After slogging through those long, dark days of January and February the end of March has finally arrived, and you're desperate for a holiday. Lunch hours are spent browsing flights, scrolling through images of beaches and perusing hotel websites as you try to choose the best place to enjoy your well-earned break.
Unfortunately, you’re not the only one. Easter weekend is notoriously overpriced for holidays, and even if you do decide to make the splurge you’re likely to find yourself squeezing onto a sun lounger on a jam-packed stretch of Spanish sand next to everyone else from the UK who has had exactly the same idea. Even if you go the cheaper route and opt for a road trip down to Cornwall, there’s a decent chance you’ll spend half of the weekend sitting in traffic on the M25. By the time to get back to work on Tuesday, you might be more stressed than you were when you left!
What all these holiday brochures aren’t telling you however, is how great Easter in London can be if you know where to look. From hunting for chocolate eggs to watching the famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race from the Putney riverside, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained just a short tube ride from home.
So while those last-minute holiday plans may look tempting, put them on hold for a while and enjoy the ultimate London staycation instead with our indisputable reasons for doing exactly that. Happy Easter Weekend!
1. A sunny day in London is unbeatable
While we may get teased mercilessly by the rest of the world for our so-called terrible weather, by the time spring comes around we’re often basking in sunshine - even if it is in-dispersed with heavy April showers! In fact, last year the Easter Weekend saw temperatures rise to 21C and Londoners flock to parks all over the city to soak it up.
When the sun does arrive, it’s hard to think of a better place to be than in London, where you’ll find outdoor pools, green space galore in the form of the parks, gardens and public squares (a staggering 47% of London is made up of greenery) and pub terraces filling with smiling city dwellers enjoying a relaxing drink while their skin slowly turns red. Grab a picnic blanket and a good book and make the most of it.
It’s hard to think of anything more truly British than an annual rowing race between to rival historic universities along the river Thames. Originally held in 1829, it’s become a beloved tradition to head to the riverbanks at major points in the race and watch the light blue and dark blue teams whizz by in their sleek boats. Up to 250,000 people crowd the banks at Putney, Chiswick, Hammersmith and Barnes, with a further 15 million watching the race from home. Get down early and bag yourself a good spot before watching another year of sporting history speed by. Don’t forget to pick a team too!
Remember the days before iPhones and concept cafes selling only cereal? Neither do we, but with the Easter Country Fair on at Lee Valley Park you can embrace a nostalgic childhood and way of life that’s been all but forgotten in our modern world of pop-ups, dating apps and lights that turn on when you clap your hands. It looks like a bit of a journey from central London but the train from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt takes just 30 minutes, and once you’re there you can enjoy the delights of medieval jousting, lamb feeding and ferret racing amongst other activities. After all, when was the last time you saw a miniature pony display?
Even the most adamant atheists will enjoy this performance of the Passion of the Christ by the renowned Wintershall cast. Taking place in the heart of Trafalgar Square in central London, thousands turn out every year to watch this re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s final days, complete with over 100 actors and a few live animals. There are two performances on Good Friday, one at noon and one at 2.30pm, so you’ve got double the chances of getting a good viewing spot (there are screens erected if you don’t quite manage though), and best of all the whole event is completely free!
It wouldn’t be Easter without a large helping of chocolate, particularly in egg form, but step away from your usual mini-eggs-and-Netflix routine and take a trip to Kew instead, where they’ve joined forces with Lindt to hold a family-friendly Easter event involving activities, crafts, and a whole lot of chocolate-heavy fun. You can make your own chocolate, see how plants are involved in the process, or even take part in an educational treasure hunt along the Flavour Trail.
Main image credit: Rebecca Keogh