The grim weather at home is sending thousands of us abroad in search of guaranteed sunshine, but according to VisitEngland’s latest Trip Tracker survey, the Easter period is likely to generate some £600m in tourism spend for the UK economy, around £543m of which will be spent in England.
So, narrowly avoiding any more of those cracking puns which spring up at this time of year, BigHospitality has rounded up some of the quirkier special offers and promotions that hospitality businesses are running to capitalise on the increased trade.
With fish traditionally eaten on Good Friday, Loch Fyne Restaurants are asking customers ‘why restrict yourself to Good Friday alone?’ The group is running a special Easter menu available from 29 March to 1 April, priced at £9.95 with a drink.
Children will get also get a Bank Holiday welcome over the Easter school break - for each adult dining from the a la carte menu, an accompanying child eats from the children’s menu for free.
Meanwhile, speakeasy bar Barts is inviting customers ‘down the rabbit hole for an evening of all things wonderful’ at its Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Thursday (28 March).
Guests will enjoy cupcakes, a special Veuve Clicquot teacup reception and cocktail sharer teapots, as well as a Golden Egg Easter Egg hunt and a fancy dress competition.
The Pipe and Glass Inn, the Michelin-starred restaurant in East Yorkshire, has created a giant Easter egg, weighing in at 20kg, to raise funds for the community in its local village.
Chef-owner James Mackenzie has made the decorated egg using 20kg-plus of Callebaut dark chocolate, and is raffling the prize to raise funds for South Dalton village hall. Tickets for the raffle are £2 each, or three for £5, with the prize draw taking place on Easter Sunday.
“The village hall is a central part of life in South Dalton,” said Mackenzie. “At one point, the hall was falling into a state of dangerous disrepair, and there’s an ongoing renovation project. We're delighted to be able to support it in this way."
Dukes St James London hotel in Mayfair has launched an Easter weekend package for families.
The package includes an Easter egg hunt around the St James area, with chocolates and costumes gifted from the hotel.
Children will then be treated to a special afternoon tea in the Drawing Room at Dukes, before being welcomed into the Thirty Six By Nigel Mendham restaurant with a specially crafted kids menu.
In-room, guests under the age of six will find a ‘Dukesy dog’ waiting for them, and older children will be given a story book. The hotel is also running a special booking offer until 8 April – with a free children’s room coming with any room or suite.
Independent brewer Bath Ales has re-introduced Rare Hare, the strongest beer in the Bath Ales portfolio, in time for the Easter holidays.
Available in-store and on tap over the Bank Holiday, the 5.2% ABV Rare Hare is a chestnut beer offering a bitter taste with a hint of caramel.
“The appeal of Rare Hare lies in its smooth taste and each time it is released it proves very popular with our customers,” said Bath Ales’ head brewer Gerry Condell.
To celebrate chocolate season, Naga restaurant and bar in Kensington has launched a chilli chocolate dessert, Silken Spice.
Executive Head Chef Fachri Syarief admits the dish will feature the actual naga chilli – famous for being one of the strongest in the world.
“There will be essence of the Chili within the silky fondant center, enough to make ones mouth water, but not their eyes,” he said.
The Silken Spice chilli chocolate dessert will be available throughout April.
Italian bar and pizzeria Bunga Bunga has persuaded the local council to allow it to stay open an hour later on Saturday (30 March) – giving back the hour that is taken at the official start of British summertime.
Easter Egg cocktails served in actual full size Easter eggs have been especially created for the duration of the weekend.
Sunday daytime will then begin with complimentary chocolate Bellinis on arrival, a special Easter Egg hunt, and a ‘Bunny Brunch Feast’.
The Battersea Bridge Road venue is also hosting 'Bunga Bunga Bingo', with a party going on until 2am.
London’s largest South African restaurant, Shaka Zulu, will be serving up a three-course ‘Easter Feast’.
On arrival, guests will be able to admire a giant ostrich Easter egg display, created by the restaurants pastry chef, before sitting down for a roast dinner, priced at 18.95 for adults and £9.95 for children.
The Feast will be served on Easter Sunday from midday to 5pm.
The bad news for hospitality businesses is that some 600,000 people are set to leave from Heathrow airport and about 214,000 from Gatwick, while Scottish airports expect more than 100,000 departures over the Easter weekend.
The Association of British Travel Agents said there was ‘strong demand’ for last-minute overseas holidays, following a bout of cold weather which saw snow in parts of the UK and temperatures hovering around freezing.
One thing to note though is that this Easter does not follow on from school holidays, which could mean an extended period of increased footfall.