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Theme Park Heaven

Love them or hate them, a theme park is a bit of a rite of passage. Suzie is a fan, Emily remembers her day at Chessington with 3 under 3 akin to the Seven Circles of Hell. The seasonal ones (Legoland, Chessington et al) are all opening over the Easter holidays so it felt time for a round up of what is new and where to stay. Embrace the full on experience and stay on site or escape and stay nearby. No prizes for guessing which option the two editors above would go for!

Happy Birthday Peppa Pig at Paultons Park

Paultons Park is home to Peppa Pig World and everyone's favourite little piggy is 15 this year so it is a good time to go and see her - with two new rides. It is not just a park for pre-schoolers though. I took four children ranging from two up to young teens and we all had a great time. It's practically IN the New Forest too so do make a weekend of it and explore further afield. Book your tickets at paultonspark.co.uk

Peppa Pig World

STAY: Stick to the piggy theme and stay at The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst in the heart of the New Forest. The original Pig effortlessly produces delicious, locally sourced food with a relaxed country house vibe. Children will love visiting the chickens and pigs in the kitchen garden and older ones will enjoy exploring the new forest by bike. Great food and spa treatments too. The Pig House has two bedrooms and a little kitchen so would be ideal for a family of four with a couple of piglets (!) - £385 per night, for a mid-week stay (not including breakfast) thepighotel.com

The Pig at Brockenhurst

Counting Gringotts at The Making of Harry Potter

Be one of the first to visit the brand new Gringotts Wizarding Bank experience which opens on 6 April at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. You can walk through Gringotts, see a gallery of goblins and surround yourself with treasure in the Lestrange vault...not to mention all the other sights to see there too!

Gringotts Bank

STAY: One of the best places nearby to stay is The Grove, just 5 minutes drive away. Embrace a bit of bling at this gorgeous hotel set in 300 acres of parkland, there's plenty of space for outdoor fun - be it on foot, on a bike or a Segway! The Grove also has a dedicated children's pool, kids' club and heaps of activities to keep little ones entertained. A night's stay in a family room, based on two adults and two children (4–12) sharing (bed & breakfast) is £500 (excluding Saturday nights or a bank holiday weekends) thegrove.co.uk

The Grove

Birds of Prey Alight at Warwick Castle

You can't beat a visit to a 'real' castle and Warwick combines theme park elements with enough history, myths and legends to keep everyone entertained. Kids will love the interactive Horrible Histories maze. Brand new for Warwick Castle is the launch of the UK's biggest birds of prey show on 6 April, The Falconer’s Quest, which sounds amazing! Book tickets at warwick-castle.com

Warwick Castle

STAY: Our little knights adored their in a lodge in the woodland next to the river Avon at Warwick Castle itself. Resident knights provide entertainment and little ones can join in Jester school or have a go at archery. Short breaks start from £83 per person, based on a family of four sharing a Woodland Lodge, includes breakfast and two days' entry warwickcastlebreaks.com

Knights Village Warwick Castle

Bewitched at Chessington 

Chessington World of Adventures wins the prize of most varied theme park for children of all ages. There really is something for everyone and we [Suzie not Emily who found very little to endear it to her] love the fact that it has animals too including, giraffes, lions, tigers, gorillas, monkeys, penguins and sea lions. Little ones will love the brand new ride Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey. Book your tickets at chessington.com

Chessington

STAY: If you have little Room on the Broom fans then book one of the two new themed bedrooms in the Chessington Safari Hotel for a spell-bound night! Besides a 2pm early check-in and designated parking space you'll also have access to the Savannah Splash Pool and Fast Track access to selected rides plus a Room on the Broom gift. Standard rooms from £239 for a family of four at chessington.com

Room on a Broom room

Camp Bestival comes to Margate

Dreamland Margate and Camp Bestival are joining forces from 6-22 April for what we think will be a pretty awesome day out filled with live music, rides and entertainment. We can't wait to see the 8m tall Love-Bot that spreads love and joy to all! Don't forget to visit the Bollywood Chill Out Zone and The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle which takes 100 bouncers at a time. dreamland.co.uk

Dreamland and Camp Bestival Bouncy Castle

STAY: At the Sands Hotel, which is right on the seafront at Margate and just a few minutes from Dreamland and very close to the Turner Contemporary. Pop up to the roof terrace for amazing views of the sea and kids will love the onsite gelato shop. There are several rooms which have a sofa beds and cots are available on request sandshotelmargate.co.uk

Sands Hotel Margate

Thomas Fans head north 

Fans of Thomas the Tank Engine will love a visit to Drayton Manor Park in Staffordshire which is home to Europe's only Thomas Land with 25 rides and attractions. There are also over 100 animals to see in the zoo when you need a break from the rides. Book your tickets at draytonmanor.co.uk

Drayton Manor Park Thomas

STAY: Thomas fans will want to stay in one of the Thomas & Friends themed family rooms in the 4 star hotel onsite. We love the train tracks on the carpet and the Thomas themed bunk bed. Family rooms sleep up to 2 adults and 2 children and cost £200, including bed and breakfast at draytonmanor.co.uk

Drayton Manor Park Hotel

FURTHER AFIELD

Parc Astérix

Parc Astérix, France's second biggest theme park, is celebrating its 30th year in 2019. Visit six worlds - Gaul, the Vikings, The Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, Egypt and Journey through time - and meet Astérix and his friends along the way. Watch the new 4D animated film Attention Menhir! where your senses will be put to the test...bounce, soar, feel the water and wind on your face, and even smell some smells! A shuttle service runs to the park from both central Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport. Book your tickets at www.parcasterix.fr/en

Parc Asterix

STAY: Parc Astérix opens a brand new hotel this April which has been 'lost in the ancient forest' called "La Cité Suspendue" (the hanging city) which looks amazing. Constructed out of wood, the hotel is built on stilts and there are three hamlets - the artists' village, the potters' village and the druids' village. Rooms sleep up to 5 people and most have either a balcony or a terrace. From €86.50 per person per night www.parcasterix.fr/en

Cite Suspendue

Disneyland Paris

A visit to Disneyland Paris is on the wish list for most children and you will not be disappointed. It's an easy trip from London and the best and most magical way to travel is on the train from St Pancras station. You can easily spend 2 days at the park and not see everything. Book your tickets at disneylandparis.com

STAY: We all agree that it is worth splashing out to stay at the Disneyland Hotel as it is right next to the park. Very important for little (and big) legs as you can walk for miles and you get let in early - perfect for beating the queues, which at peak times are not for the faint-hearted disneylandparis.com

Disneyland Hotel