Easter holidays guide
Egg hunts, crafts, shows, workshops, outdoors fun and much more to keep youngsters happy and out of your hair this Easter
What’s on for the Easter holidays in Sussex? Well how about this lot? 20+ ideas to keep everyone busy.
Art Saturday, Brighton Dome, Sat 7 April
Young artists are invited to join illustrator Woody for a fun workshop as she shares her drawing, collage and character creation know-how. All materials are provided and they’ll leave with their own art project. Tickets are £5 and there are two 90 minute sessions – one for 5-7s, one for 8-10s.
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, various National Trust properties, Mar 30 – Apr 15
Whether your little-ones are playing detective or wildlife explorer, there’s a chocolatey treat at the end of every National Trust Easter egg hunt, with plenty of games and activities to keep them entertained. Devil’s Dyke, Sheffield Park, Nymans, Alfriston Clergy House, Standen Park, Petworth House, Birling Gap, Monk’s House and Bateman’s are all taking part. Use the link to find a hunt near you. There’s a small charge on top of admission.
Springtime Studio/Look, Think, Make, De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Sat 31 March/ Sun 8 April
Celebrate the new season with an assortment of family-friendly creative activities, available Sat 31 March 11.00 -15.00, It’s £1 per person, big or small, and aimed at all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. There’s also a similar Look, Think, Make drop in craft session on Sun 8 April, 14.00 – 16.00.
Trail, craft and events, Borde Hill, Good Fri 30 March – Sat 14 April
Borde Hill’s garden and adventure playground are open daily 10am – 5pm and there are free craft kits, and puzzle trail sheets that lead to a chocolate prize. Kids can meet the Easter Bunny on selected days from Good Friday to Wed 4 April. There’s also storytelling for families on 4 and 14 April and face painting and balloon modelling on 5 April. Normal admission prices apply plus £2 for trails. Picnics and dogs on leads are welcome.
DROP OFF Stop Animation workshop, DC1 Gallery & Cafe, Eastbourne, Sat 7 April
Animazing does some great workshops for kids and this holiday is no exception. 8 – 16s can spend three hours working on a stop animation project from set and character building to filming and publishing on You Tube. It costs £12. Drop them off, or stay to watch.
DROP OFF Easter vacation Multi-Sports Camp, Hurstpierpoint College, Tues 10, Wed 11 and Thurs 12 April
Organised by sports staff at Hurst’s Pre-Prep, boys and girls in Years 1 – 5 from any school can attend this camp offering athletics, cricket, netball, football, rounders, basketball, gymnastics, dance and, more unusually, cheerleading, Danish longball and dodgeball. There are also arts and crafts and team building activities. It runs 9.00 to 15.00. One day costs £40, two £70 and three £110.
Peter Rabbit Goes Wild, Wakehurst, Ardingly, 30 March – 15 April
Sussex’s Kew outpost Wakehurst has Peter Rabbit-themed activities this Easter. There’ll be crafts and storytelling, a chocolate egg trail, a sack race and the chance to learn more about garden veg and get your hands dirty in the potting shed. Most activities are free (£4 for the egg trail) with standard admission and under 16s get in free. Hop to it! Also get booked up for badger watching on Tues nights from 10 April!
DROP OFF Sussex Wildlife Trust spring holiday clubs, various locations, various dates, April 4 onwards
Pond dipping, bug hunting and woodland survival are the theme at a series of Sussex Wildlife Trust holiday clubs. Some have sold out already so check the link and book your mud-loving youngsters quick on one of the remainders. You can even get really organised for the clubs in summer!
Madhatter’s Tea Party, Bluebell Railway, Kingscote station, 30 March – 2 April
A Madhatter’s party, giant games and a mini zoo will greet you on arrival at Kingscote station on the Bluebell Railway this Easter. There’s also a maddest hat competition! Prices including unlimited travel on the day are from £11 for children, £17.50 for adults, in advance, more on the day.
Pros From The Shows: Billy Elliot Workshop, The Capitol, Horsham, Tues 10 April
The perfect masterclass for aspiring dancers aged 8-18 with real West End pro Josh Baker. Two 90 minute sessions cover all ages and dance levels. They each cost £30 and sibling discounts are available.
Let’s Make workshops, King Johns Nursery, Etchingham, 5, 6, 11 and 12 April
Some lovely-sounding workshops coming up at this nursery, which also has a rather good cafe. On Thurs 5 April kids can make a Japanese windsock, on Fri 6 April, an etched glass lantern, on Wed 11 April a Mandala banner and on Thurs 12 April a mosaic tea cup and saucer. Workshops are £12.50 each including light refreshments and suitable for ages 5+ except the glass etching (7-11 years).
Milkshake Live! The Hawth, Crawley, Sun 8 April
Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, and more will be singing songs and sharing stories at this stage version of TV’s Milkshake! There are two afternoon performances at noon and 15.30. Adults £17, kids £12 – £15, family of four £60.
DROP OFF Techno Junk Portraits/ free Easter trail and craft, Charleston, near Lewes, Mon 9 & Tues 10 April
Young creatives aged eight to 12 can turn discarded mechanical, technological and digital objects into flat and 3D junk portraits at Charleston on this two day workshop under the guidance of designer, illustrator and educator Mike Stones. Quite fancy this myself! It’s £70 for the two days.
Noggin the Nogg, Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Fri 13 April
‘In the Lands of the North where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea…’ Noggin the Noggin and his brilliantly monikered nemesis Nogbad the Bad had been off on their viking sagas a fair while before I even caught them as a kid. They used to be a cardboard stop animation series, now they’re set to enchant a new generation in a live show with puppets which handily coincides with the Easter hols. Tickets are £14.
.Signs of Spring Children’s event / Children’s photography club, Railway Land, Lewes, Fri 13 April/ Sun 22 April – 13 May
Pop down to the Railway Land Wildlife Trust on 13 April for pond dipping, a bird walk, arts, crafts and seed planting for £4.50 per child (non-members). Talking Trees Woodland Playgroup will be running a woodland cafe and forest school taster sessions.
On April 22 – Sun 13 May there’s a photography club for 8 – 13s run by Wildlife expert Steve Homewood (£48 for non-members).
Family Day, Fontwell Park, Fri April 6
If the kids are having chocolate egg withdrawal by the end of Easter week, get them to Fontwell Park racecourse where they get in free and there’s an Easter Egg Hunt, mini Fairground Rides, bouncy castles, face painting, a balloon artist, and a petting zoo, with lambs, chicks, rabbits, ducklings and guinea pigs.
DROP OFF Teen coastal photography workshops, Itchenor Sailing Club, near Chichester, 6 and 13 April
Chichester Harbour has wonderful light and plenty of visual interest from people, dogs, sky, boats, birds and even seals. Ali Warner is running photography workshops for teens during the hols on 6 April (13-15 yrs) and 13 April (16-18 yrs). They run from 09.30-16.30, meeting at Itchenor Sailing Club, and cost £80 each.
DROP OFF Zine Making with Cult Milk, Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, Wed 11 April
Leave kids with Cult Milk to create a fun personalised ‘zine full of their own drawings and ideas based around the museum’s exhibitions and using coloured paper, pens, printouts, stickers and card. It’s aimed at ages 7+ and runs 11.00am to 3.00pm. £23.50 per child. These drop off workshops tend to sell out quickly (alas the grafitti one already has) so get on it quick.
FREE Easter Egg trail, Bolney Wine Estate, near Haywards Heath, Sat 31 March to Mon 2 April
Bolney has a vineyard trail for children with an activity sheet that will lead them to a free Easter egg prize. Its cafe and restaurant will be open daily and there’s a special brunch menu across the whole Easter weekend.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Sun 8 April
Based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto, this swashbuckling production will whisk young audiences away on a fantastic adventure to a world of devious dinosaurs, deep sea dangers and smelly sausages. The last touring production was a big hit. Tickets are £12.
FREE Egg hunt, Yellow Wave, Brighton, Fri 30 March – Fri 6 April
This beach volleyball court with a nice cafe on Madeira Drive is a great place to hang out at any time and watch sportier people doing their thing – even better, for Easter there’s a free egg hunt on. It’s aimed at 2-7 yr-olds (though others can take part) and they just have to find all ten pictures round the venue to claim a chocolate treat. There’s also a sandpit on site and a playground next door.
DROP OFF Branching Out Adventures school holiday club, Halland, East Sussex, Mon 2 – Fri 13 April
Your kids get to muck around the treetops and you get to do what you like (well, at least work at any rate) with this new drop off club for the Easter hols. It’s for 8-15-year-olds, runs 9.00am – 4.00pm daily and costs £26 per child per day. Rope activities, climbing walls, zip wiring and campfire and shelter making are all part of the fun.
Combat, dance and yoga and Jedi workshops, CYC:D Studio, Haslemere, Surrey, various dates, 3 – 12 April
CYC:D Studio is running a series of workshops for kids for them to use up some of that chocolate-induced energy. On Tues 3 April, trainer Lisa Connell will teach your little-ones moves like they’ve seen in films in the one-hour Stage Combat Workshop, suitable for ages 7-12, (£15). In the 90 min The Greatest Showman Workshop on Fri 6 April kids will choreograph a dance to one of the hits from Hugh Jackman’s hit (£18). On Wed 11 April, there’s a kids yoga workshop (£15), and on Thurs 12 April, a one-hour masterclass in Jedi fighting!
FREE Automata on the Pier with Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, Hastings, Thurs 15 March – Sun 15 April
Some wonderfully quirky mechanical creations have come to Hastings Pier thanks to Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. The toys and contraptions are on display in the Memories Room. See Matt Smith’s swimming fish, Peter Markey’s wave machines and Paul Spooner’s spaghetti-eating man in a bath. Sue to inspire some creativity with Meccano back home. It’s open daily 10am-5pm and admission is free.
Egg Hunt, Sharnfold Farm & Shop, Eastbourne, Fri 30 – Sat 31 March
Ringing the changes, it’s mischievous moles who have stolen the eggs at Sharnfold Farm. Find them on Good Friday and Saturday 10.00 – 16.00. Entry £5 per child, adults free.
Family Easter events Parham House, near Pulborough, Sun 1 and Mon 2 April
A garden trail, face painting, craft activities, storytelling and the opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny are all on offer at Parham House on Easter Sunday and Monday. One adult and two children get in for £16, further adults £11, further children £6. You can also book ahead for a play version of David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang coming up outdoors here on Sun 27 May.
Alice in Wonderland, Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells, 13 April – 15 Apr
You’ll want to catch this HARE-larious Easter holiday production, showing at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, this Easter. Join Alice as she takes a tumble down the rabbit hole into the wonderful world of, er, Wonderland. Grin along with your mudlets like a pack of Cheshire cats as you go on this epic adventure, meeting zany new friends along the way.
Circus Fun at Easter, Leeds Castle, Kent, Fri 30 Mar to Mon 2 Apr
Prepare to be amazed this Easter weekend as ‘Tarzanna’ presents a playful outdoor aerial theatre show, where the performers climb, jump and swing through the air before your eyes. As a bonus, children can learn circus skills throughout the day, including the trapeze and tightrope!
A big day out with Peter Rabbit™, Kew Gardens, Surrey, 30 Mar – 15 April
Easter sees the start of a new trail based on Peter Rabbit and other famous Beatrix Potter characters. More permanent pleasures include the tree top walk, the 17 metre tall Hive sensory experience, a 14,000 tree arboretum and the Palm House.
The Making of Harry Potter, Watford, Fri 30 Mar – Sun 23 Sept
This WB Studio Tour company never runs out of new reasons to get families back to this paean to the boy wizard. A new special feature dedicated entirely to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment of the magical film series, revealing secrets behind the characters, costumes and props that made it so special.
Easter Festival, Plumpton Racecourse, Sun 1 and Mon 2 April
Making Easter weekend plans beyond chocolate scoffing? Check out the Plumpton Racecourse Easter Festival. There’ll be lots to keep you and yours amused besides racing, including a fun fair, face painting, live music, a strolling magician and donkey rides. Best of all, under-18s get in free and advance adult tickets start from a tenner.
Normans and Crusaders, Arundel Castle, Sat 31 March – Mon 2 April
Arundel Castle reopens for the season with a bang (or rather a crash of swords on armour) with live 12th Century demonstrations, activities and crafts, including have-a-go archery for the over 8s. This year marks the 950th anniversary of the castle’s initial construction, so expect a packed programme as we head towards summer.
Awful Auntie, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Wed 6 – Sat 9 June
From the producers of the great Gangsta Granny stage show comes the premiere of David Williams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship, appearing in Brighton this June. It features a very old car, a very large owl and a very small ghost and it’s selling fast so get scheming to get a ticket (from £23.50).
Dinosaur World Live, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, 13-15 July
This interactive family show brings life-like beasts to the stage, so if your child would like to tickle T-Rex under the chin get organised for the summer hols and get some tickets in the bag now.
ON THE MOVE?
Check out the Easter holidays guides from some other Muddy counties: