Ten things to do in Somerset during the Easter holidays
From snowdrops to daffodils, spring is starting to show itself across Somerset.
And with Easter just a few weeks away and the school holidays, attractions across the county are planning special ‘egg-citing’ activities.
John Turner, vice-chairman of Visit Somerset, said: “Spring is fabulous time in Somerset with stunning countryside to be enjoyed when walking particularly as traditional flowers are starting to bloom.
"We have what is known as Snowdrop Valley on Exmoor, as well as the displays at our iconic attractions such as Glastonbury Abbey and Hestercombe Gardens.
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“We are very proud of all we have to offer here in the county and this year will see the first Somerset Tourism Awards aimed at recognising the excellence and professionalism of the county’s 3,000 tourism-related businesses.
“In May we will be working alongside UK Inbound, the private-sector led organise which supports all inbound tourism into the UK, to have an exhibitor’s day called Discover the West Country.
“There’s always plenty to do in Somerset with beaches and countryside to explore, plenty of shopping opportunities and some wonderful locally produced food and drink to sample – and at Easter many places will be offering chocolate eggs as prizes.”
We’ve picked out 10 highlights...
1) Pony magic – Exmoor Pony Centre is throwing open its doors on April 7 for its Easter Open Day. Visitors can meet the ponies and staff with activities for all ages including pony rides and pony grooming. Opening times are 11am to 3pm. The centre is the headquarters of the Moorland Mousie Trust, a charity which works for the welfare and promotion of the rare breed Exmoor Pony and has been operating since 1998.
The Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Dulverton, TA22 9QE T: 01398 323093.
2) Easter vigil – Easter Vigil and renewal of baptismal vows takes place at Wells Cathedral on March 30 from 9pm to 10pm. Described as an ancient ceremony, it is the first service of Easter with the congregation gathering at the west end of the nave in darkness. There are readings and then the Paschal Candle representing Christ risen from the dead is lit. Following the Paschal Candle and led by the choir singing a psalm there is a candlelight procession to the font where the Resurrection is proclaimed in an ancient song called The Exultet and vows made at baptism are renewed. There are services throughout Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Wells Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Wells, BA5 2UE T: 01749 674483.
3) Fish & Chips special – Turn a seaside treat into an Easter one with the West Somerset Railway Fish and Chip Special on Easter Saturday – March 30. The steam train leaves Bishops Lydeard Station with the dish being served during the journey. The ticket includes a return trip from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and the meal with vegetarian and gluten options available. There’s more than 20 miles of countryside and coast to see from the train. It departs at 12.35 for Minehead and the ticket is valid for any afternoon service return. Adults £26 and children £23. Booking required by phone.
The West Somerset Railway, The Railway Station, Minehead, TA24 5BG T: 01643 700384.
4) Howzat! Take in some cricket on Easter Monday with a three day friendly between Somerset CCC and Derbyshire starting on April 1. There are hospitality packages or you can pay on the day.
Somerset County Cricket Club, The County Ground, Taunton, TA1 1JT T: 0845 337 1875.
5) Chocolate hunt – Head off on an eggciting trail around the Lytes Cary Manor estate, follow clues and discover a chocolate surprise from March 20 to April 1. Normal admission charges apply at this National Trust property with £2 per trail. Gates open at 10.30am and close at 4.30pm. The medieval manor house was once the family home of Henry Lyte and was where he translated the Niewe herbal book on herbal remedies.
Lytes Cary Manor, near Somerton, TA11 7HU, T: 01458 224471.
6) Easter Eggstravaganza – There’s a spot the Easter bunny competition for the children at East Somerset Railway from March 29 to April 1. Driver for a fiver – a chance for visitors to try driving an engine for a little while - is operating as well as the miniature railway. Said a railway spokesman: “Give yourself a look at the past, see how travel used to be with steam, smells and whistles.”
East Somerset Railway, Cranmore Railway Station, Cranmore, Shepton Mallet, BA4 4QP T: 01749 880417.
7) Quacking good fun – The Great Somerset Duck Race waddles into action on March 30 in Taunton in aid of Cancer Research UK. The ducks will start their journey at about 11am from the footbridge which goes over the Goodland Gardens stream which flows to the river Tone. The ducks will need to negotiate weirs before entering the river where they will follow the current of the river, under the main town bridge and under the foot bridge which links the Brewhouse Theatre to Morrison’s supermarket say the organisers. Ducks can be bought up until the first ones pass under the main town bridge via www.greatsomersetduckrace.co.uk The winning duck will win its owner £100.
8) Parachute your egg – The Fleet Air Arm Museum is encouraging visitors to make a parachute capable of lowering an egg from Concorde to the ground below without breaking the egg from April 2-5, 8 and 9. The activity is part of Easter fun from March 30 to April 14 when there will also be family trails which could earn the visitor a Crème Egg if completed correctly. Normal admission charges apply.
Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester, BA22 8HT T: 01935 840565 Sat Nav Postcode BA22 8HW.
9) Seaside egg fun – Head for Brean Down and Fort for some Easter egg-citement hosted by the National Trust on March 31 from 11am to 2pm. The event starts at Brean Cove Café and there’s no need to book, just turn up but be aware there are steep steps and climbs. Cost per child is £2.
Brean Down, Brean, Sat Nav TA8 2RS T: 01643 862462.
10) Nursery Rhyme time – Rediscover nursery rhymes with a fun family trail at Coleridge Cottage. Visitors can solve clues around the cottage and garden and win a prize. It runs from March 30 to April 14 from 11am to 5pm. Normal admission charges apply. The cottage was home to romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge for three years from 1797 and is now cared for by the National Trust.
Coleridge Cottage, 35 Lime Street, Bridgwater, TA5 1NQ T: 01278 732662.