EASSSSSSTER IS HERE!
Fridge stocked with wine? Then release the kids. Survival starts here with Shakespeare's Birthday, culture, days out and chocolate… lots of chocolate.
Easter Egg hunts and trails
The National Trust Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts will be taking place across Warwickshire at Upton House, Charlecote Park, Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court until Mon Apr 22 – find your closest site here. Charlecote Park is also holding an Easter Holidays Birds and mini beasts trail (Wed Apr 24 – Sun Apr 28). Explore the parkland, learn about the different birds and mini beasts that thrive at Charlecote and earn a prize when you complete the trail. You’ll also be able to spot spring lambs as you go! 10am – 4pm, £2 per trail (admission also applies). And over at Packwood House, you can also head out on a Welly Walk, and children can plant and decorate a pot with one of their gardeners (Tue 23-Fri 26). Follow the Easter Trail at Compton Verney (Apr 19 – Sun Apr 28) and search for hidden eggs around the park, inspired by the hand decorated eggs in their Marx-Lambert collection. To complete the challenge, kids have to find the seven missing eggs from the gallery. Other egg hunts will take place over the Easter weekend at Cadbury’s World (you’re guaranteed to come home with a lot more than mini-eggs!), The Bell Alderminster on Easter Sunday at 2.30pm, and Batsford Arboretum (6 – 22 Apr) is offering a more lo-fi wooden bunny hunt. At Coombe Abbey, there’s a 1hr trail (Apr 13 – 28), and Go Ape has just opened. Further Afield go posh with Blenheim Palace’s huge egg hunt around the grounds and pleasure gardens (19 – 22 Apr), there’s also interactive activities, princesses, clowns, stilt-walkers, bouncy castles, bungee trampolining and circus skills – phew! Chatsworth House in Derbyshire has a giant egg hunt and lots more besides.
Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat April 27 & Sun April 28
Join in the Bard’s 455th birthday celebrations across Stratford kicking off with the traditional parade, community festivities and street entertainment including the second National Living Statue Competition. There’s free demos, drop-in activities, pop-up performances and workshops at the RSC’s Studio theatre, 12noon – 4.30pm, free entry to The Play’s The Thing exhibition in The Swan and the RSC’s latest exhibition, Digital Diorama,which imagines what a young William Shakespeare may have seen while growing up in Stratford-upon-Avon using augmented reality technology similar to popular apps like Pokemon Go and BBC Civilisations. And over at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street add your own origami swan to help fill the building with as many paper birds as possible in honour of the ‘Sweet Swan of Avon’ as he was nicknamed by his contemporary Ben Jonson. rsc.org.uk/digitaldiorama; rsc.org.uk/birthday; shakespeare; shakespearescelebrations
Easter Adventure Quest, Kenilworth Castle, April 13-28
Join the hunt for dragon eggs on a legendary quest this Easter holiday. Crack the clues as you and your family follow the trail through the castle. Intrepid adventurers who track down the dragon egg will get a certificate and a sticker to prove it, and there’ll be a chocolate treat too! You can get questing at Kenilworth Castle every day of the school holidays. It costs just £1 per child, and there’s no need to book, 11am-5pm, english-heritage
Daily ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ sessions and see tropical butterflies hatch, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Sat April 13 – 28
It’s all about the Egg at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm this Easter. Discover the freshly laid eggs from tropical Butterflies and Moths and see the Caterpillars hatched out of them. You may even see a butterfly hatch from its pupa! ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions take place daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm in the holidays with the Education Team – and hold creatures such as a giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects. The latest new residents include the ferocious looking Dragon Headed Katydid from the forests of Borneo in South East Asia and a pink and white insect from Malaysia and Indonesia that looks remarkably like a beautiful orchid flower – the Orchid Mantis, butterflyfarm, Tel: 01789 299288.
Meet the Lambs, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, various dates ending Apr 27
Spring Spectacular, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, Sat April 13 – 28
Younger children will love seeing all the super cute spring new-born animals including chicks, ducklings, piglets, bunnies, lambs and kid goats, and even get the chance to feed and handle the animals within Farmyard Favourites. More new arrivals are expected over the coming weeks, some lucky visitors may be fortunate enough to see a live birth! Easter activities include a daily Easter Egg Hunt at 12:30pm and 2pm; the famous springtime Tractor Safari; Sheep Racing held daily at 1:45pm plus Falconry Displays at 11am, 2pm and 3pm. Other attractions will be a daily Magic Show at 11:30am and 3pm, a Puppet Show at 1pm, Outdoor Laser Combat ( 8yrs+), and the huge indoor soft play area ‘Snorty’s Superslide Mania’, hattonworld.com/adventure-world or Tel: 01926 843411.
THEATRE: Anatomical – The Buildy-Uppy Dance Show, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tue Apr 16 -Sat Apr 20
Children can let their imaginations run riot as hundreds of boxes are stacked, squashed and rebuilt in this one-hour show for ages 4+. Help create enticing caves, wonky castles and fabulous creatures, in a show that’s all about building friendships. Times: Tue 16 Apr – 2pm; Wed 17 – Sat 20 Apr 11am & 2pm, warwickartscentre
Easter fun at Hillers includes free archery (10am – 5pm), birds of prey and pony rides (Thurs, 10.30am – 3pm). There’s also an Easter garden trail, seed planting and welly wanging.
Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, now open
Check out the revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a new peasants’ hovel at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and their first lambs are imminent! Throughout the season there will be the usual daily activities, including geese herding, archery and bird of prey displays. The popular Woolly Week takes place from May 25 – June 2, and on June 23 celebrate the longest day, Midsummer Day where you might even meet the farm’s own magical unicorn! Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar: on Aug 1 to make your own mini lammas loaf out of salt dough reviving the tradition of Lammas Day, with storytelling and music. And at Harvest Home on Sept 15, try your hand at traditional crafts, like candle-making, willow weaving and wool crafts, while enjoying puppet shows and Tudor music. Open daily until Sun Nov 3, check out shakespeare.org.uk/visit/mary-ardens-farm. Book online.
The Museum kick starts its Mini 60th celebrations with a host of themed family activities. Families can enjoy tours with a Mini mad mechanic character at 1.30pm, follow a Mini Trail and make a Mini using air dry clay in drop-in workshops from 10am to 3pm. Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (Apr 19 – 22) there’s a traditional Easter Egg hunt with a Mini twist – collect eggs around the Museum to claim your Mini Egg reward. The ‘Back to the drawing board’ Mini trail is also available daily, taking inspiration from Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini. britishmotormuseum.co.uk, Tel: 01926 927823.
Easter at Shakespeare’s Family Homes, in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, Apr 13 – 28
There’s lots of egg-citing and fun-filled family events taking place across the famous Shakespeare Family Homes this Easter: make an origami swan, decorate an Easter egg, go on a journey with Prospero from The Tempest, and sit on a jury as The Reverend Francis Gastrell goes back on trial 260 years after knocking down Shakespeare’s New Place.
Easter shows at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, April 16 – 27
The programme kicks off with Tim Hopgood’s much-loved picture book, Wow! It’s Night-Time, suitable for 2-5-year-olds, each performance is followed by a post-show meet and greet with the puppets. On Saturday, April 20, is Pongo’s Party a brand new adventure for children aged 2-7 set on Marty MacDonald’s Farm, featuring the voice of Justin Fletcher. The following week, from 24-27 April, there’s a new musical adaptation of Jill Murphy’s classic The Worst Witch. (see below) and the heart-warming story of Grandad’s Island adapted from the award-winning children’s book by Benji Davies, Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade
Children’s ‘paint-your-own pottery’ session with Crazy Kiln, Farmer’s Fayre, Stoneleigh Park, Wed Apr 24
An Easter holiday session at the lovely Farmers Fayre Cafe and Shop within NAEC, Stoneleigh. A great opportunity to bring along older, school-aged children to create gifts for Father’s Day – a relaxed drop-in session where you can come anytime between 9.30am and 12pm and everyone will be served in order of arrival. School holiday sessions tend to be a little busier than term time events.
Pottery will be ready for collection from Farmers Fayre in approx 2-3 weeks in time for Father’s Day, farmersfayre
FAMILY: Knights and Nymphs Garden Party, Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat April 27
Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday in style, dress up as a Knight or a Nymph, enjoy garden games, a slice of birthday cake, a barbecue with burgers and Tudor recipe sausages, shortbread biscuits, sparkling wine and strawberries, at this beautiful property, as well as a face painting and storytelling, plenty of family fun, free entry for all Stratford-upon-Avon (CV37) residents (proof of address required), 12pm-4pm, shakespeare;
Twycross Zoo welcomes a critically endangered black rhino this Easter, Atherstone, from Sat Apr 13
Visitors will be able to say hello to a new arrival at the zoo this Easter Holidays – a rare female Eastern black rhino called Nandi, soon to be followed by a male companion. See how many zoo babies you can spot including Molusc the penguin chick, two wallaby joeys and a Kirk’s Dik-Dik fawn. You can also enjoy walking around Chimpanzee Eden built last year, feeding the lorikeets, petting the goats, exploring Butterfly Forest, splashing around in the Wet ‘n’ Wild park and brand new for 2019 electric Safari Cars for 3 – 10-year-olds. Best ticket prices for the Easter Holidays are when you book online by midnight the night before your visit, twycrosszoo.org
ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, now until June 16
The Twirlywoos Live, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Tue Apr 23 & Wed Apr 24
Come and see Great BigHoo, Toodloo, Chickedy and Chick on tour as they set sail around the UK to welcome young fans for a 50-minute theatrical adventure with beautifully inventive puppetry and a cast full of favourite characters from the hit CBeebies TV show, royalspacentreandtownhall
FILM: Dumbo (PG) in cinemas from Mar 29
My youngest asks if we can go and see this every time the ad for Tim Burton’s live/CGI version of the 1941 Disney animation masterpiece pops up on TV. Some critics may say it lacks the charm of the original masterpiece, while others say there’s “plenty of humour and pathos” (Independent) – but will the kids think it’s as good? It stars Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito and Eva Green.
EXHIBITION: Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, until April 27
This exhibition tells the story of the creation of Beatrix Potter’s most famous story character. It includes original, rarely exhibited artworks and manuscripts. Younger children will enjoy the activity play room where they can help Mrs Tiggy-Winkle hang up the laundry, plant carrots in Mr. McGregor’s garden, visit Mrs. Rabbit in her burrow or curl up with one of the books in the story corner. A Peter Rabbit themed spring activity family programme runs through to Easter with events including The Wonderful World of Hedgehogs with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Senior Hedgehog Officer on April 5. See here for the full spring programme.
FILM: First Man, National Space Centre, Leicester, Sat Apr 27
This is super-cool! Rick Armstrong, the son of Neil Armstrong – the very first man to walk on the moon – is taking part in a special Q&A prior to the screening of First Man! La La Land director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the Moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight, one of the most dangerous missions in history, 6pm – 10pm, tickets here.
Southbank Centre, London, Sat 6 – Mon 22 Apr
Free fun by the bucketful if you’re heading to London this Easter with music from Camp Bestival regulars Dizney Rascal, cool folk singer London Rhymes and comedy theatre group Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. Paid events include giant musical sandpits, an immersive colourful performance called Kaleidoscope and the brilliant Tabby McTat (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) Freckle Productions, the team behind Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog.
Warner Bros. Studios, Herts, from Sat 6 Apr
Just when you think the Harry Potter hype is finally over, Warner Bros figure out another way to get us through the door. On Sat 6 Apr, the studios unveil their biggest expansion to date, Gringotts Wizarding Bank full of with crystal chandeliers, original film props and, er, a gallery of goblins. The new set will be a permanent addition to the tour.
Kids rejoice! Legoland reopened last month and launched its new ride this Easter called The Haunted House Monster Party. Man of the house Lord Vampyre, Mummy and Monster Rocker will also be there for photos. They’re also running themed holiday workshops at its brand spanking new pop-up iLab in Paddington where kids can become mini engineers for the three-day sessions. legoland.co.uk
KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, Sat 6 Apr – Sun 2 Jun
More Lego! New for Easter, Whipsnade Zoo introduces its Brick Safari- there’ll be loads of LEGO brick beasts and animals around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know) made from over one million bricks, as well as hands-on family activities. Included in entry price. zsl.org