EASTER is a time for egg hunts, arts and crafts and, of course, lots of chocolate! But it can also get expensive entertaining your kids while they're off school so we've put together some free events and activities to keep your little ones entertained over the Easter holidays. 

1. CHILDREN are invited for an afternoon of Easter fun at a Canvey church. 

Canvey Methodist Church in Waarden Road is holding the event on Saturday, March 26 from 2pm until 3.30pm. 

The event, for youngsters up to age 11, will include lots of activities and a puppet show. Parents and grandparents are welcome. 

For more information, call 01268 683551.

2. EXPLORE some of Essex's woodland and hidden beauty spots while taking part in a treasure hunt. 

Take the kids geocaching - high-tech treasure hunting using GPS.

You can find some Essex locations, and more information, here

3. CHELMSFORD'S Wilderness Foundation are holding a host of Easter events. 

The centre in Whitbreads Farm Lane, Chatham Green, is running activities from March 28 to April 7 from 10am until 3.30pm. 

All of the activities require a voluntary donation. 

For more information about them, or to book, go to their website.

4. IF the rain holds off, your littleuns could take a walk around the Wind in the Willows Sculpture Trail at Hanningfield Reservoir nature reserve.

The Wind in the Willows Sculpture & Brass Rubbing Trail features stunning, large-scale wooden sculptures of characters from Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved book The Wind in the Willows, first published in 1908. All the favourite characters are there: Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger – as well as two dastardly Weasels.

The trail follows paths through the stunning woodland of the Trust nature reserve, with fantastic views of the reservoir (which is owned by Essex & Suffolk Water).

The trail is free and parking is free. 

Essex Wildlife Trust Hanningfield Reservoir visitor centre and nature reserve is at Hawkswood Road, Downham CM11 1WT, a couple of miles north-east of Billericay.

Call 01268 711001 for more information. The site is open daily, from 9am-5pm.

5. EXPLORE an Iron Age roundhouse on Sunday, March 27. 

The house, at Hadleigh Country Park, is holding a free open afternoon between 1pm and 4pm. 

Explore the replica Iron Age roundhouse and learn how your ancestors lived 2000 years ago.

6. ENJOY family forest fun at High Woods Country Park in Colchester. 

A group for parents/carers and babies/children of all ages, to enjoy the woodland together and allow the children free play in nature.

On Sunday, March 27 there will be a self-guided Easter trail and an egg-rolling eggstravaganza on Wednesday, March 30. 

There is no need to book and anyone who wants to take part should meet at 10am outside the Visitor Centre.

For more information, call 01206 853588.

7. HEAD to Braintree on Easter weekend (March 26 and 27) for an Easter Eggstravaganza.

Blake House Craft Centre, Blake End, is hosting the event between 10am until 4pm on both days. 

Entrance to the venue is free. There will be bouncy castles, face painting, crafts and lots of activities. The Easter bunny will also be there to meet youngsters. Children can also take part in an Easter Egg Hunt but this costs £2. 

For more information, call 07851 041483.

8. ESCAPE from the hustle and bustle with a walk along a former railway line in rural Essex.

Flitch Way is a former railway line that passes through 15 miles of rural Essex between Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree.

The flat, relatively straight and well-surfaced route is a favourite with joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, horse riders and families looking to escape the traffic.

There are a number of interesting sites along the way, including Victorian railway stations, Hatfield Forest, Great Notley Country Park, Rayne Station with its Booking Hall Café and several historic towns and villages.

Entrance is free and for more information visit their website.

9. GET the whole family together for a bike ride round the Hadleigh Downs. 

The fun ride for families will be held on Wednesday, March 30 between 2pm and 5pm. It is free if you bring your own bike and lasts around two to three hours. Pre-booking is essential.

Meet at Chapel Lane car park. Suitable for families with children aged 10+. Children must be accompanied. Helmets MUST be worn – ‘No helmet, No ride’

Please ensure your bike is in safe riding condition. Alternatively bikes are available to hire.

To book, and reserve a bike if needed, call 01702 551076.

10. AN Easter Egg Hunt and drop-in workshop will be held at Jaywick Martello Tower on April 2. 

Youngsters are welcome from 11am until 3pm and it costs £1 for people aged 16 or over - children go free. 

Join in with the annual Easter egg hunt to claim your chocolate prize.
Join artist Valerie Osment and create your very own eggcellent polka dotty Easter tile to take home and display as a picture or use as a coaster. 

For more information call 01255 822783.

  • Do you know of any free events happening during the Easter holidays? Comment below to leave details.