Diane Shortland

Freelance Writer

Column

School’s Out

The long dark nights of winter are finally over. The arrival of Easter brings joy to bored children and relief to worn down parents. Your little ones can burst into life once more with endless choices of activities and events on throughout Norfolk to keep them amused.

After being cooped up all winter, kids long to run wild again. Bewilderwood re-opens for rope swinging tree house fun and this Easter they invite you to decorate a barmy bow tie and balance a giant egg and spoon in the silliest assault course ever. The Canoe Man in Wroxham offers a ‘Swallows & Amazons’ adventure day on April 7th with family canoeing along the Broads to a woodland activity centre where you can learn to build dens and cook on the campfire. Prices start from £30 a child.

Splash in Sheringham will be open with its waterslides and wave machines or if childcare is an issue, Barracudas provide multi activity day camps in Norwich, 8.30am to 5.30pm, for £33, and are running residential breaks for both weeks of the holidays too. Swimming, archery and motorsports are just some of the time-tabled fun.

Less adventurous, more arty? Paint Me Ceramics in Hunstanton is an affordable haven for creative souls, young and old. For a studio fee of £3.50 (£2 if you join their Facebook page), you can spend an afternoon lost in concentration. Over 2000 ceramic items are available to paint ranging from teapots and plates to teddy bears and animals. Or how about Norwich Puppet Theatre for a family day out? On Saturday March 30th they’re running a ‘What comes out of an egg?’ workshop where you can make an Easter themed puppet and watch their Pied Piper live show. If traditional egg hunts appeal to you, Hoveton Hall Gardens have Easter treasure hunts and activity trails on over the bank holiday weekend, as too do Holkham Hall in their bygone museum.

Easter is also about animals and Norfolk offers many an opportunity to become at one with its wildlife. Snettisham Park Farm will be bringing you lamb feeding and deer safari whilst Pensthorpe Wildlife & Gardens start their Wensum Discovery Tour guiding you through the remote parts of the idyllic reserve. There’s also a bug walk for the brave. If handling creatures fills your child with joy, don’t forget to take them crabbing in Wells-next-the-Sea too. Buy a bucket and some bait from one of several shops in Staithe Street and head for the quayside for some inexpensive fun. Remember bacon bits are the key to tempting reluctant crabs.

My pick of the Easter holidays, though, has to be Beans Boat Trips to see the seals at Blakeney Point. You’re guaranteed to spot them, in close proximity too, and the hour long journey is a most pleasant cruise with stunning views. You hop on at Morston; just head down to the quay and look for the crew wearing the orange tops. Boats go out on the tides; first week of the holidays will be morning trips, the second week afternoons. Seeing your child’s face light up as they watch seals bobbing in the water by the boat is a memory you’ll treasure forever.