Doing something different together as a family doesn’t have to cost a fortune with tons of fun and free activities taking place up and down the UK this April, just as the days get longer, the weather warms up and the landscape greens up
If you’re super-organised this year you can max your time with your kids without losing out financially. Thanks to a run of bank holidays and weekends, you can actually get 18 days off in a row for just nine days holiday if you book time off work from 18 to 28 April. It works because Good Friday falls on 14 April and Easter Monday on 17 April and the May Bank Holiday is on 1 May. So, provided you get an automatic day off on those days, your last day at work will be 13 April and you’ll be back on 2 May.
Here’s a selection of some free family days out for inspiration. Make sure you keep an eye out on local forums and notice boards at your leisure centre and library for nearby free events too. Well worth checking out is the ParkLives website, which offers free activities happening in local parks, year round. A new app called REVL - the UK’s most comprehensive event app listing over 81,000 in London alone - is also well worth downloading, especially as it has a dedicated family section.
This April why not...
Go to Greenwich for the Tall Ships Regatta (13 - 16 April, all day)
Over the Easter weekend, Greenwich will host the start of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. Over 30 of these impressive ships will set sail from Greenwich to Quebec in Canada via Portugal, Boston and Bermuda. There will also be river-themed activities and fireworks.
Try your hand at crab fishing at Salcombe Crab Fest 2017 (Salcombe Devon, 30 April, from 10am)
Enjoy all things crabby from cookery demos to live lobsters in their special pool, plus face painting and crafts for kids.
Go on a ghost tour in Edinburgh, every night, 7- 8.30pm
Edinburgh is known as one of the most haunted cities in Europe, with a past of murders, witchcraft and plague. On the free one and a half hour Ghost Tour you’ll hear ghostly tales and sinister stories as you walk through haunted alleyways. Tours start at the Royal Mile’s Coffee House, 144 High Street. Definitely not for younger children or the faint- hearted, but tweens and teens will love the spooky stories.
Run (or roll an egg) down Devil’s Dyke, Sussex, daily
The valley of Devil’s Dyke in the Sussex South Downs is one of England’s richest chalk uplands, and a brilliant place for running up and down hills. Walk the four-mile Wolstonbury Hill Nature Trail, passing through beech woods to the windy top and spectacular views. On Easter Monday from 10.45 - 12 you can enter your own hand-decorated, hard-boiled egg in the Devil’s Dyke Easter Egg Rolling Competition. There’s a prize for the most beautifully decorated as well as the egg that rolls the furthest.
Go wild among the life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park, daily, 7am - 7.30pm
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are a collection of over 30 statues created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins over 150 years ago - the first ever attempt anywhere in the world to model dinosaurs as full-scale, three-dimensional creatures, after the excitement of the discovery of fossils. A favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, nevertheless some of the statues are wildly inaccurate compared with modern interpretations. Kids will love climbing on the statues.
Join in the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, 29 - 30 April
You can also go on guided fossil walks along the world-famous Jurassic Coast with local geologists, searching for fossils washed down onto the beach after 150 million years.
Visit a traditional country fair at Spring into the Park in Telford Town Park, 22 April, 10am -4pm
Activities for all the family including show jumping llamas, a dog show, sheep show, appearances from the Gruffalo and a fun fair.
Walk the city walls in York
At 3.4 kilometres long, the beautifully preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England and offer some amazing views into the city and out to the country. It takes around two hours to complete the entire circuit, taking in 45 towers.
Watch The Passion of Jesus in London’s Trafalgar Square, 14 April, two performances at 12 noon and 3.15pm
On Good Friday 100 performers bring their spectacular and moving portrayal of the final days of Jesus to the centre of London. The 90-minute open air performance includes a realistic interpretation of the crucifixion so parental guidance is advised.
St George’s Day Country Fair, Sudbury, Suffolk, 23 April
Family entertainment includes Punch and Judy, a magic show, circus skills, balloon modelling, and face painting. There will be a children’s fancy dress parade with prizes for costumes.