Spring into Easter

Liz Nicholls

Easter comes early this year, March 29th – April 1st, which gives us an opportunity to enjoy the glories of spring as well of course, as eating chocolate!

There’s so much more to Easter than just choccy eggs, for many it has the deepest religious significance, for others it affords a long weekend of spending time with your loved ones hopefully with some bright cheery spring sunshine then and beyond.

This Easter pop along to a National Trust property near you for a family trail. Jam-packed with outdoor activities, games, riddles and crafts, every Easter celebration is different and ends with a chocolate egg.

Spring has sprung at Widmer Farm Park in Princes Risborough, with lots of cute babies due to be born in March and April, including lambs and kids.

“It’s definitely the season we all look forward to after a cold winter,” says Alice Paterson. “At Easter our focus is on new beginnings. We support rare breeds and are very proud to be contributing towards the conservation of Bagot goats, Golden Guernseys and Cotswold Sheep with our breeding programme.”

The farm opened more than 30 years ago and in 2022 the family business decided to reopen the farm park which sits alongside the pet and equine shop and horse riding school, making it a haven for all animal-lovers. A café is being built with an indoor soft play area in the pipeline. Right now there’s an Easter Trail included in ticket prices; all participants will receive a treat. Visit widmerfarmpark.co.uk

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday at Wendover Woods and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand new forest adventure. The family trail features all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures. Follow the trail to help find the missing party items to give the Gruffalo a birthday to remember.

Thomas the Tank Engine – a real steam locomotive – is offering rides at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton. Plus, meet Sir Topham Hatt, Rusty & Dusty, Percy and Trevor the traction engine! (If you’re away at Easter, don’t worry; Thomas will be back in Quainton in May, July and October!).

Hughenden, near Wycombe, will welcome your little bunnies for an Easter trail, 10am-4pm from 23rd March to 7th April. Encounter life-size mythical creatures, solve riddles, discover hidden treasures and conquer Medusa’s snakes and ladders or engage in a playful game of Cyclops Eye Spy on the parterre (normal entry plus £3 per trail, including a chocolate egg). With its natural playground for climbing, balancing and make believe, picnic tables in the orchard, walled garden and exhibition about Hughenden’s secret WWII map-making history, a trip to Hughenden is always a great day out.

And there are more National Trust treasures worth visiting in Bucks, of course. Cliveden’s Easter trail will run 29th March to 16th April, 9.30am-5pm (and the Storybook Play Den is always a hit). Claydon near Winslow (former home of Florence Nightingale) will offer the Easter trail 29th March to 1st April and wonderful Waddesdon (whose popular Woodland Playground has just been refurbished) offers eggstra (sorry) fun, games and creative activities as well as the choccy trail, 27th March to 7th April. For more info please visit nationaltrust.org.uk

Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden, HP16 0HH, is a cherished local treasure and a great place to buy spring produce. Highlights this month include candlemaking & a Mother’s Day market. Visit peterleymanorfarm.co.uk

We love Kew Little Pigs in Old Amersham where you might be so smitten with the little porkers that you look into homing a micropig yourself! You can book a pigkeeper day for children aged between seven and 16 years on 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th April.

Awesome Odds Farm at Wooburn Common, HP10 0LX, wins rave reviews for good reason with its super slides and indoor zone as well as livestock including goats, sheep, cows, ponies, donkeys and bunnies to meet.

Tot-friendly beauty Bekonscot model village & railway, HP9 2PL, the world’s oldest original model village, has reopened to visitors after the winter. Visit bekonscot.co.uk for more info.

Bucks Goat Centre in Stoke Mandeville, HP22 5XJ, is a bucolic animal paradise with a cafe and the Bunny Brunch on Saturdays at 10.30am offering a chance to feed and cuddle the smaller animals. Also, Fox Cubs is a popular group for SEND children up to 15 years every Thursday. Visit thebucksgoatcentre.website

Hogshaw Farm & Wildlife Park in Claydon, MK18 3LA, is a wonderful space to recharge with animal and farmer encounters and a cafe. Find out more at hogshawfarm.co.uk

Families can explore some of the wonderful details of Amersham old town with a town trail created by the team at Amersham Museum. This has been beautifully illustrated by artist Livi Gosling, with the support of the Rothschild Foundation, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Chilterns AONB. For this & more highlights, visit amershammuseum.org

How about getting some fresh air with a Go Ape treetop adventure in Black Park or Wendover Woods offering a bird’s eye view of the forest. Ropes, zip lines, nets and walkways will take you on a magical journey through the tree canopies. Visit goape.co.uk for more.

The One World Animals team offer hands-on encounters with exotic animals including insects, arachnids and reptiles. Enjoy a workshop at Bourne End Community Centre, SL8 5SX, on 5th April; oneworldanimals.com

Happy Easter, and have a cracking time! LN

Image: National Trust/Paul Harris