The best things to get up to in London with the kids this Easter
With a blossom-filled backdrop for outdoor adventures and the constant promise of chocolate eggs and bunnies, London has a wealth of activities for families to enjoy over Easter: some are free, most have a flexible age range and all are potent antidotes to sitting at home watching television.
From canal cruising to experiencing Shakespeare for the very first time, or being part of a wild goose chase, the capital has youngsters covered this April.
Sail on London’s waterways
GoBoat offers self-drive vessels for up to eight people with trips from jetties at Paddington, Canary Wharf and Kingston. Available seven days a week from tomorrow, each boat costs from £80 an hour. Depending on the route, boaters can discover Little Venice, wave at the monkeys in London Zoo, marvel at City skyscrapers or be wowed by Hampton Court Palace. Bring a picnic — the table in the middle of every boat is there for good reason.
Paddington, Canary Wharf, Kingston; goboat.co.uk
The Great Leadenhall Market Wild Goose Chase
For an Easter hunt with a twist, sign up to compete for Old Tom’s Golden Egg at Leadenhall Market.Teams of all ages are encouraged to take part — free of charge — in some 100 challenges including dressing up, clue hunting, model making and puzzle solving. As well as the prized egg, the first-prize winners will receive £500 to spend at Leadenhall Market. Entrants must register their teams online, where they will then be given more details on the tasks. Also take a peep at the beautiful stained-glass window displays that tell of Old Tom — a goose which escaped slaughter at the market in the 1800s and became something of a local legend, even lying in state after his death.
Until April 30, Gracechurch Street, EC3V 1LT; leadenhallmarket.co.uk
A Peter Rabbit adventure
Fans of Beatrix Potter’s most celebrated character, Peter Rabbit, should head to this new interactive experience in the heart of Covent Garden. Take part in a series of Easter-themed activities from learning to drive a mini Rover in Mr McGregor’s obstacle course, to drawing, colouring and writing activities including crafting a letter to send to Beatrix Potter. The 50-minute immersive experience features a host of beloved characters including Benjamin Bunny and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, with a few surprises promised along the way. Families will also have the opportunity to have a picture taken with Peter Rabbit — an ideal Easter souvenir.
Until April 16, Covent Garden, WC2H 7AR; peterrabbiteasteradventure.com
The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe
Created especially for young audiences thanks to its technicolour design, vivid costumes and focus on key scenes, this version of The Tempest is touted as the ideal introduction to the Bard. While the direction and design of this Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production has been geared towards young people, it is 90 minutes long with no interval, so perhaps more suited to teens. Alongside the performance — where standing tickets are a steal a just £5 — are a range of drama workshops centred on The Tempest’s themes.
Until April 15, 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT; shakespearesglobe.com
Challenge London with Go Ape
Ideal for older children (10+), the new Challenge London package from Go Ape offers three different sessions of high rope swing time at any of five London locations, which include Battersea Park and Alexandra Palace. Much of the action takes place in line with the trees’ canopy, some 25 metres high — where bridges between platforms feel extra wobbly. While only a couple of London locations offer free fall Tarzan swings, all boast speedy zip lines to ensure adrenaline is pumping. Children will need an adult to accompany them (so much for best laid plans to sip coffee and observe from terra firma).
£95; Battersea Park, Alexandra Palace, Cockfosters, Black Park and Chessington; goape.co.uk
Bake your own Easter treats
Sauce by the Langham is throwing open its doors to its kitchen for little bakers and their parents this Easter. A special baking class on April 8 will give children a chance to put their creative and cooking skills to the test, learning to make a host of treats from chocolate chicks nests to carrot cakes, iced financiers and caramel easter shortbread. Sauce has long been loved by amateur cooks looking to hone their skills and this children’s baking masterclass is set to get the little ones excited about cooking — thanks in no small part to the proximity of abundant sweet treats.
April 8, 1C Portland Place, The Langham Hotel, W1B 1JA; saucebylangham.com
Superworm at Kew
Who knew Superworm lived at Kew? The much-loved hero and his friends, from the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, are part of a new trail. Little ones will join a mission to save Superworm from Wizard Lizard and also learn about things that live and grow in British gardens. Price is included with entry to Kew (from £5 for children aged four to 15 and £17 for adults).
Until April 16, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE; kew.org
Eggs are not the only way to indulge at Easter — at both the Belgravia and Notting Hill branches of Biscuiteers children can learn to ice biscuits like a pro in hour-long classes (£45 per person). Under the tuition of experts, little ones will try techniques including line and flood icing, piping and feathering on a selection of Easter-themed biscuits. Once complete — and the complimentary hot chocolate polished off — all creations will be put in a beautiful tin, ready to be taken home. There is no age limit but this is probably most suitable for children aged six and older.
Various dates throughout April, Belgravia, Notting Hill biscuiteers.com
Have a dino-tastic day in South Ken
Dinosaur lovers are in for a gargantuan-sized treat, as the biggest dinosaur ever discovered — the Patagotitan mayorum — goes on display at the Natural History Museum as part of this special exhibition. An entire 11m longer than fellow resident Dippy the Diplodocus, the gigantic replica fossil skeleton has been flown in from Argentina for visitors to gaze at (read: crane your necks up). After, refuel at the nearby Ampersand Hotel’s Jurassic Afternoon Tea; kids can tuck into treats such as mini hot dogs to T-Rex cheese straws and dinosaur jam sandwiches, with parents able to indulge in the raspberry & lemon crémeux volcano eruption or a dark chocolate and caramel dinosaur egg nest.
Natural History Museum, SW7 5BD; nhm.ac.uk, Ampersand Hotel, SW7 3ER; ampersandhotel.com
BBC Earth Experience
Explore the extraordinary diversity of our seven unique continents on an immersive journey with bespoke narration from David Attenborough. Visitors can examine the natural world with the help of interactive rooms and hundreds of multi-angle screens. The Mirco Life room, where some of Mother Nature’s bounty can be seen close up, is set to be a huge hit while elsewhere visitors should beware of creepy-crawlies. Make sure you book tickets (from £22) in advance.
The Daikin Centre, Earl’s Court, SW6 1TT; bbcearthexperience.com
Pedal Power Disco
For four glorious and probably extremely sweaty hours, families can enjoy a free daytime rave — but you’ll have to fight for your right to do so. The Pedal Power Disco is exactly what it sounds like — dance music dependent on bicycles ridden by party-goers of all ages. If the pedalling stops, the tunes stop which is nothing short of a genius way to tire out youngsters high on chocolate. Everyone works together to keep the party alive.
April 8 from midday; Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX; southbankcentre.co.uk
Go full-throttle at the F1 Arcade
It’s lights out and away you go at this high-octane experience in the City. With 60 state-of-the art F1 simulators, budding Lewis Hamiltons and Max Verstappens can immerse themselves in the thrilling world of motorsport’s highest class of racing. Located at One New Change in St.Pauls, F1 Arcade is suitable for ages 7 and above. Race in teams or go head-to-head on world famous tracks including Silverstone, Monza, Bahrain and Spa. There’s an F1 Arcade Hub with games including “Lights Out” that’ll test your speed and ‘React’ – a Batak style game that assess reflexes and hand-eye coordination.
F1 Arcade, 1 New Changem, EC4M 9AF; f1arcade.com
Get coronation-ready at Tower Bridge
The historic occasion of King Charles III’s coronation is fast approaching, so why not get kids in the mood for the festivities at one of London’s most iconic landmarks — Tower Bridge. The Victorian attraction will be hosting a series of fun, royal-themed craft activities ahead of the King’s crowning moment. Visitors can be part of the celebration by designing their very own piece of commemorative bunting to be displayed at the Bridge over the Coronation weekend in May.
April 4, 11 and 15, Tower Bridge, SE1 2UP; www.towerbridge.org.uk
Feel the force of Star Wars
Whether you’ve got an aspiring Jedi Master or budding Sith Lord in your home, Star Wars fans should head to this new exhibition in South Kensington. Featuring hundreds of items collected by fans from the Star Wars Universe, The Fans Strike Back is one of the largest fan-made Star Wars exhibitions ever. Browse an assortment of collectibles including posters, costumes and action figures. Visitors can also take home a souvenir photo placing them in the heart of an iconic Star Wars environment. Don’t miss the epic 4D spaceship experience which is designed for those aged 14 and over. May the force be with you.
From April 19 -May 3, 81 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LD, fansstrikebackexhibition.com
Bunny Hop Eggstravaganza
For a hearty helping of community spirit and a day-long dose of merry making, this gathering in Elephant and Castle is the answer — and it’s free. There’s egg decorating, face painting and food stalls as well as performances from local choirs and groups including the Up Side Down Dance Academy and selfies with the Easter Bunny.
April 8 from 11am-5pm; Castle Square, 40 Elephant Road, SE17 1EU; castlesquarelondon.com
The Escape Room at The London Dungeon
A new experience at the iconic attraction in which “guests” are locked into a cell and have 60 minutes to escape using clues left by Guy Fawkes. With logic puzzles and physical challenges, this is a great addition to the craze of escape rooms among older children.
£120 per game, for two to sixpeople. London Dungeon, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB, thedungeons.com
Enjoy a poetry-themed Easter trail
Nature and poetry lovers alike flock to visit Osterley Park’s annual Easter trail. Guests can follow the trail through the National Trust’s 350 acres of parkland and enjoy the poetry-themed adventure with a trail sheet and Easter bunny ears. The Georgian country estate in west London makes for a magical setting and at the end of the day, kids will be treated to a chocolate egg to celebrate the Easter occasion. Be sure to stop by the resplendent Garden House, built in the 1780s.
Until April 16, Osterley House, TW7 4RB; nationaltrust.org.uk
Workshops and performances at Museum of London Docklands
The schedule at this award-winning museum is packed with art projects, swashbuckling stories and even the chance to befriend a little rat and help to complete her family tree. One of the highlights has got to be the sessions which introduce youngsters to Thieves’ Cant — a secret language used by scoundrels. London’s past is brought to life through objects, language and exploration and best of all, it’s free.
April 1 to 16, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, E14 4AL; museumoflondon.org.uk
Burn off the Easter chocolate with a family fun run
London’s picturesque Regent’s Park is home to the London Easter 10k — a family friendly event welcoming runners of all ages and abilities. It consists of the hotly contested 10km race; a fun run of around two miles and a 700m race for little ones aged under nine, with a chocolate egg waiting for them at the finish line. The 10km course will navigate through the park’s famous sites including the Broad Walk, the boating lake and past London Zoo.
April 10 , Regent’s Park, NW1 4NP; nice-work.org.uk
Bounce over to see the Harlem Globetrotters
The world’s most famous purveyors of basketball skills and sporting fun, The Original Harlem Globetrotters, are coming to the UK. Join the flamboyant athletes at The O2 on April 30 and the OVO Arena Wembley on May 7 for a thrill-packed evening of sporting entertainment. Founded in 1926, The Harlem Globetrotters have helped spread the fame of basketball to all corners of the planet, and always put on an entertaining family-friendly spectacle. Expect jump-shots, skyhooks and crowd-pleasing slam dunks in what should be a dazzling exhibition fusing comedy and music with athleticism.
April 30, London O2, SE10 0DX and May 7,Wembley Arena, HA9 0AA; bookingsdirect.seetickets.com