If you’re looking for things to do with the children this Easter then you’re in the right place.

Easter proper falls on these days this year:

  • 5-21 April – School holidays.
  • 18 April – Maundy Thursday - religious celebrations.
  • 19 April Good Friday – Bank holiday!
  • 22 April Easter Sunday – Chocolate! The end to Lent fasting, so get the chocolate/Twitter/wine/Fortnite (delete as applicable) out and fill your boots.
  • 23 April – Easter Monday – Bank holiday!

As usual, the Easter period gives us a four-day weekend to play with. Add in the school holidays – those little ones will need entertaining – plus (fingers crossed) glorious Spring weather, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect week, with the right prep. Here are a handful of activities to get you out and about on the South Western Railway network this Easter.

London Waterloo

St Paul’s Cathedral

There’s a bucketload of events to enjoy over the Easter Weekend in London. Seeing how Easter’s one of the biggest religious events in the UK, how about heading to church? And by ‘church’, we mean one of the most iconic buildings in Europe.

At St Paul’s, as you’d imagine, there’s a lot going on. The whole list is here and it includes three hours of readings and Prayers on Good Friday, where people are invited to come and go as they please from midday, and the Eucharist on Easter Sunday at 11.30, celebrated under the dome with people from around the world.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Family Trails and Games
The V&A runs family-based activities across the year including The Undiscovered Museum trail and family games you can follow with quizzes and hairstyling challenges to complete on your phone or tablet. The full family schedule is right here.

Southbank Centre

Easter at the Southbank Centre (6-22 April)
If you want fun times and tons for the kids to do during the holidays then the Southbank Centre is the place to be. There’s an Easter bonnetful of great shows and tons of free family fun to boot. For starters, they’ve got Tabby McTat – the show based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Then there’s sensory play in giant sandpits, illuminated by graphics to a soundtrack created by your own movement (the kids will get it). There’s even free child-based DJ sets, live music, and a dance takeover by HomeBros.

Tabby McTat (image credit Julia Donaldson and Axel Schefller)

Windsor and Eton

Windsor Racecourse

Easter Eggstravaganza Raceday (15 April)
‘Kids go free’ is a phrase we all love and it’s definitely applicable to Windsor’s first ever Easter Eggstravaganza Raceday. There are prizes in the Easter egg hunt, bouncy castles, a mini farm and face paints – all free. You can also enjoy the fun of a regular race day into the bargain.

Cosham

Elizabeth Foundation

Easter Fun Day (17 April, 13:00-15:00)
We’re talking a fun-filled afternoon in the one-acre garden and play area, including the stars of the show: baby alpacas Pippin and Nugget. This promises to be a lovely community event at this amazing foundation for deaf children, with an Easter Bonnet competition, and Easter Egg hunt, raffle and face painting.

Poole

Poole Museum

Bouncing Bunny Easter Trail (6-22 April)
Make and Take Easter Craft (17 April)

On the Bouncing Bunny Trail, you can take the children on a trip around the museum and spot all of the hidden bunnies to win a chocolate prize. Yum. Meanwhile, on Thursday (17 April) you and the kids can make an Easter Egg collecting cup – perfect for storing all their finds on those upcoming Easter Egg hunts.

Brownsea Island

Trails (6-22 April)
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt (19-22 April)

Brownsea Island is a wonderful place to take the children at any time of year and under pretty much any circumstances. It’s a glorious National Trust property filled with woodland wildlife, coastal critters and happy outdoor adventure. It’s the birthplace of The Scouts, so there’s loads of wholesome activities laid on and it’s camper-friendly too.

Trails, campfires, den-building, climbing, wildlife rambles, it’s all going on here, along with an Easter Egg hunt and Easter craft-making. Come to this island haven if you want the brood to forget all about their tablets for a while.

Hampton Court

Hampton Court Palace

Easter Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt (6-22 April)
Henry VIII may be long gone but his gardens are still here and this hunt will showcase them in all their splendour. Grab a trail map at the entrance and follow the course to find the hidden bunny statues around the gardens. You should get a good hour and a half of fresh air and activity to balance the intensive chocolate eating that’s bound to be happening. The route is designed for children aged 3-12 years old (and their families).

Hampton Court Palace has plenty more up its greensleeves too. There’s the Magic Garden and, of course, the fascinating and history-rich Palace itself, so prepare yourself for a fantastic day-long adventure.

Gold Lindt Bunny Hunt at Hampton Court Palace (image credit Historic Royal Palaces)

Twickenham

World Rugby Museum

Chocolate Egg Chasers: Easter Arts and Crafts (8-9 April)
This is potentially the only time of the year when rugby fans will embrace talk of egg-shaped balls. Activities here include drop-in arts and crafts sessions and an ‘egg-chasers hunt’. Plus you can introduce fans (young and old) to the museum itself, in which they’ll discover the fascinating story of rugby, including the Calcutta Cup, the world's oldest international football trophy.

Dorchester

Shire Hall

Count Your Chickens (6-22 April)
Shire Hall Courthouse Museum crops up on many school curriculums as children are taught about the laws of the land. The museum holds events throughout the year and is one of the great hidden treasures found on the South Western Railway network.

Bring the little ones here for a family-friendly Easter Egg trail and craft session. And, while you’re here, it’d be a crime to miss out on the museum’s historic jail cells.

Portsmouth

Spinnaker Tower

Easter Fun at the Tower (throughout Easter)
If you haven’t been to Spinnaker Tower yet this is a great opportunity to take advantage of one of the best attractions on the South coast. With a glass floor that reveals the staggering 100-metre drop below, you’ll soon see your kids are braver than you. There’s also the Sky Garden on the top deck that will be springing into a technicolour life round about now.

Over the Easter break the tower will be open every day and on both Saturdays (13 April, 20 April) Bing and Flop from the CBeebies show Bing will be turning up to entertain and meet their public – check the website for more details.

Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Richmond

Ham House

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Ham House (6-22 April)
Sitting in stately repose on the banks of the Thames, this 17th-century house is a rare treat. It has an incredibly impressive collection of paintings, furniture and textiles. Meanwhile, the restored gardens complement the house and the maze-like ‘Wilderness’ is filled with perfect spots for a picnic.

All this beauty will play second banana to the Egg Hunt during the Easter break through. There are 10 lost feathers around the gardens: find the feathers, learn about their owners and collect your chocolatey prize. But there’s more, with an Egg and Spoon race, arts and crafts, and even fancy dress in the back parlour. This promises to be a great event and will introduce you to yet another fun destination that’s just a hop away.

Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth

Food & Craft Fayre (22 April)
Can’t say fairer than this: free entry, a food and craft fair and loads of activities for the children. Hardcore footie fans will want to book a stadium tour in advance, too.

Guildford

RHS Wisley

Easter at Wisley (6-22 April)
Easily one of our favourite destinations, Wisley is wonderful at any time of year. It’s the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society, so it’s a must for all members of the green-fingered club, and an inspiration to those whose interest is beginning to bud. During the holidays there are face painters, storytellers and puppet shows, plus a spring trail where you can discover hidden garden displays.

Guildford (various mystery locations!)

White Rabbit Trail (15-18 April)
If you fancy a trip to Guildford (we always fancy a trip to Guildford) and want to add an interactive Easter twist then skip to the train and stay tuned to the Experience Guildford Facebook page. Every day, between 15 and 18 April, they will release two cryptic clues revealing where in town the White Rabbit will be hopping to. Get there first and you could win one of the day’s eight goody bags.

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