The first bank holiday weekend of the year is on the horizon so grab your diary and get organising.
Every year, Easter treats us to a whole four days of holiday (this year April 18–21) – and a whole load of chocolate eggs – which is the perfect opportunity to get out and about.
Why not try some of these fabulous family-friendly activities?
1. Start a blog on a topic that interests you
You can create your own blog for free at WordPress or Blogger. Join the service and start a blog on any topic that interests you. Not only can it be a ton of fun, it also helps you improve your communications skills, meet others with similar interests, and perhaps earn a bit of income as well.
2. Make an egg head
Arm yourself with a box of eggs, a pack of colouring pens, some cress and a (covered) kitchen table – it’ll keep the kids quiet for hours. For more DIY instruction, click here.
3. Go to a Punch and Judy show
The 30-minute shows run until Easter Monday at the Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace.
4. Host a doll’s tea party
Serve tiny food in a dolls’ tea service. Mini eggs are a great choice and sandwiches can be cut into shapes with cookie cutters to keep a roomful of kids happy.
5. Build an indoor den
Blankets draped over furniture will do for younger children. Older ones might prefer to convert the cupboard under the stairs. As long as they don’t ask where the electric drill is, this should be relatively safe.
6. Go on a bunny hunt
If you’re not feeling an Easter egg hunt then go for Lindt’s Easter Gold Bunny Hunt – starting from April 5 – 21 For more info go to goldbunny.co.uk
7. Knock out a note on family karaoke
Challenge the kids to an all-family X factor show! Give the kids a microphone (or hairbrush) and tell them to rehearse their favourite songs for their up-coming performance.
Got a games console? Invest in SingStar, which comes with two microphones and various tracks (£49.99 from music stores nationwide).
8. Play party games
Use the no doubt copious amounts of chocolate eggs as prizes for musical statues, musical chairs and blind man's bluff - any excuse to gain control of how many chocolate eggs your little ones eat.
9. Play at scientist
Kitchen-table science will not only impress your kids, it’s educational too (just don’t tell them that). Baking soda, vinegar and food colouring are the key ingredients to create foaming lava from a worktop volcano. Need ideas? Go to www.funology.com.
10. Hone your acting skills
… And encourage their imagination by putting on an Easter play. You can play at being director and assign roles, while your little ones improvise.
11. Cook up a storm
Children love spending quality time in the kitchen, so get your bake on as a family. For kid-friendly recipes click here.
12. Go on an Easter egg hunt
The National Trust has teamed up with Cadbury to arrange hunts at many of its houses and gardens.
13. Go swashbuckling
Arr! Scurvy dogs be queuing to experience Battle Galleons, the new attraction at Alton Towers near Stoke-On-Trent.
14. Ride Thomas The Tank Engine
All weekend, the lovable cartoon choo-choo will be ferrying passengers at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton, Bucks.
15. Watch stuntmen
Your little ones won’t believe their eyes. Thorpe Park has invited Team Extreme to perform awesome aerial acrobatics all weekend.
16. Enjoy a movie
There are a few gems on TV over the Bank Holiday, including Richard the Lionheart (BBC2, Saturday 10pm), Bear Grylls’ Everest (Sunday Channel 4 9pm), and the late Anthony Minghella's adapation of The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (BBC1, Saturday 9pm).
17. Modernise your music collection
Make the most of the long weekend and transfer your vinyl to your iPod with a USB turntable. Ion's model (£99.99 from www.iwantoneofthose.com is easy to rig up.
18. Go oriental
The collection of Japanese cherry trees at Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire have started to flower, and are underplanted with drifts of cowslips, primroses and garlic.
19. Climb Coniston in the Lakes
A challenging six-mile slog up the Old Man of Coniston rewards the effort with great views of two lakes and sparkling landscapes as you gasp your way to 2,276 feet.
20. Head for the beach
Enjoy one of the finest sandy stretches in Britain, in this modest five-mile circuit around Rhossili Bay, up to Worms Head on the Gower Penunsula, west of Swansea. Start in Middleton for rock pools, Bronze Age sites, moorland - and sand. And if it’s cold just grab a bag of chips to warm you up!
21. Dust the bikes off
Take the family for a breather. A fine, circular three-mile up-and-downer that includes the seabird-dotted coastal path from Mullion Cove on The Lizard. Much gorgeous spring plantlife, too.
22. Take the iPod trail
A great family walk with an exciting twist. Travel by train to Great Missenden, Bucks, then wander in Angling Spring Wood, enjoying the ‘talking trail’ which has various actors offering a voiceover on your trek. You can download onto your MP3 player before leaving home from anglingspringwood.org.uk
23. Try a no-hills walk through Oxford
Bad knees? Drift alongside the Thames between George Street in Oxford and Abingdon, then catch a bus back.
24. Go to Chislehurst caves
A bargain day out at £6 for adults, £4 for kids. Enjoy an hour-long tour in the dark caves with a handheld oil lantern and historic information – did you know the Chislehurst caves were one of the first public air raid shelters back during the war?
25. Change your bird feeders
Those high-fat suet balls that were hung out for winter should be switched to lighter seed mixes. You can help young nesting birds by providing live or dried meal- or wax-worms.
26. Search for your secateurs
An annual pruning of trees will encourage better air circulation, deter scab development, and burn some calories.
27. Get weeding
Taking a fork to perennials and lifting them out deep at the roots will keep the blighters at bay.
28. Prepare your lawn
If you have time, you could spike and/or scarify it; if not, settle for a weed-and-feed treatment. Resist the chance to rev up the mower.
29. Clean your curtains
A gentle vacuuming while hanging should give them a new lease of life.
30. Make a charity donation
Go through your cupboard rooting out all those tight-fitting, out-of-vogue items of clothing you haven't worn for six months.
31. Enjoy a canal boat trip
Take a two-hour trip on a canal boat, breathing in the country air and soaking up the sights of England. For more info visit Canal Junction.
32. Catch a show
Going to the theatre doesn’t have to be expensive and the long Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to catch a play. You can find great deals on websites like lastminute.com and cheaptheatretickets.com for big shows like War Horse and Stomp with tickets costing as little as £15.
33. Visit a National Trust property - totally free
The National Trust will be running its annual Free Weekend over the Easter Bank Holiday. You can gain free entry to over 200 properties between 19th and 20th April. See the National Trust website for more details.
34. Do a spring clean
Why not have a massive clear-out over Easter? If you sell your unwanted stuff you could earn a bit of extra cash to fund some more exciting activities. With the weather warming up you could sell your old stuff at a car boot sale. You can find one going on near you at Car Boot Junction.
35. Get on horseback
Try Beach Horse Riding on the picturesque Pembrokeshire. The perfect family activity, Nolton Stables provide riding holidays for riders of all levels and will take you out over all terrains. For more info visit Nolton Stables.
36. Bluebells & Breakfast Trail, New Forest
The sea of bluebells that covers the New Forest floor each spring is a pretty spectacular sight, and watching the early morning sunlight stream through the beech trees is certainly high on our list of things to do over the Easter weekend. For more info go to Thenewforest.co.uk.
37. Bettys Afternoon Tea, Yorkshire
An institution in itself, one of the country's best tea rooms has been brewing teas and making home-made cakes since 1919. Take afternoon tea in Harrogate, York, Ilkley or Northallerton from £26.95 (£33.95 for a champagne afternoon tea). For more information visit Bettys.co.uk.
38. Discover some new apps
With so much free time, now is a great time to discover some new apps for your smartphone. There may seem like an endless list of apps, but here are a few to get you started.
Smash Hit - is a highly rated game which allows you to take a surreal journey through an otherworldly dimension as you smash everything in your path. You’ll be addicted in no time!
QuizUp - is an app with over 150,000 questions and 365 topics from TV shows to music. You can challenge your friends and connect with people across the world.
DuoLingo - As Apple’s 2013 App of the Year, you can learn Spanish, French, German and Portuguese and have fun while doing so!
39. Go Ape!
The UK’s number one Tree Top Adventure. Head to your nearest course for hours of fun in the trees, taking on Zip Wires, Tarzan Swings, Rope Ladders and a variety of Obstacles and Crossings, all set in the UK’s most beautiful forests. For more details, visit Go Ape!
40. Teach yourself how to change the oil in your car
While you have the extra days to hand, teach yourself a new skill – you’ll thank us for it later. All you really need is an old pan to catch the waste oil and a funnel to pour the old oil back into the canisters for later disposal.
Just use your car manual as a guide for the procedure and you might just find that not only is it a lot easier than you thought, but it’s a useful skill to have and it’s cheaper than taking your car to the garage.
41. Meet your neighbours
Make an effort to introduce yourself to your neighbours if you don’t know them well. Invite any interesting ones over for a cup of coffee and a chat, just to get to know each other better.
42. Play ‘Come Dine With Me’
Rope some friends in and share the dinner party effort. Each person cooks either a starter, main or dessert and everyone brings a bottle of wine – it’s dinner round yours but as a team effort!
43. Teach yourself to knit
It is estimated that there are around seven million knitters in the UK, and now you can be one of them! Knitting requires two needles, some wool, a lot of patience, and an instructional video or two. Start off small, with a scarf perhaps – good luck!