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What is on for families in Cambridgeshire during the Easter holidays 2022?

Looking for inspiration to make the most of the school holidays? Whether it’s dinosaurs, superheroes or chocolate eggs you’re after, there are a wealth of options to choose from. Here are a few:

Easter eggs in a basket
Easter eggs in a basket

Watch dinosaurs come to life...

Two augmented reality adventure trails around Cherry Hinton Hall launched from April 2. To enjoy them, you’ll need to download the free Love Exploring app (loveexploring.co.uk) to your phone and search for Cambridge. Then look out as dinosaurs and planets appear in front of you.

There will also be a tree trail, a mindfulness trail and a sensory trail to choose from, and the trails are suitable for “ages four to 104”. They can be enjoyed at any time.

Enjoy a free outdoor play session

Cambridge City Council’s Children and Young People’s Service (ChYpPS) has a free programme of outdoor play sessions for children and families, running at 2-4pm at the following locations:

  • Monday, April 4 – Nuns Way recreation ground
  • Wednesday, April 6 – Green End Road recreation ground
  • Thursday, April 7 – Thorpe Way play area
  • Monday, April 11 – Nuns Way recreation ground
  • Wednesday, April 13 – Green End Road recreation ground
  • Thursday, April 14 – Cherry Hinton recreation ground.

Catch up with superheroes

Fancy coming face-to-face with the fearsome Darth Vader, hanging around with Spider-Man or marvelling at the incredible Batmobile? Well, dust off your lightsaber, grab your cape, and zoom – faster than a speeding bullet – to the Grand Arcade and Lion Yard shopping centres, where a host of superheroes will be touching down.

Follow the trail to collect superpower stickers from specific stores and meet legends from DC Comics, Marvel and Star Wars. Life-size superhero statues will be stand guard throughout the Grand Arcade and Lion Yard for more than two weeks, on the lookout for shape-shifters and dastardly villains. There will also be the opportunity to meet and greet the idols and capture those all-important selfies.

Look out for Marvel crusaders Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Thor, alongside Star Wars favourites Yoda, Darth Maul and droid BB-8. Encounter DC Comic heroes Batman and Catwoman in the atrium and look up to see the mighty Hulk peering menacingly down from the first-floor bridge at the Grand Arcade.

Over at Lion Yard, watch out for gossamer webs and glinting armour as Spider-Man, Flash and Captain America take up residence. Pick up a map to discover where to collect your epic superpowers, including X-ray vision, super strength, immunity, web-spinning, flight and, of course, ‘the Force’. Don’t forget to visit Chocolat Chocolat for a spot of Jedi training from Master Yoda and a free chocolate.

Julie Kervadec, marketing manager at the Grand Arcade, said: “We are kicking off our 2022 programme of events with a trail to inspire fantasy fans of all ages. Whether you’re a Star Wars, Marvel or DC Comics lover, you’re sure to find something you like. And the little ones will have a magical time thanks to our free activities, heroes meet-and-greet sessions, facepainting, and superpower collecting from our stores – although we could probably all do with some super powers at the moment!”

Show your map in select stores to access offers and venture to John Lewis’s subterranean depths (the basement level) to receive a hero’s welcome and sweet treats. This Saturday (April 9), from 10am to 5pm, meet Captain America, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man. On Sunday, April 10, from 11am to 5pm, meet Darth Vader, Chewbacca, SpiderMan and Captain Marvel.

Superhero trail at the Grand Arcade
Superhero trail at the Grand Arcade

Tuck into an Easter egg trail

There are Easter egg trails taking place at National Trust sites. Anglesey Abbey, Wicken Fen and the Wimpole Estate are offering trails for normal admission, plus £3 per trail, which includes a Rainforest Alliance Easter egg. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/easter.

Enter a sensory CAVE

Also on offer at Grand Arcade is the enchanting sensory CAVE, installed on the second floor. Designed to offer a safe haven, away from the hustle and bustle, the immersive free-to-use Controlled Audio Visual Environment is fitted with specialist sensory equipment designed to encourage different types of interaction.

Launched in February, the CAVE prototype – which is being piloted by the Grand Arcade – has proved so popular that its residency is being extended until April 31. There’s a fibre-optic twinkle panel and a vibro-acoustic seat passing low-frequency soundwaves into your body, relaxing your muscles.

CAVE at the Grand Arcade
CAVE at the Grand Arcade

Run your hands over an LED musical touch wall and watch the lights react and trigger background sounds. Each of the sensory experiences is intended to spark creativity and interaction.

They also have therapeutic qualities, such as encouraging gross and fine motor movement or aiding ocular tracking. These are especially beneficial for those with special needs or living with a disability.

CAVE at the Grand Arcade
CAVE at the Grand Arcade

The CAVE prototype is created by SpaceKraft, a family-based company that pioneers multi-sensory solutions for special needs, in collaboration with The Seasonal Group, which designs magical animatronics and virtual reality rides. The latter devised Grand Arcade’s magical sleigh ride, which transported families to Lapland via VR last Christmas.

With 22 per cent of people in Britain living with a disability, the organisers hope that the CAVE offers a calming space for families amid a busy shopping centre. Julie Kervadec said: “Talking to the first parents, carers or special needs school teachers who have visited us so far, we realise even more how important it is for them to find infrastructures like this.

“It gives them a stress-free opportunity to visit busy places like Cambridge city centre which they would otherwise avoid. But more importantly, it creates a unique and inclusive experience for any individual who needs to recharge.”

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