Spring's a brilliant time for weekending in the northern hemisphere: along with the ideal weather for cultural days out, you have blossom in parks and a feeling of joy in the air, after the passing of another tough winter.
"There's a feeling of joy in the air in spring, after the passing of another tough winter."
It’s also, traditionally, a season of new beginnings – including debuting flights, museum openings and thrilling restaurant launches.
Mark the centenary of revolution – even if Russia doesn’t
2017 marks 100 years since the Russian Revolution – hence spring’s main show about revolutionary art at the Royal Academy in London (until 17 April). St Petersburg, where the revolution originally began, is ideal for a spring short break: the weather is warming up and the days are longer. No official events to mark the centenary have been announced in Russia yet, but there’s nothing to stop you making a personal pilgrimage to the summer palaces, whose glorious fountains and gardens come into their own in May.
Major exhibitions and improved Eurostar trains
Few travel experiences top Paris in spring. This year, there’s a centennial Rodin exhibition (22 March to 31 July) at the Grand Palais – the largest in a long while to focus on this pioneering sculptor – while the Louvre has one devoted to Vermeer (22 February to 22 May), he of Girl with a Pearl Earring fame. France’s capital should also return to the top of many Britons’ travel lists following its difficult 2016, helped by Eurostar’s sleek new train fleet and on-board wifi.
Follow art with a custard tart
It’s great year-round, yet Lisbon never looks fairer than when spring sunshine bathes its historic facades and al-fresco bars. The city also has a great cafe scene – ideal for pit-stops – but I suggest earning your pasteis de nata (custard tart) by first exploring Lisbon’s new Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology (below). Eye-catchingly shaped like a huge alabaster wave, MAAT includes a spectacular rooftop terrace above the Tagus riverside.
Few places Trump the American capital for culture
However you might feel about it, there’s no disputing that Donald Trump’s inauguration in January put Washington D.C. firmly in the public eye. Equally indisputable is how rewardingly a few days can be spent exploring ‘DC’s exceptional museums – including the 17-gallery-strong (plus zoo) Smithsonian Institution – and historical monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial or the Capitol building.
"In Hamburg, you can ride the world’s first curved elevator up to a fantastic, panoramic terrace."
Concert-hall kicks in a northern German port
Part of a vast regeneration of the River Elbe’s port area, the much-anticipated Elbphilharmonie concert hall finally opened in January. It cost £392 million, stands 360 feet tall and seats over 2,000 in its mighty, soundproofed great hall. Tickets are elusive (Kirker's Concierge service can help), but you can still ride the world’s first curved elevator up to a fantastic, panoramic terrace. Zaha Hadid’s recently-installed promenade impresses below, while Hamburg’s nearby art galleries are consistently excellent.
Kirker Holidays can arrange trips to all of these cities.