As millions of Britons will be taking UK breaks over Easter, holiday-makers will be preparing to avoid potential rail and road disruptions that could see them miss all-important family Easter-egg hunts and roast dinners.
Over three million people will take an Easter break in the UK, according to a survey by VisitEngland, and will have to plan journeys around engineering work on the railways that will affect services to and from a number of major termini, including London's Charing Cross, London Bridge, Paddington and King's Cross stations.
London Underground travellers will also face some disruption this Easter. Sections of the Bakerloo, District, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines as well as part of the London Overground will be shut at some times over the holidays while improvement work is carried out.
Southampton Central and Sheffield are among other major stations where services will be affected over the weekend.
Traffic information company Trafficmaster and the AA have forecast as many as 16 million cars will be on the move over the holiday, with drivers from Northern Ireland the most likely to get behind the wheel and Scots the least likely to do so.
The worst-affected congestion hot-spots in south east and south west England will be twice as busy over Easter as during non-holiday periods, according to information company Inrix.
The best Easter 2014 days out
The best Easter 2014 days out
1/22 Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trail, countrywide
The National Trust has teamed up with the purveyors of purple-wrapped loveliness to create 300-plus trails across the country. Eggsplorers are encouraged to navigate NT lands – from coastlines to historic houses – and are rewarded with chocolatey treats.
When: 18-21 April.
2/22 Medieval Archery, Corfe Castle, Dorset
Pick up some shooting tips from the Wolfshead Bowmen and the Companie of the Silver Arrow, who host have-a-go bow sessions amid the ruins of the Dorset keep.
When: 5-21 & 26-27 April, 10am-5pm.
Cost: Entry to the castle: Adult £8, child £4, family from £12. Archery is an additional £2 per person.
3/22 Pesky Bunnies of Bewilderwood, Hoveton, Norfolk
There's a new story being read at the Curious Treehouse Adventure: kids will hear the Pesky Bunnies tale, then make rabbit costumes, hit the egg trail and meet Cedric the Easter Bunny himself.
When: 7-22 April, 10am-5.30pm.
Cost: adult £14.50, child £12.50, under 92cm free.
4/22 Charlie's Chocolate Adventure, Kew Gardens, London
In celebration of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's 50th anniversary year, Kew is going choc-crazy: kids can concoct Wonka-inspired bars and everlasting gobstoppers, or join the head Oompa-Loompa for songs and stories.
When: 5-21 April, Chocolate Room: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.
Cost: adults £12.50, under-16s free.
5/22 Royal Children's Easter, Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Put blue blood into your brood: the newly opened Swiss Cottage – built by Prince Albert for his children – is the centrepiece of Osborne's regal Easter. Kids can follow trails to find chocolate prizes and try Victorian games.
When: 7-21 April, 10am-6pm.
Cost: adult £13.90, child £8.30, family £36.10.
6/22 Peter Rabbit Egg Hunt, Lake District
Potter around the Lakes, looking for eggs – and raising money for WaterAid. Pay a donation to access online clues and try to be the first to track down the 50 hand-crafted ceramic eggs.
When: 16 April, from 10am.
Cost: Minimum donation £2.
7/22 Easter Holiday Fun, National Wetlands Centre, Llanelli
Dip a net into the ponds, build a willow den, dabble in some duckling-themed crafts and watch flamingos perform their courtship displays. Wild fun.
When: 12-27 April, 11am- 5pm.
Cost: adult £8.95, child £4.95, under-4s free, family £25.
8/22 Siege!, Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
Feel part of the battle, as this 12th-century stronghold hosts a replica siege: watch the enemy prepare, listen to the surgeon's gruesome tales, hear the generals' rallying cries and see the catapults fire.
When: 20-21 April, 10am-5pm.
Cost: Adult £7.70, child £4.60, family £20.
9/22 Chester Food Festival
This fine foodie fest's free Kids Cooking Workshops, run by the Academy of Culinary Arts, aim to get young chefs excited about food; classes range from how to cook a biriyani to making pizza from scratch.
When: 19-21 April, 10am-5pm.
Cost: adult £6, under-12s free.
10/22 Chocolate Unwrapped, Eden Project, St Austell
Explore beyond the Easter egg amid the rainforest biome. Learn the history of chocolate, see the cacao it comes from, learn how it's made – then, naturally, have a taste.
When: 5-21 April, 9.30am-6pm.
Cost: adult £23.50, child £13.50, under-5s free, family £68.
11/22 Mountain Bike Rides, Brechfa Forest
One for thrill-seeking teens: MudTrek Mountain Bikes is offering 20 per cent off full-suspension bike hire and guided mountain bike rides through the trail-scored Carmarthenshire countryside.
When: 12-27 April.
Cost: from £60 for half a day (over-14s only).
12/22 Penguin Trail, The Deep, Hull
Forget chicks, this Easter is all about penguins. The gentoos have just arrived, and kids can follow the aquarium's new Penguin Trail and get their faces painted in the Explorers Den.
When: 5-27 April, 10am-6pm.
Cost: adult from £10.35, child from £8.55, under-3s free, family from £33.84.
13/22 Spring into Easter, Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
Meet the newborns at Georgian Park Farm – coo at bunnies, bottle-feed lambs and watch goats being milked. Also, find giant eggs in the formal gardens and daffodils along the river.
When: to 27 April, 11am-5pm.
Cost: adult £12.50, child £7.50, under-5s free, family from £15.50.
14/22 The Science of D-Day, IWM Duxford
Easter is dedicated to D-Day at the Imperial War Museum's Cambridgeshire outpost. Kids can don uniforms, fire a petard, build a Bailey bridge and drive a tank, on a quest to understand the famous invasion.
When: 5-21 April, 10.30am-2.30pm.
Cost: adult, £17.50, under-15s free.
15/22 Sausages & Surveys, Lound Lakes Reserve, Great Yarmouth
Young Wardens (10- to 15-year-olds) will cook their own breakfast before setting off to survey the birds at this important Suffolk patchwork of fen meadow, woods and waterways – home to 140 species.
When: 11 April, 8.30am-noon.
Cost: £6 (includes breakfast).
16/22 National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire
It's all going on at the gardens: watch magicians and musicians, take a spring-lamb tractor safari, try willow-weaving and enjoy the Easter Bonnet Parade. The meerkats come out to play from 13 to 14 April.
When: 12-27 April, 10am-6pm.
Cost: adult £8.50, child £7, under-5s free, family £21.
17/22 Easter Baking, Seafood School, Padstow
Bond over baking on Rick Stein's new Parent & Child Easter-themed course in Cornwall. You'll learn how to make raspberry truffles, pipe and roll chocolate, and decorate your own Easter eggs. Sticky fingers guaranteed.
When: 9 April, noon-3pm.
Cost: £148 for parent and child (eight to 16).
18/22 Easter Art Camp, Holburne Museum
Let your kids be inspired by the paintings, porcelain and paraphernalia at this grand Bath museum. The Holburne's experienced artists will lead a range of activities aimed at masters-in-the-making.
When: 7-10 & 14-17 April, 9am-4pm.
Cost: £35 a day, £120 for four days.
19/22 Young Cooks Bodnant Academy: Easter Chocolate, Conwy
Don't let the kids just scoff eggs this Easter – see them create their own. Award-winning chef Stephen Hewitt teaches mini-masterchefs (aged 10+) how to make their own eggs and fill them with hand-made chocolates.
When: 15 April, 10am-1pm.
20/22 Rubbish, Southbank Centre, London
Stage magic, with a message – Rubbish is a wildly original puppet show that teaches kids about the potential of recycling.
When: 11-21 April, noon & 3pm.
Cost: adult £12, child £6 (suitable for kids 5+).
21/22 Easter Ski Camp, Chiswick, Basingstoke & Reading
Spring's here but kids can cling to winter at Skiplex's three indoor ski slopes. Camps include race training, synchronised skiing, video analysis and junior après ski: ping pong, golf and games.
When: 14-18 April, 9am-12.30pm/ 3pm/5pm.
Cost: £25 half-day, £50 full day.
22/22 The Big Tree Climbing Weekend, Claremont Landscape Garden, Esher
Let your little monkeys swing about the Surrey tree tops (under expert supervision) on a series of zip wires and rope swings.
When: 26-27 April, 10am-4.30pm
Cost: Entry to Claremont: Adult £7, child £3.50, family £17.50. Tree climbing activity is an additional £15 per person.
Meanwhile, those attempting to dodge congestion in the UK will be jetting off abroad. 370,000 passengers will leave from Heathrow airport, 200,000 from Gatwick, 120,000 from Stansted, 60,000 from Luton and 4,500 from Bournemouth.
Popular foreign destinations include: Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, according to UK travel organisation Abta.
Thousands will also take ferry services to the continent, while Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar is expecting to carry more than 130,000 passengers over the holiday weekend - a 15% increase on numbers at Easter 2013.
Commenting on the main line disruption, rail industry body the Railway Delivery Group said work was planned carefully to ensure the vast majority of passengers were not disrupted.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content