Easter is the time of year when Britain's seasonal attractions shake off the winter and open their gates to the public. Family attractions, stately homes, castles, adventure parks and zoos all welcome visitors with special events for the Easter Break. Stately homes have Medieval "fayres" and jousting tournaments; Easter Bunnies and popular cartoon characters are everywhere and there's a foil wrapped Easter egg of some kind hiding behind just about every bush in the country.
If Easter eggs aren't your thing - or if you've simply had enough chocolate eggs this year - one of these mildly to wildly alternative Easter options might suit you better.
Join the townsfolk of Blists Hill, egg dancing in their Victorian working town, part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site. Blindfolded villagers take turns dancing across a street trying to avoid the eggs that are placed in their way. After they've demonstrated, you can have a go yourself and win a prize if you succeed in not smashing any eggs. The prize - ah, I was hoping you wouldn't ask. It's an Easter egg.
This annual Easter Monday parade of harness horses, ponies and donkeys began as a way to promote animal welfare among the working horses of London.
Today the event is no longer in London, but takes place at South of England Centre, Ardingly, West Sussex. And with a few exceptions, such as the Shire horses from the Fullers Breweries or the Friesians from Harrods, most are no longer working horses but are kept by hobbyists.
Nevertheless, the exhibition of the wide variety of breeds - Dutch Fresians, Gelderlanders and heavy horses among others - is a real crowd pleaser and draws horses, drivers and spectators from all over Britain and Ireland. Animal welfare is still a primary concern and exhibitors in the parade must comply with a strict set of rules.
If you happen to be around the Isle of Wight over Easter, you might want to take a chance on the Yarmouth Easter Saturday Rubber Duck race. A total of 1000 rubber ducks, each with its own unique number, is released on the River Yar. The first four ducks to reach the bridge on the tide are the winners. Numbered tickets are sold around Yarmouth in the run up to the race and if you hold the number of one of the four winning ducks, you win a prize.
He'll be putting in an appearance at the Hampshire estate, home to the National Motor Museum, over the Easter weekend. Its collection of 250 historic autos includes famous Formula 1 cars, world land-speed record breakers and all kinds of quirky novelties, including - what do you know - a Cadbury Crème Egg car.
A new multi-media exhibition opening Easter weekend, For Britain and for the Hell of It, tells the story of the chase for British land speed records and features many of the cars in the museum's collection. While you're enjoying all that motoring technology, the kids can have their faces painted, chat with the Easter Bunny and follow Easter trails on the estate.
By the way, despite its French origins, Beaulieu is pronounced Bewley.
In honor of Shakespeare's 450th Birthday in 2014, the Victoria and Albert Museum has turned the Easter holiday into a Shakespeare themed festival of things to do for kids. In the Imagination Station, between April 19 and 27, kids can help design the enchanted wood for Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream. Meanwhile Digital Kids in the museum's digital studio in the Sackler Centre, can stage and perform an animated Shakespeare play on the center's iPads. A Pop-up Performance of Bottom's Dream, for young children, is staged in the Tapestries Gallery, Room 94, on Saturday April 12, Friday to Monday April 18 to 21, Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27. Theatre collective The Puppet Story presents Shakespeare: The Puppet Show, a musical extravaganze, from April 14 to 19. And lastly, Shakespeare 4 Kidz presents a Midsummer's Night's Dream, three times a day from April 22 to 25.
Except for the puppet show, which has an admission fee, all other events are run on a free, drop-in basis.
This is one of those English village traditions that has existed for so long that nobody really knows why. On Easter Monday a "Warrener", carrying a hare-topped staff, leads a procession to the village church where bread and hare pies (probably ground beef nowadays) are distributed to the crowd. The operative word in this event is "scramble" and apparently there are a lot of flying pies.
After, everyone heads to the Buttercross where the bottles (actually small wooden kegs filled with liquor) are shown to the people. What follows is a pushing and shoving game on Hare Pie Bank, between the Leicestershire towns of Hallaton and Medbourne, between goals about a mile apart for possession of the bottles. If you don't want to be part of the scrum, stay well back because once they get going the momentum is unstoppable.
The Hallaton Hare Pie Scramble, similar to the 700-year-old tradition the Haxey Hood and the Orkney Ba, could be a forerunner of Rugby.