Easter fun in Kent

New growth makes a National Trust visit egg-xtra special this Easter, from enjoying a wildlife walk to going on an Easter egg trail

Easter fun in Kent

 

New growth makes a National Trust visit egg-xtra special this Easter, from enjoying a wildlife walk to going on an Easter egg trail

After months of cool temperatures, snow flurries and rainfall, the nation’s children are long overdue a spot of outdoor fun. Having been stuck indoors over the winter, children will be keen to take advantage of the forthcoming Easter school holidays to have some seasonal fun.

At a time when children are reportedly spending less time in the open air than their parents and grandparents did, people are finding it harder and harder to connect with nature and the great outdoors. However, this time of year provides the perfect excuse to get outside, especially when there are so many rewards on offer.

From glorious sights of daffodils, bluebells and other brightly coloured spring flowers to the prospect of a chocolate incentive to complete an Easter egg trail, pickings can be rich indeed in April.

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This time of year has been singled out for special festivities even before the beginnings of Christianity. Eostre, the Pagan goddess was honoured as the bringer of spring, as people celebrated lengthening days, warmer weather and the return of the flowers and greenery.

The Easter Bunny added to this theme, representing as it does, fertility and renewed life. And, of course, the symbolism and traditions of Christianity have added a further dimension to the season and its message of new life. Hot cross buns symbolise the cross of Christ, while hollow chocolate eggs depict the empty tomb following his Resurrection.

The National Trust has tried to combine all these elements and more into its Easter celebrations this year. All of its houses and gardens in Kent are now open, enabling visitors to admire the new spring garden growth or enjoy wildlife walks in warmer conditions than in previous months.

Many places also offer crafts and other family-friendly activities to teach children more about the meaning of the season. Easter egg trails are running at many houses and gardens across the county too, with special hollow chocolate egg prizes at the end for each participant.

The theme of renewed growth and new life is reflected in the tea rooms and caf�s too, with several dishes using fresh local produce on offer to hungry visitors. Ivy Hatch’s medieval manor house, Ightham Mote in particular has embraced the seasonal focus on chocolate and all things sweet, with two Pudding Evenings taking place in the restaurant on 7 April and 5 May.

Another Easter tradition that has developed over the years is the popularity of springtime crafts. From Easter bonnets made from ribbons, sequins, tissue paper and card to mini bird’s nests created out of twigs, moss, fluffy toy chicks and chocolate eggs, there are plenty of Easter projects that can suit all ages. While children might enjoy the projects mentioned above, there’s no reason why adults shouldn’t get creative with Easter cards, or cooking. Perhaps the richly spiced Simnel Cake, with its 11 marzipan balls representing Christ’s Apostles, minus Judas.

Whatever Easter represents to a family, the National Trust firmly believes that the outdoors needs to feature in their celebrations somewhere. Kent is full of scenery to inspire refreshed thoughts, and that’s not only its formal gardens such as Sissinghurst Castle but also the natural, untamed countryside of the White Cliffs of Dover or the Kentish Weald.

This month we are lucky enough to have not only the Easter Bank Hholiday weekend to enjoy, but also an extra day’s holiday the following week, which marks the Royal Wedding.

Perhaps this will be enough to get us to stop hibernating and get outside for some new spring life this Eastertide.

Egg-citing Easter fun

The National Trust is planning a number of Easter Egg trails across the county, in association with Cadburys. Here is a selection of dates and venues where family trails can be enjoyed this Easter:

2 and 3 April, from 11am, Emmetts Garden, Ide Hill. �2 per trail 2 and 3 April, from 11am, South Foreland Lighthouse, Dover. �1 per trail. 2, 3, 4 and 5 April, from 11am, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden. �1.50 per trail. 3 April, from 11am, Knole, Sevenoaks. �2 per trail 3, 4 and 5 April, from 11am, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Cranbrook. �1.50 per trail. 4 and 5 April, from 11am, Chartwell, Westerham. �2 per trail. 4 and 5 April, from 12noon, Quebec House, Westerham. �2 per trail 4 and 5 April, from 11am, Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst. �2 per trail. 4 and 5 April, from 11am, White Cliffs of Dover. �1.50 per trail. 9 April, from 11am, Ightham Mote, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks. �2 per trail