On the hunt for an Easter adventure

From hidden eggs to art on display, chocolate museums to treasure trails, there are plenty of delectable days out to choose from during the school holidays

What's the attraction?

Lambs are frolicking in the fields, gardens are bursting into bloom and stately homes are throwing off the dust sheets. From farms to heritage sites, there are events to keep your brood occupied throughout the holidays. For example, Cadbury is joining the National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk) and National Trust for Scotland (nts.org.uk) for Easter egg trails at 250 UK properties (eastereggtrail.com). English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk) has family-focused activities including jousting and falconry – while the Royal Horticultural Society's (rhs.org.uk) stunning spring bulb displays are the fragrant backdrop to a string of Easter events.

Making a splash

The Jerwood Gallery (01424 425809; jerwoodgallery.org; adults £7, children £3.50) has just opened in Hastings. The new gallery on the Sussex coast houses the foundation's collection of 20th- and 21st-century paintings, on display to the public for the first time. The gallery is also part of the regeneration of the old town's fishing quarter.

Meanwhile, the commemoration of the sinking of Titanic 100 years ago on 15 April is marked with the launch of the Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience on Saturday (028 90 766399; titanicbelfast.com; adults £13.50, children £6.75).

 

Put a spring in your step

Treasure Trails (07425 159747; treasuretrails.co.uk) has teamed up with the South West Coast Path for a new series of family-friendly walks along Cornwall's 299-mile National Trail. The first, a half-day tramp rich in pirate history, weaves between the towns of Looe and Polperro. Or head to the Brecon Beacons for the Outdoors@hay Easter festival (01497 820426; training-activities.co.uk). Just outside Hay-on-Wye close to the Black Mountains, the family event promises bush craft, foraging, a night walk, canoe trips, archery and mountain-biking taster sessions. Many activities free.

 

Golden tickets

York's newest attraction opens just in time for Easter. "Chocolate, York's Sweet Story" (0845 498 9411; yorkssweetstory.com; daily 10am-5.30pm; adults £10, children £8) opens on Saturday. At Holkham Hall (01328 713111; holkham.co.uk) in Norfolk, the Chocolate Decadence Workshop on Saturday 7 April teaches you how to make truffles, mousse and other moreish creations. (£40pp with coffee and lunch.) And during Chocolate Factory Fortnight (1-13 April) at Powderham Castle (01626 890243; powderham.co.uk;) near Exeter, kids can look out for Wonka bars on the Candy Trail and visit the Imagination room.

 

Hop to it

Forget Easter bunnies, it's all about March hares – in April – at Brodick Castle and Country Park (0844 493 2154; nts.org.uk; £2, booking essential) on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. You'll have to get up early for the Real Easter Bunny Walk on 5 April. The yomp through the gardens to see the long-eared leporids starts at 6am and finishes at 7.30am.

At Wilderness Wood (01825 830 509; wildernesswood.co.uk; adults £4.80, children £2.95) in the Sussex Weald, children search for wooden rabbits on 7 April, while at the Arundel Wetland Centre (01903 883355; wwt.org.uk; adults £10.90, children £5.45) in West Sussex, you can see giant rabbits from the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare and newly hatched ducklings from Saturday until 15 April.

 

Life on the ocean wave

At Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland you can try canoeing and kayaking on the largest manmade lake in northern Europe. The Calvert Trust Kielder (01434 250232; calvert-trust.org.uk) is holding Water Drop-In Days on 2 and 9 April from 11am-4pm. There's no need to book; it's £10 for adults and children for a half-hour.

Or head to the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth (01326 313388; nmmc.co.uk; adults £9.50, children £6.50). The new Search & Rescue exhibition is being expanded over the Easter holidays. Clamber aboard a Sea King helicopter, learn about rescues and meet the crews of the RNLI Lifeboat Volunteers and Lifeguards, HM Coastguard; and, on 2 and 9 April, the Royal Navy SAR (11.30am, 2pm & 3.30pm).

 

Who said that?

"My mom used to say that Greek Easter was later because then you get stuff cheaper." – Amy Sedaris, US actor and comedian

"Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive." – Joanne Harris, Chocolat

"See the land, her Easter keeping / Rises as her Maker rose. Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping / Burst at last from winter snows. Earth with heaven above rejoices..." – Charles Kingsley

 

On the hunt

It's Peter Rabbit's 110th birthday and, to celebrate, 110 ceramic eggs have been hidden across the Cumbrian countryside. Find an egg for free entry to the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, while 10 come with the chance to win a family break in the Lake District. The Easter Egg hunt is free and launches at 10am next Thursday (0844 504 1233; hop-skip-jump.com).

Newquay's Easter Egg hunt is at Towan Beach on Easter Sunday. Children search along the sand and among rock pools. The free event starts at 1pm with sand castle and sand sculpture competitions from 2pm (visitnewquay.org).

At Warwick Castle (0871 265 2000; warwick-castle.com) children can search for rare "dragon eggs" from Saturday until 14 April. Find the magic eggs and the dragon's nest to claim a prize. Book online for reduced prices (adults £24.48, children £20.64).

In Carmarthenshire, at Dolaucothi Gold Mine (01558 650177; nationaltrust.org.uk; adults £3.60, children £1.80, family £9) you can pan for gold and join the Easter Egg hunt in the wooded hills until 9 April.

Fabergé's Big Egg Hunt features more than 200 oversize eggs (thebigegghunt. co.uk) decorated by leading artists, designers, architects and jewellers scattered around London until the Easter weekend. Download maps and clues, then text the secret code on each egg for the chance to win a £100,000, 18-carat gold Fabergé Diamond Jubilee Egg.

 

Insider information

"This Easter our chocolatiers are creating four giant 3ft by 1.5ft charity Easter eggs from 228kg of Cadbury chocolate. We'll also be producing limited edition Easter Eggs, which will be hand decorated in white chocolate and available to purchase from the World's Biggest Cadbury Shop."Gerrard Baldwin, General Manager of Cadbury World (cadburyworld.co.uk) in Birmingham

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