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Muddy half-term saviour

Eek, they're off on hols again – but we've got ammunition. Check out these 15 faberoo things to do with the kids this half-term.

Nature Week, Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, Sat 26 to Sun 3 June

kids and mum looking at nature

From pond dipping to woodland adventures – minibeast safari or worm charming anyone? – half term week has a wild theme at Adam Henson’s knockout farm. Nature rangers will be on hand to lead activities and raise conservation awareness and sheep shearing will be going on during that week too, which is always fun to watch. cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk

 

Knight’s School, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Sun 27 to Wed 30 May

knight in armour sword

Need a knight in shining armour? Yes please (I’ll have Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Henry VIII please)! I’m very pleased to be able to share Berkeley Castle’s Knight School with you, especially as us parents can join in too. There are two sessions each day – the first for ages five to nine and the other for ten-year-olds to adults. And there’s a Warrior Show at 3.30pm each day too. berkeleycastle

 

Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Blenheim, Oxon, Sat 26 to 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

The Little Mermaid, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Tue 29 May

ballerinas

Watch Ballet Theatre UK perform the dramatic re-telling of the Hans Christian Anderson’s family classic The Little Mermaidrosestheatres.org

 

Tidy Up, Peut Être Theatre Company, Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury, Tue 29 May

Inspired by the inside of a child’s brain by portraying the way they see order, patterns and systems. Tidy Up has invited you to a world of mess and fantastic disorder. This dance theatre performance will guarantee entertained kiddies and will even give the parents a few giggles. salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Kids Cookery Baking, Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope, Wed 30 May

This sounds like a good way to get a morning to yourself over half-term – and the kids should enjoy it too. I mean baking cakes in a kitchen that your mother isn’t getting stressed about you making a mess in has got to be a winner. And they get to scoff the lot at the end. (And also, how about those ladybird aprons!!) hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk

 

Romeo & Juliet, The HandleBards, The Pound, Pound Pill, Corsham, Wed 30 May

TheHandleBards are the world’s first cycling theatre company (yes, you read that right). The companies motto is ‘seriously silly’ which can be expected from their family friendly production of Romeo & Juliet. Just the thing to introduce your offspring to the bard, methinks!! poundarts.org.uk

 

Pirate Children’s Wednesday, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Wed 30 May

Pirate fancy dress is the order of the day or else you’ll be forced to walk the plank! Who will be the best Jack Sparrow or Red-Handed Jill? Set sail with Captain Barnacle on his hilarious pirate pantomime show, board the Jolly Roger pirate ship bouncy castle, have a go at some arts and crafts and much more! Including downtime for parents in the fairy-tale grounds of the castle. Ahh, bliss. sudeleycastle.co.uk

 

Living Nightmare Extreme, Thorpe Park, Fri 25 May to 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

 

RampNation Skatepark, Devizes, Wilts, throughout hols

Even grump-tastic teens might consider this indoor skatepark cool. Built for inlines, scooters, skateboards and BMX, it’s a massive 5000 sq ft of skater heaven partly designed by local skaters, so they can ride whatever the weather and keep out of your hair. RampNation.co.uk

 

Jungle Parc, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Wilts, throughout hols

The Xplorer Course is the one for big kids, teens and brave others. It’s new, it’s VERY exciting (apparently) and it’s suspended so high in the tree canopy you can’t even see them. Perfect. jungleparc.co.uk

 

Rush Skatepark, Brimscombe, near Stroud, Glos, throughout hols

bmx ramp teenager

The biggest skatepark in the country, this family-run and family-friendly (and sponsored by no less than cool clothing giant Superdry), it’s no gangsta hangout (there’s a strict zero tolerance policy to drink, drugs and bullying), but is still your über-hip hangout. Offering a unique rider experience for BMXs, scooters, skateboards and aggressive skates, the fully-marshalled, 40,000 sq ft park offers a street section, park and bowl sections, jump track, foam pit and resi. (Had to look that last one up – it’s a ramp. I know, I’m embarrassing…) rushskatepark.co.uk

 

Far Peak Climbing Centre, Northleach, Glos, throughout hols

There’s nothing like an adrenaline rush and Far Peak near Northleach has plenty of those on offer with its indoor climbing and bouldering (that’s climbing without ropes and harnesses for anyone who didn’t know, ie, me) and 15m outdoor tower that’s just waiting to be scaled. For Easter hols there are extended opening times (9.15am-10pm) and activities that cater for pretty much all ages. During the week, budding Robin Hoods can also have a go at archery and budding Bear Gryllses can try their hand at Bush Craft where they’ll forage the 25 acres, light camp fires, cook marshmallows (yeah, Bear does that) and build dens. wildrockclimbing.co.uk

 

Slimbridge Wetland Centre, near Dursley, throughout hols

This Best Family Attraction Muddy finalist has a whole load of half-term-friendly activities, including canoe safaris which take you along a watery trail where you can spot dragonflies, kingfishers and water voles; giant nest building where kids can build their own hideaway den; and ranger survival camp that equips them with all the skills they need to survive in the wild. There are also Land Rover safaris, a discovery hide for budding twitchers and the wonderful Toad Hall full to the rafters with amphibians. And don’t miss the super cute otters who will melt your heart when they come out to feed. The playground is brilliant and has been recently revamped with a tower and wobbly bridge and there’s also an indoor soft play area. wwt.org.uk

 

Go Ape, Mallards Pike Lake & Beechenhurst Lodge, Forest of Dean, throughout hols

There’s not one, but two Go Apes, the treetop adventure playground for Tarzans and Janes, in the Forest of Dean, England’s largest oak woodland, and, says Go Ape itself, it’s probably its most beautiful location out of its 31 outposts around the UK. The site at Mallards Pike Lake is home to the original Tree Top Adventure and Forest Segway, while three miles down the road, Beechenhurst Lodge is the place to go for a Tree Top Junior Adventure. The site was completely redesigned recently and now includes new obstacles including the Tank Trap, The Shuffle, Net Bridge and Itchen Crossing among the zip wires, Tarzan swings and rope ladders. And if you need a bit of rest after all that but still want to explore the leafy surroundings, you can hop on a forest Segway and go in search of wild boar, deer and birds of prey.
goape.co.uk

 

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