The following post is a guest contribution from Holiday Lettings – TripAdvisor
From cheery daffodils to luminous crocuses, blooming flowers signal the start of spring. It’s fitting to mark spring’s arrival with a trip to a flower show. But which should you pick? Holiday Lettings digs out the season’s most fragrant flower festivals, from Cornwall to Canberra.
Cornwall Spring Flower Show, Lostwithiel, UK – March 28-29
Photo credit: Robert Pittman (license) via flickr.com
Buds start peeping from Cornish hedgerows from January, so it’s only right that the county hosts one of the UK’s earliest flower festivals. You can appreciate prize-winning camellias and magnolias or wander round the show gardens. If you’re green-fingered, why not pick up tips on growing your own blooms?
From here it’s not far to the intriguing ruins of Restormel Castle – the views over the rolling hills from the upper sections are well worth the trip. You can catch panoramic vistas down the River Fowey, too, from Lostwithiel’s quaint Tudor Bridge. For a strong sense of this town’s rich heritage, look no further than the fascinating Lostwithiel Museum.
Bulbflower Parade (Bloemencorso Bollenstreek), Noordwijk, The Netherlands – April 25
Photo credit: Luu (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons
Tulip fever strikes every year at the vibrant Bulbflower Parade. Catch it as it processes 40km from Noordwijk to Haarlem, its brightly coloured floats bursting with hyacinths, daffodils and tulips. One of the best viewing points is at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, where you can stop and see the park’s seven million blooms.
Next stop, the Tulip Museum in nearby Amsterdam: here you’ll find out how the humble plant travelled from the Himalayan highlands to your backyard. While you’re in the city, can you resist investigating one of the country’s other icons at the Amsterdam Cheese Museum? The vintage gouda here is delicious and the world’s most expensive cheese slicer, studded with diamonds, is seriously impressive.
Madeira Flower Festival, Funchal, Madeira – April 16 – 22
Photo credit: PortoBay Events (license) via flickr.com
Madeira is famous for its exotic flowers and the island’s annual flower festival is an excellent chance to admire them all. Local children start the ceremonies when they assemble a Wall of Hope from thousands of blooms in Funchal’s Praça do Município. The next day, floats dripping with flowers fill the streets with astonishing colours. You can also see the city’s roads bedecked in rich floral carpets.
To find out more about the island’s biodiversity, take a tour of its flora and fauna. There’s plenty of wildlife to see as you hike to the island’s highest point at Pico do Arieiro. It’s not far from Funchal and the vistas are breathtaking. If you’re in the northwest of the island, you can take a relaxing dip in the surreal lava pools of Porto Moniz.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London, UK – May 19 – 23
Photo credit: Guy Evans (license) via flickr.com
The UK’s most famous flower show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital since 1913. In fact, three of the original exhibitors can still be spotted at today’s show (along with many celebrity guests). Last year’s winners included the Laurent-Perrier Garden and the Tour de Yorkshire: will you agree with the judges’ awards for the highly coveted gold medals this time round?
If you’re a serious plant fan, you can also visit the nearby Chelsea Physic Garden and appreciate its historic collection of medicinal plants. For a moment of peace and quiet, why not stroll through pretty Battersea Park, just half a mile down the road? Then cross over the neighbouring Chelsea Bridge for fab views down the river.
Floriade, Canberra, Australia – September 12 – October 11
Photo credit: Christopher John SSF (license) via flickr.com
Canberra’s Floriade welcomes in the spring with a million flowers blooming throughout the city’s Commonwealth Park. Spot displays of tulips next to the park’s sculptures and see them reflected (with black swans if you’re lucky) in Lake Burley Griffin. Later, you can catch a terrific live music act or DJ at the NightFest event that runs in the park from 24 to 28 September.
You’ll get a fascinating glimpse into the weird and wonderful plants of the rainforest and the outback at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. In the southwesterly Weston Creek district, the National Zoo and Aquarium is well worth a visit. Plus, the zoo’s right by the tranquil National Arboretum, which is the perfect place to take the sun or tuck into a picnic.