Get Cracking! The Muddy Herts Easter Hols Guide
Two weeks? That’s a lot of days to fill with jolly holiday fun. In an attempt to keep my own small folk occupied (yeah, because that’s an easy job…) I’ve put together a day-by-day list of what’s on across the county that the kids might enjoy. And if they’re happy – or busy – then you’re happy, right?
The Easter fun at Willows Farm, near London Colney, has a whole host of things to do – egg and bunny hunts, pig racing, goat milking, adventure play, tractor rides, and animals indoors and out – and they all run until 19 April. The Easter Bunny will be there, too, of course. Standalone Farm, near Letchworth, has an egg hunt as well as free face painting (Mon-Wed), a hip-hop hay bale maze, sack races, and bunny handling sessions. There are crafts (3-6 & 10-13 Apr) and the chance to get in on some veg planting (3-4 Apr) – and Peter Rabbit himself will be there 4 Apr. Church Farm at Ardeley, near Stevenage, is more of a working farm: it’s got fewer ‘activities’ but still loads to do and see. We spent a lovely afternoon in the sun there last weekend. You can eat and shop there, too, at the cafe, farm shop or the Jolly Waggoners Inn (which looks good).
Heading off the farm, there’s always the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey if you fancy something a bit different. They’ve got an ‘Eggsplosive Easter‘ planned (until 12 Apr), with Professor Nitrate at the Mad Lab, family activities on 3-4 Apr, and pyrotechnic displays on 5-6 Apr.
Butterfly World in St Albans re-opened for the season recently, and there’s plenty going on there over the hols. There’s something pretty much every day from 3-19 Apr, with lots of crafts, activities, storytelling and trails.
Aldenham Country Park also has a fun-filled calendar of events throughout the hols – and there’s always loads to do there, even without the extra activity bits they’re laying on. You can even meet Winnie the Pooh while you’re there, if you time it right.
Friday 3 April
Chaplin’s Circus (all people, no animals) is in St Albans until 6 Apr with at least one, if not two, shows a day. They’re also running free circus workshops until 5 Apr, and a ‘Foyer Cafe’ where you can sit and relax while the little darlings learn to juggle and so on.
Ashridge Estate is holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt (3-6 Apr) It’s a great way to have a walk in the woods, follow the trail (it’s even educational) and then scoff chocolate at the end. You can also hunt for eggs at Lee Valley Park Farm (3-6 Apr) and check out their llamas and meerkats while you’re there.
The Easter Adventure Quest at Audley End House gives a neatly historical twist to the usual egg hunt: characters from the past will help you on your quest and help you, er, crack the clues (sorry).
And if the weather’s not playing fair – or you’ve had your fill of eggs – you can head to the Hawthorne Theatre in Welwyn Garden City. These adaptations – ‘Wind in the Willows’ and ‘Return to the Willows’ – bring the stories to life with slapstick, surprises and music.
Saturday 4 April
Explore Wick Wood, near St Albans, and yes, you’ve guessed it, hunt for Easter eggs. Get those wellies on, though. It’s bound to be muddy.
Sunday 5 April
Wish Upon a Party are holding an Easter Egg Hunt and Fun Day at Inn on the Park in St Albans: face painting, sand art, egg and spoon races and more. And over at Knebworth House, there’ll be jousting (5-6 Apr) – great for any mini-knights you might have to entertain.
Tuesday 7 April
At the risk of mentioning the F-word (you know, Frozen), if you have an Elsa-obsessive in your house (as I do), then the Ice Queen Party at Inn on the Park looks like a good bet. Dancing, singing, games, storytelling – and loads of glitter. Or if Tree Fu Tom is more to their liking, you can see him live on stage at Broxbourne Civic Hall — just two performances, 1 and 3.30pm. And keeping the CBeebies theme going, Sid Sloane (sigh) is starring, alongside Edele Lynch (from B*Witched) in ‘The Pirates of Treasure Island’ at Watford Colosseum (7-8 Apr).
Crafty kids? Frogmore Mill in Apsley has Easter Paper Crafting Drop-In Sessions (7-17 Apr) – lots of messy, sticky, crafty fun with paper for just £3. The ArtsKool Academy is running ‘arty mornings’ at Welwyn Civic Centre (7 & 9 Apr) which sound like fun. There are also some crafty goings-on at Hertford Museum based around some ‘Extraordinary Egyptians’ (7-9, 14-16 Apr) – make a mummy mask or a clay amulet, and more.
If you’ve had enough eggs already, why not head to the Mini Highland Games at The Higgins in Bedford – lots of dancing, singing and flinging! There are some other good bits there throughout the hols, too. Worth checking out if you’re up that way.
Wednesday 8 April
Got a little princess? Sign her up for the Easter Princess School in St Albans. Three hours of learning to be the perfect princess – dancing, games, cookie decorating and so on. And if that’s not enough princess, ‘Snow White On Ice’ opens at the Alban Arena (8-12 Apr).
The Natural History Museum at Tring (always worth a visit) has ‘Walter’s Wander in Tring Park’ – lots of hands-on nature activities exploring Tring Park and the history of the Rothschilds. (If you’ve not discovered Tring Park yet, you’re in for a treat – it’s massive. Great for walking the dogs, if you have them. And brilliant for sledging – only let’s hope not this Easter…).
If you miss the ArtsKool Academy’s ‘arty mornings’ in Welwyn, you can catch them in Harpenden instead (8-9, 15-16 Apr). There’s also a chance to recreate famous artworks (forgery for beginners?!) at The Higgins, Bedford.
Thursday 9 April
Frogmore Mill also has a 2-day themed course for families on ‘Paper Flight’ – you’ll need to book this one, and it’s just £5 per child.
Friday 10 April
Depending on the weather – and how hardy you are – you can take all go rafting at the Lee Valley White Water Centre. They’re holding a Family Activity Day with rafting, sports, raft building and more.
Saturday 11 April
This is one from my childhood – book in for ‘The Sooty Show‘ at the Rhodes Theatre in Bishops Stortford. What’s that, Sooty? Yes, Sweep has been very naughty…
Up for a late night? Head to the LDAS Observatory at Standalone Farm, Letchworth, for a ‘Star Party’ – a chance to star-gaze with someone who knows what to look for right there with you.
Sunday 12 April
Hemel Hempstead’s extreme sports facility, The XC, has skateboard, high ropes, and caving workshops (12 & 19 Apr) – and it’s a great site, if you’ve not ventured up there already. Friendly, well-qualified instructors and brilliant facilities. There are sessions running throughout the hols, and they’re definitely worth a go.
Monday 13 April
Like a good bounce? There’s a family trampolining session at Sportspace in Berkhamsted (5-12yo). Give some of that Tigger-like energy an outlet, perhaps? There are some at the Hemel Hempstead site, too, throughout the fortnight.
Tuesday 14 April
St Albans Abbey is holding a ‘Stunning Statues’ workshop for older children (7-11), where you get to make your own clay ‘statue’ — probably best to book for this one. For your little ones, pop them in their pyjamas for bedtime stories at Redbourn Library.
Wednesday 15 April
‘Charlotte’s Web’ comes to the stage at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage (15-19 Apr). And it’s a musical, too.
If you’re near St Albans, there’ll be stories being read in the giant flowerpot at Butterfly World (11am-3pm).
Thursday 16 April
St Albans Abbey has an ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ family discovery morning (16 Apr), where you can make your own kaleidoscope and help make a giant stained glass window.
Shoot Me Studios in Berkhamsted is running its fab ‘Tweens and Teens Photography Day’ again – my 11yo did it and loved it. Move your tween or teen beyond the selfie! Call 01442 869 099 for more info or to book.
Friday 17 April
As well as the production itself, there’s also a ‘Charlotte’s Web’ workshop at the Gordon Craig Theatre – a morning meeting the cast, and enjoying drama and arts and crafts, then straight into the matinee performance. Perfect for any theatre-mad little ones. Book by calling 01483 363200.
Got an older one to amuse? The Shoot Me Studios ‘Movie Making Day’ is a good bet – again, my 11yo had a blast – and will get your teen filming, recording and editing. Call 01442 869 099 for more info or to book.
Saturday 18 April
Two more sleeps and they’re back to school…