Egg Hunt on the South Downs Light Railway, Pulborough
14, 15 & 17 April, departs every 15 minutes between 11.30am–12.30pm and 1.30pm–3.30pm; £2 adult, £1 child.
If you’re short of cash but looking for something a bit special, head up to Pulborough Garden Centre for a ride on the South Downs Light Railway – a scaled-down but pretty steam train offering egg hunts for £1 per child. Kids look out for the egg pictures around the 15-minute track, mark them down on a form and then exchange them for a chocolate bunny. For £1, it won’t be a massive prize, but you can always bring your own little prize to bolster the reward.
Easter Surprises at Fishbourne Roman Palace
17-21 April, 11am–3pm; £9.20 adult, £4.90 child or £25 family ticket (2 adults 4 under-16).
This archeological gem – the largest Roman home in Britain – is offering children the chance to learn traditional springtime crafts and activities. These include making a Roman sundial and using it to tell the time, spinning wool into yarn, doing Roman writing, making a seasonal wreath and playing Roman games. And once they’ve had enough of truncating their names and adding ‘ius’ on the ends, you can let them loose in the garden to find the rabbit pictures, collect the letters and spell out the (well known) Roman word to get their prize.
Petworth House and Park
8–23 April, 11am–4pm; £3 per trail sheet.
The National Trust has this year put creativity at the heart of its Cadbury’s trails, with each location offering its own spin on a non-Christian version of Easter (sorry, Prime Minister). We love this idea at Petworth House, where 'Sir Wyndham Bunny' – (holidaying on Easter Island) needs your help to recover the addresses of all the friends on his postcard list. Kids can follow the trail and complete little tasks along the way, collect their prize and walk off the sugar high within the calm acres of parkland that inspired JMW Turner. Look out for herds of the resident deer.
Easter Bunny Boat trip from Chichester
8–15 April, departs 11am, 1.15pm and 3.30pm; £10 per person (adult or child).
Leonard Cohen sang that Jesus was a sailor… and that’s about the only link we can find between Easter and water. But when you’re relaxing on board a boat in the sunshine, spotting springtime flowers, munching on hot cross buns and watching two adults in rabbit costumes entertaining your kids, who cares? This charming little boat trip is like a piece of immersive theatre where children help the Easter Bunny and his pal in their quest, with plenty of little prizes to keep them grinning from ear to ear. Almost sold out, so book now.
Egg day at Woolbeding Countryside, near Midhurst
15 April, 10.30am–3.30pm, free entry, £3 per trail sheet.
Sitting pretty near the source of the Rother, Woolbeding Common is one of those wild, expansive landscapes that showcases spring at its best. Gentle-natured Sussex and Belted Galloway cattle roam freely among carpets of blooms, while the huge estate offers eulogy-inducing views. But your kids won’t notice, however, because on the 15th it’s all about the eggs: decorating, rolling, racing, knocking them off a shy, and filling out a trail map in exchange for chocolate at the end.
Dragon egg hunt at Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge
1–17 April, 11am-4pm; entry fee + £3 per trail map.
As every child knows, dragons and castles go hand in claw. And at the medieval moated stronghold of Bodiam, that’s exactly what you get on a charming and imaginative trail around its grounds. In fact, you don’t even have to go into the castle to participate as all the eggs are hidden outside. Duck into the workshop where kids can paint a dragon egg (£2), or an egg cup (£1.50) or design their own watercolour dragon, for potential display next year (£1). They can also colour in a dragon for free. Older children can have a go at archery or falconry (£5) – a much longer-lasting memory than a chocolate egg. For more on Bodiam Castle, read our review.
Pick-your-own rhubarb and egg hunt at Sharnold Farm, Hailsham
10am–4pm, 14-15 April; £4.50 per child.
This pick-your-own farm and shop offers the chance to harvest seasonal produce throughout the year – and right now, that’s rhubarb. On 14th and 15th, kids can follow the bunny trail and enter the rabbit-drawing competition, before plundering the neat haystacks to find all the buried eggs, while you sit back with a coffee and sneak a cake without them noticing. They’ll have enough chocolate as it is.
Easter activities at Wilderness Woods, Hadlow Down
13–17 April, 10.30-12pm for Easter bunny-making and 10am–4pm for Easter bunny hunt; £12 and £10 per child respectively.
This privately stewarded woodland is a community institution, offering adults and children the chance to learn forestry skills and nature-based crafts and relying on voluntary contributions and workshop events for its upkeep. On 13 April, Sarah Kelleher of Lucy’s Little Forest School will teach budding your Ray Mears how to track rabbits, play rabbity games and make a clay bunny to take home. And from 14–17 April, the Easter Bunny Hunt will be set up for intrepid explorers to participate, along with arts and crafts, face painting and goodies all based around the new Meeting House building near the cafe. Get there between 12–3pm for the ‘famous’ BBQ.