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40 eggcellent things to do over Easter

What's happening for kids of all ages in Somerset & Dorset over Easter (and not all of them involve chocolate eggs).

EASTER EGG HUNTS

Photo silviarita Pixabay

National Trust

How to get the kids to go voluntarily to an historic country house: let them scurry around a National Trust * ethically sound Rainforest Alliance * Easter egg trail. In Somerset, head to the Elizabethan Montacute House; the gardens, woodland and meadows of Fyne Court; the Arts & Crafts garden rooms at Lytes Cary; the orchards and gardens of Barrington Court; the Gothic pile that is Tyntesfield; and the landscaped gardens of Prior Park. In Dorset, trails run on Brownsea Island, at the Italinate mansion Kingston Lacy and on the beaches and sand dunes of Studland Bay.

Elsewhere

The Easter bunny’s also been busy at the Fleet Air Arm Museum with its brilliant collection of choppers and planes near Sparkford; Farmer Palmer’s near Poole; Durlston Country Park in Swanage; The Tank Museum near Bovington, Noah’s Ark Zoo in Wraxall; the glorious gardens of Hestercombe near Taunton and the fab Museum of Somerset in Taunton (which both have some nice craft workshops, too), count bunnies and hunt a golden egg at Nothe Fort near Weymouth and The Bishop’s Palace in Wells.

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THEATRE

For older kids

Private Peaceful, Theatre Royal Bath, Tues 12 – Sat 16 April

18-year-old Private Tommo Peaceful looks back on his childhood in rural Devon from the battlefields of northern France in World War I in a new staging of Michael Morpurgo’s award-winning novel. Suitable 9+

A Monster Calls, Bristol Old Vic, Weds 13 – Sat 23 April

A story about a 13-year-old boy dealing with grief while simultaneously being bullied at school doesn’t exactly sound like the most cheerful piece of theatre but the brilliantly inventive, Olivier-award-winning stage adaptation of Patrick Ness’s novel is painfully honest, exceptionally moving and grips from the start. Read our review. Suitable 10+

For little ‘uns

Jabala and the Jinn, Lighthouse Poole, Sat 12 April

A little girl meets a cheeky Jinn (genie) in a new musical play for 5-12 year olds by Asif Khan.

Ernie’s Journey, Taunton Brewhouse, Weds 20 & Thurs 21 April

Ernie sets off to become a pirate, with circus skills, puppets, poetry, magic and a live concert harp score along the way and a free circus skills workshop afterwards.

Dinosaur Adventure Live, Weymouth Pavilion, Sun 17 April

‘Meet” dinosaurs face-to-face: hear them roar, feed them, just don’t get eaten.

Sooty’s Magic Show, Lighthouse Poole, Weds 20 April

Crikey, Sooty, Sweep and Soo are all still going, these days with Richard Cadell. The familiar high jinx and the chance to meet the puppet stars after the show.

Fireman Sam Live, The Octagon, Yeovil, Thurs 21 April

All singing, dancing, action-packed show with Sam and the rest of the gang.

Mark Thompson’s Science Show, McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Fri 22 April

Exploding elephant’s toothpaste, vortex-generating dustbins and howling jelly babies. Mark Thompson proves science isn’t boring. Suitable 5+

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ACTIVITIES

Dance Day, Taunton Brewhouse, Sat 23 April

All kinds of dance – contemporary, street, flamenco, improv, condititioning – in a single day, with separate workshops for 7–11 years, 12–17 years and 18 years +

Trampolining and water polo workshops, Bridport

Learn how to play water polo or some cool moves on the trampos.

The Wave, Bristol

The surf’s always up at inland surf spot The Wave. Lessons ans sessions for all levels including complete beginners. Suitable for 6 years+

Go Ape, Moors Valley Country Park & Forest, near Bournemouth

Take the 11 m high Treetop Challenge, Treetop Adventure+, all terrain Forest Segway and Nets Adventure 30 feet above the forest floor… if you dare.

Frome Boulder Rooms, Frome

No ropes, harnesses, climbing partners or any other specialist gear – just you, the wall (and really thick padded mats) – that’s indoor bouldering. The family space is suitable for 5+ and everyone up to 16 needs to be supervised by an adult.

Snowtrax near Christchurch

Learn to ski in a day and other courses for 6-16 year olds, sessions include 5 hours tuition and lunch.

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DAYS OUT

Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar

Hurrah! The spectacular limestone caves and geological formations are reopening April 1 after 18 months of pandemic closure and, with a swanky new lighting system, promise to be even better than before.

Shire Hall, Dorchester

The exceptionally well-preserved historic court house (and cells) where the Tolpuddle Martyrs and many others were tried, has a multi media family guide, a ‘count your chickens’ Easter trail and arty crafty stuff activities, all included in normal museum entry. Good nosh in the cafe, too.

Durslade Easter Fair, Bruton, Sat 16 April

Local food producers and artisan makers; guided foraging walks between 12-1 and 2-3; Morris dancers; Pimms and Roth Bar & Grill nosh from noon. 11am to 4pm.

The Big Bark, Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Sun 24 April

Turn’s out a dog’s life can be fun with this doggy day out: agility, games, canine Olympics, dog displays, dog photo booth, dog cafe, dog tea party with party games and hats. Humans welcome.

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, Bath

Dr Frankenstein’s monster, weird artefacts and assorted body parts – if you dare, with a body in a suitcase game for Easter. Kids of all ages welcome but under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Shepton Mallet Prison, Shepton Mallet

You’ve got one hour to work out how to get out of the Cell Escape Room before mean Mr Big comes to get you. For 8 years+ and families.

Dinosaur Valley: Live, Avon Valley Adventure Park, Keynsham

It’s all things dinosaur over Easter, with animatronic dinosaurs, including a 15 meter T.Rex, a dinosaur research lab, dino live shows, raptor encounter, excavating fossils, dino photo opps and more.

Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford

Travel through time to discover some of the automobiles which shaped motor racing history, as you follow a special lap of the museum learning fascinating facts and speedy stats along the way. The trail is free, with normal museum admission. Great gift shop and cafe.

Abbotsbury Swannery, Abbotsury, near Weymouth

The swans are laying at the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute swans. Watch the swans feeding, get lost in a giant swan-shaped maze, ride go karts, have lunch in the cafe and the Abbotsbury Tropical Garden is right next door (you can get combined tickets).

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