WITH the Easter holidays stretching out before us, Visit Essex has put together some tips to keep the kids sweet (without a bottomless supply of chocolate). 

1. Southend’s historic Belfairs Woods is a hive of activity most days, but on Good Friday there’s extra fun and adventures to be had.

Starting out from the award-winning woodland centre Forest Friday is an event for little ones aged eight or under.

Packed with stories, crafts and activities with an Easter theme, this is a great opportunity to let the kids go wild in the country.

Spaces are bound to be snapped up quickly, so do book in advance by calling 01702 477 467.

2. Picturing the Victorians (Wednesday 30th March) at the Holly Trees Museum, located in Castle Park, Colchester, has to be one of the most unusual events happening during the holiday.

In a rare and truly hands-on experience, visitors can handle some of the earliest cameras and learn how they worked. There’s also a display of photographs by Colchester's pioneering 19th century photographers.

You can also dress up and have your portrait taken by the museum’s resident Victorian Photographer.

Sessions run at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3pm. Book via 01206 282 941.www.cimuseums.org.uk.

3. Located in the heart of beautiful Constable Country, Dedham Vale Vineyard’s Easter Egg Hunt (Friday 25th March) will keep the children happily entertained, whilst the grown-ups sniff out something delicious themselves.

Of course, no visit is complete without taking a bottle or two of Dedham Vale’s award winning wines home with you.

For more details click on www.dedhamvalevineyard.com

4. It almost goes without saying that springtime and Easter are synonymous with new life, so where better to celebrate the festivities than down on the farm? At Old MacDonald’s Farm and Fun Park, near Brentwood, visitors can pet baby chicks and feed lambs, hunt for Easter eggs or take a tractor ride.

5. For those whom find the prospect of a mere chocolate egg not quite enough to stiffen the sinews and quicken the blood, there’s always the thrill of a race.

Coral Romford Greyhound Stadium is holding a meeting on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, while Chelmsford City Racecourse is hosting an evening race meeting on Thursday 31st March.