Easter is on its way and this year is one of those rare occasions when all forms of the Christian church celebrate on the same weekend. Here’s our choice of the best places to see Easter in the UK.
London’s sheer size and status as an international city sees it firmly out in front when it comes to sheer amount of things to do over Easter. Those looking to spend the holiday reflecting on its religious significance can choose from magnificent churches such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The former has a range of events including a performance of Bach’s The Passion According to St John and a dawn Eucharist on Easter Sunday. The Abbey also has events through the week that culminate in a processional evensong on Easter Sunday. Elsewhere, the London Dungeons is hosting the Egg-cecutioner and a ‘Bad Eggs’ Easter Trail and the London Eye has a Bunnies on the Run egg hunt.
Stay: The Hampton by Hilton Waterloo is a just-opened chic-but-cheap hotel right in the heart of the city. Doubles start from £101 per night, B&B.
St Albans Cathedral is the oldest place of Christian worship in Britain and was also the location of the First Meeting in 1213 that led to the sealing of the Magna Carta two years later. The Albun Bun – the original Hot Cross Bun also originated here when Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th-century monk at St Albans Abbey, developed an original recipe and distributed buns to the local poor on Good Friday. Alban Buns are on sale throughout the whole of Easter at the Cathedral.
Stay: St Michael’s Manor Hotel, a boutique four-star with a country house feel. Rooms start from £160, B&B.
St Aidan came from Iona to found a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in 635AD – and from it, the Christian message flourished and spread through the country and beyond. The tiny island is linked to the mainland via a causeway that is accessible twice a day at low tide and pilgrims carry life-size crosses to the ruined castle over Easter.
Stay:Inntravel has a four-night B&B walking break to the island and the surrounding Northumberland coast over Easter from £320 per person. Price includes hotel, luggage transfer and maps.
See lindisfarne.org.uk and nationaltrust.org.uk
One of England’s most-visited cities and a World Heritage site, Canterbury is home to Roman ruins, a Norman castle, and The King’s School, thought to be the oldest school in England. It is also home to beautiful Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican faith. Founded in 597 the current church dates to the 12th century and is home to the remains of martyr Thomas Becket.
Stay: The Abode Canterbury is a boutique hotel with a restaurant by celeb chef Michael Caines. Dinner, B&B is from £109 per person.
York Minster is the seat of the Archibishop of York, the second highest office of the Church of England, after the Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral, which dates to the 7th century, is one of Europe’s largest gothic churches and is currently undergoing a £20m refurb. The latest part is the opening of Revealing York Minster in the Undercroft, an interactive display that allows visitors to see, touch and hear 2000 years of history. There are Easter services throughout the Holy Week.
Stay: The Best Western Plus Dean Court is located just across the street from the Abbey and some rooms look over its ornate exterior. Doubles start from £100, B&B.
Just over the North Yorkshire moors is the pretty seaside town of Whitby, famed for its evocative cliff-top Abbey that inspired Bram Stocker’s classic novel Dracula. The setting, overlooking the North Sea, is also home to the 12th century Church of St Mary, a Grade I-listed building with 199 steps to the town’s harbour below. Reward yourself after the hike up and down with fish and chips at The Quayside, recently voted the best chippie in Britain.
Stay: Estbek House is an award-winning restaurant with rooms in a Georgian building, in the pretty village of Sandsend. Dinner, B&B is from £80 per person.
See discoveryorkshirecoast.com and yorkshire.com
The Magna Carta is 800 years old in 2015 and one of the four surviving copies is in Salisbury Cathedral, which also has the country’s tallest spire, the largest cloister and the world’s oldest working clock. Holy Week sees a host of events, concerts and services including a 5am dawn service on Easter Sunday with a huge bonfire. Elsewhere, the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum houses artefacts from the city’s past, including the Stonehenge Gallery, while there are busses to the Neolithic landmark too.
Stay: The boutique rooms of the Cathedral Hotel are right in the heart of town and doubles cost from £85 per night.
St Nectan’s Glen and Kieve, Cornwall
Set in a gorgeous woodland setting, this plunge pool plunge pool fed by an 18m waterfall on the Trevillet River is said to contain an oak casket full of the relics of St Nectan. It was once used to bless Crusaders before they left for the Holy Land and people pay regular pilgrimages to leave offerings.
Stay: The Tintagel Arms is a pretty B&B with modern rooms and some four-poster beds. Double rooms are from £55 per night, B&B.
St Winefride’s Well, Flintshire
There’s no need to travel all the way to France in search of a miraculous healing. The waters at this Flintshire well are known as the ‘Lourdes of Wales’, despite being more than 1,000 years older than its counterpart. The background to the well’s powers lies in the story of Winefride, a young maiden who was decapitated by a rapist. A well sprung from the spot where she fell and, according to legend, she was brought back to life by her uncle St Beuno before living for another 22 years as a nun.
Stay: The Springfield Hotel is a modern hotel with leisure centre where doubles start from £78, B&B.
See saintwinefrideswell.com and visitwales.com
Iona, Inner Hebrides
The burial place of Scottish kings, including Macbeth, was one of northern Europe’s most important pilgrimage sites in the Middle Ages. St Columba arrived on the island and formed a monastery in 563 from where Christianity spread around the country. The current 19th century abbey may not be as grand as its forebear but there are still pilgrimages to the site over the Holy Week.
Stay: The Argyll Hotel dates to the 1800s has double rooms with sea views from £136, B&B.
See welcometoiona.com and visitscotland.com
Looking to stay at home? Check out our Top 10 places to see Easter in Europe
Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.