21 things to do with the kids this half term
Pop the Tramadol, the kids are free! Yes, hours and days of young people around your feet, waiting to be entertained. Half Term Muddy guide to the rescue!
Woohoo! the sun’t out (*coughs*), school’s out (argh! excuse me while I practice with my juggling balls) and there’s loads to entertain the kids. No need for survival mode, just a collective deep breath, perhaps a picnic, definitely wine and your Muddy Guide. We’ve got your back.
The Big Tree Climb, Cliveden Taplow, Mon 28 – Tues 29 May
Fancy getting a new perspective on the world? The Great Big Tree Climbing Company will teach you and yours how to enter a tree’s canopy using ropes, knots and karabiners (no idea what that is, let’s move on) before doing the fun bit and taking the zip wire back down. I humiliated myself on a zipwire (I will need 3 gins to spill that story) so have a go just for the laughs. Coming to Cliveden Mon 28 – Tues 29 May, Stonor Wed 30 – Thurs 31 May and Hughenden Fri 1 June. Minimum age: 6.
Royal Wedding and Windsor Castle, Legoland Windsor
Haven’t had enough of the Royal Wedding? Pass the prosecco we’re going in. Relive the whole thing in Lego brick form. Legoland Windsor has pieced together Harry and Meghan’s big day with a 39,960 brick Windsor Castle, plus 1,500 more for the Ascot carriage, plus endless mini bricks to complete the senior Royals, horses and flag waving well wishers. Not your bag? Then Ninjago World and rollercoasters should hit the spot.
T Rex The Killer Question, Longleat Safari Park Wiltshire, now – 3 Sept
Longleat is positively prehistoric – and no we’re not referring to Lord Bath (aristocracy’s answer to Hugh Hefner). T Rex has arrived at the safari park all the way from the National History Museum to star in T Rex: the Killer Question – a prehistoric installation of epic proportions; 8 animatronic models and static scenes will take you on a journey of discovery. But was Big T more of a scavenger than predator? You decide. Longleat.co.uk
Dinosaur World Live, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 2 – Sun 3 June
Why can pre-schoolers reel off the names of flesh eating giants like T rex, Triceratops, Styracasaurus and Baryonyx but can’t say the word gloves? It’s a mystery, but there is no doubt they’ll LOVE the jaw dropping puppetry of these pre-historic superstars as they thud, stomp and roaaaaar onto the Reading stage. readingarts.com
Colourscape, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 26 May – Sun 3 June
For the fourth year in a row, the spectacular Colourscape returns to Waddesdon with 56 interlinked chambers for the trippiest experience outside of Glastonbury. There’s a new structure to fit the Aviary glade with long views of intense colour and light plus music and pleasingly bazaar dance performances inside the larger spaces – just whizz off down another bouncy tunnel if they’re just too, erm, ethnic, for you. My kids proclaimed this the best thing they went to all last year, and even my grunting 15 year old was impressed, so persevere with the snaking queues – it’s one of the most unusual experiences around.
Children Are Stinky, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 28 May
Set in the 90s (with all your parents’ favourite tracks) this is a show full of circus and hilarity. Children Are Stinky is packed with lighting fast hula hooping, dare devil balances, astounding strength and incredible acrobatics. It will leave children and adults with their jaws on the floor. Suitable for 3-12 years. norden.farm
The Future Starts Here, V&A London, now – sun 4 Nov
With phone obsessed kidults in mind, the V&A’s new The Future Starts Here exhibition is a brilliant day out with older kids. The V&A’s Sainsbury Gallery has been turned into an interactive playground of techy gadgets, detailed dioramas and video installations – there’s even a sandpit to run your RSI-riddled fingers through, an emotion-reading mirror, a self-rocking crib and a robotic cuddly seal designed to keep dementia-sufferers company. The V&A does the Science Museum, and might even spark a conversation with your teen that’s longer than a series of grunts. vam.ac.uk
Alice in Wonderland, South Hill Park Bracknell, Wed 31 May – Sun 3 Jun
Make mine a double gin and I’ll happily disappear down a rabbit hole into the trippy world of Alice in Wonderland. Your kids will love it for entirely different reasons. South Hill Park always put on a damn fine school holiday musical with spectacular starting. They’re a talented bunch. Book in or the Red Queen will be “frumious”. southhillpark.org.uk
Superheroes and Villains, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Beds, Fri 26 May – Sun 3 June
Personally I prefer the breezy spaces of Whipsnade to the relative claustrophobia of London Zoo, and if you have young kids they’ll absolutely love the train ride, enormous play park, and the bird of prey and seal displays. This half term there’s also a whole load of activities and events to celebrate those superheroes who tackle threats to wildlife, plus a self-guided Superpowers Trail of animals with amazing superpowers.
Underbelly Festival, Southbank London, Fri 25 May – Sat 2 Jun
Underbelly Festival is back and it’s 10 years old! If you’ve never been, then make a beeline for Southbank this summer. Brilliant for littlies, teens and grown ups, the line up is a superb mix of top comedy, cabaret, kids theatre and eye popping circus acts. There’s a real festival atmosphere with street food and crafty drinks. It’s an absolute must visit. underbellyfestival.com
Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury, Sun 29 May – Sun 4 June
You are going to be overdosing on cuteness at Bucklebury Farm Park. Who an resist the lure of newborn furry friends – and they don’t get much cuter than Anglo Nubian goat kids and new deer calves. Early risers (is there any other type of child?) can join a Spring Deer Safari on Sat 2 and Sun 3 June. Get up at daybreak to see the new deer calves and enjoy a woodland BBQ. Limited numbers. Email email@example.com for details.buckleburyfarmpark.co.uk
Go Canoeing, Advenure Dolphin, Pangbourne Sat 26 May – Sun 3 June
Did you know that hundreds of events and challenges are being organized nationwide to help encourage people give canoeing a go between 26 May and 3 June? Nope, me neither – but we do now, so there’s absolutely no hiding behind the sofa! National Go Canoeing Week is being celebrated at Adventure Dolphin in Pangbourne with FREE canoeing sessions on Weds 30 and Thurs 31 May. Check out their website for details. adventuredolphin.co.uk
Highclere Country Show, Highclere Castle, Hants, Sun 27 – Mon 28 May
The usual dog shows, bouncy castle, birds of prey and ferret racing but I’m particularly liking the look of the gold panning in the hope that Lord Carnarvon might have mislaid an Eqyptian treasure. Under 16s go free – result!
Glass workshop, Pisces Glass Creations Warfield, Tues 29 May – Fri 1 Jun
If the wether’s a bit meh, or you have a crafty kid, why not hang out and do something together. That’s right TOGETHER… Pisces Glass Creations has a fab studio at Moss End Garden Village, and Jackie’s running fun glass fusing workshops during half term (Tues-Fri, 11am). Create and craft a glass coaster, creature or sun-catcher. piscesglasscreations.co.uk
Adventure Week, Wellington Country Park, May 28 -3 June
Running throughout half term, simply collect your Nature Activity Pack when you arrive at Reception, then use it to explore the Park. Discover what’s lurking the lake, pet some furry cuteness and brave the mini beasts. Woo hoo! Challenge accepted. Winner gets the last Chocolate Club biscuit. wellington-country-park.co.uk
Wedding Bells of Windsor Music Festival, Moat Garden Windsor Castle, Sat 26 May
The Wedding celebrations are gonna be eeked out until autumn, I reckon. A week after the I dos, Windsor Castle will celebrate royal weddings past and present with a music festival in the Moat Garden. Take part in special wedding-themed storytelling sessions, picnic beneath the Round Tower and listen to live music throughout the day. Perfect opportunity to catch up on some zzzz in the sunshine. royalcollection.org.uk
Go Ape, Swinley Forest Bracknell, open all year
No matter what the weather, if you want to get outdoors, get some fresh air and have some fun head to Swinley Forest and tackle the Go Ape course. You’ll enjoy a fun-filled hour exploring the canopy, trail blazing and tackling obstacles – finishing on the zip wire. The Junior Adventure is aimed at 6-12 year-old Tarzans, but if your child is under 6 but over a metre tall they can still join in. goape.co.uk
Living Nightmare Extreme, Thorpe Park, Fri 25 May – Sun 3 June
Tramadol at the ready if you’re going to join your teen in this live action horror maze where double the amount of walkers (I’m guessing people, not walking aids) are in your way to safety as you experience terrifying scenes from the horror franchise. Only on during half term, it sounds horrific. Your kids will love it. thorpepark.com
Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Blenheim, Oxon, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May
Raymond Blanc and Kenny Tutt (this year’s Masterchef champ), will be appearing at this stately festival where you can gorge yourself at 130 food and drink stalls before gaining some ‘me-time’ by booting your kids into the maze at the pleasure gardens. As long as they make it out before five they’ll be fine! blenheimpalace.com
Warwick Castle, War of the Roses Live, from Sat May 26
This spectacular castle just over the border is always a winner with Muddy and they are very good at luring us back. Not only is there the return of the live action show, War of the Roses (more stunts and tricks than you can shake a stick at) but there’s a new family-friendly challenge – The Escape Room. Set in an underground prison, actors lead castle visitors as they battle the clock to set a knight free through puzzles, clues and stories. Think Crystal Maze meets The Krypton Factor. Add the regular birds of prey demos, the mighty trebuchet, archery and ramparts to rampage and it’s good value. (Top tip: if it’s a sunny day it might be worth your while to bring a picnic, you can queue for ages for food). warwick-castle.com
Zip Now London, Southbank London, now – Sun 9 Sept
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube anyway of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. It’s not cheap – adults pay £22.50 and children get to ride it for £16.50. Suitable from 8+, book online. zip-now.co