wild summer flowers in a field


May is a special time of year. The first day of the month is known as May Day and marks when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom, although spring now arrives a whole 3 weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago.

Traditionally a time of love and romance when people celebrate the coming of summer, there are many folk customs expressing joy and hope after winter. In Roman times the festival Floralia celebrated Flora, goddess of flowering plants. The British May festivities continue the tradition in primary schools and village fairs, one of the highlights being the crowning of the May Queen who watches her "subjects" maypole dancing, wearing her flower crown. 

Whilst you might not want to take up morris dancing, there are many ways to celebrate spring, enjoy better weather and benefit from being outdoors. Children will love discovering where you went for days out as a child, so why not revisit your own childhood through their eyes. Many local villages still hold an annual May Gala and welcome visitors to watch the procession of the May Queen and her attendants, play traditional games like the coconut shy and sample homemade cakes. 

If you're looking for peace and quiet, here in the UK we've got access to many beautiful wild places, some surprisingly accessible from towns and cities. Close to London the Perivale Bluebell Woods and Petts Wood and Hawkwood offer the chance to discover plants, animals, insects and birds in a tranquil haven, easily accessible on public transport. For full on nostalgia, a visit to The Beamish Museum in County Durham will take you back in time to 1940's and 50's working farms, cottage gardens, trams and stables.

So step back, relax and enjoy the change of pace and celebrate the glorious month of May making new memories with your little ones.