The first big holiday of the year is just around the corner and it’s shaping up to be a good one. From Friday April 3 until Monday April 6, Devon will be awash with Easter revellers throwing dietary caution to the wind and consuming chocolate with abandon, as well as bunnies, chicks, lambs and eager little egg-hunters. And during those four blissful work- and school-free days, good times are remarkably easy to come by. So if you’re renting a holiday home in Devon over the Easter break, take a look at our list below — we’ve selected a few of the top Easter events happening across the county.
1. Savoir Fayre Continental Market
April 3 to 6
Spring is in the air, which calls for a bit of outdoor fun and a welcome touch of continental flair. If you’re renting a holiday home in Torquay, this popular market (taking place in Torquay’s Princess Gardens) will be right on your doorstep and it is an absolute must for anyone with an appetite for fine French fare. Pop down to pick up a croissant or pain au chocolat for breakfast, then stock up on other continental delights, such as silky smooth pâtés, moreish charcuterie and briny olives. With Torquay’s sunny micro-climate promising the chance of calm spring weather, we dare say the first picnic of the year may be on the cards.
2. The Big Sheep Easter Eggstravaganza
March 28 to April 12
Easter elicits a basket-load of egg-related puns and the folks over at the Big Sheep in Bideford are getting into the spirit of things with their Easter Eggstravaganza. This special festival is perfect for families, with an array of kid-friendly activities. With Easter symbols at every turn (think newborn lambs, blooming spring flowers, fluffy bunnies and chocolate) and Easter-themed pursuits (face painting, arts and crafts, and meet and greets with the Easter Bunny), it’s hard to imagine a more fitting festive event. Kids will be especially delighted with the prospect of more than 30,000 hidden chocolate eggs, so if you have little explorers, bring them along.
3. Kids Cookery School At Occombe Farm – Easter Baking
Why not put little hands to work this Easter? Send your children to a children’s baking class at Occombe Farm Cookery School in Paignton before the long weekend gets underway. Not only will they pick up valuable cooking skills, but they’ll also enjoy some kitchen fun. What’s more, they’ll return home with various handmade Easter sweets — like bunny biscuits, chocolate chicks and hot cross buns — which you can indulge in back in the comfort of your Devon holiday home. Occombe Farm also hosts other activities over the Easter break. From March 31 to April 2, book in to meet their adorable lambs, piglets and fluffy ducklings, or drop in to the farm over the Easter weekend to hunt for hidden nests and chocolate.
4. Easter lunch
Easter is all about eating and while children may be happy with chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, most adults will be eagerly anticipating a more traditional Easter feed. If you don’t want to cook, no problem — there are plenty of pubs and restaurants in Devon that are happy to do all the hard work for you, including the dishes. For instance, The Combe House in Honiton (around half an hour’s drive from Exeter) have a tempting three-course Easter menu planned with options including a roast leg of lamb, while Michelin-starred The Elephant in Torquay has two appealing roasts on their Easter lunch menu, including Kelly Bronze turkey from their very own Southdown Farm. If you’re eager to begin prep for Easter 2016, join the cooking masterclass at The Mason’s Arms in Knowstone (less than half and hour’s drive from Barnstaple) on April 8, which focuses on buying, preparing and serving three much-loved springtime ingredients: lamb, mint and asparagus.
5. Powderham Chocolate and Candy Fortnight
March 29 to April 10
At Powderham Castle, the Easter festivities aren’t just limited to the long weekend. In fact, a whole two weeks is devoted to the sweet stuff. The 600-year-old home of the Earl and Countess of Devon is taken over by the Pocketwatch Theatre Company, who put on a sweet show dedicated to chocolate and candy. Visitors can mingle with a chocolatier, gain insight into the science behind confectionary and taste some delicious treats for themselves. If you’re sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, try tucking into a restorative cream tea in the castle’s Courtenay Café.
6. Babbacombe Model Village Easter Egg Trail
March 28 to April 12
Let your intrepid young explorers loose to hunt for those coveted hidden eggs at this model village in Torquay. They will be provided with tips and clues upon arrival then it’s up to them to search the miniature roads, landmarks, gardens and buildings. Their hard work will be justly rewarded with a chocolate treat.
7. Hartland Abbey and Gardens Easter Fun
April 5 to 6
In you’re looking for an Easter egg hunt in North Devon, try visiting Hartland Abbey and Gardens. Kids can find clues tucked away along the woodland paths and their hard work will be acknowledged with edible Easter goodies. There will also be other Easter-themed activities including a game of pin the tail on the bunny. Adults will be treated to incredible scenes of the daffodils and bright spring flowers, which — by the time the Easter weekend rolls around — should be in their blooming prime.
8. Dart Gig Club Regatta
Head down to Dartmouth and stake out a spot on the waterfront to watch crews of gig rowers battle it out during the Dart Gig Club Regatta. An exciting and exhilarating spectator sport, gig boats that are beautiful, sleek and fast. Pick up some fish and chips at the local Rockfish and admire the gorgeous views out over the River Dart, cheering on the crews as they race by.
9. Murder Mystery Night
If chocolate is too sweet for your taste, why not try something a little darker and a touch more twisted? The Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes is opening its doors to the talented thespians of Moonstone Theatre Company, who will tell a dark tale of death and murder. Guests will tuck into a three-course meal, while watching the theatrical mystery unfold.
10. Kents Cavern Easter
March 28 to April 12
Take the Easter fun underground with a trip to Kents Cavern in Torquay. In this subterranean cave, which was once a hideaway for ancient humans and animals, your own little investigators can get to work solving various facts and riddles. Successful detectives will be given an Easter surprise for their efforts.