The Easter holidays are here, so here is a list of 25 ways you could spend it.
Cllr Doina Cornell, leader of Stroud District Council, said: “The Council Plan prioritises strengthening and supporting our communities, so people feel included and connected.
“We’re aware that this is a difficult time for many people in the district, and the majority of the activities below are free-of-charge, or very low cost.”
1. Enjoy the canal on and off the water
There are 35-minute trips on Cotswold Canals Trust narrowboats from Ebley Wharf every Saturday between 12pm – 4.30pm. No booking necessary. Cost: £5 adults, £3 for under 16s. cotswoldcanals.org/event/public-boat-trips-from-ebley/2022-04-09
Alternatively, there are miles of canal towpath ideal for a walk or bike ride, with plenty of wildlife to spot along the route. Walk from Stroud to Stonehouse (or vice versa) and get the train back or work up an appetite on a shorter route and treat yourself at one of the canalside cafes.
Spring activities at The Museum in the Park
2. Sunflower Seed Planting: Family Drop in Activity
Sunday, April 10, 2pm – 4pm. As part of the Buzz Club Open Day, families are invited to head to the Garden Shed in the Museum’s garden where you can plant a sunflower seed to take home and grow. This activity takes place outdoors, weather permitting. All ages welcome. Free-of-charge but donations welcome.
3.Easter Egg Hunt – Walled Garden ‘I Spy’ Trail
Friday Apr 15- Monday 18 April, 11am – 4pm. Follow the trail and see what you can spot in the Walled Garden then claim your sticker or mini chocolate egg reward. Free-of-charge, donations welcome.
4.Spring Crowns Family drop-in workshops with Corinne Hockley
Tuesday April 19 & Thursday April 21, 11am-4pm. Last entry around 3.30pm. Join textile artist Corinne Hockley and make a fairy crown to celebrate the sunny days of spring. Be inspired by the glorious garden and make green leaves or colourful flowers. Recommended for ages 5+. Free-of-charge, but suggested donation of £2 per child or whatever you can afford.
5.Wild Things of Spring! Family Drop-in Activities
Friday April 22 & Saturday April 23, 11am-3pm. Join Kaoru Blackstone of DiscoNature to flex your skills and greet the season with these family activities:
•Go on a spring nature hunt
•Make your own bird’s nest
•Use your pecking skills to explore birds’ beaks
•Learn to track and identify birds
For parents/grandparents and children to enjoy together, and for families with children aged 3+ Cost £3.50 per child, accompanying adults free-of-charge (or £3 per child in advance from Stroud Valleys Project stroudvalleysproject.org/events/wild-things-of-spring
6.The Naturalist’s Field Kit – creative exploring for families
Tuesday Apr 12, & Thursday April 14 11am-4pm. Join Periscope artist duo Emily Joy and Alison Cockcroft for a relaxed session of family creativity and enjoy some time immersed in the walled garden.
Step into the shoes of a naturalist with the magical Field Kit – a mobile box of wonder filled to bursting with intriguing equipment and unusual creative materials for observing, listening, drawing and making!.These artist-led sessions are designed for one adult (a parent or grandparent) and one or two children to enjoy together as a team and are suitable for ages 6+. £10 per child, tickets must be booked in advance, accompanying adult free-of-charge (or £5 per child for those on UC/low incomes).
For more details and to book sessions at the Museum in the Park see: museuminthepark.org.uk
7.Visit an unfinished Victorian Gothic masterpiece
Woodchester Mansion is a unique Grade I listed building, famous for being unfinished and exposing the secrets of its construction. See spectacular stone carvings, the restored Chapel east window, and watch the resident bat colony on CCTV.
Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday including Bank Holidays until October, from 11am – 5pm. £8.50 for adults; children under 16 go free. For more information see woodchestermansion.org.uk
8.Follow a woodland play trail
The National Trust-owned Woodchester Park has lakes that are home to giant carp and an outdoor woodland play trail. It’s free to walk around, but there’s a charge for parking (free for NT members). nationaltrust.org.uk/woodchester-park
9.Visit a craft fair or street market
Stroud’s award-winning farmers’ market takes place every Saturday from 9am-2pm fresh-n-local.co.uk/trader/stroud
The Shambles market is managed by SDC and runs every Friday and Saturday from 8am-3pm shamblesmarketstroud.co.uk
Egypt Mill in Nailsworth Craft Fayre on Sunday April 10, 10am – 4pm facebook.com/events/313138780918871
10.Go Outside and learn about your local area
Go Outside maps are fun, child-friendly, interactive maps that help you discover more about the place you live. There are seven to choose from, each filled with puzzles and facts. Choose to start in Berkeley, Chalford, Dursley, Stonehouse, Ebley or Wotton-under-Edge: stroud.gov.uk/community-health-and-wellbeing/go-outside-walks
11.Wotton Electric Picture House
Enjoy a film in one of the oldest cinemas in the UK
•Coppelia (U) Showing from Sunday 10 – Wednesday 14 April at 2pm
•Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (PG) Friday 15 – Thursday 21 April at 2pm
•Operation Mincemeat (12A) Friday 15-Wednesday 20 April 7.30/8pm
12.Family Fun Day at Stroud Brewery
Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 April, 10-12 and 2-4
Activities include hook a duck, paint an egg, an Easter egg hunt, drawing competition, short story writing contest, and feed the birds by the canal. Cost: Pay what you can, recommended £5 per child.
13.The Circus Sonas family show at the Sub Rooms, Stroud
Father and son Martin and Logy take the traditional circus double act and give it a unique and modern twist. This family friendly show contains circus stunts that will make you gasp, juggling tricks that will surprise you, and magic tricks that will make you go WOW! There will be shouting, cheering, and lots, and lots of laughing. Top class circus entertainment, and the two best beards in the business. This show is suitable for children and adults of all ages from 6. Wed 13 April, doors open 1pm. Cost £9-£14.50. To book: thesubrooms.co.uk
Get active at The Pulse
14.Enjoy an Easter Activity Day that’s jam-packed with sports challenges, activities and crafts, plus an inflatable fun session in the pool. Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13, Thursday 14, Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20, Thursday 21 April, 9am–3pm, Cost £20 per child
15.Encanto Dance Workshop Thursday 21 April, 6-9 year olds 11.25am-12.55pm; 3-5 year olds 1pm-2.30pm. Join Amy Addle for a magical Encanto-themed dance workshop with a dance performance at the end for parents & carers. Cost £7.50 per child.
For details of all Pulse activities, see pulsedursley.co.uk/whats-on
16.Go wild in Stratford Park
There’s plenty of outdoor space at Stratford Park including two play areas, large grassy lawns, a small skate park, a lake, woodland, and a table tennis table (bring your own bats). If you feed the resident ducks, please don’t brig bread which isn’t healthy for either the birds or the water quality; try bird seed, oats, peas, lettuce or sweetcorn as healthy alternatives. There’s a large free car park and you’ll find the Museum in the Park and Stratford Park leisure centre there too.
17.Take to the commons
The wide-open spaces on the district’s many commons are fabulous spots for running around, kicking a football or flying a kite. There are several commons near Stroud, including Selsley, Minchinhampton and Rodborough. For inspiration see visitthecotswolds.org.uk/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/picnic-sites-and-views
18.Join the Play Rangers
Play Rangers will be providing play sessions as part of the HAF (Holiday Activities & Food Programme), as well as community play dates across Gloucestershire. All sessions are free and open access, so children can come and go as they please. If your child is eligible for free school meals, you can register for one of 40 available free meals at the Oldends Lane session.
•Monday 11 April, Oldends Lane Play area, Stonehouse. HAF session 11am-3pm
•Wednesday 13 April Lawnside Play Area, Nailsworth 10am-4pm
•Wednesday 20 April Lawnside Play Area, Nailsworth 10am-4pm
•Thursday 21 April, The Old Common Ground, Bussage, Stroud 10am-4pm
Suitable for ages 7-14. See playgloucestershire.org.uk/play-timetables for more information.
19.Find hidden treasure
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt that uses a free app on your phone to help you find a hidden box of treasure. Each box is different, but expect to find a log book for you to leave a message in and small items – take one and leave one for others to find after you. There are hundreds of treasure boxes hidden in the Stroud district and it’s a great excuse to get outdoors and discover somewhere new. Find more information at geocaching.com/play Free-of-charge
20.Hunt for eggs and count the trees in Painswick churchyard
Did you know that St Mary’s Church in Painswick is famous for its 99 yew trees? Can you count them all? Legend says that the 100th tree will never grow!
Why not combine a visit with Painswick Playgroup’s Easter Egg Hunt which takes place from Friday 15 – Monday 18 April. On Saturday 16 April from 12pm-4pm there will be cake, hot drinks, face painting, raffle and guest appearances from the Easter Bunny will be available.
Buy a map and start the trail from the Painswick Centre. painswickplaygroup.co.uk/easter-egg-hunt
21.Find the new nature themed mosaic on a sculpture trail
The artwork at Dursley Sculpture and Play Trail in Twinberrow Woods has been created by local community groups and includes a newly installed nature themed mosaic. There is open access to visit any time. dursleytowncouncil.gov.uk/dursley-sculpture-and-play-trail.html
22.Wander around Wotton
The Cotswold Way runs right through the centre of Wotton-under-Edge, a bustling town in the south of the district. Walk to Wotton Hill which has spectacular views across the River Severn, or to the striking 111-foot Tyndale Monument in nearby North Nibley which was built to commemorate local hero William Tyndale, the martyred 16th century Bible translator. The monument is open every day with views of the Berkeley Vale and the River Severn to the Black Mountains.
Find seven circular walks that start in Wotton here wotton-under-edge.com/visit-wotton/walks
23.Play around in Paganhill
There’s a full programme of Easter holiday activities at Paganhill’s Community Group including a family games afternoon, craft sessions and kid’s gardening workshops. For more information see paganhill.org.uk
24.Become an artist at a family fundraiser for Ukraine
Kingshill House in Dursley is hosting two family fun sessions on Wednesday 13 April and Saturday 16 April, 10am-12pm with all proceeds donated to Unicef. On Wednesday, join in a family yoga session with The Yoga Bird, and on Saturday children can paint a colourful sunny scene on canvas, then have their artwork displayed for six weeks and put up for sale. There will also be Easter themed make-and-take crafts, an Easter trail and bake sale. Tickets £4 per child. More information at kingshillhouse.org.uk/families-kids.html
Stroud-based Giffords Circus will be opening its UK tour with performances at Fennels Farm near Stroud. Carpa! features the sights and sounds of rural Mexico, and of course the district’s favourite clown, Tweedy. 14-25 April, various times. Cost £10-£30. Under 3’s free-of-charge. To book: giffordscircus.com