
Our unique and luxurious collection of holiday homes provide the perfect setting for an unforgettable staycation in some of these extraordinary locations. Let us inspire you with our favourite destinations to make the most of the seasons.
Spring in Wales
Blessed with tumbling waterfalls hidden in undiscovered places, breath-taking mountain ranges, staggeringly beautiful beaches, romantic castles and tranquil river valleys, Wales offers a myriad of opportunities for escaping into nature. Steeped in history and mythical wonder, there is so much to discover, and on sparkling spring days when the country is at its most beautiful, it is one of the best destinations in the UK for active holidays. Indulge in a wealth of outdoor pursuits including walking, cycling, horse riding, sailing and surfing. Springtime also welcomes the start of the fishing season in Wales, with the rivers and tributaries of the Usk and Wye Valley teeming with wild brown trout and salmon.
As verges burst with wildflowers, trees blossom and hedgerows are peppered with snow drops, enjoy a wander and soak up awe-inspiring views on the 870 mile long coast path. Take a cruise to Skomer Island, a ‘Mecca’ for thousands of puffins, gulls and manx shearwaters, and if you’re lucky spot dolphins, porpoise and seals bobbing in the turquoise sea on your journey.
It would be remiss not to visit one of the fine National Trust gardens scattered across the Welsh countryside offering a plethora of floral delights. The wildlife watching opportunities are also bountiful in Wales at this time of year; a magical sight not to be missed is Brecon’s famous red kites majestically soaring through the sky at Llanddeusant Red Kite Feeding Station.
Spring in Wales also heralds the joyous celebration of its National Day, St David’s Day. On March 1st the country proudly honours its patron saint with a series of colourful parades, vivid concerts and flamboyant festivals. Children are often spotted in red shawls with black chimney hats, wearing bright green leeks and yellow daffodils as accessories. Many of Wales’ castles and heritage sites throw open their doors for free on the day.
Summer in Ireland
Ireland is perfect for adventurous souls who seek dramatic hill top vistas, wild rugged coastlines, and mysterious ancient ruins. In summer, Ireland comes alive with an abundance of Blue Flag beaches perfect for swimming, surfing and building sandcastles, a kaleidoscope of events and festivals, beautiful gardens made for relaxing picnics, and resplendent sunset views.
Explore the Wild Atlantic Way in summer and find endless moments of magic to treasure with a cornucopia of outdoor activities, unique experiences and festival favourites. From swimming with dolphins in the invigorating swells of the ocean, to trekking along the sensational Cliffs of Moher, and discovering some of Ireland’s best restaurants and friendly pubs full of gastronomic delights, this 2,500km of mesmerising landscape and sea-salted shorelines is a must-visit.
Summer holidays in Ireland are also the prime time to explore some of the desirable and photogenic islands that await off its beautiful shores. Just off the coast of Galway are the Aran Islands, a trio of islands where the Irish culture and language has been preserved for generations. The windswept Skellig Islands, just off the coast of County Kerry are also a popular draw thanks to their featured roles in the latest iconic ‘Star Wars’ movies.
Autumn in the Cotswolds
The quintessentially English chocolate-box villages of the Cotswolds, surrounded by blankets of patchwork countryside are particularly enchanting during autumn. The season’s golden hues provide an unparalleled backdrop for peaceful walks along its network of scenic walking trails, with crunchy leaves under foot, and the promise of a warming mug of cocoa and a roaring fireplace in a traditional Cotswold pub.
Covering an area of 790 square miles across five counties (Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), the Cotswolds is Britain’s largest officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Some of the best ways to appreciate the wonderful auburn leaf colour of the season are to visit the region’s spectacular arboreta, Westonbirt and Batsford with their famous Japanese maples, or wander through the striking grounds and wooded glades of Blenheim Palace.
Some of the more popular Cotswold villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Lower Slaughter are much quieter at this wonderful time of year and offer the perfect excuse to warm up and indulge in an afternoon tea in a cosy tea room. We also recommend making the most of the extensive range of fine antique shops on offer in this peaceful season. Due to its ancient heritage, the Cotswolds offer an abundance of antique emporiums, particularly in the market towns of Tetbury and Stow-on-the-Wold which are known for exquisite furniture, and Broadway for its rare paintings.
Winter in the Peak District
Visit the Peak District in winter and enjoy the peace and serenity this time of year affords. Pull on your boots, wrap up warm and revel in blissful treks across its untamed dreamscape of snow-capped hills and valleys, glistening frozen lakes, wild moorland and dramatic icy escarpments. There are 555 square miles of open English countryside and varied terrain in which to soak up the beauty of this National Park, a haven for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts.
A crisp winter day when the frost makes the landscape sparkle, where ramblers can enjoy almost total solitude under clear blue skies, makes for our favourite time of year to delight in a holiday to the Peak District. Whether you blow away the cobwebs on a challenging hike on the Pennine Way, appreciate a scenic amble on the Monsal Trail, visit the renowned beauty spot of Derwent Reservoir, admire far-reaching views on the High Peak Trail, or take a bracing walk along the Limestone Way, be sure to pack your camera as the scenery is simply breath-taking.
The magic of winter also brings a fantastic array of festive-themed events and markets to the Peak District. Listen to the joyful sound of traditional Christmas carols being sung around village Christmas trees, wander around one of the cheery markets adorned with twinkling lights, a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand, and cosy up in welcoming country pubs with warm log fires.
If you have been inspired by one of these wonderful seasonal breaks, take a look at our collection of luxury holiday cottages in the UK and Ireland and start planning your next getaway. We would love to see your favourite holiday moments, simply tag us and use #sheepskinlife for the chance to be featured on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.