OUT OF TOWN
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
Britain’s first public museum dates back to 1683, when the politician Elias Ashmole left his collection of antiquities to the University of Oxford. See archaeological artefacts, pre-Raphaelite paintings, Egyptian mummies and Oliver Cromwell’s death mask. Free admission, charges for special events. To 7 May: Degas to Picasso. Includes works by Degas and Picasso. Tue-Sun 10am-5pm. Free admission, charges for special exhibitions. www.ashmolean.org. Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PH. T: 01865-278 000. Off map. Station: Paddington to Oxford.
See three centuries of treasures in this Baroque palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The palace is set in 2,100 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown parkland. To 23 Apr: Exhibition: A Passion for Fashion. Fashion through the ages. Palace daily 10.30am5.30pm; park 9am- 6pm; formal gardens daily 10.30am- 6pm. Palace, park and gardens adult £24.90, child £13.90; park and gardens adult £15.30, child £7.10. www.blenheimpalace.com. Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP. T: 01993- 810530. Off map. Paddington to Oxford, then bus S3.
Hampton Court Palace
King Henry VIII’s former palace has 60 acres of land. Palace, formal gardens and maze daily 10am-6pm. Adult £23; child £11.50. www.hrp.org.uk. East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. T: 0844- 482 7777. Off map. Station: Waterloo to Hampton Court.
Fairytale 900-year-old castle with a moat, gardens and parkland. Castle daily 10.30am-5.30pm; grounds & gardens daily 10am-5pm. Adult £24.50; child £16.50. www.leeds-castle.com. Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL. T: 01622-765 400. Off map. Station: Victoria to Bearsted.
Osterley Park and House
This country home is decorated as it would have been in the 1780s. Stroll its formal gardens. House & Garden 11am-5pm. Adult £10.90; child £5.45. www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Jersey Rd, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB. T: 020- 8232 5050. Off map. Station: Osterley/Isleworth.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Queen’s official residence in Scotland stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat. Tour highlights include the state apartments and Mary, Queen of Scots’ chamber. Daily 9.30am- 6pm. Adult £12.50; child £ 7.50. www.royalcollection.org.uk. Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX. T: 0303-123 7306. Off map. Station: Edinburgh Waverley, then a 15-minute walk.
The world’s most famous stone circle and a World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is more than 5,000 years old. With obscure Neolithic origins, it is perfectly aligned with the rising sun at the solstice. English Heritage members get exclusive early-morning tours. The visitor centre has an exhibition, shop and café. Daily 9.30am-7pm. Please check for prices. www.english-heritage.org.uk. Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE. T: 0870-333 1181. Off map. Station: Waterloo to Salisbury, then bus or taxi.
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, this castle is now a family-friendly experience with landscaped gardens designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. Don’t miss Merlin: The Dragon Tower and displays of medieval weaponry, as well as regular falconry displays. The dungeon, with actors, is a highlight. 7-22 Apr: Little Warrior Breaks. Kids can take part in medieval battles. 8-23 Apr: Easter at Warwick Castle. Inspired by the popular kid’s stories, you can get lost in a Horrible Histories Maze, see Horrible Histories Wicked Warwick live on stage and watch eagles soar. Please check for times. Castle adult £19.20; child £16.80; castle & dungeon adult £22.80; child £19.20. www.warwick-castle.com. Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH. Off map. Station: Warwick.
Watts Gallery Artists’ Village
An Arts and Crafts gem in the Surrey Hills, with stunning Victorian paintings and sculptures. Visit The Tea Shop, then wander to the Watts Chapel.
To 9 Apr: Painted with Stories: The Making of Maiolica. Ceramicist Myra McDonnell displays her work inspired by maiolica, the tin-glazed pottery of the Italian Renaissance.
From 12 Apr: Emma Bridgewater: Pomegranates. The ceramics designer and author displays her work. Tue-Sun 11am-5pm. Adult £9.50 ( Tues £4.75); child free. Down Lane, Compton, Surrey, GU3 1DQ. T: 01483- 810235. Off map. Station: Waterloo to Guildford, then bus or taxi.
The Queen’s weekend home and the world’s oldest inhabited castle. Includes State Apartments furnished with art by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto. Changing the Guard alternate days 11am Mon-Sat (please check). 1-29 Apr: Fabulous Fashions. Kids can dress up in replica royal clothes, follow an Easter activity trail and take part in an art workshop. Daily 9.30am-5.30pm. Adult £20.50; child £12. www.royalcollection.org.uk. Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ. T: 0303-123 7304. Off map. Station: Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Central or Windsor & Eton Riverside.