When to go

What's on when, around the world

Got your eye on a special event across the world? Check the best time to go with our handy guide.


Japan, for cherry blossom season

Every year, Japan turns pastel pink as its delicate cherry flowers (sakura) open across the country, filling the parks and public spaces with blossom. Locals from all walks of life gather for Hanami (sakura viewing) picnics under the trees.

To join them, time your trip from around late March to the end of April - but be prepared for nature's timing to be a little fickle.

Our springtime tours to Japan get booked up very quickly, so if you've missed it this year, consider travelling in autumn for the stunning red maple leaf turn.

See the cherry trees blossom in Japan

Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan


Ireland, for St Patrick's Day

Legend has it that Saint Patrick, the founder of Christianity in Ireland in the 5th century, walked up a mountain carefoot, turned his walking stick into a living tree and drove all the snakes out of Ireland (not necessarily in that order).

The first bishop of Armagh and the Primate of Ireland, his death is honoured each year in the form of daytime church services and a huge national party in pubs throughout the country in the evenings. Guinness fans will love it.

Celebrate next St Patrick's Day in Ireland


Spain, for Seville Spring Fair

After the sombre religious processions of Semanta Santa (Easter Holy Week), Seville's Spring Fair is the much-anticipated antidote that takes place a fortnight later. With the air thick with orange blossoms and jasmine, you can expect colourful flamenco dresses, processions of horse-drawn carriages and a great deal of eating, drinking and joviality.


Lake Garda, Italy, at springtime

Italy's largest lake boasts roughly 90 miles of romantic shoreline with the Alps as a backdrop and a mild Mediterranean climate. Lined with lemon and olive groves, it's no wonder Lake Garda has served as inspiration for poets and painters since Roman times. Visit in spring to experience Garda's lemon trees in full bloom.


St Petersburg, Russia, for the White Nights Festival

Night doesn't really fall in St Petersburg between June and July, because the sun never dips below the horizon. No better excuse for a two-month-long music festival, then, featuring a diverse bill of rock, opera, ballet and dance performances. But the highlight is the Scarlet Sails event, where the end of the school year is marked by a pirate ship with red sails sailing along the English and Albert embankments with a backdrop of spectacular fireworks.


Banff National Park, Canada, as Moraine Lake opens

The road to Moraine Lake opens in late June, when the last of the glacial ice melts away, leaving behind the chalky rock flour that gives the water its incredible turquoise shimmer. Thousands of hikers choose to visit at this time, as the wildlife is abundant and the views are most spectacular. Along the 350m Rockpile Trail, visitors can spot pikes, marmots, squirrels, chipmonks, birds - and even the odd grizzly bear.

Masai Mara, Kenya, for the great wildebeest migration

One of the most spectacular displays of wildlife behaviour in the world, the annual journey of 1.5m East African wildebeest, plus thousands of zebras, gazelles and elands across the Serengeti takes place from late July to August. Hold your breath as they cross the Mara river, taking their chances among the crocodiles and other starved, dangerous predators.


Memphis USA, for Elvis Week

Actually a ten-day event, this celebration of all things Presley takes place every August around the date of the King's death. Past events have included auctions of Elvis-owned/gifted/related items, audiences with musicians who played with him, a memorial service and a canbdlelit vigil outside Graceland itself.


New England USA, for blazing autumn glory

If you love autumn in Europe, New England in 'the fall' should be up there with your travel ambitions. Its glorious showcase of scarlet, gold, bronze, purple and orange leaves put the UK's trusty yellows, browns and coppers in the shade. It's the kind of idealised autumn you see in children's books, and it take takes place every year between September and October.