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Stuff to do with kids of all ages this summer

Nailed it! We've found activities for every age, from toddlers to teens. Read on for the best of art, sport, festivals, music and inflatables in Berkshire in July and August 2022

TAKE A TRAIL

World of Peter Rabbit Storytime Trail The Base Greenham

Sack the digital nanny and get the kids outdoors. Basildon Park has a Fantastic Flowers Children’s Trail on until 17 July. Where you can waft among the flowerbeds admiring the view and keep the kids entertained at the same time.

Hop to The Base Greenham for The World of Peter Rabbit Storytime Trail (pictured) from 30 July-25 Sep. This is a magical walk-through experience aimed at under 7s who will be immersed into Peter’s world as they crawl under the garden gate, hide in a watering can and see their reflection in a mirror pool. Photo opps and crafting aplenty.

Grab their cape and send your kids off the save the world (or just your sanity) at the Superhero Adventure Trail at the Corn Exchange in Newbury from 1-31 Aug. Enter mission control at the Corn Exchange, be transformed into your superhero character then head out immersive adventure around the town centre to complete the quest.

ForestFestivalGiantLadyGreenwood BRACKNELL

The tree giants are returning for the Bracknell Forest Festival (24 Aug-4 Sep) – and they’re bring a couple of pals too. Two new giants join the Forest Guardians team this year at The Lexicon. It’s a largely free event, to get us outdoors and closer to nature. While you’re mooching around the shops meet the five giants, follow the Seedling Sprite Trail, there’s immersive theatrical journey into The Night Forest (£5pp), entertainers and a special The Lexicon Fifth Birthday Proms on Sat 3 Sep.

Fancy an arty day out among flowers? From 30 July – 25 Sept, The Altered States Sculpture exhibition is displaying at Shaw House in a celebration of local art and artists. The artworks on show cover a range of scales and materials including stone, metal and ceramics, and will also be available to purchase if any catch your fancy.

Sunflowers PYO

If you’re looking for covert and creative ways to lose your kids for a five minutes over the school holidays, there’s always Maidenhead’s Maize Maze. It opens 13-29 Aug, book a slot and set your kids free. You can PYO sunflowers here too and there’s coffee and crafting if you fancy it. Tickets £8.50.

GO WILD

Beale Wildlife Park EMU
Beale Wildlife Park

There’s also plenty on courtesy of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. From Wild Zoologists Camp to Nature Tots to Wildfest, the events schedule is positively packed with ways to get your kids engaged with wildlife this summer, all across the counties.

Fancy something even wilder? Beale Wildlife Park, near Pangbourne, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – meerkats, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lynx, zebras, alpacas and bears. Don’t miss the Safari Summer weekends (23-24 July & 27-29 Aug) when there will be balloon modelling, face painting, bubble performer and more. Oh, and don’t miss the chance to WIN a £260 animal experience for four people.

If your wild things come in small human form from 29 July Basildon Park is putting on Den Building Workshops for your Bear Grylls wannabes to learn the art of creating outdoor shelters.

Bucklebury farm goats eating

It’s two for one at Bucklebury Farm, feed the animals, let the kids run wild and you book them in for a Mud & Guts workshop on 3 & 4 Aug and get them shelter building, fire-lighting and campfire skills, tracking & basic foraging as well as plenty of games & quizzes. Persil Bio on standby.

ACTIVE

Labyrinthe Inflatable Obstacle Course XL Newbury Berkshire

Think your kids are up for the challenge? The biggest and best inflatable obstacle course will put them to the test. The Labyrinth Challenge Summer XL is the family event of the summer, and it’s coming to the Newbury Showground on the 20-21 Aug! 1000ft of bouncy fun to negotiate – LOLs guaranteed. Tickets £20.

Aaaaarraaaagh! Time to get high on life at Go Ape Bracknell – a forest adventure for all ages that will test your balance, bravery and dignity. There’s a 1hr Junior Tree Top Adventure (suitable for kids 1m+) with wobbly bridges, intricate crossings and a zip wire finale… Fancy something more challenging, tackle the Tree Top Challenge (ages 10+ and 1.4m+ tall) or Tree Top Challenge +. Or there’s a whizzy Segway tour through the forest and axe throwing. Adrenaline junkies will love it.

colorful roller-skates

Get your skates on! The roller skating is huge and the roller disco is making a comeback. During the school holidays that’s how we roll… Head to the Corn Exchange in Newbury for Family Roller Disco on 4, 11, 12, 25, 26 Aug. Expect pop-tastic tune, disco lights, and skates and pads included in the price.

Big fish, little fish, cardboard box. Teach your kids all you finest dance moves at Deep Sea Ravers, Corn Exchange Newbury on 13 Aug. Get your best underwater party gear spend an afternoon fish bopping, crab krumping and shark shimmying.

Clip-n-Climb-Climbing-Walls Reading

Buckle up, tap into your Spidey senses and scale some walls. A climbing centre – Clip N Climb Reading – opens at the end of July, aimed at adults and kids. The emphasis is having fun rather than scaling Everest. But are you brave enough to take on the Stairway to Heaven or launch down an 8m high drop slide? *Gulp* There are 24 features, suitable for ages 4+.

Wellington Country Park Is 350 glorious acres of fresh air and freedom. Don’t miss the Spectacular Sports Weekend (23-24 July) when your kids can have a go at skateboarding, rugby, football and tennis, with coaches on hand to get them going, Dino Weekend (5-7 Aug) and Bouncy Castles In The Park (27-29 Aug) and more. That’s all on top of the regular activities – the swashbuckling pirates ship, the HMS Duke of Wellington, adventure play area, splash zone, miniature railway, animal farm, mini golf and dinosaurs roaming (ok not roaming) the grounds. If that doesn’t tire them out, reading the list of activities should do it.

ON THE WATER

Bray Lake Watersports kids paddle boarding with jolly roger flag
Bray Lake Watersports

Close your eyes and you could sailing the Italian lakes – but Bray’s not too shabby either. Bray Lake Watersports offer a number of courses for kids during the school holidays. Suitable for ages 8-15, they can do multi-sports, windsurfing, paddlesports, dinghy sailing and windsurfing – over a week or daily £85 per day or £350 for the week.

Wetsuit up and wobble on the water in Wargrave. Go With The Flo Paddleboarding, run by Nick Judd, offer family paddles, groups 1:1 lessons and children’s parties. Having tried this sport, the bit where you look elegant is hard to achieve. But OMG I’ve never laughed so much.

Caversham Lakes – a brand new venue in the centre of Reading for all your adrenaline-fuelled fun – inflatable aqua obstacle course, paddleboarding, kayaking and open water swimming are all on the agenda. Plus a more chilled family beach for sunny days. From £15.

CAVERSHAM LAKES Aqua_Park
Caversham Lakes

Lagoona Aqua Park – On the outskirts of Reading is another aqua park with water obstacle course, paddle boarding and the handy new addition of a land-based course for those who are not keen on H2O. Set on a 25-acre lake just off J11 of the M4, Lagoona Aqua Park, is suitable for ages 8+.

Liquid Leisure – Europe’s largest inflatable obstacle course and home to the first Ninja Warrior UK Aqua Park, Liquid Leisure in Datchet, has long been the place to slide, bounce, jump, climb and get dumped into the water. They’ve also added an Aqua Jungle and a junior course for ages 4+.

HISTORY BUFF

queens-coronation-exhibition-robe windsor castle

Keeping the Platinum Jubilee celebrations simmering, The Queen’s Coronation Exhibition opens at Windsor Castle (7 July – 26 Sept). Don’t miss the chance to see the exquisite Norman Hartnell Coronation Dress and purple silk velvet Robe of Estate from that extraordinary event in 1953. It took 12 embroiderers, using 18 different types of gold thread, more than 3,500 hours to complete the work on the robe between March and May 1953.

Turns out you’re never too old to draw some wonder from drawers of preserved beetles and butterflies and the occasional stuffed deer. Reading Museum, with its full size Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, has more than its fair share of stuffed animals, art and biscuits. Eton College’s Natural History Museum (17,000+ exhibits) and the West Berkshire Museum with its Greenham Common Peace Camp collection and Woolly Mammoth tusks are a fascinating and free way to spend an hour (donations are welcome).  

Museum of Berkshire Aviation in Woodley, Reading

If you’re sick of airport queues and lost baggage, take a flight back in time this summer to Woodley Airfield and visit the under the radar Museum of Berkshire Aviation, which was once the centre of a “thriving aircraft industry. You can see exhibitions featuring rebuilt planes, displays of artefacts and photographs along with heaps of information.

I’m not sure Roger Moore would approve of this amphibious motor, but then you won’t get many passengers in his water bound Lotus Esprit. Good job we have the Windsor Duck Tour bus to whizz around the historic streets of Windsor for dunking into the river. Rain or shine, this is fun history lesson/ sightseeing adventure. 

ON STAGE

Ministry of Science Corn Exchange Newbury

Fire, explosions and plenty of bangs – kids go nuts for dramatic science. Don’t miss Ministry of Science: Science Saved The World at the Corn Exchange in Newbury on 30 July. Then pray they don’t try it at home.

Take it outside at Savill Garden in Windsor. First up Cinderella – glass slippers, footman and pumpkin coach all provided by The Queen (she’s all partied out) on 28 Aug. Then it’s Shakespearean favourite Romeo & Juliet (29 Aug). There’s also an Abba tribute band on 27 Aug, no drama (unless there’s a backstage bust up), but will be fun. On the other side of the county at Shaw House in Newbury, Immersion Theatre will perform the family favourite Rapunzel on 17 Aug.

Keeping things al fresco, there’s plenty outdoor cinema action to keep you entertained too. Luna Cinema at Ascot Racecourse is showing Choose from No Time To Die (14 July), West Side Story (15 July), Grease (16 July) and The Goonies (17 Jul). Cobbs Farm Hungerford is screening Mamma Mia on 23 July.

WORKSHOPS & SESSIONS

REDDAM HOUSE SUMMER CAMP CYCLING

The long summer school holiday can raise your stress levels into the danger zone as your juggle work, family and life. Reddam House Summer Camp is running a residential/ day camp (17-31 July) that offers robotics, performing arts, outdoor adventures and sports. It’s a great chance to get social, learn stuff and have a blast.

Another fun day camp option is Camp Beaumont, offering activity days for ages 3-16. Each camp programme is tailor-made to suit each age group from the craft-loving seven-year-old to the most energetic 10-year-old. Even the coolest-of-cool teens will relax the scowl in the grown-up, club-style vibe of the Teens Club. There 40 different sites including The Holt School in Wokingham and Wellington Health Fitness Club in Crowthorne. From £42.60.

Roll up, roll up for Circus Week at Norden Farm in Maidenhead from 26 July. Great for kids ages 7-13, this is A four day workshop that will teach them to walk on stilts, ride a unicycle, walk the tightrope and perform on a trapeze!

Release the tension! And what better place to send them than Kids Yoga at Swan at Streatley on 22 July and 5, 12 and 19 Aug. Creative yoga workshops for 4-8 yr olds, where they’ll get to release energy and hit the reset button. You can join in or work on your own tension in the cafe/bar – coffee? wine? Choose your poison and relax.

JUST FOR TEENS

If there’s one thing to lure your teens away from Love Island and SnapChat, it’s the chance to cover themselves in sequins for a night of music, comedy and dance at Flackstock at Englefield House in Theale on 25 July. Names confirmed include: Pixie Lott, Fleur East, Professor Green, Ashley Roberts, Sigma, Dermot O’Leary, Keith Lemon, Joel Dommett, Matt Richardson and Paddy McGuinness.

Reading Festival has become a rite of passage for teens for a post results day blow out. (26-28 Aug) Arctic Monkeys are headlining alongside Dave, Rage Against the Machine, Halsey, Megan Thee Stallion and more. Alternatively, you can choose something a bijou and family friendly at Readipop (8-10 July) is a brilliant boutique music festival offering a laid-back vibe but with all the festival bells and whistles we love: music, street food, drinkies and fun stuff for the kids. Then from 23-24 JulyMarvellous pops up at Dinton Pasture Country Park in Hurst with tribute acts UK Foo Fighters, The Jam’d, Definitely Mightbe, Queen act Flash, Wild Boys and more taking to the stage..

If you’re teen loves a drama bomb, head to Reading’s Abbey Ruins for the Progress Theatre’s open-air production of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations (20-30 July).

Hot air balloon

Even the grumpiest teen will surely be won-over by the magical sights at the Berkshire Balloon and Action Extravaganza on 29 July at Newbury Showground. Witness awesome hot air balloons, death defying demos, crazy stunts, a fairground and fireworks finale. Gates open at 1pm.

How do you drag your gaming obsessed teens out of the house? We’ve got a couple of ideas. Re-Load in Reading is funky shooting range where you practice hitting targets without live ammunition. The laser clay guns used fire harmless infra-red beams. No loud bangs, no recoil bruising, eco-friendly and and cheaper than traditional shooting. Or, jump in with both feet let them play war games at Meet Space VR in Thatcham where there are single and multiplayer games, VR Escape Rooms and more.

Teens interested in nature? The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is holding several Teen Rangers Wildlife Club (for 12-16 year olds) sessions this summer: in Windsor Great Park on 23 July and in Thatcham on 6 Aug, and 3 Sept. Expect cool activities, bush craft skills, and getting stuck in with vital conservation efforts. Also in Thatcham is the Daring Detectives Teen Session on 16 Aug, which involves tracking animals and learning to identify them by their bones — actually quite cool.

Test their sense of adventure and balance on a SUP tour of the Kennet & Avon Canal. Wild Paddle Berkshire is sightseeing with a difference. The difference being you’re on a paddle board and there’s a risk of getting wet.. Run by Lara and her expert team, the tours set off from both Newbury and Kintbury locks and are perfect for beginners through to advanced.

THE BIG SMOKE

Fancy taking them into the city this summer? There’s certainly plenty to entice. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has a new musical adaptation of 101 Dalmations boasting Warhorse-style puppets (12 July – 28 Aug), which just screams perfect family summer outing.

Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, Opera Holland Park has a production of Little Women that could be the perfect thing for introducing kids to opera — get you and your high-brow offspring! Performance dates are 22, 28, 30 July3 & 5 Aug

In the West End, the production of To Kill a Mockingbird with Rafe Spall (TryingHot Fuzz) as Atticus Finch is getting rave reviews at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. A great adaptation of a classic English class read? Pat yourself on the back, that’s parenting done right. Spall is Atticus until 13 August, at which point he’ll be replaced by Richard Coyle. 

For a simply comforting classic, you could take the kids to see My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum. Returning to the UK after a 21-year break, this Broadway production is multi-award-winning and full of fun costumes. It runs until 27 Aug

A great and criminally underrated musical to catch is Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre. Boasting wild Newfoundland accents, this tells the true story of when 7,000 people unexpectedly had to land at a tiny Canadian town (which only itself had a population of 9,000) due to the closure of the American air space immediately following 9/11. It’s a charming, heart-warming look at human kindness that succeeds in not feeling cheesy. 

Fancy an exhibition? The British Museum‘s fascinating exhibition The World of Stonehenge continues until 17 July, revealing the secrets of this most famous British monument. Kew Gardens has a major exhibition called Food Forever, that explores how we can combat climate change and biodiversity loss to protect our food from extinction in clever, interactive ways, on until 18 Sept. Over in Kensington, The V&A‘s charming exhibition Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature (very kid-pleasing!) continues until early next year, and the Science Museum has an exhibit on Our Future Planet, all about ways science is developing to fight climate change. Perfect for those sufferers of climate anxiety.

Find more ideas here

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