With the two-week Easter break approaching, there’s plenty of fun, family-friendly activities to be enjoyed.
Here are our favourite events and days out to treat the children to in and around London.
Easter at ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoo
With Spring in full swing, children are invited to come out of hibernation and reinvent themselves as zookeepers for a exciting role-playing experience at ZSL London Zoo. Young volunteers will be able to go behind the scenes with the experts to learn what the animal kingdom get up to at this time of year. Smaller children will love the Great Brick Safari at Whipsnade Zoo, which will see the unveiling of several majestic Lego brick animals – including an elephant that weighs a tonne in bricks.
April 6-21, NW1 4RY and LU6 2LF, zsl.org/Visit/Zoo
Easter at Kew Gardens
As well as being a utopia for playing and exploring nature, the 326-acre Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew have an array of fun activities for families to enjoy over the Easter break. Chocolate egg-lovers of all ages can learn more about the origins of their favourite treat with storytelling sessions held each Sunday in the Davies Exploration House, before visiting cocoa trees in the Palm House and Princess of Wales Conservatory. Celebrated American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly has also created a series of visually-stunning works for display at Kew. Families visiting the exhibition can try a fun, interactive, trail directing visitors around the Gardens, and encouraging children to engage with and tally up the Chihuly artworks.
April 13-21, Richmond, TW9 3AB, kew.org
Crystal Maze Live
Perfect for teens who have grown out of Easter egg hunts, the challenge-solving adventure in Shaftesbury Avenue’s Trocadero is now open to a younger audience (of 13+). Following a five million pound investment, the interactive experience is bigger than before, with more than 30 new games. Players don retro bomber jackets before entering the maze and dashing through the Medieval, Aztec, Industrial and Futuristic adventure zones to complete a series of timed mental and physical challenges. The more challenges completed successfully, the more crystals the teams win and the more time you have for the final showdown in the iconic Crystal Dome. Booking in advance is recommended.
Open now, 22-32 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7EJ, the-crystal-maze.com
Underbelly Festival Southbank
Underbelly open their doors for the 11th year this April with a roster of family-friendly shows. Following a sell-out season at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, children’s author Julia Donaldson presents The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog. Suitable for four to 10-year-olds, the show features a cast of five bringing the author’s favourite stories (including Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, The Magic Paintbrush, The Ugly Five, Superworm and The Cook and the King) to life using puppets and singing. Pre-schoolers will enjoy Monstersaurus!, which is based on the Claire Freedman book. Running until April 22, this 50-minute show follows young, budding inventor Monty who creates whacky inventions and monsters, after which he needs to figure out what he is going to do with them. Also not to be missed is the Louis Pearl’s, The Amazing Bubble Man (from May 4-6) — a thrilling show including comedy and mesmerizing bubble tricks that will leave kids gasping with amazement.
Various dates, 30 The Queen's Walk, SE1 8XX, underbellyfestival.com
Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt at Kensington Palace
Treat the kids to a truly decadent Easter egg hunt. Lindt’s tasty and iconic gold bunnies have been hidden around the gardens of the official residence of young royals William, Kate, Harry and Meghan. The hour-and-a-half hunt is designed for children aged three to 12-years-old and their families. Search for and claim your chocolate rewards before enjoying regal activities such as dressing as a Georgian courtier and playing a spot of croquet on the East Front Lawn.
From April 6-22, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX, hrp.org.uk
The Haunted House Monster Party at Legoland, Windsor
Why wait for Halloween to treat the little monsters to some ghoulish fun? Legoland’s new ride offers a ‘frightfully friendly’ experience for all the family. Join your host, Lord Vampyre in his Haunted House for an unforgettable experience. Guests will be entertained with joke-telling before taking their seats in a magnificent banquet room. Marvel at the cauldrons and potions, before Lord Vampyre reveals his mind-boggling party trick.
Winkfield Rd, SL4 4AY, legoland.co.uk
David Baddiel's ANiMALCOLM, the Musical
The multi-talented David Baddiel has become a master of storytelling and the tale of ANiMALCOLM is one his best yet, scooping up awards after the book came out in 2017. This madcap adaptation tells the story of Malcolm, a child who just doesn’t understand the appeal of animals, until an eventful school trip to a farm sends him on a journey of self-discovery. The award-winning Story Pocket Theatre bring Baddiel’s witty story to life in a production that adults will enjoy as much as kids.
Various dates, across Greater London including Watford Palace and the Radlett Centre, storypockettheatre.co.uk
The Teddy Bears' Picnic Afternoon Tea at The Hilton, Park Lane
Sweet-toothed kids — and parents — will love this indulgent afternoon tea at the five-star London Hilton. The Mayfair hotel is serving up a truly tasty array of delicacies from chocolate chip mini scones to mushroom meringues and mini chocolate cake-pops. Accompanying drinks include hot chocolate, milkshakes and fresh fruit smoothies This specially-created afternoon tea can be found at the hotel's Podium Restaurant and has been created by executive chef Anthony Marshall and the recent winner of Channel 4's Bake Off: The Professionals, pastry chef Emmanuel Bonneau. If all those sugary treats aren't enough to put a spring in their step, youngsters are also gifted a teddy bear from Hamleys to take home.
22 Park Ln, W1K 1BE, podiumrestaurant.com
Room On The Broom - A Magical Journey at Chessington World of Adventures
Following the soaraway success of The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, prolific childrens’ author Julia Donaldson has teamed up with Chessington World of Adventures again for a new, enchanting experience. A kind witch, a fearsome dragon and a quick-thinking dog, bird, cat and frog are the stars in Donaldson’s Room on The Broom, a tale which teaches kids the importance of kindness. This interactive tale takes place in an ‘enchanted library’ where kids are invited to try various sensory experiences to help the witch gather her fallen items. The new adventure opened in March, with two new themed Room on the Broom bedrooms in the Chessington Safari Hotel.
Open now, Leatherhead Rd, KT9 2NE, chessington.com
Easter Eggstravaganza at Willows Activity Farm
This child-friendly farm just off the M25 near St Albans springs to life at Easter with a packed programme of activities. Kids can enjoy a host of entertaining and educational events from lamb bottle-feeding demonstrations to watching a Peter Rabbit stage show. Easter arts and crafts, tractor rides, inflatables and more than 400 farm animals will ensure they have a fun filled day.
Until April 22, Coursers Rd, AL4 0PF, willowsactivityfarm.com