Looking for a perfect way to spend the long Easter weekend? From family-friendly festivals and egg hunts with a difference to cultural brunches and active escapes, we’ve got plenty of egg-citing ideas that will ensure a cracking Easter for the whole family.
Easter signals the start of the tulip season in Amsterdam, making it the ultimate time to see this elegant city decked out in full colour. A day trip to Keukenhof (Stationsweg 166A, +31 25 246 5555) is the classic way to view the tulips, but you can experience plenty of flower power without leaving Amsterdam. Take a stroll around the world’s only floating flower market, held daily in the Singel canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein, or walk through a foaming sea of colour in the Hortus Botanicus (Plantage Middenlaan 2a, +31 20 625 9021).
Easter brunches are a popular local tradition in Amsterdam. Why not combine scrumptious food with a helping of culture at the Marionette Theatre’s Easter Brunch production of Mozart’s Impresario (Nieuwe Jonkerstraat 8, +31 20 620 8027)? If you’ve got the kids in tow then try something a little more lowbrow, such as a special Easter-themed, all-you-can-eat pancake cruise on the Pannenkoekenboot (Ms van Riemsdijkweg, +31 20 636 8817).
This year, the Easter weekend falls bang in the middle of Frankfurt’s famous Dippemess fair. Held twice annually on the festival grounds in front of the ice hockey stadium, it’s one of the largest folk festivals in the Rhine region and can trace its history back to medieval times. The celebrations encompass rollercoasters, carousels, ghost trains and a giant Ferris wheel, as well as dozens of food stalls, live music events and a large beer tent. The 2015 spring Dippemess fair will kick off on 27 March and finish with a dazzling firework display on 19 April.
While you’re in Frankfurt, shop for Easter eggs and traditional goodies at the Kleinmarkthalle (Hasengasse 5, +49 69 2123 3696), learn more about the city’s most famous son at Goethe-Haus (Großer Hirschgraben 23-25, +49 69 138 800), linger over a glass of apple wine at insider favourite Harvey’s (Bornheimer Landstraße 64, +49 69 4800 4878), or escape the crowds on a day trip to the Black Forest.
Itching to sneak in a spot of skiing before the summer thaw? Warmer weather and a lively atmosphere make early April a perfect time to hit the slopes for one last blow-out. Fly to Chambéry for easy access to some of the best late-season resorts in the Alps. Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens, is less than two hours from the airport, and boasts 600 kilometres of linked pistes with most of the skiing above 2,000 metres. Lifts usually continue running until May and the Easter weekend is a cue for snowy celebrations – including egg hunts, processions and torch-lit ski descents.
Val d’Isère and neighbouring Tignes are two of the last resorts in the Alps to close, with snow conditions usually remaining excellent until mid-April. Val d’Isère has a lively après-ski scene and legendary clubs such as Doudoune (Rond point des pistes, +33 4 7924 6004) will be laying on Easter entertainment for party-hungry folk. Families should head for Tignes, where a giant Easter egg hunt accompanied by colourful street theatre will keep the kids entertained on Easter Sunday.
Head to the sunny Channel Islands on 6 April for an Easter egg hunt with a twist. The pint-sized isle of Alderney, a short ferry journey from Guernsey, is hosting a giant shark egg hunt on the golden sands of Braye Beach. Visitors will scour the shoreline for skate, shark and ray eggs cases, helping the Shark Trust to map out important breeding grounds and having a ball at the same time. Chocoholics needn’t panic – there will be plenty of sweet surprises hidden around the beach as well.
Alderney isn’t the only Channel Island showing some Easter spirit. Guernsey will host the 34th edition of its Easter Running Festival (3-6 April), with a programme of exciting races culminating in a popular half marathon on Easter Monday. Active types can grab their trainers and join in the fun, while for everyone else there’s a lively Easter Quiz on the Saturday night. Not a fan of athletics? The Channel Islands Heritage Festival kicks off on 3 April and will run throughout the month. Events taking place across the archipelago include Liberation Celebrations at the Jersey War Tunnels (Les Charrières Malorey, +44 1534 860 808) and a re-enactment of what life was like in wartime Guernsey at Castle Cornet in St Peter Port (Castle Emplacement, +44 1481 721 657).
Egg-rolling games take place across the UK over the Easter weekend, but Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh is one of the best places to try this egg-cellent sport. Every year, families climb up the city centre’s extinct volcano and roll hand-painted Easter eggs down its steep slopes. The tradition symbolises the rolling away of the rock from Jesus’ tomb. Once you’ve watched your painted egg bouncing its way to the bottom of Arthur’s Seat, head over to Edinburgh’s Logan Botanic Garden (Port Logan, +44 1776 860 231) for an Easter Sunday Eggstravaganza. A packed programme of kids’ activities, including face painting and crafts, will be followed by an egg hunt around the grounds.
For yet more family fun, book tickets for A Magical Easter at Edinburgh Castle (Castlehill, +44 131 255 9846). The city’s ancient icon is hosting a medieval-themed weekend, so expect performances by Kramus the Wizard and a birds of prey display as well as a Medieval Construction Science Show and a clue-solving Easter egg hunt. If the kids aren’t too frazzled, top off an action-packed weekend with Dr Bunhead’s Exploding Easter Egg Show at the George Square Lecture Theatre (George Square, +44 131 651 2189). The famous TV stunt scientist will be entertaining the crowds with rainbow foam fountains, Easter egg explosions and more science-related shenanigans.