It’s your mega half term guide!
Brilliant Birds quiz trail, Sywell Country Park, Sun 28 May – Sun 5 Jun
Bird themed half term quiz trail for your little ones (of the winged variety of course)! Pick up a trail pack from the Pump House Café to win small prizes and follow the trail map, answering the questions. A lovely day out for all the family (unless it’s pouring down, in which case, you can all camp up for hot choccie in the caff)!
Half Term Project: Around the World in Four Days (Ages 8-13), Tues 31 May – Fri 3 Jun
Let your kids travel the world in four days: swinging through the Amazon rainforest, sunbathing in the Sahara desert, swimming in the Great Barrier Reef and skiing in the Alps. Join professional theatre leaders for four days of fun, drama-themed activities as you work towards an informal performance at the end of the week for friends and family. This holiday project will will run in two groups, one for ages 4-7 and one for ages 8-13.
SPLAT holiday activities for children, Brackley Leisure Centre, Tue 31 May – Fri 3 Jun
Half term sports, play, leisure and arts fun for 5 to 15 year-olds at Brackley Leisure Centre. Run as a great activity hub by lovely activity leaders, this will keep the kids entertained while you catch up on all of that paperwork (aka boxsets ; ) Open 9am – 3pm.
The Jungle Book, Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Thurs 2 June
Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli must leave the only home he’s ever known when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan unleashes his mighty roar. Guided by a no-nonsense panther and a free-spirited bear, the young boy meets an array of jungle animals, including a slithery python and a smooth-talking ape. Along the way, Mowgli learns valuable life lessons as his epic journey of self-discovery leads to fun and adventure. This Disney remake will have the whole family feeling like the king of the swingers!
Magic Lessons for Muggles – Dragons, Fairies and Plants, Salcey Forest, Thurs 2 Jun
Go and find out about the more unusual inhabitants of Salcey Forest – and how you can help them! A fun outdoor day for the children this half term. I do believe in fairies, I do! Children – £5, Toddlers and Adults £1.50, 10am – Noon
Survival Course, Lowther Centre, Thurs 2 Jun
Get the Kids outdoors this half term! The course will teach them survival skills like fire lighting, shelter building, knots, team building and navigation to name a few (maybe I could sneak out for a week and they wouldn’t notice). Seriously, this is a great opportunity to get the kids off their computers and it’s £15 per child including dinner/lunch. The Hunger Games here we come! Adults welcome to stay, 10am til 2pm £15 per child or 3pm til 7pm £15 per child.
Pop Factor – the Concert, Lighthouse Theatre, Fri 3 Jun
Pop Factor, The Concert is a celebration of the biggest pop stars and current chart hits! From Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry to Olly Murs they’ve squeezed in smash hits from favourite pop stars to create your very own pop concert! This show is the perfect night out for kids (both young and old!). Show starts at 6.30pm, tickets £17, concessions £15, family of four £60
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (12A), Stanwick Lakes, Fri 3 Jun
The Lunarflix outdoor cinema experience returns to the lakeside amphi-theatre (the muddy household made it to Mamma Mia last Sunday and can give it the full thumbs up) ! The summer season continues with the outrageous time-warpin’ mega-hit musical! Join in with this wild favourite on a HUGE outdoor screen (that kinda looks like a flat bouncy castle with an awesome picture) – dress how you dare of course! Online tickets only – adult: £11.50 – under 15: £8.00.
HORRIBLE HISTORIES: GROOVY GREEKS AND INCREDIBLE INVADERS, Royal and Derngate, 7 JUN – 11 JUN
We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! So it’s time to prepare yourselves for Horrible Histories live on stage. Using actors and 3D special effects, these two world premieres are guaranteed to thrill you and your children, perfect for the half term!
From savage Sparta to angry Athens, discover the truth about growing up in Greece. Take on the Trojans and pummel the Persians! Compete in the first ever Olympic Games and appear in the very first play. Meet your match with the Minotaur and be zapped by Zeus!
The Celts are crunched when the Ruthless Romans invade. Can crazy Caratacus save the nation? Hide behind Hadrian’s Wall. See the Savage Saxons smash their way in.
Find out who’s at Sutton Hoo. Will you survive the Vicious Vikings as they sail into the audience?
Annie Themed Musical Theatre Course, Milton Keynes Theatre, Tues 31 May – Fri 3 June
A four day course for 7-12 year olds learning routines and scenes from Annie, in Milton Keynes Theatre itself. The second day of the course will involve a group trip to watch the Wednesday matinee of Annie. No prior experience is necessary but clearly love of dance, singing and acting is essential!
11am -4pm (Tue, Thu & Fri) 11am-5pm (Wed). £90 pp. Ages 7-12.
Udderbelly Festival, South Bank, London, now to Sun 17 July
Lots of quirky stuff going on at Udderbelly, the annual theatre, alternative comedy, dance, acrobatics and kids festival. Head down to the South Bank (Udderbelly has London’s longest bar – just saying), pick a couple of shows, and enjoy the river vibe.
Running Wild, by Michael Morpurgo, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
A boy escaping a tsnumani in Indonesia runs straight into the jungle, miles from civilisation. Wonder and adventure turns to thoughts of his mum left behind on the beach, tigers prowling, hunger, and Will must learn how to survive in the rainforest. A new adapation of Running Wild. Let’s be blunt, it’s not going to be laugh-a-minute stuff, but moving? Without doubt.
Longridge Activity days, Marlow, Mon–Fri
Hero over at Muddy Bucks & Oxon will happily admit she has booted her kids into these for years and they absolutely love them. Monday (Bank Holiday) is a Family Activity Day where you can try stuff out together (or encourage your children into the zorb while you knock back a coffee – mea culpa!). Then Tues-Fri children can go for the whole day – 8.30-4pm (£40) or 8.30 to 5.30pm (£50) doing a range of outdoor activities like wall climbing, the leap of faith, raft building, kayaking etc. It includes lunch too so it’s incredible value, and you’re literally tickling Marlow’s belly, it takes about 2 minutes to drive into town from Longridge.
Giffords Circus, Daylesford Farm, 3-6 June
This Cotswolds touring family circus is out of the starting blocks with a new show The Painted Wagon – a comedic homage to the Wild West. Tweedy the clown is back for another year, there are some new performers to keep things interesting, and as usual it’s live music and a whole load of quirky brilliance. No Berkshire dates sadly, but plenty in Oxfordshire over the next few months so it’s not far to go for such a fab show.
ZSL London Zoo, Sunset Safari, from 3 June
I think this sounds magical for children who love their animals – taking place on Friday nights from 3 June onwards you can explore the zoo at dusk on a Sunset Safari, how cool is that?! From 6pm to 10pm embark on your very own safari taking in over 700 species from ring-tailed lemurs to golden orb spiders to mighty Asiatic lions. There will be science stations dotted around so you can chat to the zoo’s scientists about the animals and the zoo’s conservation work, plus carnival acts, a world food market and a bean-bag strewn Base Camp where you can relax in the setting sun to some smooth jazz and acoustic jams (it was never like this in Out of Africa). Tickets: Adults £27; Children £20.25.
Horrible Histories and Terrible Tudors at Hampton Court Palace, Thurs 26 May – Thurs 2 June
Slightly out of the way but I like the idea of Terrible Tudors actually being performed in a Tudor palace! Performed by the Birmingham Stage Company, performances last one hour and take place in the East Front Gardens of the palace. Open air, unreserved grass seating, so bring a blanket with you!
Half Term at Warwick Castle, Thurs 28 May – Sat 5 June
Even though it’s expensive, I always think Warwick Castle is a good value day out because they’re forever adding to their offering. This year they’re performing a Horrible Histories Wicked Warwick Live Stage Show; sword skills taught by Warwick Castle’s own heroic knight; and a six-strong aerial birds of prey display, in addition to the recently-opened Horrible Histories Maze where visitors have to rearrange history into the right order.
Number Four Privet Drive, Harry Potter Studios, Fri 27 May – Mon 6 June
A limited opportunity to step inside Number Four, Privet Drive and peer into the Dursleys’ living room as the exterior set is opened especially for the Studio Tour’s anniversary celebrations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. During production, set decorators had lots of fun sourcing the ugliest sofas, worst tiles and most vulgar curtains possible. See for yourself and rejoice in your good taste!
Already been, but useful to know…
Sushi Made Simple, Bay Tree Cottage, Thurs 26 May
Using the traditional Japanese bamboo rolling mat, tutor Rashmita Shah will share her culinary skills and passion to show you all the skills and techniques you need to make your own selection of homemade sushi! Dinner party hosts at the ready (I’ve tried this with the kids, and apart from finding sticky rice in furniture crevices two months later, it was a roaring success).
Outdoor Cinema – JAWS (12A), Stanwick Lakes, Fri 27 May
The popular outdoor cinema experience returns to the lake-side amphi-theatre this whole weekend! The summer season begins with Spielberg’s classic masterpiece! Don’t miss this movie event on a HUGE outdoor screen and 4k watts of sound! (Ooooh fancy!) Why not bring a picnic to enjoy too (just make sure it ain’t shark bait)!
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (12A), Stanwick Lakes, Sat 28 May
The new summer season continues with the epic latest chapter in the Star Wars saga! For a Saturday night out that everyone can enjoy (apart from if you don’t like Star Wars, then take your audiobook and headphones – yes, I may have done this once, don’t judge)!
MAMMA MIA! (PG), Stanwick Lakes, Sun 28 May
The Sunday sees mini Mudlet’s fave, the ABBA movie smash! Get everyone singing and tapping their toes to this musical extravaganza! Me, Mini Mud and Grand Mud sing frequently to this one!
Swing & Jazz in the Garden, Castle Ashby, Fri 27 May
The A 2 band swing and jazz evening will be held in marquees in the garden of Castle Ashby House (ahhhh picturing it now, fizz in hand, musical notes rolling off the hillside). Featuring Susan Valliant Speer and her group, with Julian Stringle and Digby Fairweather, this is what you call a classy evening! Leave the kids at home and take your girlfriends on a lovely night out (unless your kids love a bit of Swing).
Open at 6.30 pm until late Tickets £18 including a hot supper and bar.