Easter Holidays Days Out in East Devon, Dorset and Somerset
Spring is my favourite time if year. Longer days, warmer weather and plenty of Easter days out in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. With attractions fully open there’s loads of choice, combine it with country walks, an ice cream on the beach, a local play park and of course Easter Eggs.
Outdoor and Wildlife Events
East Devon Countryside Events
With sites across East Devon, there are a number of fantastic nature reserves in our local area. Offering great outdoor based activities for children to get stuck into as well as fun nature trails, so there’s sure to be something that suits your family. Better still these events are also very affordable.
Join in the fun Exe Estuary mud walk on Wednesday 10th April in Exmouth. There is a family explorer day on Trinity Hill near Axminster (Thursday 18th April) and family crafts at Seaton Wetlands on Wednesday 17th April.
Follow the link for details of these activities plus more and to book events – East Devon Countryside Events.
All ages can take part in the Signs of Spring spotter sheet at Seaton Wetlands which is a lovely way to discover every corner of the nature reserve.
Follow the free trail which is running during April. There’s more details about Seaton Wetlands on my blog post.
National Trust Easter Egg Trails – Blow away the Cobwebs!
One of our favourites is Stonebarrow Hill, on the Golden Cap estate, on the cliffs above Charmouth. What a fabulous place to be – we’ve braved rain and wind before but it was still fun to take part in. This self-led, family egg hunt lets you follow the trail around the beautiful countryside enjoying the views at your own pace to collect a Cadbury chocolatey treat at the end.
It’s only held on 2 days – Good Friday and Easter Saturday (19th & 20th April). Turn up anytime between 11am – 3pm. Costs £2.50 (take cash). Free parking for NT members. Suitable with a sturdy pushchair if you have one.
Another great bracing route is the one at Burton Bradstock. This one is up over the hill around the beach but also very enjoyable. Made all the better by giving you an excuse to go and have a snack or a meal at the Hive Beach Cafe. Open Good Friday through to Easter Monday.
On the Devon ~ Somerset border you can hunt for clues and enjoy the views from Wellington Monument. Running from 19th – 22nd April between 11am and 1.30pm. £2.50 per child (cash only). There are no facilities. TA21 9PB
Other trail options at NT properties include Max’s Gate, Hardy’s Cottage and Kingston Lacy in Dorset. In Devon try Killerton near Exeter and Knightshayes near Tiverton for great days out with lovely grounds. Trails are also being held at the unique A La Ronde in Exmouth.
Barrington Court – Another winning place to spend some time this Easter. Den building, decoration painting, a willow workshop and of course an Easter egg trail. Barrington Court is tucked away in the depths of the South Somerset countryside with a beautiful house and gardens to explore. Also in Somerset try Fyne Court or one of our favourites, Stourhead just off the A303.
If you want to avoid the chocolate temptation try Montecute House NT and explore St Michael’s Hill for great views of the surrounding countryside.
Entrance fees will apply at most of the main NT sites. Membership is really worthwhile if you think you might make 3 or 4 visits a year. Parking only applies at Stonebarrow, Burton Bradstock, Fyne Court and Wellington Monument.
Wildwood at Escot
We’ve enjoyed great days out with the children at Wildwood Escot, so can recommend it as a good place to visit over Easter. Holiday activities include Saxon crafts and an Easter trail.
With wolves, red squirrels, lynx, wild boar, lots of outdoor space for imaginative play and a very confusing beech maze, this is a fun day outdoors. There is also an indoor toddler play area and a lovely cafe. Take a look at our day out on this post.
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
A favourite with locals for years, this is a lovely attraction with the donkeys at it’s heart. Perfect for all ages and abilities you can explore or walk as far as you feel able to. A short walk around the main centre will bring you up close with some of the donkeys that are being cared for, or stretch your legs out into the fields for a longer walk and enjoy the views. You can join the South West Coast Path if you walk all the way through the woods and even down to the beach (only try this when it’s dry underfoot!). There is also a fun maze.
Over Easter there is a Golden Carrot Hunt for families to follow around the grounds (£3 charge for this, 11am – 3pm). Entry to the Sanctuary is by donation only so this is a great value day out.
Ferne Animal Sanctuary
Based just outside Chard in beautiful countryside, this animal sanctuary is a lovely place to spend a few hours. There is a good path all the way round making it ideal for pushchairs or wheelchairs. You can enjoy watching ducks and wildfowl, see rabbits, cats and some other larger animals. With a small play area and a cafe you can visit here knowing that your money will be put to good use looking after the animals that have been rescued.
Hop along for Easter Fun at Ferne
Take part in the super hero pet themed trail challenge available every day from April 5th – 22nd, 11:00 am- 3:00 pm. There will also be extra activities every weekday from April 8th to the 19th.
Finally for one day only on the 18th April there will be a professional willow weaver here to help you make your very own willow dragonfly.
More details here – Ferne Animal Sanctuary
Forde Abbey Gardens
Head to the beautiful Forde Abbey in South Somerset and follow the Once Upon a Time trail this Easter. Explore the grounds and search for characters from the pages of Fairy Tale classics for an enchanting weekend in the gardens.
Hunt for clues and solve the challenges along the way, and meet some very friendly faces that are sure to capture your imagination.
On Friday 19th and Saturday 20th, fairy tales will be read throughout the day. On Sunday 21st and Monday 22nd, join professional storyteller Martin Maudsley for a series of magical storytelling sessions at 11.30 and 2pm.
Normal admission charges apply (£10 adults and £5 children for the gardens).
Yeovil Railway Centre
Steam train days and Easter Egg hunt on 21st and 22nd April. Entrance includes a steam train ride, passengers travel in historic brake van vehicles or coach. Entrance includes unlimited miniature railway rides.
At Yeovil Junction Station – more details here.
Powderham Castle, Exeter
Woolly Week – watch the shearing demonstrations with entertaining commentary followed by a Sheep Hustle from a fantastic sheep show. Also visit the walled garden to see the lambs and participate in the fun themed trail around the gardens. Normal admission charges apply. 8-21 April.
Lyme Regis – Easter Sunday
Big Duck Race. Follow the Town Crier through Lyme Regis to the start of the race and support the local Woodroffe School. Race starts at noon, tickets on sale from 10am.
Easter Bonnet Parade. Take part in the Easter bonnet parade on Easter Sunday or just enjoy watching as it heads through town and along the sea front. The parade will be lead by the Mayor at 3pm with judging at 2pm at the Baptist Church.
Indoor or Rainy Days Out
Seaton Jurassic is interesting and interactive. Over Easter you can join in the Egg-citing Easter Dinosaur Egg Hunt. Children can follow the clues, complete the trail and claim a prize! £1 per clue sheet. The egg trail is on daily from 6th to 22nd of April.
ROARSOME Dino Day – 12th April. A full day of dino activities and a chance to see traces of these prehistoric creatures!
Amazing Animal Encounters with Dartmoor Zoo – 18th April. Get up close and even hold some of Dartmoor Zoo’s fascinating reptiles and invertebrates. Learn about the lives of these amazing creatures from their early life to their adaptations to survive.
Workshops are £5 per person or £4 per person for groups of 4 or more on both days. Booking required. Call Seaton Jurassic on 01297 300 390 to book.
Drop in face painting sessions on the ROARSOME Dino Day and Amazing Animal Encounters Day between 2pm and 4pm. £2 per child.
If you are planning a day out in Seaton, children can enjoy the large play park nearby (just by the Seaton Jurassic car park) or try the fun Jurassic themed adventure golf (crazy golf to me!) at Seafield Gardens near the clock tower. Explore the range of lovely independent shops, try craft sessions and stroll the seafront esplanade for an easy walk. There are more details about Seaton on the my recent guide to the town.
In Dorchester enjoy the Dinosaur Museum, The Tutankhamun Exhibition, the Teddy Bear Museum and Terracotta Warriors. You can by a special Gold Pass – 5 attractions for the price of 2 which sounds like pretty good value.
Also throughout the Easter school holidays, join the Hot Cross Bunny Hunt. Starting and finishing in The Miller’s Kitchen, follow the clues all around the Town Mill complex and claim a prize, or make a bunny mask. £1 charge for each activity.
Tuesday 9th April – Fabric painting workshop this workshop run by 10 by 8 Print Studio, designing and printing gift cards and wrapping paper. £8.00 per child suitable for over 8 years of age. Hourly sessions, contact 07765 402 881 for direct booking.
Thursday 11th April 12.30 onwards – drop in and have your face painted with the amazing paintbox pixie
End your Town Mill trip with a visit to the lovely Courtyard Cafe (tucked in the corner of the Mill complex) – this one gets my personal recommendation and caters for all diets!
Beer Quarry Caves
Fascinating to visit, guides will take you on an hour long tour through the vast man-made complex of underground caverns with their mighty halls of vaulted roofs and pillars. Beer stone is in many prestigious buildings, including Exeter, Winchester, St.Paul’s and Norwich Catholic Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London
See for yourself the methods used to quarry and deliver the huge blocks of stone, the working conditions, the hardships endured and the dangers faced daily by the work-force using only the light from a flickering tallow candle and you may never again see a famous building with the same eyes. Open for the season from 6th April.
House of Marbles
In Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor this is a lovely place to visit, and it’s free. Full of vintage toys, marbles galore, marble runs and glass blowing this is an interesting place to spend a few hours undercover. There’s a cafe and a small play area.
This year you can enjoy the free Easter Egg Hunt. Open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday.
If the weather is fine then head just out of town to the Parke National Trust site or Haytor for a great walk and a blast of fresh air with a view of Dartmoor and the coast on a clear day. Take a look at my Dartmoor post from here.
Exeter’s Underground Passages
For a fascinating underground view of the city, Exeter’s Underground Passages worth a visit. They might not suit anyone who is really claustrophobic – they are described as narrow, dark, interesting and exciting. The passages will be running special Easter egg hunts every day throughout the Easter school holidays.
Have a great Easter Break
I hope you find something fun and different to do here over Easter whether you are local or visiting the area on holiday. As usual all the major tourist attractions have special events and activities planned.
Why not also have a browse through my archives and find a walk or local place that you have not been to before. If you enjoy the outdoors take a look at my recent post on rock pooling in Devon and Dorset.
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