50 things to do over the Easter weekend

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It's tough enough finding ways to keep the kids entertained during one spring break, but this year we've got two!

There's the official Easter weekend, quickly followed by the school holidays. But don't panic.

Luckily, Nadine Bateman has done the leg work for mums and dads and unearthed all the fun activities and events happening in our area.

There's lots to do both indoors and outdoors, action-packed adventures and quieter pursuits, too. Better still, many of them are free.

See below for what to do this weekend, and watch out for a special pull-out supplement in The News on Saturday, March 29, which will be bursting with ideas for the school holidays.

Here's 50 things to do:

Tanks, battles, archery, puppets and tarantulas – that's what you'll find at Fort Nelson on Saturday and Sunday. These include dramatic recreations with special effects, plus an explosive battle finale. Call 01329 233734 or go online at www.royalarmouries.org

Follow the new play trail at Staunton Country Park. Designed for children over eight years old, the free trail has exciting play equipment, including climbing boulders and distorting mirrors, sculptures and other art pieces. Call (023) 9245 3405.

Visit the marvellous Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, A Study in Sherlock, narrated by Stephen Fry, at Portsmouth City Museum. Open 10am-5.30pm. Free entry. Call (023) 9282 7261.

Watch newly released film Drillbit Taylor (12A) at Vue cinema, Gunwharf Quays. It stars Owen Wilson as a low-rent security guard-come-tinpot action hero. Call 08712 240240.

African mask making, drumming, storytelling and dressing up African style are just some of the activities taking place in the Chasing Freedom free community day on Saturday from 2pm-4.30pm at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.Call (023) 9283 9766, or go to www.royalnavalmuseum.org

Artist Roy Brown will be at Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays, for a free family drop-in workshop tomorrow between 11am-4pm. Call (023) 9277 8080.

Get up close to some four-legged friends at the children's animal farm on Easter Monday from11am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3pm, or join in the Easter egg hunt from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. Both at Port Solent. Call (023) 9221 0606.

See An Alien in my Dustbin! – a great new childrens' show at Havant Arts Centre, Fareham, on Saturday. Call (023) 9247 2700.

Make a wish come true at The Barbie Mariposa Fairy School at Butlins, Bognor Regis, where children can have magical fun and games this Easter. Call 0845 070 4737.

Join in with the traditional egg rolling day on the slopes of Butser Hill at Queen Elizabeth Country Park on Monday. Eggs can be bought from the park where you can decorate them. Call (023) 9259 5040.

Take part in the family-friendly free activities at Havant Museum on Saturday. Follow the Easter Bunny trail, make Easter cards, and enter the Egg designing competition. Call (023) 92451155.

Grab some popcorn and get yourself down to see all the mystical creatures in The Spiderwick Chronicles at the Odeon cinema, Port Solent. Call 0871 2244007.

See where Jane Austen lived and wrote some of her best work at Chawton, Alton. Call 01420 83262.

Visit Marwell Zoo and see a very special baby Amur leopard – one of the rarest big cats in the world – which was born at the zoo in November. Call 01962 777407.

Attend the grand opening weekend of the brand new Antiques Storehouse at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday and Sunday with special guests, music, fine food and drink. Call (023) 9283 9766.

Planespotters will love the Airspeed Oxford, or Ox-box as it's affectionately known. It's on display at Tangmere Military Museum. Call 01243 790 090.

Have fun tenpin bowling at Go Bowling, Collingwood Retail Park, Fareham. Call 01329 287808.

See the The Oates Family in Africa exhibition and take tea at Gilbert White's House in the picturesque village of Selbourne. Call 01420 511275.

Fill up at the farmers' market complete with Hampshire hog, a sow and Easter eggs galore taking place at Godshill, Fordingbridge, on Sunday,10am-2pm. Call 01425 651225.

Follow the Easter trail round the Royal Victoria Country Park on Monday, looking for animal pictures. Then decode the Easter-related word to win a prize, and make your own Easter bonnet to take home with you. Call (023) 8045 5157.

Sample some traditional Easter activities at historic Parham House and Gardens, outside Storrington in West Sussex, including egg hunts, chicks and story telling, on Easter Sunday and Monday. Call 01903 742021.

See some classic cars on Saturday and Sunday at the Classic Car Show at The Hovercraft Museum, Lee-On-The-Solent. Call: 07970 986251.

Bottle feed the cute baby calves at Longdown Activity Farm, Ashurst, near Southampton. Call (023) 8029 2837.

Get in free to the the Spinnaker Tower on Easter Sunday and Monday if you're a child and take along at least one unopened excess Easter egg. The eggs will go to sick and recovering at children Southampton General Hospital. Call (023) 9285 7520.

Follow the free Easter egg hunt with fabulous treats starting at 1pm tomorrow in Aspex Art Gallery, Gunwharf Quays. Call (023) 9277 8080.

Feel the thrill of The Sky Swinger, a new family ride that's recently opened at Paultons Park. Call (023) 8081 4442.

Follow the aquatic egg trails, mini 'baby' tours, and shark egg hunts as part of The Baby Boom event at Southsea's Blue Reef Aquarium over the next few days. Call (023) 9287 5222.

Try traditional games such as quoits, a coconut shy, skipping, and hobby horse races and crafts and pastimes including candle rolling, egg painting, face painting, and an activity trail in the 50 acres around the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton. Call 01243 811363.

Join the Beaches & Battleships guided walk in Southsea on Sunday. Starts 2.30pm. Adults 3, children free. Call the Visitor Information Centre at Clarence Esplanade, on (023) 9282 6722.

Follow the free Easter egg trail on Sunday from 10am-3pm at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. All those taking part will receive a small prize and the opportunity to enter into a prize draw.

Meet and touch all your favourite animals at the annual Easter Farm at Gunwharf Quays from tomorrow for four days.

Learn more about Chichester Harbour's area of outstanding natural beauty onboard the Solar Heritage on Sunday at 11am. To book tickets, call 01243 513275.

Have fun at the farmers' market where there will be music and dancing in West Street pedestrianised precinct, Fareham, tomorrow, from 9am-2pm,

Petrol heads will enjoy the MG car rally taking place at Arundel Castle on Sunday.

Wander round Goodwood sculpture park and see its stunning new additions. Call 01243 538449.

Have fun at the new larger soft play area with more seating for mums and dads at Pirate Pete's, Clarence Pier, Southsea. Call (023) 9286 4789.

Visit the UK's largest digital planetarium which opens tomorrow at Intech Science Centre, Winchester. Call 01962 863791.

Try some of the many activities at the Mountbatten Centre. Call (023) 9269 0011.

Canoe on the river Beaulieu tomorrow. It's one of a number of 'taster experiences' being run by an outdoor activities company. Call 01590 612377.

Get arty at an egg painting contest at 9.30am tomorrow at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre in the New Forest, followed by an egg-rolling contest at 11am on Good Friday Hill – a ceremony which dates back more than 100 years. Call 01425 651225.

Have a good old sing-song at Gosport & Fareham Easter Festival from today until Monday. Top acts include Show of Hands. Call 01329 231942.

Listen to author and broadcaster Sarah Dunant speak about her recent novels at Gosport Discovery Centre next Thursday at 7.30pm. Tickets from (023) 92523463, or go online at www.discoverycentres.co.uk

Make an Easter bonnet and enter it in a competition, then follow a trail at Amberley Working Museum, near Arundel. Free entry for children wearing an Easter bonnet. Call 01798 831370.

Enjoy Victorian Storytelling on board HMS Warrior 1860, on Sunday and Monday at 11am, midday, 2pm and 3pm. It's free with a valid attraction ticket. Call (023) 9283 9766.

See life as it was in Norman times at Arundel Castle on Sunday and Monday, when a re-enactment group will demonstrate weapons skills. Call (01903 882173.

Marvel at the glittering Byzantine mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace, in the exhibition of mosaics from Italy. Call 01243 785859.

Meet the newborn goat kids, follow the Easter trail and meet the Easter bunny! All at Staunton Country Park. Call (023) 9245 3405.

View the fine collection of art exhibited at the award-winning Pallant House gallery, Chichester, 01243 774557.

Take your bucket and bacon (it works!), and a net and go crabbing in Canoe Lake, Southsea.

Ride the Easter Bunny Specials at Hayling Seaside Railway along the coast from Beachlands (Funland) to Eastoke Corner, via Hornby Halt (for Mengham village). There'll be free treats and fun activity sheets for children during the next four days. First train laves at 11am, then they go about every 45mins until mid-afternoon.