Bumper Easter Guide
New films released this weekend, at cinemas across Somerset
It might be raining cats and dogs outside but you could be snuggled in the cosy darkness of your local cinema. The animated Zootropolis and superhero flick Batman v Superman, Dawn of Justice were both released Friday 25 March and on Monday 28 March, you can see the screening of the York Theatre Royal’s Olivier award-winning production of The Railway Children.
Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Weds 23 March-Sun 10 April
Design and make a parachute that will successfully land your chocolate egg without breaking it at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. This task was on the curriculum (with a raw egg) at the Muddies’ school in year 5; might be on yours too, so pop along and get ahead of the game. 2.15pm weekdays between 29 March and 8 April. They’re also running an Easter Trail (help WW1 messenger pigeon Penelope find her eggs) from 23 March to 10 April.
The House of Fairy Tales, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Good Friday 25-Sat 26 March
We’ve brought the Muddies to family days at Hauser & Wirth and they’ve always loved it. This Easter, Wonder Stones trailing magnetic mystical forces have landed at Durslade Farm, wonderful stories have started to grow and enigmatic Stone Herders use their unique and ancient techniques to harvest them. This interactive family adventure based on Subodh Gupta’s current exhibition Invisible Reality follows a mysterious trail through the galleries, garden and pavilion (the 2014 Serpentine pavilion in fact), with live characters, puppetry, games, story-seeking and music. If you’re lucky you’ll end up as an Honorary Stone Herder. Grab some food and drink at the Radić Pavilion or in the Roth Bar & Grill; there’s a special Easter Feast on Saturday with Durslade Farm’s new season’s lamb (yes please) on the menu. 11am-4pm. Free, but children must be accompanied at all times. No need to book.
The House Magician’s Magic School, Smoke & Mirrors, Bristol, Good Friday 25-Sat 9 April
Learn how to be a magician on a half-day magic course run by magician, and member of the Magic Circle, Mark Bennett. During the course, held at the Smoke and Mirrors (close to the Bristol Hippodrome), budding Dynamo will learn about the history of magic as well as sleight of hand and will leave being able to perform three to four tricks. Suitable for 10+ £55; you get to take away a DVD and props. 9-30am-1pm.
Teddy Bears Steam Train, Shepton Mallet, Good Friday 25-Easter Monday 28 March
It’s coal, water, whistles and flags at the East Somerset Railway when you take a trip from Cranmore Station in Shepton Mallet to Mendip Vale. Small children and train buffs, this weekend may be the only time you get the same amount of enjoyment from a day out together. Children bring your teddies to travel free (one child per fare-paying adult) and spot the Teddy Bear have go on the miniature railway. Adults can be a Driver for a Tenner.
Family space at the Arnolfini, Bristol, Tues 22 March-Sun 10 April
Come and explore the themes of the Arnolfini’s current John Akomfrah exhibition, create your own artworks and go on imaginary journeys and encounter some whales as the Light Studio becomes the Vertigo Sea Family Space. 11am-6pm, free.
Badger Bonanza, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Highbridge, Good Friday 25-Easter Monday 28 March
Secret World Wildlife Rescue, which rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, opens its doors to the public over the Easter weekend with its Badger Bonanza. Expect wildlife talks, games, craft stalls, and the chance to see badger cubs and other wild animals. Free but donations welcome. 10am-4pm.
Hestercombe House, nr Taunton throughout the Easter hols
The Easter trail goes through Hestercombe’s beautiful, blooming springtime gardens, which should inspire when it comes to painting your own egg at the end (don’t worry, you get a choccie one, too). You get to plant a sunflower as well. £1 with normal garden admission. You might want to check out The Column Room restaurant’s special Easter-inspired cream tea.
The National Trust in Somerset over the Easter hols
Your kids get to track down Easter eggs, you get to wander in beautiful surroundings and there’s almost always a very nice cafe to boot. All the Trust sites have an Easter egg trail – follow the clues, come back with your answer and they hand over a Cadbury’s creme egg – but there’s other stuff going on too. The Muddies have their eye on the pistol shooting at Dunster. Events are very cheap (around a couple of quid or so) with normal admission.
Barrington Court. Follow the clues around the orchards to win your egg. £2 Fri 25-Mon 28 March 12pm-4pm. Paint a wooden Easter egg decoration, £3, 26 March-10 April, 11am-4pm. Den building Tues 5 April, 11am-3.30.
Brean Down There’s an Easter egg hunt over the soft sand, rocky paths and grassy hillsides of Brean Down on the North Somerset coast. Afterwards, there’s a beach, a cafe and the views from the top of the Down are said to be spectacular. Meet the ranger in the Trust car park. £2.50, Fri 25-Mon 28 March, 11am-4pm.
Dunster Castle There’s lots of stuff going on up at Dunster, Somerset’s answer to a Bavarian castle. Naturally there’s an Easter egg trail around the garden, £2, Fri 25 March-Sun 10 April, 10am-pm. You can test your aim at archery and shooting (8 arrows £4;10 pistol shots £4), Sat 26-Tues 29 March, Sat 2-Tues 5 April, 11am-4.30pm. Watch Victorian dog and hawk displays, free, Weds 30 March-Fri 1 April, 11am-4pm. Between 10am-5pm on Weds 6 April you can watch the watermill in action as the miller grinds wheat to make Dunster flour (free).
Fyne Court. Easter egg hunt in the wild garden. £2.50 Sat 26 March, 10am-2pm.
Lytes Cary Easter egg hunt around the estate (check out the Fab Arts & Crafts garden while you’re there). £2, Fri 25-Mon 28 March, 11am-4pm.
Montacute House. Look for clues in the grounds of this Elizabethan manor house recently seen in TV’s Wolf Hall. £2. Fri 25-Sun 27 March, 11am-4pm. You can also ‘net a duck’: grab a net and follow the trail to Mill Copse where you’ll find a stream with lots and lots of Easter ducks waiting to be caught. £1, Tues 29, Weds 30 March, 5 April, 6 April, 11am-3.30pm.
Prior Park The clues are hidden around the elegant 18th century landscape garden, £2.50 Fri 25-Mon 28 March, 10am-3.30pm. A self-led Spring Safari trail then starts Tues 29 March until Sun 10 April. £1, 10am-4.30.
Tyntesfield Come and join Victorian explorers fending off exotic beasts, unearthing ancient relics and taking photographs of tribes in the New World – plus Easter egg hunt (natch) – at this gothic revival house. Free event with normal admission. Fri 25 March-Sun 17April, 10am-5pm.
Forde Abbey, Chard, Good Friday 25 – Easter Monday 28 March
Potter-inspired (Beatrix not Harry) characters are on hand to help young egg detectives find their Easter egg clues in the grounds of Forde Abbey from Saturday onwards, although the hunt’s on from Good Friday. There are craft stalls, foods and various other activities, too. £1.50 allows you to join the hunt, collect a chocolate treat and be in with a chance of winning a giant Easter egg. Normal garden admission applies.
Easter trail at Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Good Friday 25-Easter Monday 28 March
Eggsaust (sorry) the kids at Haynes over the Bank Holiday. Eggs are hidden in the Haynes Motorland soft play area and they can have a pic with the Easter Bunny.Two hunts a day at 11am and 3pm. included in admission price.
Hop to it, Bristol Zoo, Friday 25 March-Sun 10 April
Follow a trail around Bristol Zoo to find animals that like to hop, jump and leap and get a special Easter prize. There are also Easter crafts, magic, balloon shaping and face painting – as well as all the animals at the zoo, of course. 9am-5pm. £14.50 adult/£5 child.
The Butterfly House, Congresbury, opens for the season Sat 26 March
Walk through a tropical greenhouse to see hundreds of the world’s most exotic and beautiful butterflies, bizarre caterpillars and chrysalids at the North Somerset Butterfly House.10.30am-4.30pm, Tues-Sun. £5.45 adult/£4.45 children (included re-entry).
Herons Above! Swell Wood, Taunton, selected dates over the Easter hols
Swell Wood RSPB Reserve, 11 miles east of Taunton, is home to the largest breeding colony of grey herons in England’s South West, with more than 100 pairs. You can watch them nest and feed their young at Herons Above! at Swell Wood on 26 & 27 March and 2, 3, 9 and 10 April. 11am-4pm, free.
Glastonbury Mediaevel Fayre, Glastonbury, Sat 26-Sun 27 March
Lords, ladies, freemen, knaves, boys and girls, it’s the 6th annual Glastonbury Medieval Fayre. You can watch breathtaking stunt horseriders, fire-eating jesters, more re-enactment societies than you can shake a stick at, archers, drummers, masses of stalls selling stuff to buy and as much hog roast as you can eat. 10am-6pm, £9 adults £5 children £24 family.
Mells Daffodil Festival, Mells Easter Monday 28 March
Work your way through over 100 street stalls selling stuff to eat, drink, wear, grow, give as gifts or treat yourself at the Mells Daffodil Festival. Bucolic festivities include Morris dancing, an Easter bonnet comp, a town criers’ contest, a dog show, archery, classic cars plus live music headlined by who else but The Wurzels. Mells’ other delights – The Walled Garden, the award-winning Mells Shop and Cafe, and the fab pub The Talbot Inn – will all be open. £3 adults;£1 children. You can book online (50p booking fee) or buy on the day.
Mediaeval falconry, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells, Easter Monday 28 March
Peasant, pauper or king – come to the Bishop’s Palace and find out which bird of prey would have suited you best at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. The Raptor Foundation take a wide range of owls, hawk and falcons through their mediaeval paces to show how they would have been used and by whom in mediaeval days. You can even hold one yourself if you dare.10am-4pm, free with normal admission; under 5s free. On April Fool’s Day 1 April, come and make pop up jesters, finger puppets and a jester’s hat.
High ropes adventure camp, Vivary Centre, Taunton, from Tues 29 March
The Muddies came to Somerset’s version of Go Ape at the weekend (review to follow) and thought edging along tightropes, balancing on upended logs and zooming down zip wires 9 scary metres off the ground was totally awesome. On the centre’s half and full day camps this Easter, they also throw in orienteering, climbing, ‘slack-lining’ (bouncing on a giant elastic band), den building and ultimate frisbee. Ages 8-14. £12.59 half day/£18.50 full day (in advance). Tues 29, Weds 30 and Thurs 31 March; Tues 5, Weds 5 and Thurs 7 April.
Tortoise and the Hare, The Octagon, Yeovil, Tues 29 March
Northern Ballet dance their way through Aesop’s fable about the slowcoach tortoise crossing the finishing line *spoiler alert* before the speedy hare in this child-friendly ballet – a fun introduction to the dance.£6, 12.30, 2.30 & 4.30pm.
Hairy Maclary & Friends, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sat 2 April
Out of the gate and off for a walk, went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy… no need to tell you how it goes. Hercules More, Bottomley Potts, Schnitzel von Krumm and Scarface Claw are all here at The Brewhouse in a musical family show. 1.30 & 3.30pm £10/family ticket £36.
Helicopter in a bubble, Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare, Sun 3 April
Up at the Helicopter Museum they’ll be attempting to put guests and then a full-size helicopter inside a giant bubble. You can also have a go on a flight simulator, peer into open cockpits and watch birds of prey at the world’s largest chopper collection. 10am (helicopter bubble at 1pm).
The Cat in the Hat, the egg, Bath, Tues 5 -Sun 10 April
Sally and her brother meet Dr Seuss’s famous Cat in the red and white hat, the funniest,craziest cat around – you can guess the rest. Several performances daily. £9.50 adults/£8.50 children.
Dinosaur Zoo, The Octagon, Yeovil, Sat 9-Sun 10 April
Dinosaur Zoo comes stampeding down from London’s West End to the West Country. Meet awesome Jurassic creatures face to face, including an arctic tyrannosaur, a baby triceratops and baby parasaurolophus. Suitable 3+ Sat 2pm & 4.40pm; Sun 11am & 2pm. £12.50-£15.
CrazyClimb, Redpoint Bristol Climbing Centre, throughout the hols
20 climbing challenges, from spinning holds to Indiana Jones style jumps in one hour at the vertical adventure playground, Crazy Climb at the Bristol Climbing Centre. Suitable for 6 years+ 10.30am-10pm, from £12.50 (off peak),£15 (peak). You can drop in but it’s best to book in advance.