Activities and Adventures In Dorset For Families This Easter Holiday 2024

From Easter egg hunts, pantomimes, trails, trips, crafts and chocolates; find the fun and discover the best activities and adventures for children, families and friends in Dorset this Easter.

Easter has fallen on an early date this year but don’t worry, there are still plenty of Easter activities available for you and all of the family. Whether it feels early or late, the date of Easter is actually determined by the phase of the moon and the Gregorian Calendar. In ancient times, when people and communities had a much closer relationship with and dependency on nature, the role of the moon was closely monitored and celebrated. Easter is always on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the date of the Spring Equinox. Whether it is a religious festival for you or an opportunity to enjoy a long weekend – Easter is the perfect time to make the most of Spring. 

Afterall, eggs have been used to symbolise Easter for hundreds of years. According to English Heritage, “throughout history, people have given each other eggs at spring festivals to celebrate the new season. Eggs represent new life and rebirth, and it’s thought that this ancient custom became a part of Easter celebrations.” Amazingly, there are records from 700 years ago of people swapping eggs as gifts, “in 1290, King Edward the Ist purchased 450 eggs, which were decorated with colours or gold leaf and given out to his household.” These days there has been a trend for making Easter-trees by decorating delicate branches, sprigs of mimosa, blossom and willow with easter decorations of painted eggs. If you are looking for a quick, simple, pretty and accessible activity for the family, find inspiration for making your own Easter trees by following this House Beautiful link for their Easter tree decor ideas

The tradition of swapping chocolate Easter eggs will never go out of trend. This delicious tradition was started in the late 1800s when, “the first English chocolate egg was sold by Fry’s in 1873, and Cadbury’s quickly followed them, introducing their own chocolate egg in 1875.” You could argue that this historical fact is evidence that chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs are not just for children but clearly a long standing gift swap between adults too! It is believed that the tradition of hunting for Easter eggs started in Germany in the 1600’s and was first popularised by Queen Victoria, whose German-born mother would create Easter egg hunts for her as a child. If you and your family are looking for days out in Swanage, or family activities in Dorset then why not discover some of the Easter egg hunts and Easter trails? 

From the 29th of March through to the 1st of April you can, “come to Swanage railway for a fun filled family trip and as you travel look out of the windows to spot the missing eggs!”. Swanage Railway offers one of the most charming and novel Easter egg hunts going. The railway “runs full-size steam and diesel passenger trains along the five and a half miles of line from Norden to Corfe Castle and down to the Victorian seaside town of Swanage”. Those of you who have previously visited Dorset Adventure Park will be familiar with the spectacular view of Corfe Castle that crowns the hill overlooking the waterpark. It is still worth the chance to appreciate the view and the scenery along the railway line to Swanage and is always a big hit with children! 

If you fancy a more conventional Easter egg hunt try the Family Activity Trail at Upton Country Park for an egg hunt and activity trail that ends with an ‘Easter treat’. There will also be the Bonkers Bunnies Activity Trail at Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve, where children can explore the whole park spotting the bunnies. Dobbies Garden Centre, Wareham Road, Dorset, are also providing Easter bunny entertainment with their ‘follow the bunny hunt’ that will even include planting their own miniature wildflower meadow to take home.

Corfe Castle isn’t just good to look at but also great at providing family activities during school holidays and this Easter is no exception. From the 27th of March until the 14th of April, Corfe Castle will be holding Spring Games, a set of ‘spring themed activities dotted throughout the castle ruins’ suitable for all ages. There will also be an Easter trail from the 29th of March continuing until the 1st of April, that includes bunny ears, a trail of activities and the promise of a ‘tasty treat’ as reward. 

Enjoy the Easter pantomime performance of Beauty and The Beast at Weymouth Pavilion on Saturday 13 April. Promising an all-star cast and two performance times to choose from, there are also concession priced tickets available for those under 16 and over 60 years of age.  Book your tickets here. If the thought of performance sounds like the perfect Easter entertainment for you and your family then check out the shows at the Bournemouth Pavillion. Two popular options include: Jurassic Live, running from the 5th – 7th April and Peppa Pig Fun Day Out, running from the 10th – 11th April.  

If the thought of a live performance of Peppa Pig that you can’t mute or turn off is not your cup of tea, you could sample a more Famous-Five style adventure on Brownsea Island. Aswell as egg hunts, Brownsea Island is also offering family bushcraft workshops on the 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th of April. Learn wood carving, den making, foraging and more in the workshops and have your own Enid Blyton-esque adventures!

Remember, it’s not long to wait until you can hop along and finally visit Dorset Adventure Park once more. Until then – Happy Easter!

Words by Olivia Lowry

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