The bumper Muddy ‘What’s On’ Guide!
Are you ready to roll? The Easter bunny is rubbing his little fluffy ears, the chicks are breaking out of their pretty shells and Muddy readers are reaching out for their hipflasks and valium! Fear not, here’s my BUMPER EASTER MUDDY GUIDE to see you through the next two weeks. Below is the stuff that’s on all week, and you can see separate DAY BY DAY listings on the special calendar (screen grab below, just click on the link here to access it).
ON ALL WEEK:
It’s Kids for a Quid at Oxford Castle during Easter (with a full fee paying adult – they’re not stupid!). The castle has served in its 1000 year history as castle, royal residence and a prison, so plenty to see and learn and you’re bang in the centre of Oxford to play afterwards. Still on Castles, new at Warwick Castle this Easter is the brand new Horrible Histories Maze, the return of the Horrible Histories’ Wicked Warwick live stage show,the largest working siege machine in the world, and the twice daily Flight of the Eagles birds of prey show. Or feast your eyes on 300 years of royal fashion, (Sat 26 Mar – Sun 10 April) from Henry VIII to George III, with an art and craft workshop and special Easter activity trail available every day. On 29, 30, 31 March and 5, 6, 7 April, the State Apartments are open for a short talk about royal fashion, and lots of fun trying on of beautiful replica costumes.
Do your kids have twinkle-toes? The Easter Dance Course (4-8 April) at Tring Park School of Performing Arts is a fantastic opportunity to experience dance training in ballet, character dance, repertoire, modern, jazz and contemporary for older pupils. Day pupils 8-16 years; boarders 9-16 years.
Thespy more your bag? Put on a Play in A Week is a well-regarded week long course from Oxford-based Creation Theatre. Kids get to grips with a text and rehearse, while playing lots of games, then on Friday, friends and family to come and see the final show. Also worth checking out are Chippy Theatres workshops for kids of all ages, including Play in a Day, Play in Two Days, Musical Theatre Experience and Street Dance.
Auto Science LIVE (19 March – 10 April) is putting on crafts, interactive workshops and MAD Science shows, as well as an Easter trail at Gaydon, Warwickshire. The museum has been newly refurbished and offers petrol-heady types the chance to see cars you may never have seen before.
For little ones, an interactive journey into the deep dark wood to meet the Gruffalo and other famous characters. The ‘Gruffalo Guide’ lead kids in the footsteps of Mouse, as if they’ve stepped onto the pages of the book, complete with trees, woodland sounds, a fox’s den and its own log pile house. The Gruffolo appears during the 35-40 minute experience too.
Also for littlies, there’s a Day Out with Thomas at Bucks Railway Centre between Fri 25 – Mon 28th. Attractions include a ride on some of Thomas’ smaller friends on the miniature railway, a magic/balloon show together badge making and free face-painting.
Children between 5-11 can try an ‘Extraordinary Animals’ Science Camps by Bright Sparks Events kids 5-11 – a science camp at a different venue every day dedicated to the most unusual animals. My little boy tried a Bright Sparks party and it was fab so it’s definitely worth checking out.
For adults, Hairspray hits MK Theatre (4-9 April) with a new production of the smash hit musical comedy. It’s Baltimore, 1962 where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Cue serious back-combing. If that’s not kitsch enough, Tom Jones The Musical comes to the Aylesbury Waterside. Could be utterly brilliant or horrifically bad, but it’ll be compelling either way.
Farmy stuff at Mead Open Farm all through Easter, with a Lamb Nursery packed with newborn and older lambs wanting bottlefeeding, daily puppet shows, easter chicks and rabbits and guinea pigs to pet. Kids under 10 years will love it. Or there’s an Easter trail with obligatory choccy eg at Odds Farm Park (25 March – 10 April) with lambs to feed, the return of Tractor & Trailer Rides, and the Giant Indoor Playbarn in case of torrential rain, you’ve got it covered for the little ones at this Wycombe-based farm.
Get them exercising with Learn to Skate courses at Oxford Ice Rink – a 5 Day Skate Basics course for 5-16 year olds, a 30min group lesson each day plus entrance to the public session. £41 per child for the week. Or how about an introduction to watersports at Bray Lake (Mon 28 Mar – Fri 1 April) and skill development for those who’ve had a go before. Choose from, 2, 3 or 5 day courses, for kids 8+ or 10+ – you can pop off to lunch at The Hind’s Head with Heston while you’re waiting!
A special Easter exhibition from the Warner Bros Studio Tour focusing on Hagrid and the efforts taken by the producers, costume designers and the special effects teams to bring the half-giant to screen. Plus you can see the Creative Effects department demonstrating techniques used to create the prosthetic masks worn by Goblins at Gringott’s bank. Catnip for Harry fans.
Emin’s provocative My Bed is displayed in an exhibition at Tate Britain running into the Summer, alongside six of the artist’s recent figure drawings, as well as two oil paintings by Francis Bacon selected by Emin.
Over at Tate Modern, Playing Up (Fri 1 – Mon 4 April) is an artwork by Sibylle Peters, launching with a three day mass ‘play-in’ in the Turbine Hall on 1-3 April, plus a symposium on 4 April. It’s like a massive game played by adults and kids together, where you create ‘live art’ – make clothes out of food, lie on top of cars, dance with animals, try bagism, make a ketchup fight, follow a random passerby through the city, remote control your parents, invent your own Live Art form of sports, and build what-happens-next-machines. Bonkers but probably very good fun.
Exhibitionism, the first international exhibition on The Rolling Stones takes over the entire two floors of the Saatchi Gallery (Tues 5 April – 5 Sept 2016) with 9 thematic galleries and combines over 500 original Stones’ artefacts – rare instruments, original stage designs, iconic costumes, video footage, album cover artwork.
And finally, if you still have the tiniest ounce of energy left inside your aching body, check out The Crystal Maze experience. Remember the TV show from the Nineties with Richard O’Brien being a bit weirdy at the helm? It’s returning as the ultimate live team challenge, where you test your skills, mental and physical ability across four adventure time zones. You have to be 18 to take part, and it’s in King’s Cross the venue is secret until you book. If anyone is mad enough to try it, let me know!
EASTER EGG HUNTS:
Soooo many, so your starter for ten: at the Palladian gorgeousness of Basildon Park (Friday 25 – Monday 28 March) with its lovely roly-poly lawns: there’s the super-stunning gardens of Stonor Park to explore on 27, 28 March and 3 April and also over the Easter weekend, Cliveden invites kids to navigate past the ducks and geese in the Water Garden, skirt round the giant fountain, pass thousands of sweet-scented hyacinths and traverse daffodil-lined paths to claim a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt (11am until 3.30pm Friday to Monday over Easter weekend £3 per child plus normal admission charges). The River and Rowing Museum Easter Egg hunt is through the galleries (so see David Hockney’s exhibition while you’re there!) Daily, 24 March – 12 April. The stunning grounds of Stowe make the perfect Easter Egg hunt zone (Fri 25 – Mon 28 March) with a difference – it’s a Sleeping Beauty theme, with kids finding clues to awake Sleeping Beuaty from the Sleeping Wood and claim their egg! Down near High Wycombe, the Easter Egg Hunt is on at Hughenden Manor (Fri 25 – Mon 28 March), with eggs hidden all around the garden. £3 per trail, normal admission applies. At Waterperry Gardens kids can hunt the bunnies around the Gardens (£2 per child), and there’s even more chocolatey oval stuff at the MK Museum (25-28 March). Blenheim Palace has a Giant Easter Egg Hunt, plus vintage fun fair, Punch & Judy, face painting and fire juggling from the 12th Duke of Malborough (I may be joking about that last bit). Also Easter hunts, if you can bear to read about any more of them, at Beale Park, the lovely Black Park in near Beaconsfield, a Chicken Hunt at Batsford Arboretum (you get eggs at the end of course), and finally – FINALLY!! – Kew Gardens that trumps the lot with a Lindt Gold Bunny trail. Ding-a-ling his little bell necklace, then bite his head off!
Go to DAY BY DAY listings