Our guide to the best Easter holiday activities
The Easter holidays are the first big break of the year for everyone in the UK. For youngsters it’s a fortnight of fun, and for adults it is two wonderful bank holidays to enjoy over a leisurely long-weekend. So with four days free; here is our selection of egg-ceptional things to do in London over the Easter weekend:
Easter Egg Hunts
If you fancy a little history to go with your chocolate search, then Kensington Palace is putting together a more regal route. Youngsters (ages 7-11) need to “crack” a codeword to ensure their chocolatey treat, while also coming face-to-face with the Georgian Royal Court. The Easter Egg hunt is included in the normal entrance price ticket (prices start online at £15.40 per adult, accompanied children free, Easter Weekend).
Over at The EDF Energy London Eye you can help Edwin the Easter Bunny track down his missing Lindt treats (until April 21). Ideal for kids aged 4 to 9; hop-on Edwin’s Easter Discovery Tour and get a rabbit-eye’s view over London (check website for latest prices – c£25 per person).
From Saturday 19 to Monday April 21, the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is holding a clutch of free Easter-themed egg-tivities. From building your own Easter basket to following a trail to claim a chocolate treat, just drop in and see what is going on. If you have older children in tow then it is definitely worth checking out the Daydreams and Diaries, the Story of Jacqueline Wilson free exhibition which features the life and work of this much-loved author, which opens on April 5 at the museum.
If you want something more egg-treme and fancy heading out of London for the weekend, then check out Thorpe Park who are hosting the first Angry Birds Easter Egg Hunt on the bank holiday weekend. There are 20,000 chocolate Easter Eggs to be found – so you might want to make a day of it! (Easter Egg Hunt included as part of the general admission – see website)
SPOTLIGHT ON: Charlie’s Chocolate Adventure at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Kew has teamed up with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The New Musical, to create a host of themed arts and crafts workshops, including creating your own confectionery and face-painting. The traditional Easter Egg Hunt (Sunday, April 20 only: 9.30pm-12.30pm) is clearly a highlight of the packed schedule, with youngsters getting the chance to search for Lindt chocolate eggs.
But if you are not sweet-toothed and would like to do something blooming brilliant instead; why not check out the stunning daffodils and crocuses on an Easter “Spring Spectacular” tour (free: book at the guide’s desk). The hour-long journey takes you past some of the five million bulbs planted in the colourful gardens.
Opening times and dates: 9.30am to 6.30pm (7.30pm weekends and Bank Holidays). Check website for event timings.
Getting there: Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens Station
Buy tickets: Adult tickets are priced at £14.50 with children under 16 free. Check website as some activities have a small additional charge.
More eggs-hilarating Easter events for the family
Sadler’s Wells’ annual two-day festival, the Family Weekend, is a great place to try something different this Easter (Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R, performances 18-19 April, tickets £15 each). Featuring balletLORENT’s Rapunzel, a re-imagining of the Brothers Grimm classic fairytale and with words by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and narration by award-winning actress, Lesley Sharp, this is a quality production which is not to be missed.
If you fancy meeting a bunny on a boat, then why not visit one of London’s real hidden gems; its peaceful canal network. Hidden Depths Canal Cruises are running special Easter-themed trips, where youngsters can decorate an Easter egg, make an Easter chick and of course take home (if it lasts that long) a small Easter Egg. The one-hour return trip takes you from Kings Cross alongside leafy towpaths and even beneath the streets of Islington, through one of London’s narrowest tunnels (Adult £10, Children 3+ £8, April 19-21, first boat 11am, last 5pm – call or email to book)
The newly opened Olympic Park is set to be the must-visit destination in London. With new parts of the park opening to the public every day, Easter is a great chance to become one of the first people in the country to experience it in full. From wandering around the parklands to swimming in the wake of Olympians in the London Aquatics Centre; you can be as active or inactive as you like. (see their website for full details of “what’s on”)
DID YOU KNOW? The Park is covered by 65km of waterways and 15 acres of woods, hedgerows and wildlife habitat.
SPOTLIGHT ON: Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum
Out of moth-balls and opening just in time for the Easter holidays is this family-friendly exhibition, showcasing beautiful butterflies. There is something joyful about standing in a specially-made tropical enclosure and watching as they fly freely around you. There are also a host of museum insect experts on hand to answer your questions and interactive activities to keep children of all ages enthralled. Visit the butterfly house and see caterpillar eggs about to hatch, as well as getting up-close-and-personal with chrysalises containing caterpillars undergoing metamorphosis. Your children will be bugging you to visit.
DID YOU KNOW? Butterflies taste with their feet. Also some butterflies don’t have ears, but instead sense sound from vibrations through their wings.
We sent a couple of junior reviewers to check out the exhibition to see what they thought of it. They visited on a scorching March day (it was pretty hot apparently in the tropical enclosure) and got to chat with the curators and interact with the butterflies to their hearts content. Here is their feedback:
“It was relaxing and I really liked learning about all the different plants. I also loved having them land on you. I would give it five stars out of five!” – Ryan Dunning, aged 9
“My best part was letting the butterflies land on my hands and buying a butterfly mask” – Lara Dunning, aged 4
Opening times and dates: Runs from April 3 to September 14: 10am until 17.50pm
Getting there: Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
Nearest Tube: South Kensington
Buy tickets: A family ticket costs £19 but please check website for other concessions and individual ticket prices.
Make the most of three lie-ins
Fancy getting your mod on over the bank holiday? Well The Venue is hosting Modstock, a four-day event on Great Portland Street. From live bands to fashion shows to scooter runs and record fairs; grab your parka and get involved. Music lovers should also head down to Berwick Street in Soho on Saturday, April 19 for independent “Record Store Day“. Boasting a free outdoor gig, limited edition vinyl and CDs hot of the press and street food; expect a buzzing atmosphere.(12 -7pm)
The Lock Tavern pub (35 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, London, NW1 8AJ) is hosting a free four-day festival across the Easter Weekend. With top DJs, live music, pop-up art exhibitions and a garden to hopefully enjoy some fun in the sun; this could solve all your weekend plans in one go (visit the website for more details)
If you are feeling spontaneous, check out the London pop-ups site to find out the latest street festivals, spring-up speakeasies and secret supper clubs.
For the older generation, don those sparkly numbers and head down to the Southbank (The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall) for an afternoon of free ballroom music, accompanied by a live band. Strictly Easter Ballroom will be taking place on Bank Holiday Monday from 12pm.
For the singletons who don’t want to stay in over the Easter weekend and eat to many chocolate eggs – why not join in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Ping-Pong Date at Bounce in Holborn on Easter Sunday. Hosted by dating site DoingSomething.co.uk and entry starting at £10; just think you might enjoy some back-handed compliments and if you don’t, you’ll surely bounce back!
To find out all the latest travel information, visit the Transport for London website for up-to-minute Easter updates (including line closures and planned engineering works in London).
Visit London also has a handy page with free London travel maps and other hints and tips for getting around the capital.
If you are looking to visit London for the weekend, then we have plenty of places to stay in London to choose from, whether you are just stopping for the night or taking advantage of the long weekend.
If you are still stuck for something to do during the Easter holidays; check out all our special Easter deals. From indulgent afternoon teas to ideas for spontaneous city breaks; why not make it a break to remember this year?
We also want to hear if you have any Easter activities recommendations; let us know what you are planning to do by leaving a comment below or get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook! Wishing you an eggs-ellent break!