Phew! The Muddy Guide has landed
The school holidays are nearly upon us (or for some, have already arrived). Oh dear, is that the sound of gentle weeping I hear? If you haven’t quite worked out how to get through six weeks (or more) of children around your ankles, in your hair, and up your bleedin’ nose, now is the time to take a deep breath and let Muddy Stilettos take the strain. I’m including some kid-friendly stuff in The Muddy Guide each week through the hols so keep an eye out on Thursdays when the new list comes out. So without further ado, here’s this week’s Muddy Guide…
Aqua Park, Datchet, Slough, open 7 days a week, 11am to 8pm
Did you know Berkshire is home to Europe’s largest Aqua Park? The awesome inflatable obstacle course set on a private freshwater lake is open to competent swimmers aged 8 and over, and they can slide, bounce, jump, climb and splash to their heart’s content. Open 7 days a week from 11am to 8pm. Booking essential, cost £15 per person for 50 minutes, which includes a day pass to the beach zone. To book call 01753 542500 (message on their website and FB page warning that they are struggling to deal with thousands of calls, so keep trying – they’re adding online booking asap.
Aqua Park, Horton Road, Datchet, SL3 9HY. liquidleisure.com
The Final Whistle, Madejski Stadium, 19 – 23 July
Something different for football mad boys and girls. SITELINES is a programme of theatre in unusual places run by South Street Arts Centre. The Final Whistle is a play specially commissioned and produced by South Street for Reading’s Year of Culture 2016. Set against the backdrop of Reading’s FA Cup triumph over West Brom earlier this year, the show takes a humourously poignant look at what it means to be a fan, though the highs and lows in the history of Reading Football Club. As it takes place in the home changing room audience numbers are limited to 20 per show, so book now. Age 10+, tickets: £12.
Maidenhead Festival, Sat 23 – Sun 24 July
Birds of Prey, Cobbs Farm, Hungerford, Sun 24 July, 10am to 4pm
Mike Hill, from Hilltop Birds of Prey in Herefordshire is visiting Cobbs this summer along with 4-5 different birds of prey and owls. Plenty of opportunities for handling the birds and taking pics, as well as the chance to learn about these wonderful, winged creatures first hand. It’s a totally free event and Cobbs Farm is a wonderful place to spend a few hours with a brilliant café and new play barn for littlies up to aged 8.
Aloha! Grand Opening of The Maidenhead Beach at Norden Farm, Tues 26 July, then open all summer
Norden Farm’s beach is back for another long hot (here’s hoping) summer! Join in the fun at the grand opening on Tuesday with prizes for the best Hawaiian/Elvis fancy dress; free prize draw; prop-filled Hawaiian Photo Booth; free tropical drinks for kids; and a free 15 minute Little Wrigglers taster session in the cafe bar from 10.30am to 11.15am. The beach runs Tues to Sun 10am to 4pm until Sunday 4 September. You get to relax at the beachside cafe while the mudlets play in the sand or join in arts and crafts and story telling sessions in the story den.
Shire horse and cart rides, Wellington country park, Weds 27 July
As if you need a reason to visit this brilliant park, but Wellington are doing shire horse and cart rides on Weds 27 from 11am to 4pm taking you on trips to the Animal Farm between 11am and 4pm.
Secrets of a Royal garden, Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, throughout July & August
The Savill Garden is celebrating her Majesty’s 90th birthday all summer long with its Golden Crown family trail. Meander through acres of beautiful blooms and woodland and discover the secrets of the gardens’ Royal history. There are also family activities in the Savill Building on weekends including cupcake making and face painting. Check the website for details. Trail £2.50; Entry to The Savill Garden is free for children; Adults £9.75.
Family Activity Day, Shaw House, Newbury, Weds 27 July, 10am to 3.30pm
Make and decorate a mask and find out about the Elizabethan masque. Shaw House also has a new trail available for the summer, £2 per child. Aimed at 4-11 year olds but younger and older children are welcome. No need to book, just drop in.
Giffords Circus, Cotswolds, various dates
If you haven’t been to Giffords Circus yet you are in for a treat. Sophisticated slapstick, very cool and artsy, and laugh-out-loud funny too. Believe me, I am not a fan of ‘trad’ circus shows, this is nothing like. This year’s show, The Painted Wagon, is touring the wild west of the Cotswolds until September with a wild west extravaganza of acrobatics, dancing horses and gold panning, all to the beat of the Dodge City saloon band. You can also book dinner at the travelling restaurant Circus Sauce. Tickets: Adults from £15; Children from £10. Tel: 0845 4597469.
Colour and Vision Exhibition, Natural History Museum, now until 6 Nov
If you’re all tuckered out from soft play or theme parks then I think kids will really enjoy this exhibition. Go behind the eyes of dogs (they can’t see red) and snakes (they have heat vision) with a stellar light installation created by British artist Liz West to illustrate how colour has shaped 565 million years of evolution. There’s lots more to see and do – I was (unsurprisingly) drawn to the special event on 29 July trying three colourful botanical cocktails as you learn about the natural world’s vibrant spectrum of colours. Ok, if you insist. Tickets: Adults £10.80; Children £5.40.
New Horrible Histories maze, Warwick Castle
I can think of a hundred reasons to visit Warwick Castle, because it’s ace, and particularly good if you’ve got a variety of ages to entertain, but here’s another one anyway – the new Horrible Histories maze which is included in the ticket price. Choose your path to travel through time in typical HH style and face fun challenges along the way – invade a Viking ship, survive the trenches, uncover evil plots and escape the maze before it all goes horribly wrong! Tickets from £20.50 if you book ahead.