By Holly Tuppen
You don’t have to spend a small fortune flying your family out of the UK for some quality time away this Easter; with Easter egg hunts and spring blooms popping up all over the country, this is a lovely time of year for a staycation. If you’ve not yet booked anything, fear not: here are some last-minute Easter offers at family-friendly places to stay within three hours of London.
A farm stay on the Isle of Wight
Attractions on the Isle of Wight open for the year at Easter—whether you’re into dinosaurs, monkeys, surfing, sandcastle-building, funfairs, crazy golf, country pubs, historical mansions or wood-fired hot tubs, there’s something for every member of the family. Safari tents at Tom’s Ecolodge, complete with kitchens, two bedrooms, a communal pizza oven and fields of romping space, still have some availability towards the end of the holidays. Situated on the grounds of Tapnell Farm, which features an educational farm park, adventure hay barn, jumping pillows and burgers galore at the Cow Co, it’s worth a visit even if you can’t stay the night.
Under 5s always travel free with Wightlink ferries, and during the Easter holidays two kids between 5 and 15 travel for free with every adult foot passenger. Check out more about Wightlink deals here. For other accommodation options and things to do over the Easter holidays, head to Visit Isle of Wight.
Glamping in wild meadows
Just by staying at Secret Meadows you’re contributing to the conservation of some of Suffolk’s most beautiful countryside. Tucked away in the corner of the broad Ley meadow, part of a Suffolk County Wildlife Site, is the Gypsy’s Rest. Comfortably sleeping a family of four, the gypsy wagon has a double bed and the next-door shepherd’s hut has a cupboard bed that sleeps two more. With private cooking and bathroom facilities in purpose-built huts nearby, as well as a hammock, deck chairs, firepit and picnic bench to soak up the peace of the meadow, this is just the spot to rest and recuperate.
Another option for getting back to nature is Purple Emperor, a yurt for two (but with plenty of room for one additional child) in the middle of a unique rewilding project just an hour from London. A few shepherd’s huts, bell tents and a yurt share a beautiful wildflower meadow with enough flora and fauna to make you feel full of the joys of spring. The yurt is full of quirky antiques, upcycled furniture and Swedish rugs, and the king-size bed was handcrafted from Knepp oak. Outside is a firepit with barbeque grill and a table and chairs for private dining.
Manor house living in Somerset
If even glamping sounds a little bit too strenuous, head to 1 Strode House to sample life in the grounds of a Tudor manor. Owned by the National Trust, this five-bed cottage stands next to Barrington Court, surrounded by miles of countryside and walking routes with the pretty village of Barrington close by. Guests staying in Strode House receive free access to Barrington Court, perfect for making the most of their Easter family fun, including den building, Easter-egg hunts and getting creative in the woodcarving studio.
For those who have time to head further afield, the National Trust has some beautiful family properties available in Cornwall including a quaint thatched cottage for four and a cabin surrounded by pine trees on the edge of Frenchman’s Creek.
Time out in the New Forest
For parents desperately in need of a bit of time out, New Park Manor (part of the Luxury Family Hotels group) is a safe bet. Just two hours from London, nestled in the attraction aplenty New Forest, this hotel comes with kid-friendly meals, a baby listening service, a pool, spa and most important, two hours of free childcare every day. When it comes to kit for babies, this hotel has thought of everything to take the stress out of packing, and older kids are kept busy with bikes (including bike seats) and heaps of garden activities. The onsite Bath House Spa even has special offers and treatments for teenagers, so they won’t mind being dragged along.
If self-catering is more your style, Warbourne Farm still has a few of its apartments up for grabs over the Easter holidays. Only ten minutes from Lymington, Warbourne Farm is just the place to let little ones run free—collecting eggs, jumping off hay bales and feeding pigs. Several newly delivered lambs will get everyone in the mood for spring, and you might even get the chance to watch them from your living room thanks to the Grain Loft’s walk-on window.