51 cracking Easter holiday ideas
Stuck for fun? We've got you. Here's a few of best things to do, see, make and play with kids and teens around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this Easter.
EASTER EGG TRAILS
Hop to it! There are so many places to go chocolate crazy this Easter around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, so we’ve narrowed it down to a few headliners.
Fancy a bit of Downton Abbey grandeur? We can’t promise you a nanny to mind your little darlings, but head to Highclere Castle’s annual Easter Egg Trail (Sat 16 April) and your search will take you around the gorgeous Capability Brown gardens and woodland, all in aid of The Murray Parish Trust. And for young ladies (and gentlemen) who like to step out stylishly, there’s a fun Easter Bonnet parade too.
Basing House in Old Basing reopens for the season and has a history themed-trail featuring fun Tudor facts (try not to lose your head over it). And Wellington Country Park’s Mega Egg Hunt (Fri 15 – Mon 18 April) in Riseley on the Berks border brings another great excuse to enjoy the glorious grounds here solving clues and searching for giant eggs, with a reward from the Easter bunny (above) if you crack it.
The National Trust have brilliant, outdoorsy, nature and Spring-themed trails at five of their great places around Hampshire. Running from Sat 9 – Sun 24 April, head to The Vyne near Basingstoke, Hinton Ampner near Alresford, Mottisfont near Romsey (booking essential Fri 15 – Mon 18) and Uppark, near Petersfield. The Winchester City Mill trail features their signature yellow ducks on the Mill Race and encourages littlies to practice their waddle (aww).
If you’re around the city this Easter, Winchester BID also has a free downloadable Easter-themed Bunny Hop Trail (Sat 9 – Sun 24 April), with a treat at the end and the chance to enter a raffle to win a hamper of goodies.
Over on the Isle of Wight, there’s more nature-inspired National Trust Easter Egg activity trails at adventure at Mottistone Gardens and Bembridge Windmill.
Carisbrooke Castle has an Easter Adventure Quest (Sat 2 – Sun 24 April) involving traditional Easter games like egg rolling and an egg and spoon race. Once all the Easter eggs are collected, adventurers can lay claim to a chocolate treat and an adventurer’s certificate. And over in East Cowes, there’s more Easter Quest fun at Osbourne House (Sat 2 – Sun 24 April).
Over at the The Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet, the Easter chicks have escaped and The Great Railway Easter Hunt is on (Fri 15 – Mon 16 April). Chocolate chicks all round if you can help track them down… While you’re here, look out for Easter bonnet making sessions, falconry displays and of course, you can choo-choo-choose to take a relaxing ride on the nostalgic railway.
Follow a different (but no less fun) trail through the Forest. Hip, hip, hooray – Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s brilliant Superworm is now at Alice Holt Forest in East Hants, near Bordon.
Kids can meet the rangers and quiz them about the beautiful deer at the Sky Park Farm near Petersfield (Sat 9 – Sun 24 April, above), where there’s also a brilliant outdoor play park and a wooden egg hunt around the farm (no fear – the prize is chocolate!).
No cute deer or bunnies but there are plenty of gorgeous animals to gawp at if you head to Marwell Zoo near Winchester this Easter. And continuing its tradition of larger-than-life creatures made from colourful bricks, the hotly anticipated new outdoor Legoland-style dino pop-up, Brickosaurs Evolution (above), has just launched. 50 amazing Brickosaurs feature, made from a whopping two million-plus bricks.
Indoors not out, but speaking of animals – and colourful bricks – Lego super fans will love the Animal Paradise Easter Trail at Festival Place in Basingstoke. Seek out the 15 brick models, including an orangutan, macaw and dolphin, located around the mega shopping and entertainment centre from Fri 8 – Tues 19 April.
Plenty of free family fun marina-side at Port Solent, in Portsmouth. On Tues 12 April kids can pet some adorable animals with the Mill Cottage Farm experience. On Thurs 14 April there’s shows from actor and Britain’s Got Talent performer Allin Kempthorne as the Mad Hatter. Bunny boogies galore on Tues 19 April at the Easter Disco. And on Thurs 21, Silly Scott has his magic shows and there’s crafty fun from the Creation Station.
Over on the Island, Tapnell Farm Park (above) near Yarmouth is having an all-out celebration of Easter cuteness (Sat 9 – Fri 22 April), with a chance to meet adorable new calves, kids, lambs, chicks, harvest mice and an adorable new little Joey! Look out too for some crafty Easter fun in the cabin on select dates.
CRAFT & WORKSHOPS
Join in craft activities at Beaulieu over the Easter Weekend (Fri 15 – Mon 18 April). While you’re there, look out for a larger-than-life Easter bunny hopping through the grounds and gardens, handing out wildflower seeds to grow back at home. For an extra fee, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans can also take a ride in the magnificent motor – caps, hats and goggles supplied! Staying south of the county, hop on the ferry at Keyhaven and find crafty fun at Henry VIII’s fortress Hurst Castle.
At The Allen Gallery in Alton, kids will make their own Easter chicken and eggs in a special art workshop (Mon 11 April). But which came first?!
More special arts and crafts at the Family Mosaic Workshop at the Aldershot Military Museum (Sat 9 April). Kids will make sparkling and colourful mosaic leaves that will be hung in the new Resilience Garden here, and a special bird box to take home.
Also at The Aldershot Military Museum, find out about the penguins of the Falkland Islands (above) on a special penguin trail and make a hanging egg or penguin decoration (Wed 13/20 April).
Make an Easter Basket and animal pop up toy at the Andover Museum (Wed 13 April). Or head to The Forest Arts Centre in New Milton for Easter Egg-themed T-shirt printing (5-10 years, Tues 12 April) and shrink plastic jewellery workshops (7-13 years, Thurs 21 April).
Something for everyone at Southampton City Art Gallery’s holiday workshops. Littlies under six will love bunny inspired Peter Rabbit mobile-making activity. For kids aged 5 – 12 years there’s a Boingy Bunny Wire Sculpture activity (Wed 13 and Thurs 14 April) plus a Spring Scenes papercutting workshop (Thurs 21 April, 7+), Tie Dye Fun (Fri 22 April, 5+) and a Play with Clay Easter Hares family session (Thurs 14 April, all ages).
Join in more Easter crafty fun on Good Friday (15 April) at The Petersfield Museum. As well as the craft, there’s also a time travelling Easter egg hunt and the Easter Bunny’s disco. Hopping!
Foodie and pizza-loving kids will love new Kid’s Dough it Yourself woodfired pizza-making sessions at Kimbridge Barn, near Romsey every Friday at 5 – 7pm from 15 April. Also here, tuck in to a tastily surreal spread at The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Friday 22nd April.
Fancy doing something totally different? The Play Artist in Residence at The Spring, Havant has got hold of a time machine! Put on a VR headset and step inside a virtual world (Tues 19 – Fri 22 April) as you watch the 1950s kitchen here transform into a magical space that jumps between past and present in an instant.
Also on at The Spring, Push! is a fun communal improvisation music workshop on Sat 16 April (above). Interact with digital technologies and music making. You can even record and use your own voice as a musical instrument. Very Kraftwerk.
THEATRE, MUSEUMS & CULTURE
Follow the Yellow Brick Road down to Portsmouth on Thurs 14 April where you’ll find The Wizard of Oz at the New Theatre Royal. And for older, outdoorsy, Scout-types, there’s a special talk from survival expert Ray Mears here on Sat 9 April.
Beasts and breadcrumbs, wolves and witches, frogs and fairies are all bundled up in Little Grimm Tales, a new adaptation of Grimm’s most magical tales at Quay Arts in Newport on the Isle of Wight on Mon 18 April. And (if you can cope with it), there’s a surreal show for littlies (aged 2-5 here) too on Sun 24 April. Be warned: it’s told with a handful of words and lots of SLIME. Yuk.
History buffs will be in their element talking to the people and personalities involved in the Second World War as they Meet the Wartime Characters at The D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth (Fri 15 April, above).
One for all the family, Play Days is a celebration of games through the years, on at Milestones Museum in Basingstoke (from Sat 9 April). Introduce them to the delights of hoopla, hook the duck, arcade games skittles and quoits (prepare to smirk as they’re initially baffled, then irritated as they promptly trounce you…).
110 years since she set sail from Southampton, the stories and lives of those who sailed upon the doomed vessel are remembered at a special Titanic event at The Sea City Museum (Sun 10 April). Take part in a one-off clay workshop and climb Southampton’s clock tower (12 years+). Plus (it’s all about the play bricks this Easter!) all around the museum, there’ll be attractions and activities featuring LEGO®. Look out for ‘speed build’ competitions, a win-a-minifigure tombola and face painting.
And at the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, discover why green is the new black when it comes to fabric dying and delve into the world of alternative fuels with the Planet Protectors. The team of noughties eco-fashion warriors will also explore the carbon cycle of clothes. Bang on trend.