Or should that be – eggs-centric Easter weekend breaks…
Pardon the pun – we can only do it once a year, and it perfectly sums up what typical Easter weekend breaks in the UK should be like, i.e. too silly to be true. Even the “standard” stuff to do on Easter getaways is eccentric: skipping about with bells on our legs (we call it Morris Dancing), geeking out over old trains and castles, rolling eggs around and calling it a race, having Easter egg hunts literally everywhere, or fawning over children’s book characters when we’re not even living with our parents anymore.
We Brits are silly and we know it – but we also having some stunning scenery and animal life that come out to play in springtime. Yes, April showers are a thing, but that doesn’t seem to matter when you’re under the roof of a royal botanical garden or cuddling up to a baby goat.
So if you’re in need of some Easter break ideas, here is a British guide to fun, revitalising, and cheap Easter breaks on the islands.
1. Easter Egg Hunt in the Lake District
This is definitely several levels up from your average back garden hunt. The Lake District would be the perfect national park for Easter weekend breaks, because it’s got everything: mountains, lakes, farmland, woods, and the home of the UK’s favourite nostalgic children’s author, Beatrix Potter. Her doodles and letters to children turned into books, and her most popular character, Peter Rabbit, inspired the Lake District egg hunt.
This year, egg-hunters will be set loose on Wednesday 12th April 2017 to find 100 handmade ceramic eggs hidden in 2,600 square miles (6,800 square kilometres) of nature. But don’t panic: they do provide you with a Google map and some clues.
2. Bonnets and Egg Rolling
Cheap Easter breaks are all about those simple traditions: such as “egg rolling”. In a very matter of fact manner, the Preston Guild City website tells you to report with your best-decorated chocolate Easter egg at the Avenham and Miller Parks for egg rolling on Easter Monday.
The actual egg rolling race (literally just running and chucking your egg along the ground) is just one part of the traditions: there are storytellers, singers, magicians, balloon artists, and all sorts of entertainers for the young and the young-spirited. Plus you can make your own Easter bonnet (a very silly hat, and if it’s silly enough, you’ll win a prize). And there’s a fairground – and the entire event is free entry.
Preston itself is nestled between Blackpool, Manchester, and Liverpool, making it easy to get there and also to escape and explore more of the North.
3. Moominvalley at Kew Gardens
Have you ever heard of the Moomins? The Finnish-Swedish cartoon has been winning kiddies’ hearts worldwide since the 1950s, and is set in the gorgeous Moominvalley; the Moomins themselves (who are seriously adorable trolls) love to venture out into nature, so where better to bring them to life than at Kew Gardens in London?
This is one of those Easter weekend breaks that you cannot miss – this is a special event for 2017, in place of the tradition Kew Gardens Easter egg hunt.
There will be craft workshops, Moomin pancakes (cooked over a campfire in the original book), nature trails, and talks about spring flowers and to how to keep them safe. Oh, and free Lindt chocolates on Easter Sunday.
4. Morris Dancing
Morris Dancing is a questionable custom that keeps people confused about us Brits. The moves and costumes vary across the country, and, although it’s not widely practised these days, there are plenty of pockets of the country where you can pop along and watch it – this makes it a must-do on any cheap Easter breaks.
One of the more famous, fun, and not too remote Morris dancing events is on Easter Monday (17th April 2017) in Greenwich right near Cutty Sark; this elegant and intriguing neighbourhood gets even more interesting when some men with bells on their legs, ribbons on their arms and sticks in their hands turn up. Not only do they jig to the tune of a Melodeon, they also perform the “great chair lifting” ceremony (read: cheering and hoisting a volunteer from the crowd in a flowery chair); it is said to improve fertility…
5. Stay on a Farm with a Sea View
Part of the point of why we celebrate Easter in the first place is spring itself: new birth, new life, and a helluva lotta cute animals, of course. So where else is better for peaceful Easter getaways than a farm?
Bre-Pen Farm in Cornwall is not far from the seaside town of Newquay, and is a B&B, a wedding hotspot, but mostly a working farm on land protected by the National Trust. This means that you can go running with the lambs along the Cornish clifftops, with a breath-taking view of the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Medieval Getaway
One of the coolest – or nerdiest – things about the UK is the fact that almost every town is in the shadow of a castle. And little Beaumaris, a port town on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, has one of the most important ones in English-Welsh history: the Beaumaris Castle was devised by the English king Edward I to help him keep a hold on the country, and, according to the Welsh Government’s website, was “the 13th-century hi-tech equivalent of a spaceship landing”.
But all that is now history: instead, Beaumaris Castle is now known for its flamboyant display of Medieval fun, attracting people from all over for their Easter weekend breaks. As well as the usual arts and crafts, re-enactments, and the obligatory Easter egg hunt around the castle, you can also play with falcons and test out your spear skills. And one more thing: it is 30 minutes away from the Snowdonia national park!
7. Vintage Fair with Steam Engines
I told you we Brits are nerdy – just say the words “steam engine” and you’ve got half the country interested. Old fashioned steam railways still run for visitors in many parts of the country, including the Grand Central Railway up in Loughborough.
All year round you can ride, dine, and even solve murder mysteries on board their vintage trains from the Quorn and Woodhouse Station. Yet at this time of year, they also lay on an Easter Vintage Festival: steam-driven fairground rides, an ale bar, and more locomotives than you can blow a whistle at. The GCR is one of those places that – whether you’re a hobby engineer or not – really plunges you back into the good ol’ days.
And Don’t Forget the Buns!
Make sure you try a proper hot cross bun on your Easter weekend breaks! I don’t need to tell you where to find one – no matter what your choice is of where to go for Easter, there will be a tea room that will serve you one – or at the very least, a Marks and Spencer.