Easter egg hunts in London 2023: The best trails for kids and families
The Easter holidays are upon us, which means a fortnight-long diary needs to be filled to keep the kids entertained.
A great way to get the whole family out of the house — with not a little bribery attached — is with the promise of an Easter egg hunt. There are trails popping up all over the capital, each with their own themes; some involve exploring acres of plush gardens, while others are more geared towards stoking their creativity with poetry, storytelling and more. And all end with the promise of a chocolate reward, though note that booking in advance is strongly recommended, unless you want to spend a fortune on chocolate and Kleenex on the way home.
Baskets at the ready — here’s where to get hunting.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court’s history and attractions — built by Henry VIII for Cardinal Wolsey, remodelled by William and Mary as Versailles-on-Thames, home to a fiendishly difficult maze — should be enough to entice anyone downriver but if further encouragement were needed, there are Lindt gold bunnies awaiting at the end of a hunt for the bunny statues hidden among the 60 acres of gardens this Easter, all while learning about the Palace’s most famous residents. Swiss chocolate promotions might not be strictly historically accurate, but get into the Tudor spirit by snapping the bunny’s head off first.
When? April 1-16
How much? Included in the price of admission (adults from £26.30, children from £13.10, under 5s and Historic Royal Palaces members go free)
Hampton Court Way, East Molesey, KT8 9AU, hrp.org.uk
Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded 350 years ago by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow plants for medicine, this hidden gem is the second-oldest botanic garden in Britain. A self-led trail over Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday will lead around the four-acre garden where families can become “Planet Heroes” by answering questions about the Earth and how to preserve it for at least another 350 years. Each Planet Hero will receive a prize or chocolate treat from ethical craft chocolate supplier Cocoa Runners and we strongly suggest that adults hand their chocolate over to children. For what is the Easter message if not a story of sacrifice?
When? 11am-4pm, April 7, 9 and 10
How much? £5, plus admission (adults £14.50, children £5, kids under 5 go free)
66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS, chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
Step back in time to the 17th century at Ham House, a Jacobean mansion set in formal gardens on the banks of the Thames at Richmond. The idea is to follow in the footsteps of Restoration-era bigwig (in every sense) Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale, around 10 themed stations set in the garden’s Wilderness, formal lawns, kitchen garden, courtyard and north terrace. Along the way there are traditional games such as hoopla and wheelbarrow races and a chocolate egg as a reward to teach kids there’s more to life than playing on an iPad.
When? 10am-4.30pm, April 1-16
How much? £3, plus admission (adults £14, children £7, free for National Trust members)
Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, TW10 7RS,
WWT London Wetland Centre
What is cuter than a little fluffy bunny? A giant duckling, eight of which are hidden around the rushes and ponds of the London outpost of the pioneering Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, by the river in Barnes. A chocolate prize awaits those who discover all of the eight ducklings but rest assured, should they somehow not be located, there’s an ace gift shop selling no end of cute ornithological accessories. Grown-ups might be more interested in keeping an eye open for the celebrity ducks created by Aardman Animation; the Ab Fab duck will mean you never look at Joanna Lumley in quite the same way again.
When? April 1-17
How much? £1, plus admission (adults £15.50, children £9.50, kids under 4 go free)
Queen Elizabeth Walk, SW13 9WT, wwt.org.uk
A determinedly urban egg hunt around Peckham Levels, the multi-storey car park transformed into a multi-tasking arts, eating and entertainment venue. The two-hour hunt is aimed at children aged between six months and 12 years and the ticket includes the team guiding the kids through arts, crafts and messy play, plus a kids’ Easter story. More importantly in the long run, all proceeds go to supporting south-east London social cohesion charity The Hope-Gordon Foundation.
When? 2-7pm, April 8
How much? £11 for one adult and one child; £10 for each additional child
95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST, peckhamlevels.org
Morden Hall Park
Morden is not just the end of the Northern line: it is also home to Morden Hall Park, 51 acres of parkland set around an 18th century hall and watermill on the banks of the river Wandle. An Easter trail around the park promises games and activities, with a trail map so no one gets lost and a chocolate, vegan or free-from egg at the end. There is also a brilliant National Trust garden centre on site for anyone wishing to recreate the park’s celebrated rose garden at home.
When? 10am-4pm, April 5-10
How much? £3
Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD, nationaltrust.org.uk
Hampstead Heath’s very own country pile, Kenwood is home to works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner and Constable — but who cares about any of that boring old art stuff when there’s 112 acres of landscaped grounds to explore concealing chocolates from Love Cocoa as well as traditional Easter games like egg rolling and an egg and spoon race? Those who survive are rewarded with an “Adventurer’s Certificate”, if not an A-level in Art History.
When? 10am-5pm, April 1-16
How much? £2 per child
Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR, english-heritage.org.uk
Lesness Abbey Woods
Lesness Abbey Woods is 88 hectares of ancient woodland, park and the remains of an abbey demolished during the dissolution of the monasteries but which lives on in the name for this area of south-east London of Abbey Wood, which is a resurrection of sorts. Children are not only invited to find the eggs dropped by the Easter Bunny but work out which of his animal friends each belongs to — a double achievement which will make the eventual prize all the more rewarding.
When? 11am-3pm, April 8
How much? £4
New Road, SE2 0AX, lesnesabbeywoods.org
Osterley House and Park
Isleworth’s Osterley promises an intellectually edifying egg hunt this Easter in keeping with the grandeur of the Robert Adam house that forms the dignified backdrop, with a trail based not only around nature-inspired activities but is poetry-themed, too. Kids are given a trail map and pencil — just the thing for composing one’s very own Easter ode — and there is a chocolate egg at the end.
When? 10am-5pm, April 1-16
How much? £3, plus garden admission (adults £8.80, children £4.40)
Jersey Road, TW7 4RB, nationaltrust.org.uk