Here in Gibraltar, the Easter holidays are well under way, and as much as we love spending quality time with our children, it can be extremely difficult to think of activities to keep them entertained during the time that they are off school for Easter. Have you run out of patience yet?
The team at MOTR know the struggle too well, so here are our top 10 things to do with the kids if you are based in Gibraltar (or the surrounding areas) during the Easter break.
1. Picnics in the Park
Arrange with friends and their children to do an Easter egg hunt at the Commonwealth Park. Get everyone to bring something to eat, a few blankets to sit on, lots of chocolate (obviously!) and have an afternoon of games and fun. There are lots of parks to choose from in Gibraltar, but if you fancy a change there is also a fantastic play park just opposite the border in La Linea, which is especially suitable for older children. It has lots of climbing options, a zip wire and is extremely easy to get to as it’s just a few minutes walk across the frontier.
2. Explore the Rock
Spend some time exploring the upper rock, either take a trip on the Cable Car to see the apes, or if you have older children, try hiking up the infamous Med Steps. That way you get to keep fit and healthy as a family while taking in some incredible views. You could also arrange a tour of the war tunnels, or if you have teenagers and are feeling particularly brave, try conquering lower St Michael’s Cave. Very soon there will also be the possibility of taking on the exciting challenge of climbing across the brand new 71 metre long suspension bridge at Royal Anglian Way, due to open April 2016.
3. Play dates
Take it in turns with friends to host a morning at each others houses. You can keep it simple and just get a few toys out for the kids to play with whilst the mums relax with a cup of tea and some cake. Or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you could arrange for the children to do some Easter crafts (check out our MOTR Pinterest board for some inspiration) or make some of Fiona’s Easter themed cupcakes.
Some of the parent and child groups in Gibraltar are still on during the Easter holidays, so check out their Facebook pages for opening times. Eco Art Gibraltar are still running classes during the Easter break, though some class times have changed. They also hold a family fun day in Tarifa over the Easter weekend.
5. Mini breaks
Make the most of Gibraltar’s proximity to Spain, or perhaps even Portugal, by driving away somewhere for a mini break during the Easter holidays. We all know the weather at Easter can be unpredictable, so staying in hotels with an indoor pool are always a good choice. We recently stayed in Polynesia Hotel in Benalmadena which has an indoor pool and children spa, along with a small soft play area. There are also a few hotels offering indoor pools and other child friendly facilities in Chiclana, such as Hipotel Barrosa Gardens. If a longer drive doesn’t phase you and you want some real luxury, but still with a family friendly vibe, then give the Epic Sana Algarve Hotel a try in Albufeira. And if you want a different type of trip altogether then drive to Sierra Nevada for a ski holiday, where even the youngest members of the family can participate in ski lessons or just play in the snow! We love the Melia Sol y Nieve situated in the heart of Pradollano, Sierra Nevada which has a great spa for adults and children to enjoy apres ski.
6. Amusement Parks
Spanish schools have different holidays to the schools in Gibraltar, so try and avoid the usual crowds by visiting one of the many Costa del Sol amusement parks during this time. Those with older children can head to Tivoli World in Benalmadena, and those with younger children can try something a little tamer such as Castellar Zoo or Selwo Aventura and/or the Selwo Marina.
On a budget? Check out our article ‘Top 5 Indoor Play Areas’ for purse friendly entertainment.
7. Explore Pinar Del Rey
If you are craving a bit of greenery, pack some lunch and head over to Pinar Del Rey in San Roque for an afternoon. Find a spot under the pine trees (or a picnic bench if there are any free!) and let the kids run wild within this natural playground. If you are already fed up of doing Easter egg hunts, change it up a bit by printing out some images of the characters from the popular Gruffalo books, dot them around the area and let the children hunt for the elusive Grufflalo…
8. Life is a beach
If you plan on staying put during the easter break, then we have some wonderful beaches right here on our doorstep. Of course these aren’t just for the summer, so don’t be put off if the weather isn’t great. In fact, my family seem to spend more time on the beaches in Gibraltar out of season when they are quite empty. The sand doesn’t instantly burn your feet and there is less of the worrying about my little ones getting a serious case of sunburn, unlike the summer months.
We love going to Catalan bay, the prettiest of all the beaches here in Gibraltar (in my opinion of course) which I find easily accessible with the parking so close by and the ramp leading down to the beach and the walkway alongside it. If you fancy a day off from packing lunch for the yourself and the kids, try the family friendly Michaelangelo’s restaurant overlooking the beach. Of course, if you really don’t want to start dealing with all the sand so early on in the year, grab the kids bikes, scooters, walkers and head down to Camp Bay to burn off some of their energy!
9. Meet the local wildlife
Dolphin Safari. A great tourist attraction, but when did you last go out on one of the boats to catch a glimpse of the different species of dolphin which inhabit the waters surrounding Gibraltar? After your boat trip why not head to one of the many restaurants on offer within Ocean Village for lunch? O’Reilly’s cater for their younger guests with a bouncy castle outside every day during the Easter break. Or if you would rather experience some of Gibraltar’s nature scene on dry land, make your way over to the Alameda Botanical Gardens for a peaceful walk along the winding pathways amongst the flowers, to the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park, which protects several species of native and endangered animals.
10. Duvet Day
If the weather is terrible, or maybe just because everyone needs some time out now and then…have a duvet day! Stay in your pyjamas, rejoice at the fact that noone has to rush to get ready for school. Put on Netflix (now available in Gibraltar) or a film suitable for all the family that you have previously recorded on u-mee, grab some pop corn and totally veg out on the sofa together. If younger family members get a bit restless, make a den (Bethan has some great tips in 10 Things to do on a Rainy Day) or grab some books to read together.
Maybe you can all FaceTime any family members and friends that don’t live nearby, to catch up and find out how they spent their Easter. Act silly together, play games, make fun of each other…sometimes you don’t need to go out anywhere to enjoy the school holidays together. These are the days. Family time in our fast paced society is just so precious, and as tough as this parenting journey can be sometimes, we really should try and appreciate every moment. Now, excuse me but we have a houseful of chocolate eggs to finish off…
Wishing all of our readers a very (belatedly) Happy Easter from the MOTR team.
How are you coping during the school holidays? Do you have anything to add to our list? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.