After a long winter, now is the perfect time to get outdoors to spot the signs of spring at National Trust places bursting with life.

Daffodils at Nyman - ©National Trust Images David Levenson

Daffodils at Nyman - ©National Trust Images David Levenson

Listen out for birds chirping and hares 'boxing' in fields and parklands alive with nature. See if you can discover the first appearance of a daffodil or magnolia, spot the blossom on the trees, hear the bees buzzing and watch new born lambs take their first steps.

National Trust nature expert, Matthew Oates says: "Spring is my favourite time of year. It is a living miracle, played out over several heady weeks, and offering new thrills each day. Don't miss out on spring; join in - by looking out for a new sign of spring each day, from the first rookery to the last bluebell."The National Trust is keeping a good look out for all the signs that make spring so special and here are some tips for the top spots:

- Daffodils

The delightful daffodil is Britain's quintessential spring flower, found blooming in our gardens from February through to May. These bright yellow bulbs burst into life, both in gardens and woods, heralding spring as they spread outwards from the South West to the rest of the country.

- Top spot: Cotehele, Cornwall

This year, take delight in the gorgeous daffodils at Cotehele and see the wonderful collection grown on Cotehele Estate on the weekend of 21-22 March.

Enjoy a display of historic and new varieties of daffodil and join a guided tour of the garden to find out more. The delicate flowers of Narcissus 'Elegance' are just one of many old and rare varieties found in the garden in springtime.

- Other top spots for garden daffodils are:Dora's Field, Grasmere (named after Wordsworth's daughter)

  • Kingston Lacy, Dorset
  • The Vyne, Hampshire
  • Nymans, West Sussex
  • Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Walk amongst wild daffodils at:Fishpool Valley, Croft Castle, HerefordshireWatersmeet, North DevonTeign Valley Woods, Devon

- Birdsong

After the long winter, migrating birds return from milder climates to spend the summer in the UK. Spot chiffchaffs from mid-March, with swallows and house martins usually arriving in mid-April and swifts following in late April or early May.

- Top spot: Crom, County Fermanagh

Escape to 2000 acres of one of Ireland's most important nature conservation areas, full of ancient woodlands and picturesque islands. Watch the winter birdlife depart and migrants arrive from the south from the bird hide on the shores of Derrymacrow Lough.

Take a trip to the bird hide and use the binoculars to see fascinating close-up views of the various species on the lough. The hide is also equipped with identification guides and notebooks for visitors to record what they see during their visits.

- Spot spring birdlife at:

  • Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
  • The Lizard, Cornwall
  • Blakeney Point, Norfolk
  • Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
©National Trust Images Ben Selway
©National Trust Images Ben Selway

- Magnolias

These astonishing goblet or star-shaped flowers found on garden trees or shrubs are much admired seasonal icons, and for a good reason. With colours ranging from pure white to deepest purple they fill the chilled spring air with a gorgeous scent.

- Top spot: Nymans, West Sussex

This spectacular garden is famed for its amazing collection of rare and important plants. In spring the stars of the show are magnificent magnolias, under planted with drifts of daffodils and grape hyacinths. The Magnolia 'Anne Rosse', is just one of the 64 varieties of magnolias that you can see at Nymans.

- See magnificent magnolias at:

  • Winkworth Arboretum,Surrey
  • Trelissick, Cornwall
  • Bodnant Garden, Conwy
  • Sheffield Park and Garden, Sussex
  • Rowallane, County Down
©National Trust Images John Miller
©National Trust Images John Miller

- Bees

The varieties of flowers on offer in spring are irresistible for bees as they rely heavily on the flowers' nectar in early spring. If you can spot them buzzing amongst meadows and wildflowers then it's a poignant giveaway that the season has changed. See if you can spot bumble bees, honey bees and wild 'solitary' bees in gardens and the countryside.

- Top spot: Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

There have been honey bee hives at Hinton Ampner for over a hundred years and there was even a dedicated honey room where the combs were spun to remove the precious honey. This tradition still continues to this day, but on a much smaller scale. Not only does Hinton Ampner keep bees for their honey, but more importantly for the biodiversity of the gardens. Bees are exceptional pollinators and with their numbers on the decline it is important that they are encouraged into gardens.

- Hear the bees buzzing at:

  • Rowallane Garden, County Down
  • Peckover House and Garden, Cambridgeshire
  • Gibside, Tyne & Wear
  • Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
©National Trust Images John Millar
©National Trust Images John Millar

- Lambs

New born lambs are a great family favourite, emerging on unsteady legs at farms across the country. Lambs are one of the first and most eagerly awaited signs of spring so set out on a family walk and see how many you can find.

- Top spot: Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

A working estate still guided by the seasons, Wimpole brims with new life in spring as lambing season arrives. With a substantial collection of rare breeds, Home Farm sees the arrival of approximately 300 new born lambs each year. On lambing days; 7 - 26 April, 10.30am - 5pm, it's likely that you'll witness the birth of a lamb, if not, you'll certainly see lambs during their first few hours of life.

- Spot spring newborns at:

  • Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire
  • Scotney Castle, Kent
  • Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion
  • Cherryburn, Northumberland
  • Gibside, Tyne & Wear
©National Trust Images Robert Morris
©National Trust Images Robert Morris

- Bluebells

There is something magical about bluebells. With their sudden, mystical takeover of ancient woodlands the flowers have long been linked to the fairy-world. Over half of the world's population of bluebells can be found in the UK. Delightful carpets of blue cover woodlands when spring is at its zenith between mid-April and mid-May.

- Top spot: Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Visit Blickling in April through to May and discover one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Follow the winding paths through the Great Wood and pass through swathes of the dainty blue flowers. Late April to early May is usually the best time at Blickling to see bluebells as they carpet the woodland floor.

- Other places to see bluebells:

  • Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
  • Lanhydrock, Cornwall
  • The Vyne, Hampshire
  • Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
  • Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
  • Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberl
  • Dunham Massey, Cheshire
©NTPL Andrew Butler
©NTPL Andrew Butler

- Hares

One of the great signs of the arrival of spring is the so-called 'mad March hare' - as these usually shy and reclusive creatures can be spotted 'boxing' in open fields throughout the mating season.

- Top spot: Lyme Park, CheshireThe open spaces within Lyme Park are perfect hare-spotting territory during early spring. You can head up to The Cage, an atmospheric hill-top hunting lodge for great views across the park's vast acres.

- Other spots for hares include:

  • Stourhead, Wiltshire
  • Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
  • Yorkshire Coast

Mountain hares can be spotted at:Marsden Moor, West YorkshireDark Peak Moors, DerbyshireThe Irish hare can be spotted at:Divis and the Black Mountain, County Down

Stourhead Estate - ©National Trust Images Arnhel de Serra
Stourhead Estate - ©National Trust Images Arnhel de Serra

- Blossom

Spring is the perfect time to venture into orchards which offer a haven for true relaxation. Admire the apple trees in bloom and walk beneath the blossom as it falls like snow onto the ground. From spectacular displays of ornamental cherries in full bloom to the beauty of old orchards in flower, don't miss out on one of nature's show stoppers this spring.

- Top spot: Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire

Brockhampton is home to 25 acres of Shropshire Prune damson trees. From mid-April to early May, the orchards surrounding the medieval manor house come into flower and bloom with beautiful white blossom and it is one of the best times of year to visit.

- Also see blossom at:

  • Acorn Bank, Cumbria
  • Cotehele, Cornwall
  • Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion
  • Sizergh, Cumbria
  • Lanhydrock, Cornwall
  • Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
  • Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens,
  • North Yorkshire
©National Trust Images Val Corbett
©National Trust Images Val Corbett

- Rooks

One of the earliest and finest signs of spring is a rook with nest building material held in its beak. You can spot a rookery in the tree tops across Britain, with eggs appearing around early March.- Top spot: Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire

Tattershall's colony of rooks means visitors who make the climb to the top of the castle keep can not only enjoy spectacular local views, but looks down into the nests below too.

- Other places to see a rookery:

  • Tyntesfield, Bristol
  • Attingham Park, Shropshire
  • Crook Peak, Somerset
  • Malham Tarn Estate,
  • North Yorkshire
Rook - Matthew Oates
Rook - Matthew Oates

- Spring Flavours

Expect to enjoy a riot of spring flavours in National Trust cafes and restaurants with colourful mixes of seasonal veg making their way from plot to plate. Enjoy homemade scones, soups and salads from regional produce.

- Top spot: Stables Café, Knightshayes, Devon

Using a range of organic ingredients, freshly picked from the walled kitchen garden and nearby farms, you are always guaranteed the taste of the West Country with every bite at Knightshayes. There's plenty of space to eat inside the renovated stables or out in the beautiful cobbled courtyard. They also cater for pets too! Delicious homemade dog biscuits are available from the restaurant, the perfect way to reward your four legged friend after a walk around the grounds.

- Revive your taste buds at:

  • Flatford, Suffolk
  • Ham House and Garden, London
  • Tyntesfield, Bristol
  • Ickworth, Suffolk
  • Attingham Park, Shropshire
©National Trust Images John Millar
©National Trust Images John Millar