Easter is the time that the capital begins to spring into life with family events. Venues dare to hold egg hunts and nature trails. There are art events in courtyards (and lots inside, just in case the weather turns putrid). Parks are less squidgy, and filled with blossom, tadpoles and insects.
This year, we’ll be heading to the Geffrye Museum in Dalston for their annual spring holiday series of workshops. Over four days (April 8-11) There are four events for kids aged 5+ daily, ranging from Green Man mask-making workshops to ceramic plate painting and garden trails. And they’re all free! More here There’s also a daily rhyme time session for under 5s.
Kew Gardens are going wibbly for Willy Wonka this Easter, with a special, themed Charlie’s Chocolate Adventure festival. Create your own Wonka-inspired chocolate bar, get your face painted (£4), or go for a Whipple-scrumptious Plant Hunt through the spectacular Plant Hunt (free with admission), hear Revolting Rhymes (Free with admission), ride the land train, (£4.50/£1.50) and do drawing and colouring in the Nut Room (free with admission). It’s a little pricey, but a real holiday treat. Adults £14.50, under 16s free. More here
The beautiful Kenwood House springs to life, with a chance to meet characters from its history, and step inside giant picture frames. If the sun is shining, take time out to grab some delicious home-made cakes and sit in the courtyard outside their excellent coffee shop to eat them. April 7-19, free. More here
If your kids have a taste for chocolate (like, duh), roll along to your nearest National Trust property. Follow a set of clues and be rewarded with a Cadbury’s Chocolate egg. Yum. Prices £1.50-£4 plus entry fee. More here
One of our favourite London haunts, the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill has free craft activities from April 7-18 – make masks, caterpillars and chicks in nests. More here
The Museum of Childhood explores the world of words this holiday; roll rhymes around your mouth, enjoy funny stories, and revel in the joy of creating your own gleefully silly poems. April 5-18. Free. More here
A fantastic, incredibly family friendly place to visit at any time, but especially during school holidays, The Museum of London has an array of events lined up, including a production of Oscar Wilde’s Model Millionaire, book-making, storytelling and object handling. April 5-21. Mostly free. More here
Their sister venue, The Museum of London Docklands, not only has a superb soft play and kids area, but also has a series of book-themed events, including memory book-making, storytelling and toddler-friendly tales of London. April 5-17, free. More here
Go Egg Rolling
Egg rolling is one of our very favourite English traditions. Every Easter Sunday, three generations of the Hopscotch family go to the top of a big hill and roll our decorated eggs down it. Yes, it’s a batty way to spend a (usually blustery and rainy) Sunday morning, but it’s fun, and, if you’re the lucky winner (getting your egg down the hill in the least number of throws or having the best-decorated egg) you get bragging rights until next year’s roll.
Our family used to dye our eggs with onion skins, but this has been replaced with a tradition of rendering famous people who have died that year in ovoid form. We have even been known to take a few packets of salt in our back pockets and feasted on the remains of the eggs, although this is inadvisable in areas where lots of people walk their dogs. Groo. Remember to crush every bit of eggshell so witches can’t use them as boats.
Good places to roll eggs in London
- Parliament Hill
- Alexandra Palace Park Hill
- Greenwich Park
- Primrose Hill (it’s even got an appropriately Spring-themed name!)
- Our favourite ways to decorate eggs
- Tie onion skins around your eggs and boil for a yellowy/orange result
- Use a fine black (washable) felt tip for a classy design
- Daub eggs in blackboard paint and get the kids to add their own (wipe-off and go-again) patterns in chalk
- Add googly eyes, cardboard feet and beaks and feathers to make eggy chicks
- Drop nail-polish into water, stir, and dip your eggs in the mixture for a glossy, marbled effect (best for older kids)
By Kate Hodges, author of Little London: Child-friendly Days Out and Fun Things To Do