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Spring into action this Easter

by Pete Leary

Category: Things to do
March 10 2016
Easter at Hever CastleHever Castle, Kent

Easter and springtime mean longer evenings and more time for outdoor activities. Seize the day hiking, mountain biking and even blindfold 4x4 driving. Or, what about a treasure hunt at Swinton Park, seal spotting in the Scilly Isles and paddle boarding past Brunel’s SS Great Britain?

Easter egg hunts

Peter Rabbit stands in front of a Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria

You'll discover a bunch of Easter treats at Swinton Park in the Yorkshire Dales this year. As well as children's cookery courses and Easter Afternoon Tea, kids can follow the Woodland Easter Trail throughout the Easter holidays at the Swinton Bivouac. There are also Easter accommodation breaks available that include special school holiday packages.

Everyone, from kids to grown-ups, loves Peter Rabbit – so an Easter trip to The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria is a real treat. On Saturday April 9, 150 beautiful limited-edition ceramic eggs will be hidden around the Lake District National Park. Stumble across one of the lucky eggs and you could win a stay in a top Lake District hotel, entrance to fantastic family attractions, and even tickets to the show, ‘Where is Peter Rabbit?’ – the Beatrix Potter musical adventure.

From 19 March to 10 April, the Kew Gardens’ Easter Festival is packed with family-friendly events and activities that explore the story of chocolate and our love of this sweet treat. Kids can follow the Lindt Gold Bunny Flavour Trail, and there are also chocolate kitchen sessions, face-painting and chocolate wrapper workshops to enjoy.

At Hever Castle & Gardens in Kent, from 23 March to 10 April, as well as the Lindt Easter Bunny Hunt you can discover the history of Easter and learn about other Easter traditions as you take on a quiz in the castle. You can also make and decorate an Easter bonnet at the daily craft workshops.

Activity holidays

Bare feet rest on exotic plants in the Scilly Isles

Walk Scilly 2016 (April 9-15) is back this year with more than 20 guided and themed walks across the islands, with everything from wildlife spotting and wild food foraging to beachcombing with a local artist. The isles are renowned for their turquoise waters, white sand beaches and exotic plants – you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed smack bang in the middle of the Med!

Norfolk has over 1,200 miles of walking routes, set within a habitat of flat marshes, meandering waterways and rolling shingle. Keep your eyes peeled for playful otters and flitting kingfishers along the Wherryman’s Way or go seal spotting by taking a boat trip to Blakeney Point.

Elsewhere in Nottingham, follow in the footsteps of Nottingham’s legendary outlaw. Grab an Ordnance Survey map from the nearest bookshop and start at the Robin Hood statue outside Nottingham Castle. Highlights along the 105-mile Robin Hood Way include the Major Oak, reputedly used as a hideout by Robin Hood and his merry men, and Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of literary bad boy Lord Byron.

On yer bike!

A cyclist takes a rest on a beach in Brighton

New for March 2016 is the Flyup Downhill mountain biking project in the Cotswolds, where you can maximise your time riding down a great selection of woodland trails, as when you reach the bottom there's a superb minibus uplift service waiting for you. Fit for anyone on two wheels; the project will be home to riding suitable for all off-road cycling disciplines, and all ages and abilities.

The Sandstone Way in Northumberland is a 120-mile mountain-biking route, running the length of the Sandstone Ridge between Berwick-on-Tweed and Hexham. Whether you follow the route up or down, you’ll relish losing yourself amongst Northumberland’s rugged countryside and coastal wilds, skirting sandstone crags, flying past rocky outcrops and even crossing Hadrian’s Wall.

MAMILs aka ‘middle-aged men in Lycra’ – and all other cyclists for that matter – can sport their spandex with pride, as Brighton becomes part of the National Cycling Network and a nationally selected Cycling Town. Try the nine-mile Coastal Cycle Route from Shoreham Port to Rottingdean for a flat, easy cycle or flex your calves for the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park on the Seafront to the Downs Route.

Fancy yourself a bit of a Bradley Wiggins? Then the 35-mile Grand Tour of Pendle is for you, challenging even well-seasoned cyclists with countless climbs and thrilling descents through rugged Pennine moorland and on towards the Ribble Valley, cycling back amidst the industrial heritage of the 200-year-old Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

For the daredevil in you…

Paddle boarders exploring Bristol Harbour

Take nighttime driving to a whole new level with blindfold 4x4 driving at the Adrenalin Jungle Activity Centre near Nottingham. Bumping along an obstacle course, blindfolded, with nothing but your teammates’ instructions to help you, what’s initially an unnerving experience soon turns into an exhilarating exercise in teamwork and skill.

Or how’s about this for a new challenge this spring? Climb the Zip tower at the end of Bournemouth Pier and Pier zip-surf over the waves to the shore. There’s even a dual line so riders can race family or friends to the landing pad on Bournemouth beach.

For those who enjoy their activity holidays with a quirky twist, SUP Bristol offers stand up paddleboarding right in the heart of Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Put your balance and core strength to the test as you glide past iconic ships like SS Great Britain or, if you’re a beginner, pop along for a 1.5hr taster session that’ll have you paddling with confidence in no time.

 

Find family break ideas for Easter and other holiday ideas for spring

Pete Leary

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