Top 10 things to do at Easter in Derbyshire
IT'S been a long and dreary winter but Easter is on the horizon, bringing with it the chance to get out and about at last.
Derbyshire and the surrounding area offers an enormous range of possible destinations, from historic mansions to wide open spaces.
Many tourist sites such as Chatsworth reopen after a winter break and a number offer seasonal attractions, such as Easter egg hunts.
With every new aerial installed by AMC aerials I will fit an extra point in your bedroom or kitchen for an extra £10
New aerials fitted from £70
Call Adrian on 01332 418856
Terms: Must be an aerial supplied and fitted by AMC aerials
Contact: 01332 418856
Valid until: Friday, July 12 2013
Other venues are organising activities for children and the young at heart.
Fresh air fiends will relish the chance to hike or bike and enjoy the countryside, perhaps finishing up with some star-gazing somewhere such as Surprise View near Hathersage, a Dark Sky Discovery site.
Meanwhile those who have had enough of braving the elements – and remember, Easter is early this year so it could still be pretty cold – will find plenty to do under cover.
Craft activities, shopping trips, culture and heritage, Derbyshire has them all – not to mention the many lovely pubs, teashops and restaurants where you can find delicious foodie treats.
Barbara Crossley, spokeswoman for the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "There's no better place to be than Derbyshire in springtime and especially the glorious Peak District National Park.
"You can walk, cycle, climb, ride or simply sit and take in the beautiful views over spots such as Monsal Dale or the Manifold Valley.
"Stride out or free-wheel along the traffic-free High Peak, Tissington, Manifold and Longdendale trails, or on the Monsal trail you can echo your way through old railway tunnels.
"Wildlife watchers can hit the woods or the moors – although do keep your dog on a lead so as not to scare nesting birds or animals with their young at this time of year.
"If it rains, you could always pop to Castleton and explore a cavern."
Here are 10 of the best ideas for things to do at Easter and over the school holiday and beyond.
1 Chick chick chick chicken …
Lots of folk love a boiled egg on Easter Sunday. Many families have traditions involving drawing faces on the shells, or dyeing and decorating them. But some parents may have concerns about the conditions in which those eggs were produced.
A trip to Betty's Farm at Willington, close to the Staffordshire border, can banish those fears. The farm has 24,000 free range laying hens. Visitors can see the humane conditions in which eggs are produced, view the hens and other animals and buy produce in the farm shop. The farm is open 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-3pm on Sundays.
On Easter Saturday, Betty's is hosting one of the two charity fun days it holds each year. This will include Easter egg hunts, a bouncy castle, pony rides and stalls and will raise money for the British Heart Foundation and Breast Cancer Awareness.
Betty's Farm, The Castleway, Willington, Derbyshire DE65 6BW T:01283 499346
2 Seek out an Easter egg hunt
Many of us get up early to play the Easter Bunny and hide chocolate eggs around the garden for the children to hunt out later. But to make the fun last longer, there are plenty of trails at venues around the area over the holiday weekend.
As well as outdoor events at stately homes and parks, there's an Easter egg trail at Derby Museum and Art Gallery daily from Good Friday to Sunday April 14. The cost is 50p per child. Collect a trail sheet from reception and when you complete it, staff will award you a chocolate egg prize. Museum opening hours are 10-5 Tuesday-Saturday and 1-4 on Sundays
Derby Museum & Art Gallery, The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BS T: 01332 641901
3 Keep the children busy
Small hands kept occupied with purposeful craft activity cannot simultaneously be used to bring chocolate to mouth – which could be a good reason to sample some of the diversions on offer around the area. However, it has to be said that many of the events laid on (no pun intended) do involve the sweet stuff at some point.
One that is calorie free is at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, where children can create an Easter-themed item from clay at workshops at on Good Friday and Easter Saturday and make a plasticine creation on Easter Monday for an exhibition later in the year. The centre is open from 11.30am to 4pm and admission is free, although donations are welcome.
Sharpe's Pottery Museum, West Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 9DG T: 01283 222600
4 If you can't beat them …
If you take the view that Easter fun just has to involve chocolate, here are a couple of ideas that might appeal.
Cocoadance is a family-run business at Mam Farm at Castleton, overlooking Hope Valley in the Peak District. It produces hand-made chocolate in a converted barn and it has teamed up with the National Trust to offer Easter egg-making workshops for children over seven on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Places must be pre-booked and cost £12.50. There's a choice of dark, milk or plain chocolate.
Meanwhile, on Easter Saturday at Pickford's House Museum in Derby children can make an Easter chick with a chocolate surprise inside. Sessions are from 10am to noon and 1-3pm. No need to book.
Cocoadance, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 8WGT: 01433 621334
Pickford's House 41, Friar Gate, Town Centre, Derby DE1 1DA T: 01332 715181
5 Creativity's for grown-ups too
The Threshing Barn, a craft study centre and craft shop on a 17th century Grade II Listed farm, is offering parents and children the chance to create Easter treasures at a family event on Easter Saturday. These will be made by covering egg-shaped Russian Matryoshka wooden blanks in delicate papier maché and pictures of chickens, spring flowers and lambs. The eggs can be filled with chocolate eggs or a ball of wool. The session costs £45 for an adult, £38 for a student and £32 for a child.
Other activities, such as creating landscapes from dyed wools and prefelt, making pebble necklaces and weaving woollen vases, take place later in the month
The Threshing Barn Lower Lady Meadows Farm, Bradnop, Leek ST13 7EZ T: 01538 304 494
6 Shop for home-made treasures
If you prefer shopping for treasures, rather than creating them yourself, then Derbyshire has plenty of happy hunting grounds. Towns and villages host a wealth of independent shops offering unique items.
Or how about visiting a craft fair? Melbourne Arts and Crafts Market at Melbourne Assembly Rooms on Easter Saturday is open from 10am to 4pm and promises many stalls with handcrafted goods, while the Art and Craft Fair at Bakewell Brigade Hall and Medway Centre is open daily from 10am until 4.30pm from Good Friday until April 14. Another craft and gift fair, Craftwise, takes place at Bakewell Town Hall from Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive, 10.30am to 4pm, and offers stalls selling embroidery, textiles, hand-made soap, jewellery, paintings, decorative glass, cards, crystals and craft supplies. All the events are free to enter,
Bakewell Craft & Gift Fair. Bakewell Brigade Hall, Bath Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DS T: 01433 404354
7 Take a nostalgia trip
Relive Derby's industrial heyday by paying a visit to the world's first and oldest surviving railway turning shed.
On a tour of The Roundhouse, you can walk in the footsteps of its constructor George Stephenson and his son Robert and learn about the men and women who helped the city take a prominent place during the age of steam.
The Roundhouse was originally developed in 1839 by four rival rail companies, including North Midland Railway (NMR) for whom George Stephenson and his son Robert were engineers.
The Grade II* Listed building and other associated buildings on the site in Derby's Railway Quarter was restored in 2008.
There's a tour on Easter Saturday at 10.30am. Places have to be booked and cost £6 a person. The tour takes about an hour.
The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JE T: 01332 255802,
8 Spring in your step
Derbyshire has walks to suit everyone, from paved park paths suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs to challenging treks in the high peaks.
The Peak District National Park has 1,600 miles of public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways and tracks) including 64 miles accessible to disabled people.
For those not too sure of their map-reading skills, the park's rangers offer guided walks. On Easter Saturday they are hosting an eight-mile walk from Langsett along part of the old Salt Route from Rotherham. (Meet at Langsett car park, off the A616 at Langsett village). Easter Sunday will see a 10-mile walk to explore the northern moors of Bleaklow. Meet at Torside car park, four miles east of Glossop on the B6105.
The walks start at 10.30am and are due to finish 4.30pm. Booking is not required. There are links to bus services. Dogs are welcome.
Ranger service, Aldern House, Baslow Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1AE T: 01629 816211
9 Go wild in the woods
If you and/or your kids are keen for some outdoor adventures after being cooped up over the winter, Rosliston Forestry Centre is the place to target. In the heart of the National Forest, it offers woodland and meadow areas for action-packed family fun. The site is open from 7.30am to dusk daily and admission is free, although there is a parking charge of 80p an hour or £2 a day.
The centre runs a wide range of activities such as fishing, orienteering, cycle hire, and astronomy sessions. It has a range of special events over the Easter holidays, many of which do not have to be pre-booked. These include archery, Easter arts and crafts, woodland sculpture, laser combat and a nature detective walk.
Rosliston Forestry Centre, Burton Road, Rosliston, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE12 8JX T 01283 563483â¿¨
10 Take in a show
Why should Christmas have all the best pantos? Beat the chill and head for the Assembly Rooms in Derby and a fun-packed production of the Grimm Brothers' fairytale Rapunzel. The professional show features TV stars, a full supporting cast and a live band.
The pantomime, full of songs and dancing, is presented by Enchanted Entertainment, which brought The Wizard of Oz to the venue last year. Tickets are from £16 and there are two shows on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby DE1 3AH T:01332 255800