Easter holiday ideas from Travel PR
Whether it’s a cultural break to soak up the Easter festivities abroad, a relaxing overseas escape or simply a chance to spend quality time with family, closer to home, here is a selection of ideas for the upcoming Easter holiday.
NEW: Family-friendly Easter adventure trail in Suffolk – two nights from £600 for a family of six with Pride of Britain Hotels
For an egg-cellent Easter adventure, enjoy a family-friendly trail through the picturesque and medieval village of Lavenham. Spot the crooked and colourful half-timbered houses, take part in nature-inspired activities and be rewarded with a delicious Easter egg at the end. Stay in the heart of town at a new and suitably historic, yet light and airy, self-catering retreat. The Dairy (sleeps six), part of a Grade I listed, 13th-century Priory with characterful oak beams and a private courtyard garden recently launched by the Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa. The newest accommodation addition has three bedrooms and is a short stroll from the main hotel and its boutique spa. A two-night self-catering stay at The Dairy from 12 April costs from £600 (up to six sharing with children aged five and over; minimum two-night stay). Guests are welcome to dine in The Swan’s Gallery or Brasserie restaurants and adults can indulge with a spa treatment (extra cost). Easter egg hunts at Lavenham Guildhall are available from 9 to 18 April (trail packs cost £3pp). Contact Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Easter Bunny and Shetland ponies – Essex from £351 pp with holidaycottages.co.uk
From 2-18 April at Audley End Miniature Railway, families can hop on the tiny train and ride deep into the enchanted woods to visit the Easter Bunny. Children can tick off nests, eggs and springtime animals in their activity booklets, let off steam in the adventure play area and enjoy an Easter story-telling session, and each will be given a special gift. Stay nearby at The Old Farmhouse – Finchingfield (sleeps six), a beautiful 16th-century timber-framed farmhouse set in 400 acres of farmland, surrounded by an array of wildlife including the resident miniature donkeys and Shetland ponies. The beautiful medieval market town of Saffron Walden is just 13 miles away. A seven-night self-catering stay arriving Friday 8 or 15 April costs from £351 pp (£2,103 total). Visit holidaycottages.co.uk (www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Ovine Easter escape for two – Herefordshire for £296 pp with Canine Cottages
Ewes Retreat (sleeps two, plus two dogs), near Hereford, is a traditionally built shepherd’s hut with a private hot tub. Ideal for a couple (and hounds) wanting a quiet Easter, this charming bolthole sits in an elevated position with views across horse paddocks and mature woodland. There is a wood-burning stove to keep you warm, a bespoke-finished kitchen area with electric oven and hob, and a fridge freezer. Grab the leads and head to nearby market towns, chocolate-box pretty villages and Hay-on-Wye, an iconic destination for book lovers. A three-night self-catering stay arriving Friday 15 April costs £296 pp (£592 total). £20 supplement per dog. Visit Canine Cottages (www.caninecottages.co.uk).
For the passion of chocolate – Easter afternoon tea at Ashdown Park Hotel from £33 per adult
If you have a sweet tooth, head to Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club this Easter for a cracking celebratory afternoon tea. Set amid 186 acres in the heart of Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for A. A. Milne’s Winne the Pooh – who also loves all things sweet (especially ‘hunny’) – it is the ideal place to indulge in your chocolate vice. Nearby National Trust property, Scotney Castle is also running an Easter egg hunt within their fascinating nature trails and delightful spring gardens, taking place from 2-18 April (£3 per child). Ashdown’s scrumptious chocolate afternoon tea includes a wonderful selection of traditional sandwiches, freshly baked scones with fruity jam and clotted cream, and Easter-themed chocolates. Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll to walk off that chocolate overload and explore Ashdown’s lakes, secret gardens and woodland trails. Taking place from 15-18 April from 2pm to 6pm, prices from £33 per adult, £12 per child. Call Ashdown Park on 01342 824988 (www.ashdownpark.com).
Lost Jewels in London & Sweet Treats in York – Easter fun for all the family with Blue Badge Tourist Guides
Lovely as it is to have the kids off school for Easter, finding activities to fill a fortnight can be challenging. Step forward Blue Badge Tourist Guides. Professional, knowledgeable and adept at keeping even the most restless youngster fully engrossed, these experienced tour leaders offer an array of informative and fun options over the Easter break. In London, for example, ‘The Hunt for the King’s Lost Jewels’ (offered by Miss Magpie Tours) blends an educational walking tour with a fun treasure hunt, using iPads (provided) to guide families around Greenwich in pursuit of a pesky pirate. Running daily from 17th – 20th and on 24th April, tickets are £15 pp, or £12 pp for groups of four or more. In York, Blue Badge Tourist Guide Sarah Cowling offers ‘Sweet Treats in the Chocolate City’, a 90-minute walk (including a few local delicacies) that explores the rich history of sweet and chocolate making in the city where 5 million Kit Kats are made every day! Running daily from 9th – 24th April, tickets are £12 pp, or you can choose a private walking tour (for up to 25 people) from £180. Book at www.yorkeasterwalkingtour.co.uk. To find a Blue Badge Tourist Guide offering Easter walks in your neck of the woods, visit www.britainsbestguides.org.
Europe Easter holiday
Family Aqua Adventure this Easter – Gozo from £1,195 pp with Activities Abroad*
The family travel specialist’s Gozo Island Adventure is an action-packed trip with sea kayaking along the irresistible coastline, guided boat tour along the awe-inspiring cliffs – with the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the famed blue lagoon near the island of Comino, rock climbing and abseiling, scuba diving (those aged 8/9 will do a bubblemaker session) and exploring one of Gozo’s most popular swimming areas, Ramla Bay Beach. The trip costs £1,195 per adult/£1,095 per child including seven nights’ B&B, five additional meals, activities, transfers and guides. Minimum age six. Departs 2 & 9 April. Call AITO* member Activities Abroad on 01670 789 991 (www.activitiesabroad.com).
Simply eggs-traordinary: Venice at Easter – full-board from £995 pp with Jules Verne
Italy’s fabled city of lagoons, gondolas and breath-taking scenery becomes even more of a not-to-be-missed experience at Easter. Adorned with colourful decorations and abuzz with seasonal spirit as bells ring out and locals light candles in its many beautiful churches, Venice becomes truly entrancing at this time of year. This four-night stay on the MS Michelangelo, moored in central Venice, is perfect for anyone wishing to soak up the incredible atmosphere, whilst also having a peaceful and well-located base to retreat to and relax. Enjoy short cruises on the lagoon and to colourful Burano (included), join optional excursions to St Mark’s Basilica, the famous glass-making island of Murano and the old university town of Padua, take a gourmet food walk of Venice neighbourhoods including Cannaregio and Castelletto, or simply potter at your own pace in one of the world’s most magical cities. Arriving on 15 April (Good Friday), Venice from the Water costs £995 pp, including BA flights (Heathrow), transfers, four-night full-board with drinks on the cruise vessel, and the services of a UK Tour Manager, local expert guides and reps. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).
Save £200 pp on a five-star Sicilian short break – Easter in Palermo from £1,098 pp with Kirker*
Reopened last year after lavish restoration by Rocco Forte Hotels, the five-star Villa Igiea has hosted royalty – real and Hollywood – over the years, including Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, Errol Flynn and Sophia Loren. With wonderful views across the marina to the Bay of Palermo, it’s an impressive and delightfully tranquil base from which to enjoy all that the Sicilian capital has to offer this Easter. This lively city of medieval streets, bustling with food markets, boasts elegant architecture, Baroque churches and the beautiful Norman Palace, home to the ornate and unmissable Palatine Chapel. Plus, this being Sicily, you can also expect warm spring sunshine, sublime Mediterranean cuisine and an enthusiastic welcome. Stay four nights for the price of three from £1,098 pp – saving £220 pp – including flights (Gatwick), private transfers, B&B, Kirker’s Guide Notes and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book expert local guides, a table for dinner or opera tickets for a performance at the magnificent Teatro Massimo. Offer valid on stays from 17 March – 28 April, including Easter. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2288, www.kirkerholidays.com.
As intriguing and uncanny as Easter get – Spain’s Subbética from £215 pp
Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Priego de Cordoba – one of the most beautiful towns in the Subbética region, in the heart of Andalucia – is something quite extraordinary. Formidably rich in pageantry, daily processions are ominously dark and vividly colourful in equal measure. Religious icons are everywhere; incense infuses the air; marching bands beat the cobbled streets with drums banged forebodingly; and everyone, from young to old, is charged with awe. Experience the spectacle, staying at Casa Baños de la Villa, an enchanting small hotel with a roof terrace overlooking the Baroque churches of this ancient clifftop town. A four-night stay over Easter costs from €258 (approx. £215) pp (two sharing) including breakfast daily and an invigorating session in the hotel´s own Arab baths. To book, call 00 34 957 547 274 or visit www.casabanosdelavilla.com. Flights and car hire extra. More on the Subbética at www.destinosubbetica.es/en.
A right Royal Easter with the family – Portugal from £1,802 pp with Sunvil*
Discover one of the most stylish and luxurious residences in Portugal with a five-star family break at the stunning Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel. Overlooking Cascais promenade on the Lisbon coastline, the property was once home to King Umberto II of Italy. Set within peaceful, well-maintained gardens with views of the marvellous saltwater pools, it cannot fail to impress. An ideal family-friendly hotel with a children’s swimming pool, a short five-minute walk to the beach and the fun ‘Realito’ children’s club (4-16 yrs) with an entertainment area and interactive games. Experience a ten-night family holiday to Portugal from £1,802 pp (family of four) on a B&B basis in two interconnecting deluxe garden view rooms including return flights (London) and private transfers. Departs 10 April. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Worldwide Easter holiday
Easy-going Easter adventure for families – South Africa’s Cape from £1,980 pp with Expert Africa*
To ensure that children have adventure and rest this Easter holiday, Expert Africa’s 12-night Waterbuck Self-drive Safari hits the spot. It explores South Africa’s Cape and the Garden Route with many exciting activities en route, but the pace is leisurely, and families stay at lovely boutique hotels and eat exceptionally well. As well as hiking Table Mountain, kids can play croquet and tennis and swim at a Relais & Chateaux; be curious about penguin colonies but also beach-bask themselves on the Cape Peninsula; ride horses and take cooking classes in the Winelands; visit ostrich farms, spot whales, listen to baboons barking, and much more. The trip costs from £1,980 pp (two sharing) over Easter including accommodation with breakfast and car hire throughout. International flights can be arranged at additional cost. Call AITO* member Expert Africa on 020 3405 6666 (www.expertafrica.com).
*AITO is The Specialist Travel Association: more than 120 specialist independent holiday companies and 80 specialist independent travel agents, come together to provide an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas covering every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO members can be assured of high-quality holidays, excellent personal service and full financial protection. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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