Things to do this Easter - not all involving chocolate

Easter egg hunting is just one of the many things to do this holiday

Easter egg hunting is just one of the many things to do this holiday - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

As the Easter holidays begin, there are plenty of things to do and family fun to be had, not just on the big bank holiday weekend, but over the next fortnight. SIMON PARKIN has a guide to Easter treats (at least some of which involve eating chocolate eggs).


Easter Funfair

Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, until April 1

Norwich has long hosted an Easter fair and once again this year there is the chance to swing, slide and be whizzed around on the waltzer as the Showman's Guild take over Chapelfield Gardens. Plenty of thrills on offer, the candyfloss and toffee apple aromas, as well as a carousel, dodgems and more thrill-seeking rides for the daring. Plus Easter eggs amongst the prizes.

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Guess Who? Easter Trail/Scavenger Hunt

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, March 29/until April 14, 11am-4pm, £5.50 (£5 cons), £3 children, under-5s free, 01603 270559,

Follow the 'Guess Who?' trail at Fairhaven. There is aneggy prize at the end. There will also be face paintingand Easter crafts for children. Today's event runs from 11am-4pm, an additional £2 per child for Easter egg trail (every child gets an egg). Throughout the holidays there is also a scavenger hunt in the woods. Fit as many tiny objects as you can into a small container.

Easter Eggspress

Bure Valley Railway, March 29-April 1, 9am-5pm, £12.50 return, £6.50 children, under-5s free, 01263 733858,

Enjoy a train ride on Norfolk's longest Narrow Gauge Steam Railway from either Aylsham or Wroxham. There is a free Easter egg for every child when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (maximum two children per adult).

Easter Treasure Hunt

Hoveton Hall Gardens, near Wroxham, March 29-April 1, 10.30am-5pm, normal admission, 01603 782558,

Hoveton Hall is running an Easter Treasure Hunt this Bank Holiday weekend. Follow the clues, and the treasure hunt will take families on a journey around the gardens ending at the tearooms so they can collect their Easter prize. It's included in the usual entrance fee.

Burnham Market International Horse Trials

Sussex Farm, near Brancaster, sign posted form Fakenham, March 29-30, from 8am, £8, £4 children, £21 family, 01485 210070,

Burnham Market International Horse Trials this year features every member of the British Olympic silver medal winning team from London 2012 - Zara Phillips, William Fox-Pitt, Mark King, Nicola Wilson and Tina Cook. There will be plenty of trade stands, children's entertainment, falconry, lurcher racing, climbing walls, bungee - and of course the thrills of eventing.

Easter River Trips

Broads Tours, The Bridge, Wroxham, March 29-April 1, 11.30am/2pm, £8, £6.50 children, under-5s free, 01603 782207,

Broads Tours' Easter Special River Trips include an onboard nature quiz, Easter egg hunt and free to enter colouring or drawing competition. All trips include an entertaining commentary by the Skipper and children will receive an Easter Egg.

World Village Market

Gentleman's Walk, Norwich, until April 1

After last year's event proved a great success, the world village market returns with a suitably Easter festival feel and feature a great range of food including crêpes, bread and French cheese. Also crafts, clothing and gifts from around the world.

Easter Bunny Specials/Spring Diesel Gala

Mid-Norfolk Railway, Dereham-Wymondham, March 29-April 1/April 5-7, £10 (£9 cons), £5 children, £26 family, 01362 851723,

Mid-Norfolk Railway - which runs between Dereham and Wymondham - has lined up plenty of events for the holidays. This weekend it's the Easter Bunny Weekend, where youcan meet the Easter Bunny, and enjoy chocolate surprises and entertainment on board the trains. April 2-4 its a Kids Go Free Day (maximum two per adult). Then

Next weekend it is the Spring Diesel Gala Weekend, with home and guest engines.

Easter Egg Trails

Blickling Hall, March 31-April 1, 11am-4pm, normal admission, plus £2 per trail, 01263 738030,

There are lots of eggs-static events to be enjoyed this Easter weekend at Blickling. Bring the family and join in some fun on the parade with face painting, competition, Easter Egg trails and more between 11am-4pm on Sunday and Monday. Last trail 3.30pm) includes a chocolate gift while stocks last.

Easter Parachuting

St Catherine's Church, Ludham, March 31, 2pm-4pm, free admission,

An Easter egg hunt with a difference. As part of the Ludham Churches Together children's work, Easter Sunday will see a traditional egg hunt, treasure hunt quiz and (here's the best bit) the chance to parachute eggs from the top of the church tower. Make a 'chute and hand to church staff to launch. There'll be a prize for every egg which makes it down safely!

Easter Egg-stravaganzer

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, March 29-April 14, £9.75 (£8 cons), £6.25 children, under-4s free, 01328 851465,

Take the fun self-guided Easter trail around Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, near Fakenham. Learn about nature in Springtime and how the natural world ties in with Easter traditions. For those who answer all the questions a special treat is in store. The Easter Eggs-travaganser takes place daily from 10am-5pm and is included in the normal admission.

Norwich Ghost Walks

Adam and Eve, Bishopsgate, Tues/Thurs from April 2, 7.30pm, £6 (£4 cons), under-5s free, 07831 189985,

The Man in Black and his ghostly team are back for another season of spreading terror around the streets of Norwich, seeking out the local afterlife. The spooky season kicks off on April 2. Until the end of June the walks will be held on Tuesday and Thursday starting at the Adam and Eve. All walks include the usual crowd of added spectres and ghouls waiting to scare the unwary.

Easter Egg-stravaganza

Holkham Hall, March 29-April 1, 10am-5pm, £7, £3.50 children, £19 family (larger charge for hall entrance), 01328 713111,

Four days packed full of 'egg-citing' things to do over Easter at Holkham. Join in games and try the 'Egg-stacle' course, watch as cooks prepare for a Victorian Easter feast in the Old Kitchen. In the Bygones Museum and Walled Gardens there will be indoors and outdoor Treasure Hunts, egg hunts and family games.

Shine A Light

Happisburgh Lighthouse, March 31-April 1, 11am-4pm, £3, £1 children (8-16),

Your first chances to climb one of Norfolk's most famous landmarks are on offer this weekend. Happisburgh Lighthouse will be open on Easter Sunday and Monday. As always, for safety reasons children must be at least a metre tall and capable of climbing up and down the steps unassisted.

Easter Egg Hunt

Notcutts Garden Centre, Norwich, March 29-April 7, 11am-4pm,

Young green-fingered explorers can seek out six hidden posters of the Easter Bunny. Winners who successfully seek out all the bouncing bunnies will receive a tasty treat to enjoy too!

Easter Family Fun Day

Yarmouth Racecourse, April 1, £23-£16, under-18s free, 01493 842527,

This now traditional Easter fixture in the racing calendar is a fantastic family day out with seven races and plenty of additional entertainment for the children. There will be a children's entertainer, face painting, bouncy castle, donkey rides, children's rides, children's races on the race track and an adventure playground. First race is at 2.45pm. Fakenham Racecourse's biggest meeting of the year also returns on Easter Monday, with another packed and exciting afternoon of National Hunt racing.

Easter Treasure Hunt

Plantation Garden Earlham Road, Norwich, April 1, 2.30pm-4.30pm, £3 per child, accompanying adults £2,

This Easter treasure hunt takes place in Plantation Garden, one of Norwich hidden gems, located just off Earlham Road (in the shadow of St John's Cathedral). As well as the treasure trail, there will be face painting, crafts and Easter treats, plus refreshments.

Really Wild Ranworth

Ranworth Broad, April 2, 11am-12pm, £2 per child, adults free, 01603 625540,

Explore the NWT reserve at Ranworth in search of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled. Who knows what may be lurking in the reeds (11am-12pm). In the afternoon find out What Lies Beneath (1.30-3.30pm). Learn about the wonderful wildlife that can be found in the dykes.

Earth Walk

Cley Marshes, April 3, 2pm, £4, accompanying adults free, 01263 740008,

Take the Earth Walk at Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Marshes and explore part of the reserve using all your senses on this special activity. Recommended for children aged six to 12, inquisitive eyes, noses, fingers and dirty knees are essential. Children must be accompanied by an adult and advance booking is essential.

Lamb Feeding

Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, open daily, junior farm entry £5.75, 01603 783762,

Wroxham Barns' popular lamb-feeding sessions continue. It is one of very few places in East Anglia where visitors can bottle-feed lambs so early on in the year and the sessions will take place every day at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

Heritage Walk

Fishermen's Hospital Gates, Great Yarmouth, April 3, 2pm, £6.50, £4.50 children, under-7s free, 01493 846346,

Explore historic Great Yarmouth on this special Easter Holiday Heritage Walk, taking in historic South Quay and St George's Theatre. The walk starts at 2pm from the Fishermen's Hospital Gates in the Market Place and lasts approximately an hour and a half. Price includes refreshments at English Heritage's Row Houses.

Minibeast Hunt

Hickling Broad, April 5, 10.30am-12pm, £1.50 per child per event, 01603 625540,

Join in the Minibeast Hunt at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Hickling Broad where you can forage among the foliage and search between the sedge for any minibeastwhich may be waiting. Experts will be there with their bits and bobs to catch any bug or beast for a closer inspection. In the afternoon (1.30pm-3.30pm) get involved in dip dyke dabbling to learn about the wildlife that can be found in the dykes around the reserve.

Nelson Monument

South Denes, Yarmouth, Sundays, 10am-3pm, £6, 01493 850698,

During 2013 this Grade I listed monument will only be open every Sunday pre-booked tours. Climb all 217 steps to experience the breathtaking views — Norwich Cathedral can be seen on a clear day — and to learn more about the Monument.

Family Treasure Hunt

Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse, April 10, 10am-2pm, free admission, pre-book on 01603 617332,

A fun event for the whole family. Learn how to read a map and follow the treasure trail. All participants will receive a prize on completion of the course.


Salhouse Broad, April 10, 10am-1pm, £15, £7.50 children, pre-book on 01603 722775,

A relaxing guided paddle downstream to Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve, home to a variety of habitats and wildlife including swallowtails, marsh harriers and much more, then a guided walk. All equipment and safety talk included.


Easter Holiday Detectives

Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, April 2-7, 10am-4pm, £5 (£4.50 cons), £3 children, £15 family, 01603 663922,

Mysterious eggs have been found at Dragon Hall... Young visitors can pick up their Sherlock Holmes-style detective costume and a basket full of detective tools to help find these eggs and crack the code. Everyone who unravels the mystery of the eggs will receive a tasty reward. Each Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm knowledgeable volunteers will also lead guided tours suitable for all ages.

Object of the Holiday

Sainsbury Centre, UEA, April 2-14, 10am-5pm, free admission, 01603 593199,

Each school holiday the Sainsbury Centre links free creative activities to an object from its collection, and this Easter it's the much-loved Egyptian walking hippopotamus. There is an activity booklet and gallery treasure hunt.

Easter Take-Off

Imperial War Museum, Duxford, near Cambridge, March 30-April 14, 12pm-4pm, included in normal admission, 01223 835000,

Find out what life was like for children living in Britain during the Second World War. See displays of toys that would have been played with and loved by children in the 1940s. Have a go at some wartime games. Discover how mum kept the family fed despite testing times under rationing. And make and paint your own Airfix model.

MagiMation Filmmaking Workshop

Norwich Puppet Theatre, April 2-3, 10am, 01603 629921,

Working with Tim Edwards - master of animation - create a short film. During the two day workshop, you'll get to write a script, plan the scenes, create characters from modelling material and then animate them, film their movements and record the soundtrack.

Hocus Pocus Residency

The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, April 8-12, 2pm-4pm, £40 for the week, 01603 283382,

Are you aged 16-25? Love drama, dressing up and being silly? Then join Hocus Pocus Theatre for an intensive week-long residency, creating walkabout characters inspired by Roald Dahl's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. You'll also get a chance to perform at a Bo Nanafana family event at Cinema City.

Dragons and Dinosaurs Workshop

Norwich Puppet Theatre, April 8, 11.30am, 01603 629921,

Roar! What will your dragon or dinosaur look like? Using an array of materials and some expert guidance, create a fearsome creature to take home.

Easter Sports Camps

Forum, Norwich, April 9-12, 10am-3pm, free admission, 01603 727950

UEA Sportspark takes over the Forum to offer a wide variety of sports indoors and out, including basketball, football, gymnastics and much more.


Magic Worlds: Fantasy, Illusion, Enchantment

Castle Museum, Norwich, until April 14, 11am-3.30pm, special exhibition price £3.50 (£3 cons), £2.60 children, 01603 495897,

This Easter offers the last chance to step into a magical world and explore the fantasy realms of celebrated stories and fairy tales in this exhibition. Marvel at the feats of awe inspiring magicians. Dare to believe in fairies and enter a landscape of fabled creatures. Visitors of all ages will enjoy meeting favourite, fictional characters from Frodo Baggins to Snow White. There will also be special daily activities throughout the Easter holidays.

The Child In All Of Us

Strangers Hall, Norwich, March 29-April 13, 11am-3.30pm, £3.80 (£3.20 cons), £2.10 children, under-4s free, 01603 667229

Discover what toys children played with in the past. Get your hands on some old toys from the Norwich museum's collection and make one to take home. Play 'I Spy' in the toy gallery and, if the sun shines, a traditional Victorian game in the beautiful garden.

Big Fat Bunny Hunt

Bridewell Museum, Bridwell Alley, Norwich, March 29-April 13, 10am-4.30pm, 01603 493625

Look out! The Bridewell bunnies have hopped all over the museum. Can you spot them? Plus on Thursdays and Saturdays (11am-12.30pm/1.30-3.30pm), make your own special chocolate box to keep your Easter treats safe.

Spring Fair

Gressenham Museum of Norfolk Life, April 1, 10am-5pm, £9.30 (£8.30 cons), £6.30 children, 01362 860563

A bygone family celebration of spring. This hugely popular annual fair on Easter Monday includes craft and local produce stalls, costumed characters, music and storytelling. Watch the horses working in the fields and join in the April Fool's Day parade. There will be fun for all the family, including Foolhardy Circus Arts, the Dragon Hall Mummers, an inflatable obstacle course, Punch and Judy and more. The museum is open between 10am-5pm and normal admission applies. In addition Spring Alive! events also run daily throughout the Easter holidays.

Fool's Gold

The Tollhouse, Great Yarmouth, April 1, 11am-4pm, £3.60 (£3), £2 children, under-4s free, 01493 745526

Escape a life sentence of hard labour by finding the hoards of smuggled treasure and trading it in for chocolate coins!

Puppet Show

Castle Museum, Norwich, April 3/10, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, normal admission price, 01603 495897

Traditional folk tales told by the renowned Fools Puppet Company with beautiful hand-crafted puppets and a chance to say hello to the puppets afterwards.

Simply Magic

Castle Museum, Norwich, April 3/10, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, normal admission price, 01603 495897

To coincide with the Castle Museum's magic exhibition, spellbinding shows by brilliant magic circle magician David Weeks. Pre-booking essential.

Spring Lambs and Flowers

Cromer Museum, April 4/April 11, 10.30am-12.30pm/1pm-3pm, £3.60 (£3 cons), £2.10 children, 01263 513543

Celebrate the start of spring and make a fluffy lamb picture to take home at a children's art workshop on April 4. On April 10, it's a special Norfolk Wildlife Day. And on April 11, celebrate springtime and create your own spring floral display.

Egg-ward Bound!

Time & Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth, April 5-14, 10.30am-4pm, £4.90 (£4.20 cons), £3.60 children, 01493 743930

Easter Egg Trail. Find out about fish eggs and fossils in this Easter egg hunt through history and win a newly hatched dinosaur toy to take home. Then on April 10 (2pm) it's the Africa Alive Curious Creatures Roadshow. Meet real crawling critters and furry friends.