Who doesn’t love Easter? A four-day holiday with none of the pressure of Christmas, it’s also an ideal time for a few days away, to make the most of the longer, warmer days.

Annabelle Thorpe, editor, 101 Short Breaks, gives us some ideas of where to head to at the end of March:

If you’re looking for a family break, attractions around the country stage all manner of Easter-themed events, while just a walk in the countryside can be extraordinary, with swathes of daffodils and bluebells in full bloom. In Europe, towns and villages come alive with unforgettable Easter parades, processions and festivals – and everywhere there’s a feeling of energy and re-birth, as if the year has finally got started.

1. Family Fun
The Easter holidays are a great time to take a few days away with the family; the days are lengthening and there’s plenty to keep younger kids amused, with Easter Egg hunts and lambing festivals.

Head to Devon, where the Crealy Adventure Park has one of the county’s biggest Easter Egg hunts, as well as the chance to see baby animals in the Animal Barn and Crealy’s famous family of meerkats. Or escape to the forest with a stay in a Sherwood Forest Lodge, where you will find plenty of luxury for parents, as well as loads of outdoor space for kids, and gorgeous bluebell walks.

The long sandy beaches of Suffolk and Norfolk offer fantastic sandcastle potential on warm days, and attractions such as Framlingham Castle, Banham Zoo and the East Anglia Transport Museum all put of special events throughout the Easter Holidays.

2. Religious Celebrations
In Italy, Easter is a bigger religious celebration than Christmas, with ‘Pasqua’ celebrations taking place for a full week. In Puglia, spectacular processions take place on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday in towns and villages around the region. The most famous is in Taranto, where statues representing the stations of the cross are carried through the town from midnight until dawn.

Or head to Sicily, where the ceremonies and celebrations range from the ‘Diavolata’ in Adrano – where the central piazza is divided into two halves, one of angels and one of devils – to the famous ‘Mysteries’ in Trapani. Thousands of Sicilians come out to see the procession, with each of the statues made by local guilds.

Or head to Portugal, where the Semana Santa celebrations see spectacular processions and ‘festas’ across the country. Two of the most impressive are in Braga and Sao Bras de Alportel in the Algarve, while Loule – also in the Algarve – hosts the region’s biggest Easter Festival.

3. Foodie Treats
For most people, the Easter break has become inextricably linked with a major increase in chocolate intake, but there are plenty of other ways to have a foodie-themed break, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

The pretty town of Ludlow is arguably England’s rural foodie capital, with an award-winning market every weekend, and special events taking place at the castle over Easter Weekend. Stay at the nearby Castle Hotel, an ideal base for exploring the tranquil Shropshire countryside. Or a book a cottage in Cornwall and head to Falmouth to feast on fresh fish and seafood enjoy the city’s Spring Festival, which runs for two weeks across the Easter Weekend.

4. Shape up for Summer
After the long weeks of winter, the Easter break can be a great time to kick off a new, healthy regime to get you beach-ready for the summer months. The Healthy Holiday Company offer everything from yoga breaks to surfing, detox to weight-loss breaks, as well as fitness holidays that will suit the whole family.

If you prefer a more gentle way to relax whilst improving your health, head off to the continent on one of Inntravel’s self-guided cycling short-breaks. Pedal from hotel to hotel on a top notch bike (included in the price) and enjoy a delicious guilt-free dinner each evening.

Visit 101 Short Breaks for more ideas and inspiration.

January 2018