50 things to do in Hampshire this Easter
PUBLISHED: 10:27 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:44 02 April 2015
Keep everyone in the family entertained this Easter break with our list of 50 eggcellent adventures to enjoy across Hampshire
1 Easter is a wonderful time at Exbury and from April 3 to 6, the Five Arrows Gallery will be open with a stunning display of Exbury’s own Lachenallia collection. There are surprises in store on the Railway – spot the Easter Bunnies hiding in the woods and look out for Exbury’s woodland animals who will be putting on their Easter bonnets. For more information visit www.exbury.co.uk.
2 One way to keep most little ones happy over the holidays is a chance to meet Peppa Pig. Re-live the endless DVD replays by taking to the skies in Miss Rabbit’s helicopter ride or hop aboard Grandpa Pig’s little train. Paultons Park will also be launching a hand-crafted Victorian carousel – adding a little fairytale magic in time for Easter. See www.paultonspark.co.uk for tickets.
3 Down at Finkley Down Farm, from April 3 to 19, it’s their Easter ‘Eggstravaganza’. See the baby chicks, baby rabbits, piglets and lambs. Keep an eye out for the Mad Hatter and Easter bunny who will be there each day. You can also follow the Easter Trail and win a prize, plus there will be pony rides and sheep racing everyday. See www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk to find out more.
4 At Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, until April 26, the little ones can enjoy some LEGO® fun at ‘Bricks in Motion’ – the history of transport in LEGO® bricks. Also planned is LEGO Minifigure making, LEGO Play tables, dressing up costumes and Under 5s Play Post office, Vintage Penny arcade and 1940s sweet shop experience. You need to book for the challenge, £15 per child. See www3.hants.gov.uk/milestones
5 Winchester’s Easter bunny has been hiding colourful clues around the city, and families are invited to help find them to crack a puzzling code to win a treat, starting at Winchester Tourist Information Centre. Pick up the free quiz sheet from the centre and hop into shops along the numbered trail on the map to collect your egg-shaped clues.
6 Marwell is organising their popular Wild Egg Hunt over the Easter weekend where children will be able to collect their very own chocolate egg. Hop along to see the Easter Bunny too. See www.marwell.org.uk
7 There’s another Easter Trail to follow at Staunton Country Park from April 3 to 6. Not only that, there are animal encounters and crafts, plus take part in their Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and meet the Easter Bunny. A small charge applies for some crafts and activities.
8 The Pirates of Treasure Island is the Easter pantomime at the Kings Theatre in Southsea on April 11 and 12. Starring Edele Lynch from B*Witched and CBBC’s Sid Sloane, this swash buckling adventure is packed with treasure maps, one-legged pirates, tropical islands, parrots, mutiny and the dreaded black spot! Tickets start at £13 for children, £15 adults. Call 02392 828282 or see www.kingsportsmouthco.uk
9 It is Easter lambing time at Manydown Farm near Basingstoke. There are also tractor rides, colouring activities and plenty of tea and cake to enjoy for mums and dads. See www.manydownfamilyfun.co.uk
10 Go along to the little oasis of calm that is the Coutyard at Greyfriars Community Centre in Ringwood to see their Easter displays and decorations. Entry is free, Saturdays 9am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday 10.30am to 4.30pm.
11 How about a cruise along the beautiful Basingstoke canal in the John Pinkerton, from Colt Hill Wharf in Odiham? Trips are available from Easter through to September. Tickets cost £8 adults, £5 children and family tickets are £25. Call 01256 765889.
12 Take a stroll and peruse the bits and bobs at Rowlands Castle Craft Fayre on April 4. It’s open from 10am to 1pm and admission is free. Browse around 20 stalls selling craft items handmade by local people.
13 Sticking with markets, the Community Art, Craft & Gift Market will be at Jubilee Hall in Bishop’s Waltham on April 4 with a splendid array of creative wares. There’s a Children’s Crafting area too. Entry to the market is free.
14 Go along to Port Solent on April 4 for a day of discovery. Get up close to many wild animals and reptiles, experience the fun of kayaking and paddleboarding in the marina, testing out the menus of the restaurants on site and finding out about the many new things to do and see in the area. Best of all, the Discovery Day is free, from 11am to 4pm. See www.portsolent.com
15 Also at Port Solent, visit the waterside market on April 5. Find handmade crafts including some of the prettiest soft furnishings you will ever see and bakers with delicious cakes and biscuits. See www.portsolent.com for more information.
16 Viables Craft Centre in Basingstoke will be offering miniature train rides on Easter Monday. Go along for a ride around their 1,000ft track, a single ticket includes two laps of the track. Open from 11am to 4pm. Tickets are only £1.50.
17 Head outdoors for an Easter walk and a spot of bird watching at Keyhaven on Bank Holiday Monday. You’ll hopefully be able to spot early spring migrants such as Sand Martin, Wheatear, Little Ringed Plover and lingering winter birds. It starts at 8am and costs £7.50 per person.
18 Nursted Farm in Buriton is opening its gates to the general public during the peak of lambing season. With hundreds of sheep to give birth, this is a unique chance to see lambs actually being born, taking their first few steps, and nursing from their mother. Go along on April 11 and 12, tickets are £5 for adults and £3 for children. It’s open from 2.30m to 4pm.
19 Head to Portchester for an Easter Community Art, Craft & Gift Market at the community centre on April 14, 10am to 2pm. There’s a Children’s Crafting area, where children can have a go at making a mini project to take home for just £1.50 per project. Entry is free.
20 The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton has something the whole family can enjoy on April 7, a family drama workshop called The Ocean’s Favourite Song. Meet Crabby Crab and Great White Shark at Vikki Simmons workshop. There are three, one at 10am, 1pm and at 3pm. It costs just £4.
21 At Portsmouth Historic Dockyard children can follow the Easter Egg Trail on HMS Warrior between April 3 and 6. Solve the clues to find the Easter Eggs – completely free with admission to the Dockyard.
22 Also at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Action Stations will be the venue for an Easter Egg Workshop over the Bank Holiday. The little ones will be able to colour their own designer egg, then cut it out and add it to the giant decorated egg display. Free with a valid Action Stations single attraction ticket. See www.historicdockyard.co.uk for more information.
23 From April 8 to 10, the Young Winchester Theatre Royal are holding a drama masterclass over three days. For youngsters between 12 and 18, they will learn physical theatre, circus, choreography and voice and acting skills, working with leading professionals. The three-day boot camp culminates in a mini performance on the Theatre Royal’s stage. Tickets are £70, call 01962 840440 to book.
24 Pantos aren’t just for Christmas it seems, as The Anvil’s Easter panto is Beauty and the Beast on April 15, with performances at 2pm and 6pm. Starring comedy legend Bobby Davro as Silly Billy, CBBC’s Dani Harmer as Beauty and Lee Latchford-Evans from Steps, as the Prince. Tickets are £20 for adults, £18 for children. See www.anvilarts.org.uk to book.
25 Test your general knowledge on April 11 at the Easter Quiz, hosted by the Hawk Conservancy, near Andover. Tickets cost £10 per person (includes a hot supper). Go to www.hawk-conservancy.org to find out more.
26 Hire an electric bike for a few hours and explore the Shipwrights Way or the beautiful Hangers. You can stop off at the network of Charge Points on the way for refreshment and to recharge your battery. Book on 01730 266644.
27 The Sustainability Centre in East Meon is holding an Easter Basket & Hunt on April 7. For £9, little ones can make a basket and then go on a scavenger hunt in the woods to find a prize.
28 In the New Forest, at Blashford Lakes, take the I-Spy Challenge every day until April 19. It’s free, between 9am and 4.30pm.
29 On April 5 at Avon Tyrell Outdoor Activity Centre is an Easter Egg Hunt Activity Challenge. It runs between 9am and 2pm and costs just £3 for children.
30 Head to the Education Centre at Blashford Lakes on April 5 when the tots will have their own ‘eggstravaganza’ to take part in from 10am to midday. They will discover what you will find in a nest… using games stories and activities. Book on 01425 472760.
31 In the north of the county, Highclere Castle is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt in support of Naomi House and Jacksplace on April 5 from 10am to 4pm. It’s £5 per person, which includes a chocolate egg on the day. There will also be some special guests to visit on the day too.
32 Visit Beaulieu and have a go on the giant Scalextric track, or create your own F1 car. There’s a Mini Car Driving Circuit and go-karts too, or have your face painted at Palace House and find Victorian games; the Easter bunny will be hopping along too.
33 Ever thought of combining paddling and egg hunting? Well New Forest Activities have, and on April 5 and 6 you will be able to explore the river to discover their secret stash of eggs. For times and to book see www.newforestactivities.co.uk
34 If you’re exploring the forest over the holidays then a trip to Furzey Gardens is a must. They have a Bug Barn for the little ones plus there are plenty of activities to keep them busy while you enjoy the flora and fauna.
35 Young and old will enjoy the Titanic exhibition at the exceptional SeaCity museum in Southampton. Find out what life was like onboard on April 10 from 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Pre-book your tickets on 02380 834536.
36 There’s an Easter Fair at Southampton Common from April 2 to 12. There will be rides for the kids and the traditional market on Bank Holiday Monday.
37 The National Trust are holding their annual Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trail and Easter Bunny Ball at Mottisfont from April 3 to 19, 10am to 5pm. It’s £2 with normal entry.
38 At Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, as well as the Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trail there will also be face-painting from April 3 to 6, 11am to 4pm. Normal admission plus £3 per trail. Look out for the newly born lambs!
39 The Vyne, near Basingstoke, is also holding a Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trail on April 5 and 6 from 10am to 4pm, for an extra £3. Follow the Henry VIII trail for a chocolaty egg-head.
40 Easter Sunday lunch is always the real treat of the weekend, and if you’re having family over then you’re going to need some special ingredients to impress them with. Fareham’s Farmers’ Market on the Saturday is the place to go, with locally produced goodies a plenty. It’s open from 9am to 2pm.
41 At Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham on April 10, there are lots of Easter activities for the whole family. Make a sun print of a real museum specimen as well as photo-related projects linked to their special exhibit. It costs £2 for children.
42 Explore the 17th century corn mill at Winchester City Mill as you follow the Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trail. The whole family can visit from April 3 to 6, between 10am and 4.30pm, normal admission plus £2 per trail. There will be Easter baking demonstrations too where you can find out how to make some delicious seasonal treats. It’s free with admission between 11am – 3pm. There’s also hot cross bun baking on April 3, plus chocolate baking on April 12 and 18.
43 The Chuckles of Oz is at The Princes Theatre in Aldershot on April 10, at 2pm. Dorothy, The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow are among the familiar characters joining the Wizards (Paul and Barry). Tickets are £14 for adults, £11 for children. Call 01252 329155 or visit www.princeshall.com
44 Have you been to Leckford Nursery recently? It’s a great place to visit over the Bank Holiday. Treat yourself to some local produce in the shop before indulging in a cream tea on the patio (weather permitting). The Water Gardens are just a short walk away too.
45 As if a visit to The Museum of Army Flying wasn’t exciting enough, over the Easter weekend the Easter Bunny will be hiding clues around the museum. Kids can solve the clues to collect egg tokens for chocolaty rewards. Best thing is, it’s free with normal entry.
46 Foxbury at Half Moon Common is very rarely open to the public, but the National Trust has a special Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trail there on April 5 and 6 from 11am to 4pm. There will be chain sawing and an all day barbecue. Admission is £4.
47 On April 3, Tylney Hall in Rotherwick will be hosting a delectable three-course fish lunch created by the hotel’s Executive Head Chef, Stephen Hine. It costs £28.50pp and you need to book on 01256 745533.
48 From flying through the solar system, to exploring the human body, there are over 100 fascinating experiences to try at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium. See www.winchestersciencecentre.org
49 If you manage to have any time off for yourself, then why not enjoy a pamper on a spa evening at Limewood’s Herb House? For £95, you can spend four hours in the spa, and it includes a 30-minute treatment. See www.limewoodhotel.co.uk
50 If the weather’s on your side, then take a boat trip out to Hurst Castle. Built by Henry VIII, it was one of the most advanced military fortresses in the country. Entrance is £4.50 for adults, £2.60 for children.