Let’s start with a riddle: what do traditional Easter fruit buns and the peri-menopausal woman who may be writing this article have in common? Answer: Both are hot and cross. But let’s not let hormones and cantankerousness get in the way of some good old-fashioned Easter fun – there are loads of things happening in Leicester and Leicestershire over the school holidays to keep the whole family entertained. Here’s a small selection… (with egg puns kept to a minimum, promise.)

On the big screen

Tim Burton’s live-action re-working of the animated classic Dumbo is on at the Phoenix, so check out what the man responsible for dark, cult classics like Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas does when he’s entrusted with a light-as-air Disney classic. Perhaps Dumbo has gone emo? Or take the kids to see Missing Link, animated fun following the adventures of monster expert Sir Lionel Frost as he sets out to prove the existence of a mythical creature – featuring the voices of national treasure Emma Thompson and Greatest Showman Hugh Jackman. That’s some pretty solid voiceover credentials.

Easter shows

Who says Christmas - or Brexit - has to have the monopoly on pantos? At the Haymarket Theatre this April, you can enjoy a tale as old as time – Beauty and The Beast – or opt for another timeless classic, The Wizard of Oz. A more modern favourite, Aliens Love Underpants, is also showing – perfect for those among us who still find the mere mention of undergarments amusing (supresses chuckle).

Over at De Montfort Hall, the Horrible Histories gang are bringing their tales of Terrible Tudors and Awful Egyptians to Leicester – perfect for secretly educating your children during the holidays. They’ll thank you later. Actually, they’ll probably thank you immediately, because these shows are a thoroughly entertaining romp through history, with plenty for adults to enjoy too. They won’t even realise they’re learning! (And nor will you).

Themed fun

Is it a full-on, chocolate-eatin’, rabbit-meetin’, far-from-fleetin’ Easter experience you’re after? In that case, friends, get yourselves along to Twinlakes, in Melton. The theme park is offering an ‘Eggstreme’ Easter with Easter bunny grotto. (Please bear in mind that’s their egg pun, I’m sticking to my end of the deal here and avoiding them.) Journey through chocolate heaven before meeting the Easter Bunny himself (try not to be too star-struck, it’s embarrassing) and collecting a special gift. There’s also a huge range of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions at Twinlakes, plus a farm park. Just make sure you get the order right – go on the rides, THEN scoff chocolate… 

Fun with a different theme is on offer at the National Space Centre, with Apollo Easter. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing – which, alongside the invention of malt loaf, surely ranks as one of the greatest achievements of humankind – the centre will be launching a brand new planetarium show this Easter, documenting what it took to get astronauts onto the lunar surface. There’s also the chance to have a go at building a lunar module or moon orbiter, as well as exploring the fascinating collections, interactive displays and activities on offer at the centre.

Lego enthusiasts (surely that’s everyone?) should head to the King Richard III Visitor Centre over the Easter holidays, where alongside the fascinating tale of the discovery of the ‘car park King’, you can play your part in creating a giant version of King Richard’s coat of arms, brick by brick. The coat of arms is in keeping with the centre’s Easter theme of heraldry, which means there are also chances for kids to design their own pennants and shields, collect stickers to win a prize, and dress up as a knight. Let the medieval fun begin!

Out and about

Get out onto the water and support the work of a worthy local charity by taking a boat trip with the Peter Le Marchant Trust, in Loughborough. The trust provides holidays and trips for people with disabilities, but this Easter it’s opening up to everyone with special two-and-a-half hour trips along the canal. Suitable for all the family, visitors will get activity packs and craft activities, an Easter egg and the chance to step off the boat (ideal if you’re still getting your ‘sea legs’) to learn more about the workings of the canal’s locks. You’ll return home calm, refreshed and with a whole new seafaring vocabulary with which to impress your friends!

In a hurry? If you want your transport to be less four miles an hour and more, say, 20 miles an hour, try a trip along the Great Central Railway, which is offering ‘Easter animal fun’ for the holidays. There’s a chance to meet Elvis, Tula, Petal and Tiny Tim – all animals, but their species is not further defined, which adds a pleasing element of chance to the proceedings. Who knows, perhaps Tiny Tim is an elephant? Only one way to find out. As well as enjoying the animal fun, a trip on this fabulous heritage railway is bound to be a winner. Steam over Cropston Reservoir and you’ll be seeing beautiful Leicestershire at its best.

Whatever you end up doing this Easter, have fun! And I hope you haven’t been too disappointed by the lack of egg puns in this article… you could say omelette-ing the side down…




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