A well deserved four day weekend is coming up. The Easter bank holiday weekend is when it’s socially acceptable to eat huge quantities of chocolate eggs and when, fingers crossed, we can celebrate the return of some eagerly awaited sunshine.

Whether you are just looking to treat yourself to a chocolate feast or want to watch the duck race or do a bit of shopping, here are some of the best ways to spend the Easter Weekend. Enjoy.

Manchester Duck Race

Thousands of families are expected on the banks of the River Irwell at New Bailey from 11am on Good Friday for the Manchester Duck Race. Its 10th anniversary features music and entertainment, fairground rides, food stalls, stilt walkers and, of course, the famous giant dressed ducks. Event sponsors Bathroom Takeaway will be filling bathtubs with gooey slime for children to take part in free challenges throughout the day. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this. Free to attend. Buy your own £1 duck to join the race.

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Royal Exchange Manchester Easter Trail

Put your clue-solving skills to the test at The Royal Exchange Manchester on Saturday 20th April for a chance to win some fantastic goodies, including a pair of Sophie Allport fine bone china bee egg cups courtesy of Jenny Jones Jewellery, a £50 gift card to spend at French Connection, a meal for two at Annies and a £30 gift card to spend at 3Squared free-from café. To take part in the Easter Trail, grab an entry form on the day from any of the participating outlets, or download from the website.

The Easter Trail runs all day on Saturday 20th April but if you really want to be part of the party get there between 12.30pm and 3.30pm for face painting, glitter tattoos, balloon models and chocolate lollipop giveaways (while stocks last!).

And don’t forget that The Royal Exchange is the go-to shopping centre for Easter gifts; Hotel Chocolate is a must for sweet treats, Whittard of Chelsea has Easter gift boxes and bundles, L’Occitane has a range of Easter gifts including their Cherry Blossom Beauty Egg, Swarovski has a beautiful crystal rabbit, and Lush has a whole range of Easter present ideas.

EGGclectic Easter fun at Great John Street Hotel

There’ll be face painting, song and story time with Princess Rapunzel, Children’s Afternoon Tea with the chance to decorate your own bunny cookie and an Easter Egg trail hosted by Peter Rabbit. Adults you won’t be forgotten! Weather permitting, you’ll be invited to find a spot out on the terrace and feast on a selection of delicious grilled meats and flavours from the rooftop BBQ* station. Tickets: £20 per child (ages 3 – 11) | Adults free (*additional charge applies for BBQ menu).

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Celebrate Easter at the Great Northern

Whose Easter is complete without chocolate? Hop on down to Manchester chocolatiers Dormouse and treat your loved ones to one of their delectable handmade eggs. Choose from the award winning toasted white chocolate egg, Peru 50% milk egg or Peru 70% dark egg. Head to all-American eating, drinking and bowling destination, All Star Lanes, where kids can take part in a free egg hunt on Monday 11th April at 11am.

Or enjoy a classic afternoon tea at James Martin Manchester over the Easter weekend. Crafted to suit your taste, choose from a traditional tea, three gin taster, or champagne menu, and relax in this sophisticated setting. Booking in advance is recommended, and prices start from £19.95.

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Afflecks Bunny Trail

An alternative Easter Bunny Trail at alternative shopping institution Afflecks is offering you the chance to win free creme eggs and a £100 jackpot. SWALK Creative is a collective of artists based at Afflecks who run a gallery and shop on the 3rd floor, each of whom has designed an Easter Bunny in this cute collaborative collection. Each bunny has been craftily displayed around the emporium and Afflecks are asking visitors to snap a selfie with all 12 to get their hands on a crème egg when they arrive at the final stop on the trail – the 3rd floor café – because who doesn’t love a free crème egg at Easter? The Bunny Trail challenge runs from 15th – 30th April.

Beauty and the Beast at Stockport Plaza

Pic David Munn

A magical panto production of classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast comes to Stockport Plaza from 18th-22nd April starring Channel 5 Milkshake’s Kiera-Nicole Brennan as beautiful Belle. Get ready to go on an adventure and follow Belle as she falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, with James Lacey as the Beast.

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Ordsall Hall Easter Egg Hunt

Former manor house Ordsall Hall has loads of events on over the holidays. From 1st to 21st April, families can try the Easter Bunny Trail – just find the rabbits hidden around the hall and gardens and answer riddles to get a reward. £2, no booking required. Other events include decorating ceramic baskets and egg cups, Tudor playtime and Tudor toiletries where children can make soap to take home.

The big Ordsall Hall Egg Hunt event takes place on Thursday 21st April. Find clues hidden in the garden and gather up golden eggs for extra points to win a range of chocolaty treats. The event costs £4.50 per child and is running from 1-1.30pm and 2.30-3pm.

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Easter Egg Cafe at intu Trafford Centre

Easter egg cafe

Sweet-toothed shoppers are in for a treat at intu Trafford Centre – the world’s first Easter Egg Café is open in the main dome until 20th April. You can’t miss it. It looks like a giant Easter egg, has chairs that look like Easter eggs and sells – yes, you guessed it – Easter eggs. Chocolate lovers can watch all their Easter egg dreams come true as eggsperts from the centre’s specialist dessert café Haute Dolci and Hey Little Cupcake in Selfridges whip up a range of treats such as brownies, cheesecake, edible gold flecks and ice-cream – all served inside an indulgent Easter egg.

Slattery

Fancy putting yourself in a chocolate-induced coma? Slattery of Whitefield can help. They have eggcelled themselves this year by creating some of the best eggs in Manchester including the selfie egg where you get your face printed onto an egg to give to your loved one. So if you find yourself in Whitefield, make sure you pop in to feast your eyes on some of the showstoppers on display. Or better still book afternoon tea in the restaurant above the chocolate emporium. It’s the perfect way to spend an Easter afternoon.

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Treetop Easter trail

Hop on over to Treetop Nets in Heaton Park for an egg hunt like no other. On arrival, kids will receive a free activity sheet challenging them to find a series of eggs hidden high in the nets and trees and solve the puzzle. The trail will run throughout the Easter week for anyone visiting Treetop Nets. Just book your tickets for any session as normal. Adults and children aged 5+ £20 each, supervisors and under fives £13.

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Spinfest at the Oast House

Get yourself down to Spinningfields on Easter Sunday for the return of Spinfest when a number of live acts will be performing on two stages in the courtyard of the Oast House from 1pm till 10pm. A one day free festival bringing you a mix of local Manchester talent and lots of liquid refreshment.

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The Printworks Vintage Swing Festival

Take a step back in time on Easter Sunday and dig out your best dancing shoes for the annual Vintage Swing Festival at the Printworks. This free 1950s inspired festival offers performances all day from the likes of Emma and The Ragmen and Mons Wheeler & the Tone Kings. There will be facepainting and an Easter egg hunt for the kids, whilst adults enjoy all things 50s – admiring the collection of classic cars, mooching around vintage stalls or trying the retro-style food and drink. There will also be free swing dance lessons so you can jive away your day.

Fear not, the fun won’t stop at 5pm. Bierkeller will help guests see the night through to the end with an electrifying after party, featuring Mad Jack and the Hatters and The Bopsville Shakers.

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Eggciting Easter at Salford Quays

Salford Quays has a variety of activities and attractions for the whole family this Easter, from kids watersports classes at the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre to theatre at The Lowry. Set sail with Manchester River Cruises or meet new friends and learn new skills with wakeboard lessons. The Lowry Outlet Makers Market will again return with artisanal food, drink and crafts. The event will feature specially selected stalls, who source, grow, rear, bake, make, and create the products they sell, which ensures their goods are unique.

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Easter at The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience Manchester

The Crystal Maze is guaranteeing a family bonding trip like no other as both of its attractions can now be played by a younger audience (13 years and over). Over the Easter weekend the stakes will be raised at the Manchester Maze: not only do crystals obtained by completing challenges in the four themed zones result in time in the dome, but they also mean chocolate eggs for the team to indulge in afterwards.

Brand new games have also been introduced for visitors to experience including two new physical challenges, Spinning Planets in the Future zone and Spiders Web in the Industrial zone, in addition to Wrecking Ball, a skills-based challenge in the Aztec zone. The whole experience is deliciously daft, frantic and fun. Expect to be crawling, running and even sliding your way around the maze. Booking essential.

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