The Easter Hotlist: the best days out around the country

How will you stave off boredom during the holidays? Take a tour of the regions with Simone Kane to find the best days out around the country


Scotland:

Wonderama at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (2-15 April, 9.30am-4.30pm) is packed with events, including Dig Up a Dinosaur, From the Tip of Your Tongue to the Cheeks of Your B*m and Icy Adventure (0131-524 9830; science festival.co.uk). The Easter Eggstravaganza (8 April, 1.30pm) at Traquair House, Peeblesshire, is the biggest egg hunt in the region, with 6,000 chocolate eggs and 900 bunnies hidden in the maze and walled garden in three age-graded trails (01896 830323; traquair.co.uk). Climb aboard The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour to discover the origin of some Maritime Myths (2-13 April, 10.30am-4pm) with costumed guides and interactive storytelling (0141-222 2513; thetallship.com). For more Easter events, go to visitscotland.com.

Northern Ireland:

Assemble a mini-egg character, scramble it to freedom and get it home before Jeb's family poach it at The Great Eggscape II - Barnyard Breakout! (daily until 15 April, 2pm-4pm) at W5, Belfast, where there are also live Slime and Baking Blast science demos (028-9046 7700; w5online.co.uk). For an insight into a typical 19th-century market fair head to A Spring Fair Day (7-10 April) at the award-winning outdoor museum of emigration, the Ulster American Folk Park in Castletown near Omagh (028-8224 3292; folkpark .com). Book a seat on an Easter Sunday Cot Trip (8 April, 2-6pm). Explore the lough on the Crom estate in Co Fermanagh in traditional 100-year-old watercraft (02867 738118; nationaltrust.org.uk).

Wales:

Combat and craftsmanship in the new province of Britannia are brought alive at the Romans and Britons Re-enactment (8-9 April) at Caldicot Castle, Monmouthshire. Find out how Romano-British civilians, armoured soldiers and native warriors co-existed in the 1st century AD (01291 420241; caldicotcastle.co.uk). Take the water-powered cliff railway up to the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth in southern Snowdonia, to learn how to reduce our impact on the Earth with a series of events (until 15 April, 10.30am-4pm) (01654 705950; cat.org.uk). Follow the clues to bag an egg in the Easter Trail (6-7 April, 10am-5pm) at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines in Carmarthenshire (01558 650177; national trust.org.uk).

The North-west:

Get physical at PLAY: Experience the Adventure of our Cities (daily during holidays) at Manchester's Urbis that aims to transform the city into an adventure playground, with frames and structures to clamber on. Other activities include giant games and urban observation and orienteering. Daily, 10am-6pm (0161-605 8200; urbis.org. uk). Hat Works Museum in Stockport has a range of workshops for creative kids, including T-shirt Design, Album Cover Art and Puppet and Mask-Making (2, 5, 10, 13 April) (0845 833 0975; hatworks .org.uk). It's hats off and bonnets on at Speke Hall House & Gardens, in Liverpool, which is running an Easter Bonnet Making workshop and competition, culminating in a parade (8-9 April, 1pm-4pm) (0151-427 7231; nationaltrust.org.uk).

The North-east:

Join the Rockpool Ramble (7, 9 April) or follow the Easter Egg Trail (8-9 April) along the scenic Tyne & Wear shoreline. Explore the Leas and Whitburn Coastal Park, home to Souter Lighthouse, the first electric lighthouse in the country (0191-529 3161; nationaltrust.org.uk). The Sticks and Stones workshops (8-9 April, 11am-3pm) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, invites participants to take inspiration from the works of art and experiment with a range of materials under the supervision of working artists (01924 832631; ysp.co.uk). Girls get ready for the Bratz Passion 4 Fashion World Tour, which hits Sheffield's Hallam FM Arena on 4 April for two shows (3.30pm and 6.30pm; 0114-256 5656; hallam fmarena.co.uk).

The North:

The new A World in Miniature Museum at Houghton Hall Garden Centre is home to the world's smallest teddy bear (visible by magnifying glass) and an amazing array of tiny hand-crafted antique furniture and masterpieces. Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun 10.30am-4.30pm (closed Easter Sunday; 01228 400388). Budding knights who finish the Queen's task on the Medieval Knights Trail at Warkworth Castle in Northumberland (8-9 April, from 10am) will collect a delicious prize (01665 711423; english-heritage.org.uk). As if the chance to clamber into one of the biggest treehouses was not enough, youngsters will also enjoy Easter Stories and Egg Rolling (5 April at 11.30am, 1.15pm, 2.30pm) in the wonderful Alnwick Garden, Northumberland (01665 511350; alnwickgarden.com).

The East:

Take aerial trekking to new heights at the newly re-opened Extreeme Adventure Ropes Course (daily, 9am-4pm), Weasenham, Norfolk. Swing, climb and jump at 20ft or 40ft, with 20 activities suspended among 150ft trees. Then there's the 45ft 3G swing, the 80ft fan descender jump and the 1,000ft zip wire. Allow about two and a half hours (07775 593477; extreemeadven ture.co.uk). Drag yourselves down to Santa Pod Raceway near Wellingborough for the Auto Trader Easter Thunderball (6-9 April, 8am-8pm), where you'll be able to catch drag racing, jet cars and bikes, aerobatic displays and much more (01234 782828; santapod .co.uk). Meet a Roman potter and his wife at Colchester Castle Museum (6 April, with six performances, starting at 10.45am) and find out their reaction to Queen Boudica's attack on the town all those years ago (01206 282939; colchester museums.org.uk).

The Midlands:

Head to the National Space Centre in Leicester for an Alien Easter (daily until 15 April) and search out the alien eggs in the six interactive galleries and Rocket Tower to win a prize. Or build your own alien in one of the craft sessions (0116-261 0261; spacecentre .co.uk). There's Easter Espionage (daily from 10am-5pm) going on at RAF Museum Cosford in Shropshire. They need young agents to reveal the identity of a Russian spy and to help uncover which aircraft and exhibits have fallen into enemy hands (01902 376200; raf museum.org. uk). Get the kids to run off all that chocolate in The Reverse Easter Egg Hunt (daily to 17 April) at Alton Towers, Staffordshire, where Eggbert the giant egg will chase the children to give them treats (08705 204060; altontowers.com).

The South-east:

It's Wear Your Wellies in the Woods week (10-12 April) at Alice Holt Forest in Surrey. Try welly-themed activities for all ages, including Welly Wanging and Welly Craft Day (01420 520212; forestry.gov.uk). Children can dress up and perform in plays written for them at the Children's Festival (9-13 April, 10am-5pm) at Dover Castle. They'll be amazed by the traditional sideshows such as the bed of nails and fire-eater and entertained by the fool and puppeteer (01304 211067; english-heritage.org.uk). If you've a Batman fan in the house, don't miss the After Dark Laser Show (6-8 April, 8.30pm and 9pm) at Legoland Windsor. The Caped Crusader will swoop in for the dazzling show of lasers, dancing fountains and pyrotechnics (08705 40 40 40; legoland.co.uk).

London:

Girls will flock to meet Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson at Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road (3 April, 2pm), who will be talking about and signing her new book, Jacky Daydream, an illustrated look at her childhood. Free, but email to reserve to events@foyles.co.uk, stating name, address and number of adults and children (020-7437 5660; foyles.co.uk). Kew Bridge Steam Museum (2-13 April Tues-Sun and bank holiday Mon, 11am-5pm) is organising a number of events, including family workshops and egg hunts, as well as plenty for the steam enthusiast (020-8568 4757; kbsm.org). The V&A's Surreal Weekend (14-15 April) is putting on some fantastic performances and extraordinary workshops, including magical illusions, an insect circus and the chance to create a surreal masterpiece. Part of Surreal Things exhibition (daily 10am-5.45pm, Fri 10am-10pm), there are other design workshops (10-12 April) (0870-906 3883; vam.ac.uk).

The South:

The launch of the world's first Interactive Dive Cage Experience at the Bourne- mouth Oceanarium (daily 10am-5pm) brings you face-to-face with great white sharks. And then stroll through the underwater walk-through tunnel (01202 311993; oceanarium. .co.uk). Take up the Admiral's Challenge at Action Stations (daily 10am-4pm) at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Climb Kilimanjaro, fly a Merlin Helicopter under a bridge and tie a monkey's fist during a trail to complete the quest (023-9283 9766; flagship.org.uk). Join the Pirate Treasure Hunt (7-9 April) at Blackgang Chine theme park on the Isle of Wight. Solve the clues around the park to claim a prize (01983 730052; blackgangchine.com).

The South-west:

There's plenty for families at Pendennis Castle in Cornwall over Easter (6-9 April, 10am-5pm). You can take part in egg-racing, face-painting and an Easter bonnet parade (12pm-3pm) at this historic English Heritage property (01326 316594; english-heritage.org.uk). Literature students and theatre fans should catch the production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (5 April at 2pm and 7.30pm and on 7 April at 4pm; 0117-987 7877; bristol-old-vic.co.uk). One of the biggest kids' attractions in the region, Crealy Great Adventure Park near Exeter has a new batch of baby chicks and lambs, as well as all the usual rides and a daily egg hunt for 60,000 eggs from 6-9 April. There'll even be the chance to meet Dora the Explorer at 3pm-5pm on 6 April (0870-116 3333; crealy.co.uk).

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