How to plan the perfect Easter holiday

Those who prefer staycations to vacations can still thrill the kids. We'd start with Netmums, whose website can help find anything from decent soft play areas to theme parks in the local area.

Day Out With The Kids is quite good at finding larger attractions, such as science parks, country parks, water theme parks and educational attractions, while every local and national newspaper on the planet seems to publish a 'things to do with the kids' feature each holiday – a quick web search for that phrase will uncover them.

The words 'fun' and 'local council' don't tend to go together, but most councils' websites are treasure troves of things to do, from swimming pools and parks to museums and music festivals.

How to plan the perfect Easter holiday

If you've got young kids, the Netmums site is full of ideas

English, Welsh and Northern Irish parents should check out the National Trust for details of castles, picnic places and other wholesome days out; the Scottish equivalent is the National Trust for Scotland.

Cutting the cost

Days out can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. If you find yourself visiting lots of RSPB or National Trust sites, membership can save you a packet on admission prices, and if you fancy doing something in London and can travel by train, Days Out Guide is packed with two-for-one offers for attractions including hotels, museums, animal attractions and theatres.

It's a voucher system – book your train tickets and you can request 2-for-1 vouchers for your chosen attraction. Vouchers are valid for the same period as your tickets, so if you've booked travel into London on the Monday and back home on Friday, your vouchers are valid for that Monday to Friday.

AirMiles are well worth having because in addition to using them for full or part payment for flights you can also use them to pay for hotels, tourist attractions and theme parks. It's too late to start collecting AirMiles for this Easter – you need to spend a fair bit to get a reasonable number of miles – but by this time next year you could have enough miles to save a packet.

Off the beaten track

If tourist traps, castles and other traditional destinations don't appeal, why not try something different? Geocaching – hightech hiding and seeking – is something anyone with a portable GPS device, a GPS-enabled smartphone or Google Maps and a printer can enjoy. The idea is simple: somebody posts the co-ordinates of something interesting to a site such as, and other people use their GPS to find it.

If you don't have a GPS device, simply paste the co-ordinates into Bing or Google Maps to get directions. In many cases geocaching is a real-life Easter egg hunt, with cache creators building elaborate puzzles that require you to go to a particular place and find an item, at which point your next destination will be revealed in the form of another puzzle.

You really need a GPS-enabled device for these caches, although if your smartphone can run Bing Maps you should be fine – as long as the area has mobile data coverage. One such puzzle needs you to visit a Roman ruin and read a plaque before navigating to a point whose location includes 55.ABC – where A is the distance between the old Roman forts, B is the number of letters in the word at the top of the plaque and C is the width of the wall's stone base.

All the information is on the plaque, but until you've put it all together, you won't know where to go next. It's a fantastic way to explore the country.

How to plan the perfect Easter holiday

Expertly fusing high-tech and oldschool skills, Pattern For Colouring has stacks of designs for your kids to get crayoning

How to keep the kids happy when it rains

Let's face it, it's going to rain (certainly in the UK). So what do you do when rain stops play? There are plenty of sites offering bright ideas for children: Patterns For Colouring offers printable images for colouring in; while Show Me has an excellent collection of ideas including dinosaur masks and games that disguise their educational benefits.

You can use your PC to create new games, too. It's easy to bash together some treasure hunt clues in Microsoft Word, printing them off and posting them around the house. And if you've got a digital camera handy, you could send the kids off on a photography mission, copying the results into Windows Live Photo Gallery.

If all else fails, there's always TV – but that doesn't mean putting the kids in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for hours. The CBBC website is a joy, and TV sites for pre-school kids can be particularly good.

The BBC's cBeebies website is packed with worthy-but-fun content, including games and a kid-friendly version of iPlayer.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.