One of Britain's most majestic ruins, Corfe Castle was once a royal residence
Corfe Castle, Dorset
April fool's jester day, April 1st, 11.30am - 3.30pm
Corfe Castle is one of Britain's most majestic ruins and boasts breathtaking views over the Dorset countryside. The castle itself, once a royal residence, was demolished in 1646 and the ruins now provide a giant playground for children of all ages and a wonderful place to explore. On April 1st the Castle is hosting a Jester Day - a chance to make a fool of yourself in the best possible way. There will be a stilt-walking jester, a juggling jester and a juggling and circus skills workshop. And what could be a sweeter treat to round the day off than a Dorset clotted cream tea in the eighteenth century tea room?
Winchester City Mill, Hampshire
Hot cross bun making, April 2nd 11am - 4pm
The National Trust isn't just about castles and gardens: rebuilt in 1743 on the site of a medieval mill, the Winchester City Mill in Hampshire is an urban corn mill that was in use until the early twentieth century. After extensive restoration work, it was brought back to life in March 2004. The fast-flowing River Itchen provides the power that turns the waterwheel that drives the machinery that grinds the locally-produced corn. A lively and informative place for visitors of all ages, on Good Friday the Mill will be putting its flour production to particularly good account with a special hot cross bun bakery event where volunteer bakers will help families make their own Easter treats. There are also other special events through the school holidays.
Devil's Dyke, West Sussex
Easter egg rolling competition, April 5th, 10.45am - 12am
Easter wouldn't be complete without Easter eggs, and there will be plenty of those about at Devil's Dyke this weekend. Close to Brighton, the historic beauty spot on the South Downs Way takes its name from the vast dry valley that cares its way through ridges of rolling chalk grassland. It's a perfect place for an Easter Egg Hunt, and there is also an Egg Rolling Competition: bring your own hand decorated hard boiled egg and try your luck at this Easter custom - the egg that gets furthest down the Dyke valley wins.
Wear your wellies day, April 11th, 11am - 4pm
One of Britain's finest historic houses, Erddig is a beautiful eighteenth-century house which offers a unique insight into the upstairs-downstairs life of the family who lived there for 250 years. On April 11th, though, the emphasis will be less on the fine furnishings and paintings of the house and the fascinating scenes below stairs, and more on the gardens and country estate as the property hosts a Wear Your Wellies Day. Discover the joys of wellie wangling and gumboot dancing or take part in a glamorous wellie parade. There’s also a Wellis in the Woods Trail, tree trail talks, seed planting and worm charming all to take part in too.
Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Twilight woodland walk, April14th, 6pm - 8pm
A delight at all times of year, in spring, the informal woodland garden at Colby is carpeted with bluebells, and camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas provide huge splashes of colour. But visitors usually only see what happens in broad daylight. That makes this Twilight Woodland Walk particularly interesting as it's a chance to discover what happens in the woods as the light fades and darkness falls. The fascinating family-friendly evening walk will be led by community ranger Kiri Howells and hot drink and biscuits will be provided. Suitable clothes for the weather and stout footwear are essential.
These are just a few of the activities on offer during the school holidays at National Trust properties all over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Full details of all the properties and events are available on the National Trust website.
Note that some activities may require advance booking and incur extra charges in addition to the usual property admission charges.