The Easter holiday is an exciting time and an opportunity for families to take a well-earned break from their day-to-day; Christmas is after all, a distant memory.
Those hoping to mark the date with a short holiday need look no further than the Isle of Wight, where all manner of celebrations are planned to mark the occasion.
In anticipation of the Bank Holiday weekend The Royal have highlighted just some of the events we are looking forward to, outings certain to draw and delight crowds this Easter.
Easter Fun At The Isle of Wight Steam Railway | 18th – 22nd April
A healthy dose of nostalgia is forthcoming courtesy the Island’s steam railway, which harks back to a simpler time. Indeed, steam ruled the late 19th century and was a mode of transport befitting of royalty. How else do you think Queen Victoria travelled to her magnificent Osborne residence?
Remarkably, those same Victorian and Edwardian carriages have been maintained and are available to ride across the Easter weekend.
Routes affording glimpses of countryside, woodland and farmland are charted on this an award-winning, heritage railway. The oldest locomotive still running was built in 1876 and you can quite literally smell the history as coal burns and wheels turn.
A rewarding day for the whole family, the Isle of Wight Steam railway is not to be missed. Add it to your Easter itinerary and be sure to pick up a souvenir from the on-site gift and model shop.
Jack Up The Weekend | 19th – 20th April
The much-loved Jack Up The 80s summer festival has spawned an Easter equivalent and not before time. A two-day musical bonanza, organisers have secured twin headliners who between them boast a litany of hit songs. Expect to hear them bellowed with gusto from a roaring crowd!
First up is From the Jam, a tribute band with a difference for it features actual Jam bassist Bruce Foxton. See him power through such staples as Going Underground, That’s Entertainment and Boys About Town amidst a carnival atmosphere akin to another festival that takes place on this very island.
Speaking of which, former main stagers Big Country bring the noise on Saturday. Scottish rock with a decidedly folkish feel, they regrouped following the death of vocalist Stuart Adamson in 2001 to much fanfare. Expect to hear guitars channelling bagpipes in a real display of showmanship.
Chocofrolica | 6th – 27th April
Rightly or wrongly Easter evokes thoughts of chocolate in the first instance, particularly for the younger generation. So not to disappoint, make a pitstop at Blackgang Chine where the inaugural Chocofrolica festival is taking place between April 6th and 27th.
Owner Dominic Wray has heralded his a ‘land of chocolate bliss’ and arranged all manner of fun-filled activities for kids and big kids alike.
Sign up for a Bouncy Milk Cow Hopper race, dive head first into a chocolate bubble bath containing a winning golden bubble, complete the Honey Bee Quest treasure hunt and be sure to grab a selfie with the wandering Easter Bunny.
Become chocolatiers for the day and leave with knowledge imparted by resident Blackgang Chine dragon Cedric, who will be offering history lessons on our favourite sweet.
Isle of Wight Spring Art and Garden Fair | 19th – 20th April
The famous Northwood House plays host to the Isle of Wight Spring Art and Garden Fair this Easter. A celebration of all things gardening, its sprawling lawn will be adorned with exhibitors selling everything from plants to tools and clothing to furniture.
Guests are invited inside the grade listed II building itself where an Island Arts Showcase is planned. The latter will see local artists sharing recent paintings, photography and sculptures alike, all of which will be available for purchase. Better still, drawing classes will be laid on, giving novices an opportunity to learn from the best.
Consider this annual event a precursor to the summer months, where attentions will inevitably turn to your own garden and how best to present it. Note too that proceeds go towards the restoration of this iconic landmark, forever one of the island’s best attractions.
Easter Saturday Duck Race | 15th April
An altogether different kind of event is the Easter Saturday Duck Race at Yarmouth Bridge. As enjoyable as it is random, this now yearly pilgrimage is presented by the town’s carnival committee.
Tourists may be forgiven for wondering what it entails exactly. Simply put, this is some 1,500 rubber ducks being raced in the pursuit of prizes.
Make no mistake this tradition is great, light-hearted fun and an inexpensive afternoon to boot. Pick up your duck from a nearby Holdings, Harwoods or pharmacy for just £1 to join in the festivities.
Monkey Haven has rightly become one of the Isle of Wight’s leading tourist attractions. Founder Don Walser set out to provide a sanctuary for endangered monkeys some 20 years ago and has since seen his Newport site expand into one worthy of the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame.
The apes themselves have been joined by the likes of birds, snakes and meerkats as the grounds rival even the island zoo in the popularity stakes.
Moreover, they go all out for the Easter holidays. Expect egg hunts and decoration, as well as groundsman dressed head to toe in bunny costumes.
Limited edition milkshakes, comprising of creme egg and mini egg ingredients will be served out of the haven café, while anyone arriving in their own fancy dress will be rewarded with prizes of the chocolate variety.
The inaugural Isle of Wight Children’s Festival made quite the impression in 2018. So popular was the three-day event, attentions turned to a second instalment within hours of it concluding!
In retrospect this was no surprise. For 5-12-year olds a festival dedicated entirely to them was always likely to prove popular. And while they revelled in various activities, parents could only look on enviously, cursing age restrictions!
Laid-on by the quite brilliant Ventnor Exchange, the Quay Arts Centre in Newport is transformed for this Easter celebration. A busy schedule includes theatre shows, storytelling, games and workshops certain to wear excitable attendees out.
Keen to promote young talent, organisers even arranged for a Junior Jazz Café to provide a soundtrack last year. This pop-up ‘club’ featured aspiring musicians playing live sets to an impressed and appreciative crowd.
A predominantly free event (only a handful of shows are priced) this is a Glastonbury for children, minus the mud!
Tapnell Farm Park
Finally we come to Tapnell Farm where once upon a time some 800 cows roamed the fields. One of the biggest dairy farms on the island, focus has shifted in recent years.
Indeed no longer are 24,000 litres of milk produced on a daily basis, as cows made way for calves and freed up plenty of space in the process.
Upon that land now stands Tapnell Farm Park, where all manner of events are staged for young children.
In the last 12 months alone we have seen a (lego) Brick Build Off and a special May The Fourth day, where close combat galactic training was provided for aspiring trekkies.
Similarly imaginative occasions take place throughout the year and Easter in parricular, making it a worthwhile pit stop for young families visiting the island.
Additional facilities include a milking parlour turned museum, play barn and gift shop. What’s more, youngsters are invited to meet the animals themselves, making friends with youngstock.
With all of this and more taking place on the Isle of Wight there is surely nowhere better in which to celebrate Easter.
At the Royal Hotel, Kids Go Free during the Easter Holidays, so why not whisk the kids away and enjoy all the island has to offer! We look forward to seeing you…