Katy Holland: Woodland to Wonderland: Easter escapes that won't break the bank
Are We There Yet? Spring is in the air and plenty of new family-friendly attractions are opening up
Sunday 14 March 2010
On my to-do list this weekend: make a plan for the Easter holidays that: a) doesn't require a second mortgage to pay for it; and b) will distract the kids from their usual pastime of throttling each other.
A pressing task, and one that is on the minds of parents up and down the country, judging by your emails to me. But don't despair just yet. Spring is in the air and, like the buds on the trees, plenty of new family-friendly attractions are opening up.
For a proper adventure, there are the new space-age tents that have appeared in the Forest of Dean. The Dome Garden (01730 261458; domegarden.co.uk) is a secret hideaway that is perfect for families with an urge to run wild in the woods. Ten geodesic eco-domes sleep up to six each, and come with big beds, beanbags, and ensuite showers. There's plenty to exhaust the kids, from white water rafting to biking and canoeing.
If you're stuck for ideas for day trips, you can always rely on English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk), which lays on lots of family events – many of them free – around the country during school holidays. For the Easter weekend, there are egg hunts and treasure trails, as well as various local historical events. Check out the Time Travellers Go ... Through the Ages adventure at Dover Castle, in Kent, where your little darlings can dress up as gladiators, learn to play the fool at jester school, or turn into fearless knights for an afternoon.
The National Trust (nationaltrust .org.uk) is guaranteed to come up with enticing ideas, too. One of its best is the new interactive Alice in Wonderland Experience at Antony House, Torpoint, Cornwall. Several scenes from Tim Burton's new film were shot here, and the estate is now hosting its own Alice event until October. The kids will enjoy meandering through the art installations and sculptures, sliding down the rabbit hole, meeting the Cheshire Cat, and joining in the Mad Hatter's tea party, where Alice and friends will lead them around the garden, re-enacting scenes along the way.
That's Easter sorted, then. Next on the to-do- list: summer holidays.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
£30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...
£13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...