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The Muddy Easter survival guide

Wild Learning Holiday Club, various venues and dates


This is one where you 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. It’s that good old-fashioned outdoor fun, and you can feel a little smug in the knowledge that they’ll probably learn a thing or two as well. It’s aimed at 5-12 year olds. Drop-off is 10.15am and pick up is 4pm. It’s £38 for the day and booking is essential. Places are booked up quickly. Reigate has no places left for the Easter break, and other locations have waiting lists for some of the days so be quick.

Claremont Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Rd, Esher, KT10 9JG. Dates: 31 Mar, 1, 4-8 Apr
Winkworth Arboretum, Hascombe Rd, Godalming, GU8 4AD. Dates: 31 Mar, 1, 6-8 Apr
Alice Holt Forest,
Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, GU10 4LS. Dates: 29 & 30 Mar, 4 & 5 Apr
Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking, RH5 6BD. Dates: 29 & 30 Mar, 7 & 8 Apr
The Chantries, Guildford, Pilrims way carpark, off Pilgrims Way, GU4 8AD. Dates: 29-31 Mar, Apr 1, 4-6
Reigate, Earlswood Common, Earlswood Common car park A2044, Reigate, RH2 7QH. Easter sold out, but bookings are being taken for the May half-term.
Tel: 01483 424 400.


Pongo’s Party, Epsom Playhouse, Mon 4 April


Set in the vibrant, colourful world of Marty MacDonald’s Farm, Pongo’s Party is full of fun, songs and laughter, and features the voice of Justin Fletcher, aka CBeebies’ Mr Tumble, as Pongo the Pig. Pongo’s Party is a family show particularly suitable for 2-7 year olds. Come dresssed in your best party clothes and help to make Pongo’s Party a day to remember – play in a huge children’s band and take part in the town’s biggest ever game of pass the parcel. Plus, see you after the show in our ever popular cast meet and greet! The show starts at 2.30pm.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555. Tickets: £11 adults, £8.50 children.


The Wizard of Oz, Easter Panto, Dorking Halls, Fri 25 Mar


Follow the yellow brick road and join Dani Harmer as Dorothy and her little dog Toto on their adventures from Kansas to the magical land of Oz. Dorothy meets Bobby Davro’s Scarecrow, Tin Man (Britain’s Got Talent’s Andrew Fleming) and a cowardly Lion on her way to the Emerald City where the great Wizard of Oz lives. It’s packed with plenty of song and dance with music by a live band. There are shows at 11am and 2.30pm.

Dorking Halls, Reigate Road, Dorking, RH4 1SJ. Tel: 01306 881717. Tickets: £17-£19.


Craft for Kids, The Ashley Centre, Epsom, 28 March – 4 April


There will be free craft workshops at the shopping centre during the Easter holidays to keep little shoppers amused! The workshops will be held outside House of Fraser from 10am to 4pm (Easter Monday 10.30-4.30pm), with a different spring story theme each day, including Snow White, Mulan (pictured), Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and Peter Pan. Throughout the week visitors can also join in a giant big art project. A huge hand drawn piece of artwork featuring storybook characters needs to be brought to life using children’s artistic talents. It will then be displayed in the centre during the week. 
Easter Monday (28 March): children can make Mulan’s Dragon Spirals using colourful pens, sequins and glitter to create fantastic works of art.
Tue 29 March: kids will love to step in Snow White’s footsteps and create bird food cakes out of seeds. Once their cakes are dry, they can be put out in the garden for Snow White’s feathered friends to enjoy.
Wed 30 March: guests will be welcomed to Neverland, where they can make and take home colourful Peter Pan’s Lost Boys lanterns using stickers, pens and sequins.
Thurs 31 March: Jack and the Beanstalk’s farm animals will be available to be embellished to take home using a variety of craft materials including wool and feathers.
Fri 1 April: welcome to Aladdin’s Arabian Nights, where visitors can design personal sand art using brightly coloured sand, special glass pens and a selection of differently shaped sand art bottles.

The Ashley Centre, Ashley Rd, Epsom KT18 5AB. 


Wild Easter Activity Camp for Kids, Painshill, 29 Mar – 8 Apr

DSC_0190 (002)

These all-dayers gets them off the X-box and into the outdoors where they’re guaranteed to come home weary. On Monday there’s wild bush craft where they’ll build a shelter in the woods and build a campfire to toast marshmallows, Tuesday it’s games and an obstacle course followed by craft workshops. On Wednesday they’ll explore the Victorian water wheel, play games and paint canvases, Thursday is a day deep in the woods creating a massive woodland village, and on Friday they’ll use sticks, ropes and leaves to build an enormous woodland den. It’s £40 for the day, or £170 for the full five-day week, and it’s for children aged 8-13 years. Advanced booking is a must.

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


Gangsta Granny, Richmond Theatre, 22-26 Mar

The stage version of David Walliam’s funny novel, about a boy called Ben who is staying at his Granny’s house for the weekend. Ben thinks she’s boring, until he finds out she is his very own Gangsta Granny. It has been touring the country and stops off at Richmond just in time for the Easter holidays. They’re staging two shows a day, at 2pm and 7pm from Tue to Fri, and at 10.30am and 2pm on Sat 26 Mar. The producers of Horrible Histories are behind this one, so you’re in pretty safe hands. The tour continues to Fairfield Halls Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon from 17-21 May; and New Victoria Theatre in Woking from 14-18 Sept.

Richmond Theatre, Little Green, Richmond TW9 1QJ. Tel: 0844 871 7651. Tickets: £23.40-£38.40.


Pirate Week, Birdworld, 4-8 Apr


Ahoy there me hearties! Calling all pirates. A big black ‘pirate ship’ has sailed on to the safari lawn at Birdworld it’s been taken over by pirates for the week. There’ll be craft, face painting, and a pirate trail where the kids could win some treasure. It’s on from 11am-4pm, and there are additional charges for the face painting.

Birdworld, Holt Pound, Farnham GU10 4LD. Tel:


The Witches, Rose Theatre, Kingston, 29 Mar – 10 Apr


Roald Dahl’s scariest book is brought to life and handily arrives in Kingston just in time for the Easter holidays. It’s been getting great reviews on its tour having played London already, and Hong Kong befor that. The Witches features a talented cast of actor-musicians and mind-boggling illusions that’s sure to be lots of fun. It’s aimed at children who are 7+.

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


Panda Power, WWF The Living Planet Centre, Tue 5 & Thur 7 April


Who doesn’t love a panda? The WWF have teamed up with Dreamworks and will be show some fun clips from Kung Fu Panda 3, then you can get creative by designing and making a beautiful collaged panda using images and illustrations. On your pandas, capture what you love about the forests, rivers, oceans and wildlife around the world that WWF works to protect. The sessions last 45 minutes and are suitable for children aged 4 and above. The workshops take place at 10:30am, 11:15am and 12noon. There is a suggested donation of £3.

WWF, The Living Planet Centre, Brewery Road, Woking, GU21 4LL. Tel: Book here.


Maltings Marvellous Easter School, Farnham Maltings, 29 Mar -1 Apr


These all-day workshops will be a godsend for working parents. There are different events on each of the four days, and you can chose to take part in just one day or all four. It starts on Tues 29 Mar with Dance & Sculpture, where they’ll learn groovy dance moves and then get messy creating their own clay sculptures. Wed 30 Mar in Play in a Day, and the name pretty much says it all: they’ll script and stage a play. Thurs 31 Mar is Junk Percussion Day, when percussionist Paul Glover will teach the kids how to make and play a variety of instruments. And it winds up on Fri 1 Apr with Printing & Theatre, when artist Natascha Maksimovic will teach the Japanese marble painting technique of Suminagashi. The cost for one day is £30, two days £58, three days £84 and four days £108. The workshops run from 10am-4pm, but the day can be extended to 9am-5pm for an extra £5 per day. It’s for ages 7 to 13. Click here to book.

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


Big Fish, Little Fish Family Rave, Farnham Maltings, Sun 3 Apr


Remember your raving days? Nah, me either, but the less said about that the better really. Here though, is one all the family can let their hair down to. Big Fish Little Fish founder Hannah Saunders started the event in Brixton two years ago as a relaxing, entertaining and completely daft event for the whole family, and since then it’s become a big player on the family arts scene, touring the country and playing venues from Hackney and Islington to Manchester and Margate. DJs play eclectic house music, Captain Cookie will be there with his crafty corner, there’s a soft play zone, bubble machines and glitter cannons. I’ll be there for the bubbles and glitter cannons alone! These events are popular people, so it’s likely to sell out. All are welcome but it’s aimed at families with kids up to eight years.

Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Tel: 01252 745444. Tickets: £12 adult, £8 child, under 1s free.


‘The Good Dinosaur’ film screening, Cranleigh Arts Centre, Tues 5 Apr & Farnham Maltings, Thur 7 Apr 


Luckily for young Arlo, his parents and his two siblings, the mighty dinosaurs were not wiped out 65 million years ago. And lucky for us, this charming film is showing at Cranleigh Arts Centre to help keep the munchkins entertained during the Easter break. It’s a feel-good story about Arlo and his Neanderthal friend called Spot, and their adventures to reunite Arlo with his family. The screening at Cranleigh starts at 2pm, and there are three screening times at Farnham, 11am, 2pm and 6pm.

Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8AS. Tel: 01483 278000. Tickets: £5-£7.50.
The New Great Hall, Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Tel: 01252 745444. Tickets: £5-£7.


Make! Terracotta Chicks at Watts Gallery and Artists Village, 30 Mar–1 Apr & 6–8 Apr


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 chick. These workshops are recommended for children aged 5 and up, and children must be accompanied by an adult. First you’ll head out to explore the gardens, then  artist Elaine Parton will teach clay modelling techniques. Workshops are at 11am and 2pm, and can be booked in advance here.

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


Where’s Wally? Fun Run 2016, Clapham Common, London SW4, Sun 20 March


Raise money for the Literacy Trust and enjoy a fun day out at the Where’s Wally? Fun Run. There are 5km and 10km distances, plus 1km for the under 12s. You can walk, jog our run your way around Clapham Common. The online registration deadline is Thur 17 March, but runners can also register on the day. All adult runners are asked to raise £100 or more in sponsorship, and every penny raised will go towards helping families in deprived communities, give books to disadvantaged children or help support schools in their literacy teaching. It costs £22 to enter and that includes an official Where’s Wally? costume, or £19 without the costume. The 1km children’s run is £12 with the costume, and £9 without. A family ticket is also available, for one adult and three children, or two adults and two children, including outfits, for £55. It’s £45 without the outfits.


Shakespeare Drama Workshop and Stage: ‘The Tempest’, Epsom Playhouse, 4-8 April


If you have a little thesp in the making, this five-day workshop will be just the thing for them. And you’ll get to puff out your chest (and shed a tear if you’re anything like me) when you see your little darling treading the boards in the show on the final evening. The workshops are run by Pull the Other Theatre Education, who have worked with the likes of the National Youth Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare for Schools Festival. The week will be full of drama games, exercises, and comedic antics as the kids make new friends, learn how to act in a Shakespearean play and become theatre-makers. The holiday workshop runs from 4-8 April and is open to kids aged 10-16. There will be a a performance of the play for family and friends on Fri evening at Epsom Playhouse Studio.  

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel:07525 116794.
Email: [email protected]


Clangers, Bagpuss & Co, V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London, 19 Mar–9 Oct


Okay, so it’s a bit of a trek to get to Bethnal Green, but you’ll get a huge dose of nostalgia with this one. Many a childhood memory was made by this lot since their creators Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin started collaborating in the 1950s in a pigsty in Kent. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, this exhibition will bring together the original puppets, sets and filming equipment, and go behind the scenes of some of their other creations, including Pogles Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. It will also include rare early black-and-white films, including episodes of Ivor the Engine, the pair’s first collaboration, last screened 45 years ago. Entry is free, and the museum is open daily from 10am to 5.45pm. If you’re travelling by train, the nearest Underground line is Bethnal Green on the Central Line. The museum in less than a five minute walk from the station.

V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9PA. Tel: 020 8983 5200.


Wisley RHS Gardens, Easter events, 19 Mar–10 Apr


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. On 26-27 Mar you can sow and grow sunflower seeds; 28 Mar is design a bunny ear hat to take home; 31 Mar and 1 Apr you can sow a geranium cutting. There will be storytelling with Jane Lambourne on 2 & 3 Apr; and on Apr 4 children can scratch a flower decoration. On 5 Apr they can create a feathered friend decoration; 6 Apr children can bounce around and do their best bunny impression with Bassistry Music. More planting on 7 & 8 Apr, this time planting an aster seed. And on 9 & 10 Apr you can meet birds of prey and watch a demonstration. Phew! I’m exhausted after all that, but I should also tell you that all events are on a drop-in basis, so there’s no need to book ahead.

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






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