I love April. The weather is getting warmer, the trees are full of blossom and chocolate abounds. There are also 2 weeks of school holidays to fill so if you’re looking for places to visit with kids over Easter read on.
1. National Trust Easter Egg hunts, nationwide
The National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland have once again joined with Cadbury to offer Easter Egg trails at 300 of its properties. They have a dedicated site where you can pop in your location to find a trail close to you and further information about opening times. The trails cost around £2 in addition to any NT entrance fees. Children are given a journal with clues to complete the trail, at the end they receive a Cadbury Egghead chocolate treat. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for their free entry weekend. In 2013 it was held over 21-22 April but as these dates coincide with Easter this year I think it’s highly unlikely to be the same weekend. Keep a watch out for further announcements.
2. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Remember the 2012 Olympics? The park was the scene of many amazing victories and it’s now open for the public to enjoy. You can swim in the Aquatics Centre, play in the Tumbling Bay playground or visit the Orbit (the controversial sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor). When you’ve finished take a stroll through the landscaped parklands. Entrance to the park is free although there are charges for activities and the Orbit. Full details here.
3. Vaisakhi celebrations, Birmingham
This Sikh festival is being celebrated on Sunday 27 April with two colourful street processions through Birmingham and a gathering at Handsworth Park. Everyone is invited to share a traditional free vegetarian meal, browse the bazaar stalls and listen to Punjabi music. This is one of the world’s largest Vaisakhi celebrations and it’s worth knowing that in 2013 visitor numbers topped 100,000! Full details are available here.
4. Easter adventure quest at English Heritage properties, nationwide
This is held over the Easter weekend at properties ranging from Whitby Abbey, N Yorks to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. Young adventurers are required to solve clues in return for a chocolate treat. Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, another English Heritage property, hasn’t gone down the chocolate egg route. Instead they’re holding a Soldiers and Spies Academy from 14-18 April. Standard entrance prices apply plus a £1 charge for taking part in the activity. A full list of Easter events at English Heritage sites is available here.
5. Duck race, Isle of Wight
This takes place on Saturday 19 April. Over 1000 yellow plastic ducks will race down the River Yar, with cash prizes for those holding ticket numbers that match the winning ducks. After my recent success at the World Pooh Sticks Championships I might give it a go! Tickets cost £1 each and are available in advance and on the day. More info here.
6. St George’s day
St George’s Day is on 23 April, but there are several events taking place either side of this date. In London there’s a feast of traditional English food and free activities in Trafalgar Square on Monday 21 April. Alternatively a St George’s Festival is being held at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire over the weekend of 26-27 April. It advertises itself as the biggest St George’s celebration in the country. The day includes jousting, falconry and a recreation of St George’s battle with the dragon. Admission charges apply, these are much reduced for English Heritage members.
7. Egg rolling, Butser Hill, Hampshire
If you’re looking for something different why not visit the Great Butser Egg Roll at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire from 10am on Easter Monday. Eggs cost £1.50 each from the Visitor Centre, which you then roll down Butser Hill. Various other activities such as an Easter trail, face painting and a puppet theatre will also be on offer. I wrote my first blog post a year ago about our visit and although we didn’t do the egg rolling we took part in their Easter trail, had fun orienteering and walked around the park; read about it here.
8. Cardiff children’s literature festival
If you’re looking for a weather proof event why not consider the Cardiff children’s literature festival. This takes place between 9-13 April, with a variety of 1 hour events every day. Tickets are generally £3 each per session and there are options for all age ranges. The programme showcases authors in English and Welsh and is headlined by Michael Morpurgo. There are a number of connected events taking place in the city. On Saturday 12 April budding comic writers can join a free workshop, whilst eagle eyed children can take part in a Where’s Wally hunt around Cardiff.
9.Trevithick Day, Camborne, Cornwall
This is a 1 day festival held on Saturday 26 April to celebrate the industrial heritage of the area. It’s named after the inventor and mining engineer Richard Trevithick who helped develop the world’s first high pressure steam engine. The afternoon includes a steam engine parade, traditional dancing from local children, displays of veteran vehicles and engines and plenty of street stalls. Further details can be found here.
10. Edinburgh International Science Festival
This takes place at several venues across Edinburgh from 5-20 April. The programme includes plenty of family friendly events with activities suitable from age 3+. Sessions include robot racing, chocolate alchemy, a soldering workshop and being a farm detective. The festival has some amazing lectures for the 14+ age range too and I was glad to see they’ve got a hands-on adults workshop titled ‘Mammoth poo detectives’. After all, we’re all kids at heart! You can download the 60 page programme here (be aware, it’s a big file). Some events are free, others require tickets which start from £3. I hope you’ve found something in the list above to inspire you. If you have any other suggestions feel free to leave a comment to let other readers know about them too.