1/15 RHS Flower Show
Flowers can be fun! The RHS Flower Show is coming to Cardiff and it’s set to inspire budding green-fingered gardeners to get messy and imaginative in beautiful Bute Park. There’s a magical, mystical air to the show, with gardens exploring the history of Welsh legends – look out for Blodeuwedd, a mythical woman made from flowers. There’s also the chance to ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’ and learn how to transform grey areas into a green paradise to attract declining insects and a whole host of other wildlife-themed children’s activities.
Get adventurous with some den building, tree climbing, or follow a special children’s trail. Get hands-on and try your hand at seedbomb making, join a bug-hotel workshop or make your own wood cookie nametag necklaces, which you can decorate and take home. Everyone will love the colourful schools’ wheelbarrow competition and you’ll be awestruck by giant wicker bug sculptures. Bristol Zoo will also be on site to entertain with their plant / animal association game.
7-9 April, Bute Park, Cardiff Castle
Advance tickets: £10.00 (RHS members £9.00) On the day: £13 (RHS members £11) Children free (under 16)
About the author
Kim Jones is an experienced journalist who has worked at various women’s weekly magazines, and now freelances for them and the national papers writing about travel, health and lifestyle. She lives in Cardiff with her partner and their two sons and loves persuading them all to come away on holidays with her in the family VW camper van.
Find Kim on Twitter @kimsfeatures
2/15 Quentin Blake: Inside Stories
If you love Quentin Blake’s simply wonderful illustrations (you’ll know them from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books such as Matilda and The Twits as well as in David Walliams comedy fiction for youngsters such as The Boy in the Dress and Gangsta Granny) then head along to a fascinating exhibition from House of Illustration which gives a unique insight into how Blake creates his genius drawings from start to finish.
There are over 100 pieces of artwork on show – inks, watercolours and pastels – and you’ll get to see how his characters develop from first roughs, storyboards and finished artworks. The exhibition also features his illustrations for books by John Yeoman, Russell Hoban and Michael Rosen.
Until 8 July, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
Tickets £7, Children under 12 free
3/15 Moomin Adventures At Kew Gardens
Spring is here and The Moomins are coming out of hibernation and heading to Kew Gardens to make mischief and have lots of fun. You can meet them while they’re there for a three week Easter Festival where they’ll inspire children to explore the flora and fauna, the landscape and wildlife, all around. The family of adventurous and nature-loving creatures from the iconic storybooks by Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson have been around since the 1940s, but it’s their first time at Kew – and they’ve come at a great time when the gardens will be filled with the spectacular colour of flowering daffodils, crocuses and magnolias. There’ll be an interactive Moomin trail to follow where you can help Hemulen find some favourite plants that have gone missing from his prized herbarium collection.
Expect to see glorious displays of spring flowers, from tulips to fritillaries on your hunt and finish the trail in a specially created Moomin Festival Camp in the wild woodland of the Conservation Area where kiddies can report all their marvellous botanical findings and collect their reward. There’ll also be the chance to ‘meet and greet’ a real-life Moomin costumed character, take part in Marvellous Moomin workshops where you can get stuck into den building and have the chance to plant your own courgettes to take home and care for. Other exciting activities on offer include Moomin storytelling, Moomin mask making and the chance to set up a Moomin tea party on Kew’s giant outdoor table.
1-17 April, Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey
Admission to the festival is included in the general entrance ticket to the Gardens (Adult – £15, child – £3.50).
4/15 Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience
Popcorn at the ready? See everyone’s favourite little piggy Peppa in the cinema for the first time as nine new five minute episodes hit the big screen just in time for Easter. Your preschool Peppa fans will be snorting with delight as they catch up with his latest adventures. Leading with ‘Peppa Visits London’ you’ll see Peppa and her friends hop on board a double-decker red bus as the Queen takes them on an unforgettable tour of London landmarks including Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square. The other new ‘oink-tastic’ episodes include ‘The Police, ‘Canal Boat’, ‘The Zoo’, ‘Move to the Music’ and a four-part story in which viewers will join Peppa on an Australian holiday to visit her old friend, Kylie Kangaroo.
Each of the nine brand-new episodes will be connected with never-before-seen interactive entertainment featuring live action Peppa and George characters and their friend Daisy, in her colourful new world. Little ones (and parents too) can join in with games as well as singing and dancing along to new versions of their favourite nursery rhymes, including The Wheels on the Bus and Row Row Your Boat. Listen out for two familiar voices mums and dads – David Mitchell lends his voice to Policeman Panda in the episode ‘The Police’ and Jo Brand voices Mrs. Crocodile in ‘The Zoo.’
From 7 April, cinemas nationwide
Ticket prices vary at each cinema
5/15 Try Canal Boating For Free
Ever dreamt of a holiday on the open water, cruising leisurely along a canal with the family in tow? Not sure you’re cut out for bobbing along on a barge – but would love to give it a go? Then pop along to a ‘National Canal Boating Open Day’ near you. Drifters Waterway Holidays and the Canal & River Trust have teamed up to offer people the chance to try canal boating for free at 20 locations across England and Wales. The taster sessions will include free short trips on skippered narrowboats, as well as boat tours and boating tips and hints. No advance booking or experience is required.
You’ll learn how to crew a canal boat, how locks work, how to navigate tunnels, speak the boating lingo, spot wildlife, explore traffic free towpaths and discover the amazing places to visit on the nation’s beautiful waterways. There are hundreds of mini adventures waiting to be discovered – look out for watery wildlife like ducks, swans, moorhens, geese, and the blue flash of a kingfisher or signs of the elusive otter. Detect historic clues to the canal’s past – mileposts, bridges bearing rope marks from horse drawn boats, dozens of soaring aqueducts and hundreds of bridges built by intrepid engineers that still look as impressive today as they did 200 years ago.
23 April, various locations around England and Wales including Stratford upon Avon Canal, Warwickshire and Shropshire Union Canal, Cheshire
6/15 Play Games At Somerset House
Join in the fun at a month-long festival of games and play at Somerset House in London. It starts with a gaming weekender – Now Play This – which runs alongside the London Games Festival. There’ll be a host of hands-on opportunities to get involved with everything from experimental video games to a post-apocalyptic mini golf course on the River Terrace, a ping-pong table that creates a work of art as you play and a physical, team-based challenge to stop the bubonic plague!
Don’t miss a visit to The Ten Second Room where you will be challenged to complete a task at top speed – whether trying your hand at being a virtual make-up artist or sketching a digital masterpiece. And discover games and prototypes that were never finished or released in the Cabinet of Impossible Games. The Game Changers: Another Way to Play exhibition will take a more in-depth look at the creative process behind game design and how traditional forms of chess, billiards and mazes continue to influence designers making exciting new games today.
Now Play This takes place from 7-9 April and Game Changers: Another Way to Play is from 7 April – 7 May, Somerset House, The Strand, London
Now Play This: day ticket £8/£6.50 concession; unlimited entry pass £23/£15 Concession. Entry free for under-12s, though not all games will be suitable for children. Game Changers: Another Way to Play is free
7/15 Edinburgh International Science Festival
Get geeky at Europe’s biggest science festival – with plenty of attention-grabbing fascinating fun for all the family. Don’t miss The Experimentarium at Summerhall, where events include: How Do Rivers Work?; What’s it Like to be a Heart Scientist?; and Vets, Pets and Datasets. Get immersed in medical events at City Arts Centre where you can pay a visit to the Blood Bar, and make your own scabs (ewww), mix up a gooey blood clot and even touch a real heart. In ER Surgery, you‘ll get the chance to scrub up and save lives with the help of a surgeon.
Young engineers will love getting hands-on at Robot Lab, which showcases everything from cute football-playing robots to an assembly-line robot that wants to learn to work with you. Wee Science at Edinburgh Zoo looks at how dogs bark, meerkats call, but only humans use words. Look out for lots of great family theatre shows including Dr Stirlingshire’s Discovery, which takes you on a search for undiscovered animals at Edinburgh Zoo, and Uncanny Valley, which asks the audience to interact with a real ‘live’ robot and help to tell the story of Ada and her best friend OKAY (Outstandingly Knowledgeable Android Youth). And whether it’s game design, the music industry or zombies that takes their interest there’s lots for teenagers to get their heads around and their hands on, too.
1-16 April, in 29 venues across Edinburgh
Some events are free, others incur a charge; see website
8/15 Ask Like An Italian!
There’s a new Eat Like An Italian menu at Ask Italian restaurants – and – in celebration of the passionate way Italians use their hands in conversation – you can order some of the dishes using hand gestures especially created for the menu. Kids will love it – but if you prefer to order the ordinary way, then that’s fine too! The new Spring menu now also available features Alto pizzas – which come with a thick airy base studded with olives, tomatoes and your choice of special ingredients such as burrata (like mozzarella, but more indulgent!), coppa ham and Scamorza cheese or Spicy N’duja sausage, sweet smoked chilli jelly and crème fraiche.
New healthier options include a Salmon or Mozzarella and Mixed Grain Salad and there are plenty of authentic pasta dishes including a delicious new beef brisket and chianti ragu. The kids’ menu includes pizzas and calzones with a choice of two toppings, butterfly pasta with chicken and broccoli, spaghetti carbonara and for dessert chocolate pizza or Tip & Top Ice cream (ice-cream they can top with meringue, strawberries, mini marshmallows and sprinkles).
The Spring Menu is available now and the limited edition Eat Like an Italian hand gesture menu is available until 17 April, Ask Italian restaurants nationwide
Kids menu (starter, main course, dessert and a babycinno) £6.95
9/15 Go Unicorn Spotting
It’s a land with a long history of myths and legends and some of the most magical scenery in the world, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. In honour of National Unicorn Day (9 April), VisitScotland is challenging visitors to go on their own unicorn hunt and take a quest across the country to search for unicorn heraldry.
You could start ‘unicorn spotting’ with a visit to some of Scotland’s most important historic buildings – statues and heraldic images of unicorns can be found outside the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle, at the Queen’s Gallery in the Palace of Holyroodhouse and on the fountain in the courtyard at Linlithgow Palace. Pay a visit to Stirling Castle and find the beautiful Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry or head to Dundee to hunt out the country’s only water-based unicorn on HM Frigate Unicorn, Scotland’s only surviving example of a wooden warship and one of the six oldest ships in the world.
National Unicorn Day in 9 April, but you can hunt for unicorns any time, all over Scotland
10/15 Sadler’s Wells Family Weekend
This two-day festival sees a medley of family-friendly events take over the building, including arts & crafts and workshops to complement the show on the Sadler’s Wells stage: Aracaladanza’s Vuelos. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s quest to make man fly, you’ll see dancers canter like horses, make a mess at the dinner table, play with fluttering birds and grow wings of their own. Away from the main stage, there’ll be an energetic ceilidh with live music from The Ceilidh Liberation Front, and a ‘caller’ who will explain and demonstrate each dance before it begins so you can all join in and have fun.
In the foyers, there’ll be lots of activities before and after the show including hat making, origami birds, decorating wooden spoons, stained glass and screen-printing sessions. You’ll also get a chance to be a choreographer –you’re your creation will be made into a dance piece performed by The Dance WE Madeteam. The Fox Garden Court café at Stage Door will be open all day serving family-friendly food.
14-15 April, Sadler’s Wells, London. Age guidance: 5+
Adult £18, Child £12 plus free activities
11/15 Easter Fun At Legoland
The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort has loads of fun family activities going on this Easter. Little ones will love the L-EGG-O hunt where they’ll search and spot miniature LEGO eggs hidden amongst some of the world’s most iconic landmarks in Miniland. And budding builders can make their own LEGO Easter Eggs with Ollie the Dragon.
Of course, there’s plenty more across the Resort to enjoy – including a brand new LEGOLAND Pirate stunt show ‘Return to Skeleton Bay’, the Atlantis Submarine Voyage, the Dragon Rollercoaster and of course the LEGO City Driving School. If you want to linger longer, you could extend your visit and book a short break at the LEGO Hotel where you can choose from themed bedrooms the kids (and big kids!) will love.
Easter LEGO building activities take place from 14-17 April
All activities are included in the entry price’ see website for best prices
12/15 Rave On At Dreamland!
Award-winning family festival Camp Bestival has teamed up with family rave specialists Big Fish Little Fish to put on a full-on fun family party at Dreamland Margate. The Pop Stars & Rock Stars family rave features DJ Aphrodite orchestrating a multi-sensory dancefloor full of glowsticks, bubbles, a glitter cannon, huge balloons and a giant parachute dance finale. Bop along to techno, hip-hop, house, disco and garage until way past bedtime (well teatime, at least!).
Join Captain Cookie with her kids’ craft activities (there’ll be giant colouring-in murals, free transfer tattoos and a homemade play-doh table). Break away with babies to the chillout area or ball pool and take toddlers to the tents and tunnels when they want some time out. There’ll also be a Camp Bestival Photobooth with Pop Stars props to dress up in – post your wackiest photos on social media to be in with a chance of winning a Family Pass to Camp Bestival in the summer.
8 April, Dreamland Margate
Adult £9. Child 18 months + £6
There’s an armoured invasion at the aquarium! Sea Life Brighton’s latest installation, Claws, showcases a host of astonishing shell-dwelling crustacean creatures. You’ll be wowed by a gigantic Japanese Spider Crab – with a leg span of a whopping 1.3 metres it can grow to the size of a car! And marvel at the Peacock Mantis Shrimp, one of the most brightly coloured animals in the world. But don’t let its pretty exterior fool you – it’s also one of the sea’s most feared predators.
This little shrimp can move its arms with such force that the water around it boils! If humans had the same power in our arms, we could throw a cricket ball into space! Claws will also invite visitors to enjoy a tidal tank showcasing the sea creatures often found around the UK’s shores, such as Velvet Crabs, Starfish and Green Urchins. There’ll also be Tropical Crayfish and large Land Hermit Crabs on display, as well as the chance to participate in crabby craft sessions.
From 22 April, Sea Life Brighton
14/15 Dusty’s Giant Duck Hunt
Calling all duck detectives! Hundreds of giant yellow ducks have gone missing at Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centres across the country and your help is needed to find them. Join Dusty Duck, WWT’s new children’s character designed by world-famous Aardman studios, on a trail to search for them. He will help children use their detective skills to track down the elusive ducks hidden high and low around the stunning grounds – and kiddies will get a chocolate treat for all their hard work.
As well as the giant duck hunt, WWT Wetland Centres have plenty of other family activities going on during the Easter holidays including a giant LEGO brick animal trail at Washington Wetland Centre and a Celebrity Dusty Duck Trail at London Wetland Centre – where you’ll get to meet six-foot-tall Celebrity Dusty Ducks including Steve Backshall’s Explorer Dusty, Joanna Lumley’s Absolutely Fabulous Patsy Dusty and Justin Fletcher’s Pirate Justy Dusty. They will be on display at the centre starting on Saturday 1 April and running until Sunday 21 May.
Dusty’s Giant Duck Hunt takes place on selected dates in the Easter Holidays, nine WWT Centres nationwide including Llanelli, Slimbridge, Martin Mere, Lancashire
See website for prices to individual centres
15/15 Boss Baby
Dreamworks Animation invites you to meet a most unusual baby. This witty and tender story, about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, is told from the (unreliable) point of view of big brother, seven year old Tim who has a wild imagination. Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s home in a taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.
The instant sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret mission, and only he can help thwart a dastardly plot that involves an epic battle between puppies and babies. With a heart-filled message about sibling the importance of family, but with plenty of potty humour for laughs DreamWorks’ everyone should fall in love with Boss Baby, a born leader.
From 1 April, cinemas nationwide
Ticket prices vary