Ten things to do with the kids next Spring

Tree Top Junior - Go Ape (hi-res)

30 locations across the UK For the ultimate Easter excursion let your tribe live a little more adventurously on a visit to Go Ape. Children as young as six can monkey around on Tree Top Junior, while older children can fly through the sky on a zip wire, race through the forest on a Segway or swing through the trees like Tarzan on the Tree Top Adventure. With 30 Go Ape adventures around the country, an experience with Go Ape is all about having fun and getting in touch with your inner Tarzan! So banish the boredom this Easter, and enjoy some family time in the fresh air at your nearest Go Ape adventure. www.goape.co.uk

Children enjoy monkeying around on the Tree Top Junior

Children enjoy monkeying
around on the Tree Top Junior

Various locations across the UK From spring woodlands and craggy coastlines, to historic houses and enchanting castles, there are more than 250 egg hunts to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, guaranteeing a fun-filled Easter for everyone. Explore fairy-tale castles to solve the mysteries, or hunt through daffodils to find the clues. Some quests will take you through mystical woodlands and past bubbling streams. There’ll be face-painting, family games and craft activities galore so you can stay for a whole day of fun. What’s more, everyone will be rewarded with a Cadbury chocolate treat at the end of each completed hunt, and every Easter Egg Hunt will help the National Trust care for our special places for future generations to explore. Check out the website to find an Easter egg hunt near you. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Children doing an Easter egg hunt at Mottisfont, Hampshire. Mottisfont is an 18th century house surrounded by a garden paradise.

Children doing an Easter egg hunt at Mottisfont, Hampshire. Mottisfont is an 18th century house surrounded by a garden paradise.

4-5 Henley Street, Stratford-Upon- Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6PT Perhaps not as mad as it sounds, the MAD Museum stands for mechanical art and design and is a great playground for kids and big kids alike. Think of the machines and gismos used in Wallace and Gromit, Scrapheap Challenge and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – an interactive experience where kids really can get hands on and push buttons, twiddle things and generally get curious are the order of the day. Take a break from screen time and encourage the kids to become a creative inventor for the day instead. As well as being a lot of fun, the MAD Museum demonstrates inspirational creativity and clever, often witty design. The museum supports the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths as well as the principles of art and design. Visit the website for more information https://themadmuseum.co.uk

‘Down With Gravity’ at the MAD Museum

‘Down With Gravity’ at the MAD Museum

Exploration Dr, Leicester LE4 5NS Space suits, rockets, walking on the moon, distant galaxies… what’s not to like? The National Space Centre has six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, unique 3D Simulator experience and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower. As a special treat, groups can visit the Challenger Learning Centre, one of only two educational space mission simulators of its type outside of North America. Founded by the families of the astronauts lost during the last flight of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986, students have a short briefing in which the Mission Commanders and the student astronauts review their mission objectives. Mission Controllers take their stations and the astronauts ‘blast off’ to the space station. Throughout the mission, students are presented with tasks and realistic dilemmas that build problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. For groups of between 14 and 34. www.spacecentre.co.uk


2 Warriston’s Close, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1PG Going back in time and witnessing the darkest secrets of Edinburgh’s streets should be enough to keep the kids’ imaginations active during the Easter break. Hidden beneath the Royal Mile lies the Real Mary King’s Close. This warren of hidden ‘closes’ or narrow streets where real people lived, worked and died, lay forgotten and covered by the City Chambers for centuries. From the maid to the merchant, the plague cleaner to the poet, bring the kids along to watch as these now-underground streets and houses are brought to life by costumed character guides playing onetime residents of the close.

Hear the stories of the real people who lived, worked and even died on these streets between the 16th and 20th centuries, stacked on top of each other in tenements that are described as the world’s first skyscrapers. Easter 2017 will see the attraction unveil a series of tour developments so groups will be able to get to grips with the plague, learn about how it came to Edinburgh and the devastation it caused, as well as hearing the untold tales of infamous royals. www.realmarykingsclose.com

The Real Mary King’s Close is deep underneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

The Real Mary King’s Close is deep underneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.


Gladstone Pottery Museum, Uttoxeter Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 1PQ This working pottery museum is the place to bring the kids for a taster of what working conditions were like in Victorian times. Watch demonstrators practise traditional skills in clay while asking them about their working day. Follow the Easter Trail Tuesdays to Saturdays and Bank Holidays during April - find the hidden Easter items all around the museum. Free gift and entry into a prize draw for everyone taking part.

While you’re there, why not get the kids to paint a piece of pottery from the Easter range, made on site at the museum. Get creative and take home a unique souvenir of your little one’s visit! There’s also a Victorian doctor’s surgery, a tile exhibition – and, if things get desperate, a history of the toilet! Art, history, citizenship and science activities are available for school groups. Key stages 1 and 2 can take part in Tessellating Tiles, where they will discover how shape, colour and pattern have been used in tile design over the centuries, they can then make their own decorated tile. Learn about Stoke’s most famous ceramic decorator, Clarice Cliff, and paint a piece of pottery inspired by her colourful designs.

Kids and adults alike can get creative at the Gladstone Pottery Museum.

Kids and adults alike can get creative at the  Gladstone Pottery Museum.

Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD A fascination with the natural world never fails to be unearthed during a visit to the Natural History Museum. Dinosaurs aside, the museum runs a number of activities and tours for all age groups. Younger visitors can meet characters such as Dino Dan and Circadian Sam or go on a self-guided explorer visit designed to encourage scientific enquiry and observation. Key Stage 2 pupils can enjoy an interactive science show, meet Mary Anning the famous fossil hunter or get hands-on with a workshop about animal skulls. Older students can find out what it’s like to be a scientist for a day, encounter the power of earthquakes and volcanoes in a live science show or investigate all kinds of natural history specimens in the hands-on science centre. The history of evolution is also covered by various activities.
Visit the website for details www.nhm. ac.uk

Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire For the ultimate real theme park, head to Diggerland, where children and adults alike can ride, drive and operate real diggers, dumpers and other construction giants. There are 18 different rides and drives to experience, suitable for all ages (subject to height restrictions).

Get to grips with real JCBs and 180/360 excavators, take a headreeling turn or two on the Spindizzy, rise to lofty heights and enjoy the views on the Skyshuttle, enjoy a bone-rattling off-road ride on the Groundshuttle or have a go on the tamer dodgems and go-karts. The parks are aimed at children between four and 14, but all ages enjoy the rides! There are Diggerland parks in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, so take your pick. www.diggerland.com

Iliffe Way, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1DL If you’re heading east over Easter a visit to the Museum of East Anglian Life will shed light on the area’s history and natural world. On the 75-acre site there are 15 restored historic buildings along with 3km of woodland and riverside nature trails for the kids to explore. You can also learn about East Anglian crafts and traditional gypsy culture. Steam engines and animals, including rare breeds of sheep and cattle and Suffolk Punch horses, complete the museum.

Workshops such as Materials in the Barn offers hands-on activities that explore the museum’s 13th century barn, how it is constructed and the materials used to make objects such as farm tools. Kids can handle a variety of farm tools, use mirror drawing to explore the barn’s timbers, and construction kits to explore the structure of the barn itself. Or choose the Three Little Pigs workshop where children listen to the story then go around the museum learning about animal homes. www.eastanglianlife.org.uk

Children eating chocolate eggs after an Easter egg hunt at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Children eating chocolate eggs after an Easter egg hunt at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

National Centre for Children’s Books, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PQ Your kids’ favourite books and stories are brought to life at Seven Stories. From traditional nursery rhymes to young adult fiction, encourage your gang to hear their much-loved stories in a new dimension. With ever-changing exhibitions and special events, such as Little Tim and Beatrix Potter, there’s never a story not being told. Exhibitions also go on tour so keep an eye out for these around your way.

Seven Stories also caters for birthday parties, where a dedicated Story Catcher will entertain with lively story times, party games and a chance to explore the exhibitions before enjoying a birthday picnic fit for a prince or princess.
https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/n Kids and adults alike can get creative at the Gladstone Pottery Museum. 028_31_

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