Easter Hols What’s On
Entertaining kids this Easter? You could hide a chocolate egg in the garden so well that it takes them hours to find it – or you could check out my Muddy Easter hols survival guide. There are craft workshops, castle egg hunts, children’s theatre shows, giant crabs and more. Some events are drop offs, some are even free. I’ve also some suggestions for London days out. Looking for my regular what’s on? It’s here.
SUSSEX AND SURROUNDS
DROP OFF! Natural tie-dye T-shirts/Easter eggs & felted chicks, Ditchling Museum, 6 & 13 April
There’s crafty fun at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft on two consecutive Thursdays. On 6 April kids can create beautiful tie-dyed T-shirts with plants from the garden and waste from the kitchen. They’ll learn to produce tie-dye patterns and take home a cool, planet-friendly garment. The workshop costs £20, runs 11.oo am – 4.00pm and is aimed at ages 7 + They’ll need to bring a packed lunch but you effectively get five hours child care! For the same price and age group, between 11.00 and 3.00pm on 13 April, they can use onion skins, beetroot and the like to naturally die eggs and also learn how to make cute felted chicks out of wool.
Easter Quest/Adventures with Robin Hoodie and Maid Marion, Leeds Castle, Kent, 1-17 / 14 – 17 April
Between 1 and 17 April let your kids get some eggs-ercise *snigger* seeking Easter clues hidden around the grounds of lovely Leeds Castle to earn a chocolate prize. Then, 14- 17 April, look out for Robin Hoodie, Maid Marion and a merry band of outlaws on a fun filled ‘Walking Theatre’ adventure over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Robin Hoodie has lost Maid Marion and Maid Marion has found the right wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, but who needs saving from whom?! Visit the Pavilion Lawn at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.00pm for one hour promenade-style shows through the woodland. Plus, throughout the day children can make their own Robin Hoodie or Princess hats to wear on their adventure.
National Trust Cadbury Egg Hunts, various locations, various dates, especially 14- 17 April
Choccy prizes await at various National Trust houses across the county that have their own take on the traditional Easter egg hunt. Most run for at least the Easter bank holiday weekend. Among them are Alfriston Clergy House, Polegate and Petworth House, where families can search for hidden bunnies, Devil’s Dyke near Brighton where there’s also an egg rolling competition, Woolbeding Countryside near Midhurst where there’s egg decorating, racing and an egg shy on Easter Sunday and Uppark House near Petersfield where there’s a native bird-themed hunt around the house and gardens that’s running between 8 and 23 April. Search for your nearest egg hunt venue by postcode on the link below. Most hunts have a small charge on top of any admission price.
FREE Fossil Hunters, West Beach, Littlehampton, Wed 12, Thurs 13, Tues 18 & Wed 19 April
Join one of Littlehampton Museum’s popular fossil hunts along West Beach. There are various slots to choose from – Wed 12 & Thurs 13 April, 3.00-4.30pm and Tues 18 & Wed 19 April, 10.00-11.30am but, though the activity is free, you must book ahead on 01903 738100 or at [email protected] There’s also a drop in family Easter craft workshop between 2.00-4.00pm on Easter Saturday (15 April).
Easter activites, Spring Barn Farm, near Lewes, Sat 1st- Fri 21st April 2017
Children can pick up an egg box and find all the clues ready to exchange for a chocolatey treat, meet Baabara the silly Shepherdess and a lot of cute lambs. There’s also a new ‘Baa Baa Birthing’ activity which can earn you a lambing certificate – don’t worry, no blood – there are demo ewes and lambs.
Warriors of Arundel Castle, Sat 8 – Sun 9 April/Normans and Crusaders Sat 15 – Mon 17 April
Arundel castle has just reopened, with historical fun lined up for Easter. Celebrating the 950th Anniversary of the order to build the castle, over Sat 8 – Sun 9 April, Raven Tor Living History Group will cover key moments in the site’s history from 1067-1644 in costume, crafts, weapons and combat displays. Then, over the Easter Weekend within an historical tented encampment Normans & Crusaders day will recreate the crafts, weapons training, and battle tactics of the late 12th century. Have fun with a Story Teller, falconry, have-a-go-archery (for over 8’s) and archery/combat demonstrations.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Wed 12 and Thurs 13 April
Direct from a West End season, the tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road in this musical play adapted and directed by David Wood, based on the book by Judith Kerr. It’s packed with sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos. He drinks all the water in the taps you know… Tickets are £12.59. It’s aimed at ages 3+ See a trailer on the link.
Claws, Sea Life Brighton, from 22 April
Sea Life Brighton has unveiled its latest attraction, Claws in time for the Easter holidays. It features shell-dwelling freaks like Japanese spider crabs with a leg span of a whopping 1.3 metres which could grow to the size of a car and a brightly coloured peacock mantis shrimp which can move its arms with such force it can boil water! Sounds downright creepy – yet strangely compelling!
KIDS GO FREE Easter Eggstravaganza Raceday, Fontwell Park, Wed 12 April
Here’s an affordable day out which straddles entertainment for adults as well as kids. Throughout the day there will be seven horse races and plenty of free activities for the children. They can take part in the traditional Easter Egg Hunt, meet the Easter Bunny, see the animals at the petting zoo, ride the rides at the mini fun fair, get their faces painted and work off any remaining energy on the bouncy castle! Adult tickets are from £15 each and kids go free. Gates open at noon.
Kids’ Cookery Workshops, Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, Thurs 6, Mon 10 & Wed 12 April
Eggs to Apples – Muddy Awards 2016 winner of Best Farm Shop – is hosting Kids’ Cookery Workshops over the holidays led by local author and illustrator of Cook and Educate, Briony Russell and Jo Ansell. Combining cooking and crafting, children will learn about nesting birds as they make choclate nests then create and decorate recipe cards. There are only six spaces per session so be quick. The workshops run 10.00am – 12.00pm and are £20 each. Book a place by emailing [email protected] Eggs to Apples is also holding a BBQ on Easter Saturday noon to 2.00pm, with fish and sausages and burgers with free range meat.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, Fri 21 & Sat 22 April
Ahh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The iconic children’s book with the holes was first published in 1969 and has sold more than 43 million copies worldwide. I bet author / illustrator Eric Carle can hardly believe his luck. As a new generation gets to love the story this critically acclaimed production hits Sussex, with a menagerie of 75 lovable puppets, to recreate The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Tickets are £16 each or £58 for a family of four.
Hey Clay! DC2, Eastbourne, 8 April 11.00am – 3.00pm
New Eastbourne art project The Devonshire Collective has fun mug-making workshops on this half term at its DC2 Seaside Road studios. They’re suitable for adults and over 8s and cost just £5 per person including the firing and glazing of your mug. There are three hour-long time slots to choose from. Meanwhile, regular evening AudioActive sessions continue, encouraging young people in rap, lyric writing and music production. The next block runs weekly 3 May to 24 May. See my recent feature on the Devonshire Collective here.
Arlington bluebell walk and farm trail, near Polegate, 8 April – 14 May
Follow the celebrated Arlington Bluebell trail from Bates Green Farm between 10.00am and 5.00pm daily until 14 May. It incorporates seven possible trails over three farms, one of them wheelchair accessible. There’s also the opportunity to watch cows being milked in the afternoons (3.00 to 5.00pm) and to pet penned sheep and goats. Refreshments are available, as are children’s quiz sheets and you can try your luck in adult and junior photo competitions. See my full round-up of Sussex bluebell walks here.
FREE Open morning, Lavant House Stables, near Chichester, Fri 14 April
Pony rides, tractor rides, face painting, competitions, donkeys to meet and refreshments to scoff – it’s all happening at Lavant House Stables near Chichester during their Good Friday open morning. Just turn up between 10.00am and 1.00pm. There’s a picnic area, play area and on site parking.
FREE Animazing Collection @ Towner Art Gallery, Hastings, Fri 14 April
Stop animation enthusiasts Animazing are bringing an exhibition of classic children’s TV memorabilia to Hastings’ Towner Art Gallery on Good Friday 14:00 – 15:00. Come and see goodies from 70 years of children’s television, from Muffin the Mule and Sooty and Sweep, to Thunderbirds and Wallace & Gromit – your kids should enjoy it too! The same exhibition will come to Eastbourne in the summer.
Chicks and Eggs, Hove Museum 11, 13, 18 and 20 April
Make fluffy chicks and colourful eggs in this art and craft workshop suitable for children aged 3-8 years.It’s a ‘first come, first served’drop-in between 10:30 and 3:30 pm on 11, 13, 18 and 20 April and costs £2 each.
DROP OFF Stop Animation Project, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Mon 10 – Wed 12 April
And here’s a chance for kids to try stop animation for themselves. A bit pricier this one at £120 but it will keep budding Nick Parks amused for three days. A course at Tonbridge Wells’ Trinity Theatre will teach over 10s to make short films of their own using moving models, which they will receive on DVD and have broadcast on YouTube. It runs 10.00am – 4.00pm each day. Book ahead.
FREE Art workshops, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, 7, 8, 14 April
The Towner is offering free drop in workshops for all ages. On 7 & 14 April, join artist Hermione Allsopp any time between 11am and 3pm to create collaborative sculptures, no booking required. On Friday 7 April Colour Forms will draw inspiration from the artwork Colour Construction in A Certain Kind of Light to create a light sculpture that will grow throughout the day. Then, on Friday 14 April, Shadow Casting will be an opportunity to make wobbly wire drawings, use light to cast shadows, and experiment with projection and working with found objects. There’s also a free workshop run by carnival artists Same Sky on Saturday 8 April in which children and young people of all ages can create something to carry or wear as part of Towner’s entry in Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival
Alice in Wonderland, Regis Centre, Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis, 10 April
A ‘spectacularly bonkers’ take on the Alice story is promised by Immersion Theatre who are presenting this larger-than-life musical version brimming with nonsensical fun that should have youngsters grinning like Cheshire cats. You’ll be able to meet the characters after the show and kids are invited to come dressed as their favourite. It’s aimed at ages 4+ and tickets are £12 each (£10 concessions) or £40 for a family.
FREE Tim Peake; An Extraordinary Journey, The Novium, Chichester, ongoing
This exciting exhibition which opened late last year on the anniversary of Tim Peake’s blast off will let you and yours follow in the Chichester-born astronaut’s space-walking footsteps. Find out about the Soyuz rocket and discover what it’s like to live in space, eating, sleeping and exercising in the International Space Station and of course about Tim’s space walk. You can even enter a recreation of Tim’s sleeping chamber and take part in interactive experiments. The exhibition has Tim’s official backing and his father, Nigel Peake was part of the project group pulling it together. The UK Space Agency and the Destination Space programme have also had a hand. There are special family friendly space demonstrations on Space Saturdays.
FREE Yarn bombing kids’ trail, craft workshops, Easter Eggs trail, Hastings Pier until April 17
Schools, community groups, clever knitters and artists have produced a brilliant temporary exhibition of seaside-themed art with pirates, mermaids, gulls, crabs, even fish and chips rendered in wool. See my feature here. It’s fun to browse the creations along the railings and benches and there’s also, until Fri 7 April, a free trail for children to spot hidden items among the wooly exhibits. (details available from the Pier shop). In addition until May 31 there’s a camera obscura booth, in which you can trace the view that is reproduced through a pin hole in the side. Finally, check out the craft workshops running this Easter making friendship bracelets and birds plus the Easter Egg trail (£1 entry) over the Easter weekend.
FREE Costume Trail, from Worthing Museum, until summer 2018
Worthing Museum’s impressive collections of clothing from bygone eras have been used as inspiration by costume designers from the likes of Downton Abbey. Now outfits are out on display across the town in a series of changing displays at local businesses across Worthing (I snapped this Art Deco dress above in the Connaught Theatre). The Costume Trail trail mostly spans clothing from 1740 to the present day but also includes a 1612 jacket. It’s free, it’s educational, and there’s a chance to win four tickets to the Connaught Cinema if you correctly answer questions featured in the trail map, which is available from the museum welcome desk.
We’re Going on a Bear Hut, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Mon 3 – Wed 5 April
If you’ve got children of a pre- or infant school age, you will know this gorgeous, award-winning book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The play adaption of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt comes to Sussex on the back of a West-End and international tour. Watch actors wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud in pursuit of a bear. Tickets are £12.
LONDON AND SURROUNDS
Fire! Fire! Museum of London, until 17 April
This hols is your last chance to catch this interactive Great Fire of London exhibition that brings history lessons to life. Step into Pudding Lane and see what conditions were like for ordinary Londoners in the 17th century. Walk into the bakery where the fire started and see how the flames spread across the city. Play archaeologist and identify real objects melted by the flames. Hear personal stories of the people affected by the disaster. There’s even a restored 17th century fire engine on display. Tickets cost from £8 for adults if booked in advance, £4 for 5-16s.
FREE Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands, London, until 3 Sept
I saw a preview of this exhibition on the telly and it looks amazing. It’s the most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail to be displayed and has gone on display alongside the story of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Over 10,000 artefacts shine a light on people in almost every important period of the Capital’s history from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. There are skeletons, tools, pottery, even makeshift ice skate blades fashioned from bones. Entry is free.
Jurassic Kingdom – Osterley Park, Isleworth, London TW7 – Sat 1 to Mon 17 April
Jurassic Kingdom: Where Dinosaurs Came to Life kicks off in London’s Osterley Park on 1 April, where more than 30 true-to-life animatronic dinosaur models and installations will be ready to roar, spit and snarl at those brave enough to get up close and personal. Tickets: adults £13.50; kids £11.50; family £46.
Urban Festival, Southbank, London
There are breakdancing battles, dance residencies, workshops, lots of free family events, workshops and parties at the South Bank Centre’s Urban Festival showcasing the best in street culture from 1 – 17 April.
Robot Zoo, Horniman’s Museum, London SE23, until Sun 29 Oct
It doesn’t get much cooler than a robotic zoo. Let’s be fair it needs to be impressive to schlep deep into south east London. But it’ll be worth it to see a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-ft tentacles and a mahoosive house fly with a vacuum cleaner for a mouth at the Horniman’s Museum in Honor Oak. All the robot animals are made from everyday machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the creations will reveal how real anatomy works. Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time. Tickets: Adults £7; Kids, £4.
Adventures in Moominland, Southbank Centre, London, until 23 Apr
You’ve gotta love the Moomins and over the hols you and yours can check out this new exhibition and take a wondrous journey through Moominland. Clamber through forests, huddle in caves or set sail on the high seas to try and find the Moomin family. Tickets cost from £13.50.
The Sherlock Holmes Experience, Madame Tussaud’s, ongoing
A departure for Madam Tussauds, this new Sherlock Holmes Experience (included in the normal ticket price) is live walk-through adventure. Journeying from 221B Baker Street to Dartmoor where a demon hound lurks, with plenty of stops along the way. You must help Dr. Watson find the missing Sherlock Holmes to reach a dramatic ‘watery’ conclusion. The experience is totally interactive with textured theatrical sets laden with detail, hidden clues and special effects. Bring your own deerstalker.