SU CARROLL rounds up the very best activities and things to do in March along the coastline.

1. Saintly celebrations

March 1 is one of the most colourful days of the year in Wales, celebrated with vivid yellow daffodils, green leeks and vibrant traditional dress. St David’s Day is a day of parades, concerts and eisteddfodau – festivals of music, language and culture.

St David is the only native-born patron saint of the countries of Britain and Ireland and was the greatest figure in the 6th century Welsh Age of Saints, founding scores of religious communities. He is remembered on March 1, the day he died in 589 or 601. He was canonised by Pope Callixtus in the 12th century. To wish someone a Happy St David’s Day in Welsh, it’s Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.

Celebrate the occasion at one of the beautiful castles found in Wales at Conwy (pictured). With eight principal towers, it takes pride of place at the heart of the town overlooking the water.


The National Trust’s Bodnant Gardens is 80 acres with woodland, great planting and five National Collections – Magnolia, Embothrium, Eucryphia, Rhododendron forrestii and Bodnant Rhododendron Hybrids. It is home to exotic plants from the Blue Poppy of the Himalayas to the Fire Bush of the Andes and also boasts Wales’s largest collection of UK Champion Trees, which provide a year-round spectacle.

2. Royal anniversary

July 11, 2024, marks 750 years since the birth of Robert the Bruce, one of Scotland’s most famous rulers. Robert I was King of the Scots from 1306 until his death (from unknown causes) in 1329. He fought for Scottish independence in the 14th century and travelled all over the country including the landmark victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, close to Stirling Castle.

Take a trip to the dramatic abbey ruins at Arbroath Abbey (pictured), a Tironesian monastery founded in 1178  by William the Lion, where the famous Declaration of Arbroath was drawn up in 1320. Scottish nobles submitted the declaration to Pope John XXII who, in 1324, accepted Robert I as king of an independent Scotland.


A traditional seaside town, Arbroath has a picturesque harbour which lends its name to the world-famous Arbroath Smokie. Legend has it that this delicacy of haddock smoked over wood fires began when a fire cooked a shed full of haddock being brined. Whatever its origins, it’s delicious. Discover everything you need to know on the Arbroath Smokie Trail.

3. Welcoming walk

The 870-mile long Wales Coast Path opened in 2012 and since then has welcomed thousands of people who have enjoyed the varied walking, scenic views, friendly towns, historic sites and unique wildlife. The Wales Coast Path route travels from Chester, near the border with England, and Chepstow.

Serious walkers travelling 20 miles a day would finish it in six weeks or so. But there lots of places where the path is wide, flat and relatively smooth and accessible for wheelchairs, bikes, trikes and buggies. They cover some glorious bits of the coastline, like the Millennium Coastal Path from Llanelli to Pembrey Forest, the Mawddach Trail between Dolgellau and Barmouth and seafront proms like Rhos on Sea, Llandudno and Llanfairfechan (pictured). Perfect for an Easter stroll.


A little way along the coast from Llanfairfechan is Penrhyn Castle, built in the early 19th century. It has a fascinating history: Richard Pennant, whose family acquired a fortune from slave plantations in Jamaica – became a staunch anti-abolitionist. He funded schools, house, churches, farms and railways in North Wales and established an important quarry and port to export Welsh slate around the world. There is woodland, parkland and a walled garden.

4. Science in Action

Remember going round stately homes and being told ‘don’t touch’? Don’t worry when you visit Techniquest in Cardiff because there are over 100 hands-on exhibits that open up the world of science and technology in a fun and unforgettable way.

From mind-boggling machines, curious contraptions and perplexing puzzles to tests of strength and skill — plus a fabulous silver slide — there’s something for all ages to enjoy. You can feel the force of a hurricane and the tremor of an earthquake, create digital fireworks and perform a virtual operation, try to steer an underwater rover or dock a spacecraft, be mesmerised by the ant colony in the low light zone or step outside to the sensory garden for a view out across the bay.

With different zones that cover space, the environment, chemistry, biomedical and world issues, plus a Retro Area that’s always a big hit with younger family members, you can take your pick of which sections you want to spend most time in.

Techniquest was founded in 1986 and became the first purpose-built Welsh science centre in 1995 when it opened on its current site on Cardiff Bay waterfront.


From something modern to something old – visit Cardiff’s beautifully preserved Victorian arcades. There are lots of lovely shopping experiences to be had in the Castle Quarter, or seek out clothes and jewellery boutiques and indie eating places in the Royal, Wyndham and Morgan Arcades. Cardiff Market – which has been trading since the 1700s – features a much-loved array of butchers and fishmongers, traditional sweet shops and bakers.

5. Island life

An exhibition of new work by acclaimed artist Gayle Chong Kwan – A Pocket Full of Sand – unearths both historic and contemporary connections between Mauritius and the Isle of Wight. The artist connects her research of the islands with political and physical structures of power, labour, leisure, childhood and play.

The exhibition at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery brings together moving image, photography and sculpture. Moving images depicting sand sculptures emulating colonial architecture in Mauritius. A large-scale composite panorama gives perspectives on deep time, colonial history, and contemporary treatment of immigrants, whilst new sculptural objects made from bagasse (a by-product of sugar production), further evoke colonial power and its symbols. There are artistic references to the coloured earth and sand in Mauritius and Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight. Until May 11.


The SeaCity Museum contains exhibits on the history of Southampton as a hub for migration including the RMS Titanic which departed from Southampton, home city for 724 of the 908 crew members on board. There’s an interactive model of the Titanic, recorded stories from its passengers of the fateful night, original objects from on board the ship and more.

The museum also reveals 200,000 years of Southampton’s history, from Roman traders to Saxon settlers, to World War Two and the introduction of the docks in the Gateway to the World and Southampton Stories exhibitions, bursting with models, costumes, artworks, photographs, incredible stories and much more.

6. Royal retreat

Enjoy an intimate perspective on the history of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and discover why Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were so happy here with its mixture of grandeur and the chance of a private family life.

Your guides will be wearing what Thomas Newell, a former footman, and former housekeeper Mrs Smith would have worn whilst they were servants at Osborne. They will tell stories and share the secrets of Osborne’s royal household and its magnificent estate.

Two of the tours have been adapted – the 10am slot is an adapted quiet tour, taking place when the site is at its quietest, for those who may find larger groups overwhelming. The 3pm tour is designed for families. Winter tours end on March 17.


Garlic! The Garlic Farm near Sandown is a mecca for foodies who love garlic – here they grow it, cook with it, make all manner of pickles and chutneys and even a garlic ice cream. The Boswell family have been here for over 60 years after Granny Norah planted a few cloves in her garden. The business has grown and grown and now the third generation of Boswells are involved.

7. Sky line

The best view of Edinburgh is from Arthur’s Seat, high above the city. Discover more about this fascinating location in Arthur’s Secrets – a free guided walk to learn more about the landmark’s  turbulent past, created by fire and ice.

Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7,000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special.

It’s a steep walk and the route includes rough tracks, uneven and boggy terrain, steep inclines and declines. Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. Free but you need to book in advance. Departure point is Holyrood Park. Walks end on March 26.


It’s only fair that, after all that effort, you reward yourself with a trip to a shiny new distillery. Whisky may have a long and prestigious history but you will find the next generation of makers in Holyrood Distillery which only opened in 2019 in the old Innocent Railway Terminal. The young team here are driven by curiosity and the desire to learn. With no tradition or history that dictates how they have to behave when making whisky, they approach the task in hand in a new way, and what they make changes all the time. It’s not just whisky – Elizabeth Rum and Height of Arrows Gin are made here.

 8. Perfect Setting

British tenor Russell Watson has extended his Magnificent Buildings Concert Series to include two dates in coastal cathedrals. Russell starts his tour in Liverpool Cathedral where the acoustics lend themselves beautifully to his unique voice. This special show has classic songs old and new, together with a selection of his most loved hits from his illustrious career. He will be accompanied by his arranger and pianist Mike Moran.

“It has been an honour to perform in some of the UK’s most beautiful cathedrals,” says Russell. “These venues have a special place in the hearts of so many people, and I am honoured to be able to perform in them. I can’t wait to carry on sharing my music with fans old and new in these incredible locations.”

Russell has sold more than seven million albums and was described by the New York Times as a performer ‘who sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra’.

Russell is at Liverpool Cathedral on March 1 and Edinburgh St Mary’s Cathedral on March 13. Tickets available at


In Liverpool, they love a bit of theatre and there’s plenty to choose from. There’s the traditional theatre in the form of the Liverpool Empire which opened in 1925 on the site of an older theatre which dated back to 1866 and was demolished. The Art Deco Royal Court opened in 1938 and both Richard Burton and Judi Dench made their professional debuts there. In the ’80s it became a popular music venue. The Everyman, opened in 1964, has a reputation for contemporary theatre and launched the careers of artists such as writers Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell and actors Julie Walters, Bill Nighy and Stephen Graham.

9. Blooming lovely

Much-loved actress Caroline Quentin is on tour with a show devoted to horticultural hilarity, love, and the therapeutic power of tending the soil beneath our feet. The Plot So Far is inspired by her delightful new book Drawn To The Garden – a heartwarming and humorous exploration of the joys of gardening, which brings to life Caroline’s passion for plants, vegetables and the simple pleasures of cultivating the earth.

Over the years, she has come to realise that gardening, just like life, is a series of baffling failures, but also unplanned successes and happy accidents.

Caroline is known for her lead roles in the award-winning British sitcom Men Behaving Badly and crime drama Jonathan Creek. Expect singing, dancing, and showing off as Caroline shares stories with her friend, presenter Maria McErlane.

Caroline’s tour includes coastal dates in Edinburgh and Chatham and ends in Liverpool on March 10.


On a visit to Chatham, Caroline could indulge her love of all things horticultural with a trip to Riverside Gardens, on former military land on the banks of the River Medway. They offer views of historic landmarks such as Rochester Cathedral and Castle to the west. There are lots of mature trees to admire including horse chestnut, beeches, yew, oak, lime and planes.

10. Catch of the Day

Rick Stein is a man who knows a thing or two about our coasts. From opening his Seafood Restaurant in the 1970s to becoming a bestselling author and broadcaster, Rick is a passionate advocate for fishing, fishermen, sustainability and delicious food.

In An Evening with Rick Stein the culinary legend will dish up his favourite memories from nearly 50 years of gastronomic experience. Delving deep into his lifelong love affair with cooking, this new live stage show will explore his unwavering devotion to the brilliance of great British produce. Revelations from the kitchen, musical delights, poetic interludes and stories of global adventures are all on the menu.

“Touring the country with a show sounds really grown up, like being in a band on tour – ‘Oh it’s Liverpool, it must be Saturday’ sort of thing,” he says. “I’ve discovered of late that I love talking about my life to a live audience. I’ve got lots of stories which people seem to really enjoy: like why my nightclub got closed down in the ’70s, what was Keith Floyd really like, what the Dalai Lama knew about cooking and why a pint at 5.29pm is so important.”

Rick has several coastal dates on his tour: The Auditorium, Liverpool (March 16), The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (March 17) Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone (March 20), 02 Guildhall, Southampton (March 28), Weymouth Pavilion (March 29), Princess Theatre, Torquay (March 30).


As Rick ends his tour in Torquay, he can stop and admire the coastline, part of the beautiful English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. The designation means it is a landscapes of international geological significance managed sustainably to protect the area with its spectacular coastline and outstanding natural beauty. Rick enjoys a dip and Anstey’s Cove Beach is perfect. A small shingle beach backed by woodland and all part of the South West Coast Path.

11. Tea, Coffee and Tequila

After the standout success of their initial show in December, artists Louise Duggan and Bobby Dazzler bring you their new event – Unapologetic – An all-female group show displaying some of the most exciting and successful artists from the UK .

Each respected artist has been hand-picked for inclusion not only for their artistic prowess, but also because of their success in addition to their practice. They are business leaders, gallery owners, working mothers, highly educated, motivated, successful role models who have not allowed adversity to stand in their way.

Artists include Ruth Mulvie, Hannah Shillito, Sarah Arnett, Pam Glew, Haus of Lucy, Alice Hesketh, Georgie Wheeler, Alexandra Barto, Ellie Pompili, Jane Wilson, Andi Hazelden, Bob & Eve, Meghan Durham, Jessie Woodward & Louise Duggan. 6th – 18th February 2024 at Oxmarket Contemporary, St. Andrew’s Court, Chichester,


Hoe Down

Plymouth’s Hoe will be the arena for high class musical entertainment in a four-day al fresco festival. The inaugural Plymouth Summer Sessions are: On Thursday Tom Jones, with special guest Gabrielle, Friday’s headliner is Bryan Adams, with support from Cassyette, on Saturday it’s Madness, with special guest The Lightning Seeds and Sting brings the event to a close on Sunday with special guest Blondie.

Founded back in 2013 by DF Concerts, Summer Sessions has become a much-loved and highly anticipated live music series in Scotland with events taking place in cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Sessions are on Plymouth Hoe for the first time. Tom Jones (pictured) will demonstrate why he’s still a hitmaker after six decades with hits such as It’s Not Unusual, She’s A Lady and Sexbomb. June 13-16.