Spring escapes from Country Life International

Cherry blossom

Spring is the best time to head to the hills in South Korea, when the peninsula is awash with swathes of cherry blossom. Ace Cultural Tours (01223 835055; www. acestudytours.co.uk) is running a trip from March 18 to April 1 that takes in a handful of national parks filled with camellias, forsythias and azaleas, as well as maritime Hallyeo, a panoramic seascape strewn with hundreds of islands and rocky islets. The visit starts and ends in Seoul and includes several UNESCO world heritage sites.

Art fair

The great and the good of the world’s art and antiques dealers descend on Maastricht for its annual European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), which takes place from March 18 to 27. There are nine specialist sections, with more than 30,000 works of art, old and new, on display. Tickets are €55 per adult. For further details, visit www.tefaf.com

Cooking class

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Leiths School of Food and Wine in west London is organising a one-day class with a former student in the art of Mexican cuisine on March 24. Angeles Alaya will explain the components of Mexican cuisine and demonstrate some of the dishes, including scallops and mango tostadas, halibut fillet with cascabel chilli sauce and corn cakes. Tickets are £125 (www.leiths.com).

Performing Arts

Barbados’s annual Holders Season, one of the largest performing arts festivals in the West Indies, starts on March 19 this year. The action takes place at the 17th-century plantation estate, Holders House, and features a variety of music and theatre, from West End and Broadway shows to more locally inspired rhythms. The final night is on April 2, and tickets start from BDS $50 (www.holders.net).


Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel located within Brazil’s Iguassu Falls national park, from which the spectacular falls are just a twominute walk. The resident biologist Wilson Fernandes takes guests on a 90-minute walking tour along a private forest trail before the park opens to the public (www.hoteldascataratas.com).


If the snow looks to last late into the season this year, Chalet Grande Roche is one of the most comfortable in Courchevel 1850. Set in the centre of the village, it sleeps 12 adults and two children, and boasts a chef, a chauffeur and Clarins products in the bathrooms. There’s also a large swimming pool (above). Prices start at €57,000 a week through Knight Frank (020-7629 8171).

Art tour

Book now: Cox & Kings, in association with the RA, is organising a Treasures of Rajasthan tour, led by Hilary Smith, from October 12 to 23 this year. The tour takes in the imperial capital of Delhi, plus Agra and highlights of Rajasthan, such as Jodhpur and the lakeside palaces of Udaipur. Guests also stay in the 17th-century palace at Deogarh. The 10-day tour costs £2,695 (www.coxandkings.co.uk).