The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Edition

Easter survival guide

29 Mar 2017

It’s come around fast don’t you think, but begads we’re prepared for you, Easter hols! Muddy Stilettos will not be defeated by children or boredom (or, um, both) and so here, for your delectation, is the definitive, comprehensive, curated, totally indispensable Muddy Guide to the Easter holidays. For Easter Egg hunts, click here. And if you’re heading to London, click here for tons of ideas.

ALL-DAY ACTIVITIES

Wild Easter Camp – Painshill, Cobham – 4-6 and 11-13 April

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These all-dayers gets them off the X-box and into the outdoors where they’re guaranteed to come home tired. They’ll build dens, light fires (and toast marshmallows), play games and build giant sandcastles. It’s on Tuesday to Thursday for each of the two weeks (4-6 April and 11-13 April), starting at 9am and finishing at 4.30pm each day. Cost is £40 a day, and it’s for children aged 8-13 years. Advanced booking is a must. The themes are typically outdoorsy, with Bushcraft Tuesday, Wild Wood Wednesday and Adventure Thursday.

Painshill, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Tel: 01932 868113. painshill.co.uk

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Wild Learning Holiday Club – various venues and dates

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Drop them off for the day to have bucketloads of fun in the woods, building dens, making campfires, tracking and stalking climbing trees and stream dipping, and then pick them up at the end of the day when they’re shattered but happy – and probably pretty grubby too. It’s good old-fashioned outdoor fun aimed at 5-12 year olds. Drop-off and pick up times vary slightly between sites but  is 10-10.30am dependin and pick up is 4pm. It’s £38-£45 for the day and booking is essential. Places do get booked up quickly – so you’ll need to be quick for this. You’ll find the camps at the following venues. Click on the link for dates and availability.

Alice Holt Forest, Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, GU10 4LS.
Claremont Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Rd, Esher, KT10 9JG.
The Chantries, Guildford, Pilrims way carpark, off Pilgrims Way, GU4 8AD.

Winkworth Arboretum, Hascombe Rd, Godalming, GU8 4AD.
Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking, RH5 6BD.
Reigate, Earlswood Common, Earlswood Common car park A2044, Reigate, RH2 7QH. 

Tel: 01483 424 400. wild-learning.net

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Comedy of Errors: Shakespeare workshop – Epsom Playhouse – Mon 3 to Fri 7 April

This five-day drama workshop, put on by Pull The Other Theatre is for kids aged 10 to 18 and will take them through how to create a play and discover Shakespeare’s language. They’ll create a ‘work-in-progress performance for friends and family. It’s from 10.15am-3pm each day, with a 10.30am start on the Friday and a 5.45pm show.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555. ptotheatre.org.uk

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BFG Easter Workshop – Leatherhead Theatre – Mon 3 to Fri 7 April

Children will learn song and dance routines, costume design and lighting and sound, before putting on a the show BFG for family and friends at the end. The five-day workshop is for 7-11 years, and on Thurs 6 and Fri 7 it’s open to 4-7 year olds. Cost is £150 for the five days, or £60 for the two.

The Leatherhead Theatre, 7 Church St, Leatherhead KT22 8DN. Tel: 01372 365141. dandeliontheatrearts.co.uk

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THEATRE SHOWS

The Twits – Rose Theatre, Kingston – Wed 5 April to Sun 16 April

The Rose is known for it’s top-notch productions, and the mini mudlet and I are particularly excited about this one. The Twits really are the most spiteful and revolting couple you could ever hope to meet. They spend their days playing wicked tricks on each other and mistreating Muggle-Wump monkeys. They also have a particularly sticky trick to catch Roly-Poly birds for their bird pies. This version at the Rose Theatre is directed by Max Webster (The Lorax at The Old Vic), promises to be just as disgusting and repulsive as earth worms disguised as spaghetti. Sound like a great Easter treat.

Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL. Tel: 020 8174 0090.  rosetheatrekingston.org

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Alice in Wonderland – Epsom Playhouse – Sat 8 April

This production from Ballet UK has been getting high praise from the critics, with the The Independent rating it in top five shows currently touring the UK. It’s based on Lewis Carroll’s much loved classic, directed by Ballet UK’s artistic director Christopher Moore, who by all accounts has created a captivating piece, brimming with wit, humour and charm. With its whimsical flights of the imagination, eclectic music and joyful dance, Alice in Wonderland promises to be delightful entertainment for all ages. Tickets are £15.50.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555. epsomplayhouse.co.uk

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Wonderland – New Victoria Theatre, Woking – Mon 3 to Sat 8 April

Love your musicals? Keen on bunnies? Well, hello Wonderland! Wendi Peters (Cilla in Corrie) is in this UK tour of the multi-Grammy award-winning Wonderland at New Theatre. She plays Queen of Hearts alongside West End and Broadway leading lady Kerry Ellis. Hailed as ‘inspirational’ by the New York Times, the musical is an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Go with your girlfriends or take your kids.

New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ, Tel: 0844 871 7645. atgtickets.com

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Mr Bloom’s Nursery – Epsom Playhouse – Wed 12 Apr

 

CBeebies’ Mr Bloom and the Veggies embark on their first ever live tour, with Mr Bloom joined by his gardening friends Margaret, Joan, Colin, Raymond and Sebastian, the lovable Wee MacGregors, and Mr Bloom’s trusty machine ‘The Compostarium’. Yes, you’ll be reaching for your whisky hipflask by half-time but your tiddlers will absolutely love it.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555. epsomplayhouse.co.uk

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Robin Hood Easter Panto – Dorking Halls – Sun 2 April

Panto? At Easter? Oh yes it is. Telly regular Dani Harmer from CBBC’s Tracy Beaker and Strictly Come Dancing is Maid Marian, and X-Factor runner up Andy Abraham is the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. It’ll be packed with the usual comedy, dance, songs and of course, audience participation. Oh yes it will.

Dorking Halls, Reigate Road, Dorking, RH4 1SJ. Tel: 01306 881717. dorkinghalls.co.uk

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Beauty and the Beast Easter Panto – Epsom Playhouse – Tues 11 Apr

For those who didn’t get their fix of panto at Christmas, it’s back again with the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. This one stars Keith Chegwin as the Jolly King Cheggers, Basil Brush as the Beast’s hilarious sidekick and the X-Factor’s Stevi Ritchie as laugh-out-loud comic Wally. Promising an ‘all-singing, all-dancing and laugh-a-minute ride’, the show will tell the story of a girl called Beauty, who lives a provincial life with her father until a terrifying (but probably not really) Beast takes her captive and the evil Enchantress holds her kingdom to ransom. It’s also on at Camberley Theatre on Monday 17 April.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555. epsomplayhouse.co.uk

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Jack and the Beans Talk – G Live – Sat 15 Apr

A fresh and funny retelling of the traditional story and an ideal gentle introduction to theatre for the little ones. There will be plenty of interaction, an enormous beanstalk, bags of gold and a smelly old giant. This one is pitched at kids aged 3 to 7 and goes for a pretty respectable 45 mins. Showings at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

G Live, London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA. Tel: 01483 369350. glive.co.uk

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Naomi’s Wild and Scary – G Live – Thurs 13 Apr

Children’s TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson brings her new tour to Guildford for the Easter hols. She’ll be joined on stage by Animal Mark, and some of his scariest creatures. Naomi will tell some stories about some of her most exciting wildlife experiences from the far flung corners of the world and introduce the audience to some of the most fierce and frightening animals she met along the way! The show is most suitable for kids age 5+.

G Live, London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA. Tel: 01483 369350. glive.co.uk

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Easter at the Maltings – Farnham Maltings – various dates

There are always lots of workshops and events at Farnham Maltings, and Easter there’s plenty for the kids, such as The Amazing Bubble Man (pictured), on Tues 11 Apr. Louis Pearl has been thrilling audiences for 30 years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles. He’ll perform shows at 11.30am and 2pm. Tickets are £12 adults and £10 children.

Other events at the Maltings include Monthly Makes Easter Workshops, where kids can make rabbit and hare shapes out of clay (£12 per session) on Sat 1 Apr at 10.45am and 1pm. And Decorate Easter Cupcakes on Tues 11 Apr, where the little ones can decorate cupcakes with eggs, rabbits flowers and chocolate. For a full list of events at the Malthings click here.

Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Tel: 01252 745444. farnhammaltings.com

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GET CREATIVE

Easter at the Artists’ Village – Watts Gallery and Artists Village, Compton – various dates

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If your little ones are creative types, or even if they’re not and they just like to get their hands mucky, get them to the Watts Gallery and Artists Village where they can design and make their own terracotta rabbits. These workshops are recommended for children aged 5 and up, and tickets must be pre-booked. Workshops are at 10.30am and 2pm, on Tues 4 to Fri 7 April, and again the following week on Tues 11 til Fri 14 April. Cost is £9.50.

There are also drop-in sessions at the village – Marvellous Murals – in the Clore Learning Studio. Drop in any time from 10.30am-4pm and be inspired by the Greek myths in the Monumental Murals exhibition. Step into the village’s wardrobe tent to find costumes and props to dress up in and then help make the giant murals. This is free with admission. These are on Tues 4-Sun 9 April and the following week from Tues 11 to Mon 17 April.

Watts Gallery and Artists Village, Down Lane, Compton, GU3 1DQ. Cost: £8. Tel: 01483 810235. wattsgallery.org.uk

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Blooming Crafts – Redhill – ongoing

If your kids like to get creative then get them to the Blooming Crafts in Redhill where they can go crazy with the paints and glitter. There are book-ahead workshops including mobile making, mosaic and paint splatter. It’s best to call for times and availability. There is also a drop-in studio, but I’d call first because it can get busy especially on rainy days. And there’s also a cafe, so the grown-ups can enjoy a coffee.  Blooming Crafts is open from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Blooming Crafts, 6 Hatchlands Road, Redhill. Tel: 01737 218328. facebook.com/bloomingcraftsredhill

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Easter Holidays – The Lightbox, Woking – various dates

As always, there is plenty going on at The Lightbox in Woking with a range of drop-in and book ahead events. The Drop-in Family Workshops include Easter Bunny Basket making on Wed 5 Apr, Easter Bonnets on Wed 12 Apr, and 3D Easter Chicks on Thurs 13 April. All workshops are free to drop in anytime between 1.30-4pm (but there is a suggested donation of £2). It’s for kids aged 4+.

The bookable workshops include making Farmyard Marionettes, on Tues 4 Apr from 1.30-3pm for 4-8 year olds; Draw Caricatures with Pen and Ink with artists Ali Mirmak and Sidney Sime on Thurs 6 Apr, from 1-2.30pm for 8-11 year olds and 3-4.30pm for 12-16 year olds; and on Tues 11 Apr kids aged 4-8 can make Spring Hanging Lanterns from 1.30-3pm. The cost of all book-ahead workshops is £8 per child.

The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking GU21 4AA. Tel: 01483 737800. thelightbox.org.uk

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GET OUTDOORS

Wisley RHS Gardens – Easter events – Sat 1 April to Mon 17 April

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Photo: RHS / Adam Duckworth

There are plenty of events at RHS Wisley during the Easter break, from arts and craft sessions to music and storytelling and outdoor activities including sow and grow gardening. There are different events every day from Sat 1 April til Mon 17 April, both in the morning and afternoon. Click here for the full list and times. All events are on a drop-in basis, so there’s no need to book ahead. For something a bit different, there are birds of prey demonstrations on April 8 and 9 at 11am and 2pm. Plus the flowers are bursting into bloom right now, so the gardens are also looking particularly pretty.

Wisley RHS Gardens, Woking, GU23 6QB. Tel: 0845 260 9000. rhs.org.uk

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Easter at Hampton Court Palace – East Molesey – various dates

As always there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained at Henry’s old gaffe, starting wth the Magic Garden which reopens on 1 Apr. It’s an interactive play garden for families, set within Henry XIII’s former Tiltyard and now includes a brand new water fountain play feature.

A new play, PowerPlay, is also on at the Palace with all the main players from Henry’s court including Jane Seymour, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn and Mary, and of course, Henry. Set in the summer of 1533 when a pregnant Anne Boleyn and Henry are just arriving at Hampton Court. It’s on at 10.45am and 2.30pm on Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon from  Mon 7 Apr until August. Meet in the Great Hall, and cost is included in the palace admission.

Other Encounters with the Tudors events include Head, Hearts and Heresy and Heresy Hunt, both on twice a day on Tues and Weds from 11 Apr til 31 Aug. Click here for times.

If you can’t prize your kids away from their screens, you could download the Time Explorers app and go on an interactive adventure at the palace. Download the app before you visit – there are three options: The Clerk’s Fantastic Feast, The Ambassador’s Secret Assignment, and The Architect’s Design Dilemma. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Tel: 0844 482 7777. hrp.org.uk

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Moon Adventures – Kew Gardens, Richmond – Sat 1 to Mon 17 Apr

Explore the hidden depths of the Gardens on an interactive trail culminating at the magical Moomin Festival Camp in the wild woodland of the Natural Area. Take part in craft workshops while you sample the Moomins’ beloved pancakes and visit the Hemulens’ Herbarium to find out more about your favourite spring flowers and plant conservation. Included on the admission price: Adults £15.50; kids (4-16); £2.50; under 4s free.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. kew.org

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Easter Quest/Adventures with Robin Hoodie and Maid Marion – Leeds Castle, Kent – 1-17 and 14-17 April

Between 1 and 17 April let your kids get some eggs-cercise (see what I did there) seeking Easter clues hidden around the grounds of lovely Leeds Castle to earn a chocolate prize.

Then, 14- 17 April, look out for Robin Hoodie, Maid Marion and a merry band of outlaws on a fun filled ‘Walking Theatre’ adventure over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Robin Hoodie has lost Maid Marion and Maid Marion has found the right wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, but who needs saving from whom?! Visit the Pavilion Lawn  at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.00pm for one hour promenade-style shows through the woodland. Plus, throughout the day children can make their own Robin Hoodie or Princess hats to wear on their adventure.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL. Tel: 01622 765400. leeds-castle.com

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Surrey Edition