Big family day trippers
Unplug yourself from the vacuum cleaner, put on your fake Freddy moustache - it's time to break free...
Do you want to break free? Go on, unplug yourself from the vacuum cleaner, put on your fake Freddy moustache and inflatable breasts and release yourself from the confine of your county. You’re bound to get at least half an hour down the road before someone arrests you.
Urban Festival, Southbank, London
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. How cool is that? Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time.
Adults £7, kids £4. horniman.ac.uk
Ocean Invaders, Sea Life London Aquarium, London SE1
The London Aquarium never disappoints. The beautiful, bonkers and plain ugly get the full point and stare treatment. This month jellyfish joins the celebrity gold fish bowl with a new permanent exhibition dedicated to Ocean Invaders’. Discover the most dangerous species and create our own digital jellyfish. It’s cheaper to book in advance, £19.50 for adults, £14.50 under 16s and under 3s for FREE!
Leeds Castle Easter Quest, near Maidstone, 1- 17 Apr
Sling the stilettos and grab your welly boots. Take a stroll in the gorgeous gardens of Leeds Castle while your kids run riot, get themselves some eggs-ercise *snigger* and seek out Easter clues hidden around the grounds on a fun Easter quest for all the family. Answer all the questions and receive a chocolate reward, which you could even give to the kids if you’re feeling kind… leeds-castle.com
Fire! Fire! – Museum of London – ends 17 April
These 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.
Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN. museumoflondon.org.uk
If you haven’t yet discovered KidZania, it’s basically the play heaven we could only dream of when we were kids. Lucky lot, our children, this is total paradise for 4 – 14 year olds has over 60 role play ‘adventures’ including real-life sets of a Hairdresser’s, Bank, Hospital, Police Station and Theatre. There’s loads of thought gone into the concept with the various activities said to help kids learn financial literacy, careers, teamwork, independence and real-life skills. Essentially though, they can just play their socks off while you get to drink coffee and read a book in the caff. kidzania.com
The Sherlock Holmes Experience, London
Sherlock fans are gonna love the new Sherlock Holmes Experience at Madame Tussaud’s in London – it’s a brilliant, interactive and visually stunning, live walk-through adventure that’s been developed with the super-cool theatre company, Les Enfants Terrible. What’s not to like! madametussauds.com
Tall Ships Regatta, Greenwich
Over the Easter weekend, 13 – 16 April, more than 30 majestic sailing vessels will be in action along the Greenwich and Woolwich riverfronts at the Tall Ships Regatta, with some ships open for visitors to get on board to look around and talk to the crew. pla.co.uk
The latest attraction arriving at Thorpe Park just in time for Easter is super-scary sounding Derren Brown’s ‘Ghost train: Rise of the Demon’ – seriously not for the faint-hearted, with live action and physical effects, it’s probably not one for your toddlers! There’s plenty for little ones to do though and the website has a brilliant ‘which rides are for you’ search by height function so you can check out the gentler options in advance. Great idea! thorpepark.com
Easter Bunny Hunt & Holiday Activities, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, 1- 17 Apr
For some magical family moments this Easter, hop through the gardens of Hever Castle on the trail of the Lindt Gold Bunny to earn a delicious chocolate treat. Sure to put a spring in everyone’s step (oh come on, work with me here)… hevercastle.co.uk
Two new reasons to visit the amazing London Zoo: Land of the Lions is a brand new immersive exhibit with walkways from where you can explore Indian-themed areas – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut. Between 1 – 17 April, there’s a special celebration of 35 years of Rod Campbell’s cult kids’ book Dear Zoo with interactive trails and activities and storytelling. No extra charge – it’s all included in entry to the Zoo.
Forbidden Forest at Harry Potter, Warner Brothers Studios
Brand new in time for the Easter Holidays, the Forbidden Forest sounds magical – filled with 19 trees with diameters of over 12 feet, you can wander arounds the giant entwined roots, meet a full-sized model of Buckbeak, and even control the weather using techniques created by filmmakers. The Forbidden Forest’s included in the ticket price and you can easily spend a day here. Sarah who helps me on Muddy found it one of the best day trips she’d ever done for her whole family, and there are a couple of decent cafes as you go round to sustain you through the tour. wbstudiotour.co.uk
Marvellous Monsters is brand new at Longleat – it opens on 8 April (it runs to October) and is a fabulous look at mini-beasts using some HUGE animatronics as well as meeting the real-life counterparts. From 1 – 23 April, you can spot Easter egg characters from the Easter Eggspress mini railway. longleat.co.uk
Science Museum, London
Masses on at this brilliant museum – spend the whole day here – including the new exhibit of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft – Soyuz TMA-19M. Also on is a new exhibition Robots, which reveals our 500-year quest to make machines human, from a 16th century mechanised monk to some of film’s most iconic robotic creations and the very latest humanoids. Finally, your kids will love Wonderlab, the newest and most spectacular interactive gallery in the world. sciencemuseum.org.uk
Trafalgar Square, London
The Passion of Jesus, is a really popular annual re-enaction of the Easter story in Trafalgar Square, Taking place on Good Friday, around 20,000 people watch 100 Wintershall Players perform and it’s all free! No tickets needed and performances are at 12 noon and 3:15 pm.
The Moomin Easter Festival at Kew Gardens
Look for Moomintrolls in the trees at Kew on the interactive Moomin trail from 1 – 17 April among spring daffodils and crocuses ending at a magical ‘Moomin Camp’ in the wild woodland of the Conservation Area. Lots of tasty delights at pop-up shops and restaurants there just for the festival and a Moomin Lindt chocolate trail on Easter Sunday. kew.org
Jurassic Kingdom at Osterley Park, Middlesex
From 1 – 17 April, the grounds of Osterley Park will be the first stop for the UK tour of Jurassic Kingdom, Amongst the grounds and gardens, there’ll be 30 full-sized, animated dinosaurs with electronic moving part including jaws opening wide with roaring sound effect! nationaltrust.org.uk