How to Celebrate Easter in London

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Plan a lovely Easter Sunday in London during your family spring break vacation. Our itinerary included Easter services, a delicious Easter dinner, and plenty of walking through the gardens of London.

A white bunny statue sits on a pedestal decorated with pink flowers.

Easter Sunday fell on Day 2 of our family trip to London during spring break and it is the first time our family has celebrated the holiday away from home.

I wanted to be sure that we still celebrated Easter together and that the day felt special within the context of our trip.

After a lot of research into the Easter activities available, I pulled together a wonderful itinerary for the day that found the perfect balance between Easter and tourist activities in London.

Attend Easter Services at Westminster

The first thing I wanted to check off my planning list was where we would celebrate Easter services at church.

Even though our family is Catholic, I thought it would be an experience the kids would always remember to celebrate Easter services at Westminster Abbey.

The inside of the cathedral is shown on Easter Sunday.

I wasn’t sure if the early morning services would be particularly crowded, so I planned our day around the 3 pm Evensong services.

Here are a few things you should know before you go:

  1. Open to the Public: Anyone can attend Easter services at Westminster Abbey for free, you do not need to be a resident or parishioner.
  2. No Communion: There is no communion served during the Evensong service.
  3. Dress Warmly: As you can see in the photo above, people attended service dressed as average tourists or in casual business attire. There were no fancy Easter dresses and no Easter hats. The church is quite chilly, I never removed my outer coat during service.
  4. Digital Program: An attendant has a QR code that you can scan with your phone to pull up the entire order of worship on your phone to follow along. The lyrics to all the songs and prayers are included so you can feel part of the service.
  5. Get There Early: There was a line to enter the church, we arrived at about 2:40pm and had no problem getting in. The service wasn’t too crowded.

You can check the services available at Westminster Abbey here.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is another excellent option for Easter services, but a word of warning for my fellow Catholic families — it is not actually a Catholic church.

Shop for Easter Candy

We arrived in London on Saturday, the day before Easter.

Since my girls are older, I wasn’t too worried about their Easter baskets and thought we’d just find some goodies when we arrived.

While I dealt with a luggage mishap from the airline, my husband and older daughter went shopping at the local grocery store to see what they could find. They stopped in at Sainsbury’s but M&S Food has phenomenal options, too.

The Cadbury Easter candies sit on a table next to a package of hot cross buns.

A friend recommended we hunt down some Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs. They are significantly larger than the US candies. They are hollow like our chocolate bunnies and come with different flavors.

Another friend suggested we sample some Percy Pig candies, a very popular treat with London children.

My daughter also picked out som Jaffa Cakes — a chocolate and orange cake confection she was eager to try.

I grabbed a package of Whippy Dippy chocolate from Marks & Spencer and it was my favorite of the treats.

They also grabbed a package of hot cross buns, more on that in the notes below.

Eat Hot Cross Buns or Sweet Breakfast Pastries

Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter bread that are part of our family’s Easter tradition back home, too.

I was thrilled to hear they’d be something we could easily find and try while in London.

The local grocery stores offer them in several flavors but we stuck with the classic fruited rolls with iced crosses on top. I highly suggest you toast them and spread them with a bit of English butter, they aren’t very good eaten plain.

A braided sweet bread with chocolate Easter mini eggs.

However, on Easter morning while the rest of us slept in a bit, my husband got up in search of coffee and stumbled upon the Ole & Steen coffee shop. This Danish bakery offered a stunning braided Easter bread filled with a cinnamon and fruity filling and was topped with chocolate Cadbury mini eggs.

He brought it home and we made it part of our breakfast for several mornings.

Go for Afternoon Tea

We scheduled our afternoon tea experience on another day of our trip but this would have been a lovely way to spend Easter lunch.

A tiered tray of treats has a slice of carrot cake on top.
The Easter treats at Peggy Porschen’s afternoon tea.

The treat towers during our tea included wedges of carrot cake and strawberry rhubarb filled cupcakes.

You can read more about our afternoon tea in London here.

Visit a Palace and Walk the Gardens

Since we didn’t have Easter service until later in the afternoon, I booked us tickets to tour Kensington Palace at 10:30 am on Easter Sunday.

The outside of Kensington Palace.
Kensington Palace on Easter Sunday.

This was a perfect sized tour for us to start our trip. After we strolled through the museum rooms inside, we headed straight out the back to Hyde Park for a long stroll through the gardens.

Hyde Park is filled with large ponds with gorgeous swans. Wildflowers and daffodils lined the walkways.

A white swan is swimming in the water.
A swan swimming in Hyde Park.

We found our way to the Prince Albert Memorial and tried to walk to the Princess Diana memorial fountain but ran out of time before we head to our next reservations.

The top of the Prince Albert Memorial is gilded. A statue feating several figures is in the foreground.
The Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.

You’ll definitely want to give yourself plenty of time for walking if you want to see more of the park, at least 2 hours would be ideal.

Where to Eat Easter Dinner

Planning our celebratory Easter dinner was a little bit of a challenge only because I couldn’t pick just one thing!

I wasn’t sure whether we should try a traditional Sunday roast, go for fish and chips, or try something a little more elegant for the holiday.

In the end, I booked us two separate reservations:

  1. Easter Lunch at The Mayfair Chippy
  2. Easter Dinner at The Ivy
A fried haddock sits on a bed of french fries.
Fish and Chips from The Mayfair Chippy.

My friend Sam who lived in London before she met her husband and moved to the US recommended that we head to The Mayfair Chippy for the best fish and chips in London.

Is it actually the best? Hard to say since we only tried it at this one place but it was absolutely delicious and I would definitely recommend it!

I ordered the house special which included a beer battered haddock with chips, tartar sauce, mushy peas, and a curry dipping sauce.

The ivy-covered dining room inside the Ivy restaurant in London.

My friend Maggy who currently lives in London suggested we visit The Ivy for our Easter dinner.

I took one peek at the inside of the restaurant and immediately appreciated the recommendation. The decor was simply stunning and was the perfect vibe for Easter.

The food was absolutely delicious and we all enjoyed our meal.

The Ivy has locations dotted all around London, we visited The Ivy Victoria Brasserie specifically.

Easter Egg Hunts

Since my girls are older, I wasn’t too concerned with finding an Easter egg hunt for them to partake in.

However, if you are traveling with younger children, the good news is that there are actually several events in London that would fit the bill.

I almost booked us tickets to visit the Hampton Court Palace for their Lindt gold bunny hunt. It is worth looking into as an alternative egg hunt option.

Final Thoughts

Spending the Easter holiday away from home with my kids was such a fun adventure. I think we found the perfect balance between festive holiday activities and taking advantage of everything our destination had to offer.

Easter did not seem to be as big of a deal in England as it does here in the US so it should not affect your trip much if you do not celebrate Easter.

Just plan ahead because the Monday after Easter Sunday is a bank holiday and several businesses will open on a delay. Plan to start your next morning with outdoor activities or take it easy by sleeping in just a bit. Restaurants and coffee shops will still be open so there’s no need to worry.

The photo collage shows a bunny statue next to traditional Easter candy from England.

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