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Things to do in August


Summer holiday projects, Underground at Royal and Derngate from 31 July – 4 Aug

Matilda The Musical РSam S. Shubert Theatre РThe Broadway Cast РPress Art РPhoto Credit: ©2013 Joan Marcus

So the school holidays land upon us once more and yet again the Royal & Derngate steps up to the plate offering our kids the opportunity to test out their theatrical talents, whilst giving parents a break.  Win:Win.    Mon 31 July – Fri 4 August the theatrical project will be the brilliant Jungle Book, which is suitable for ages 4-7.  The kids are invited to join all of their well loved and favourite characters as they all venture into the jungle for this magical and enchanting tale. Cost: £125 per participant.

For older kids it’s a 20 minute version of Matilda the musical that’s on offer. Mon 31 July – Fri 4 August. The full length version is the winner of over 75 international awards, and is the musical of Roald Dahl’s classic book Matilda which has taken the world by storm. All participants will rehearse and perform an abridged version of this ever-popular tale, filled with action-packed scenes and show‑stopping songs. Suitable for ages 8-13.  Once again, the cost is £125 per participant.

Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP


X-plorer Orienteering, Brixworth Country Park, 11am – 3pm, Weds, 2 & 18 Aug

Take part in this unique orienteering adventure. A family activity for all ages; help each other to find the clues and complete the course. Certificate and gift for all children taking part. £1 per child suggested donation. £1 per child suggested donation.

Brixworth Country Park, Northampton Road, Brixworth, Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire NN6 9DG Contact telephone: 0300 126 5932

Canons Ashby – 50 things Thursdays, 11 – 3pm , Thu 3 Aug, Thu 10 Aug, Thu 17 Aug, Thu 24 Aug, Thu 31 Aug

I love this idea! Keep the kids happy during the school holidays whilst enjoying quality family fun in the fresh air. On Thursdays join the team at Canons’ Ashby  for activities based around the 50 things to do before you’re 11. Pick up your 50 things scrapbook and start collecting stickers for every challenge you complete. There will be a different activity every week, from seed planting to hedgehog houses so please check back here for more details nearer the time. Booking Not Needed.This is a National Trust Event so although it’s a free event, normal admission charges apply. Visit the Coach House first to start your visit. They will be able to direct you to the activities. Check website for latest information.

Canons Ashby, Canons Ashby House, Canons Ashby, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3SD

Comedy Capers Summer Holiday Project for 7-13 year olds,  Delapre Abbey, 9am – 4pm, Tues 1 Aug to Fri 4 Aug

Warts and All Theatre present a 4 day holiday comedy project at Delapre Abbey in Northampton for young people aged 7-13.

Want to explore comedy in a variety of different styles? Amuse yourself with a number of different types of comedy over the 4 days. One thing is for sure -you’ll be rolling home with laughter! Led by professional theatre practitioners; participants will play, learn and grow over an exciting week of games, activities and rehearsals. Participants will explore a variety of drama activities, which will culminate in an informal sharing to parents and guardians on the Friday afternoon.  Cost: £65 (Earlybird Advance Online Payment) £75 (On The Day payment- Online Deposit of £35 advised to secure place + £40 on first day of project.)

Delapré Abbey, London Road, Northamptonshire NN4 8AW

Wharf Distillery Family Pizza Night 4 – 9pm, Fri 4 Aug & Fri 1 Sep

Wakefield Country courtyard in Potterspury is well worth a visit with award winning Vitreus Art Gallery and Grafton Spa on site, but a regular feature is Wharf Distillery’s family pizza night.  Yay – another reason to visit.  This time it’s delicious stonebaked pizza cooked fresh on site by Little Oven of Joy on their wood-fired pizza oven. Relax in the  south-facing courtyard with a drink from their licensed bar serving local ciders, beers and wines whilst the kids enjoy themselves in our play area. Takeaway pizza/cider/beer also available.
4pm until 9pm. FREE Entry, FREE Parking

Wharf Distillery, Wakefield Country Courtyard, Poterspury, Towcester, Northamptonshire NN12 7QX

Ultimate Street Car, Santa Pod Raceway, Fri 4 to Sun 6 Aug

The fastest, hottest, largest & loudest modified car festival in Europe. If you’ve never been before then here’s what to expect….The finest drag strip in Europe and the UK’s most superbly executed show cars. The Ultimate Street Car has become one of the most eagerly-anticipated events on the car show calendar, and a single visit will soon tell you why. No other show packs as much into three days, with true heads-up quarter mile action playing out against a backdrop of high-octane antics that will see you partying hard into the wee small hours. Weekend Entry from Friday 9am. Weekend tickets from £60. Contact the Box Office on 01234 782828

Santa Pod Raceway, Airfield Road, Podington, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire NN29 7XA

The Fun Factory opens, Grosvenor Centre, Northampton, 11am – 4pm, 5/6 Aug

If you’re a busy Northampton (Grand) parent dreading a days shopping with little one in tow then help is at hand.  The Fun Factory at the Grosvenor Centre will officially launch on Saturday 5 August and gives you a chance to tire the little tigers out.  At the grand opening there will be free face painting, balloon modelling, fun characters and interactive games within the fun factory. Once launched, the Fun Factory will be open from 11am to 4pm daily and is completely free for supervised children who are four and under. The soft play area has been created by experts to create a wonderful space for young children to enjoy and includes vibrant colours and interactive elements such as giant zips and mirrored walls. These are all aimed at stimulate the children’s minds and helping them learn through play. It’s a completely free space for young children to enjoy and will be a permanent fixture in the centre .

Grosvenor Centre, 2 Union Street, Northampton NN1 2EW

Canons Ashby – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Pantaloons. Gates open 5.30pm. Showtime 6 – 8.15pm, 5 Aug

Fully family-friendly Shakespeare! Bring a rug and a picnic to relax with the whole family at this unmissable open-air theatre performance. Midsummer night. An enchanted forest. Puck and his musical fairy band tell a tale of lovers, mechanicals, and magical mayhem. The Pantaloons make their much-anticipated return to Shakespeare with this timeless comedy – told, as ever, in their own distinctive and anarchic style. A National Trust Event –  Check Website for Admission Charges. Park in the normal car park and follow the signage. Booking Essential. Phone: 03442491895.

Canons Ashby, Canons Ashby House, Canons Ashby, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3SD

Lyveden – Little Grey Men Children’s Trail 10.30am – 4pm until Sunday 3 Sep 2017

Join the Little Grey Men on a new adventure around the garden landscape at Lyveden. Inspired by the characters and stories of local Northamptonshire author ‘BB,’ our summer trail joins the gnomes on a new adventure. Explore the woods and moats at Lyveden and follow the story as the Little Grey Men journey down the bright stream. Booking Not Needed. Everyone welcome. Dogs on leads welcome. This is a National Trust event so normal admission charges apply. Trail leaflets can be purchased at the Visitor Centre.

Lyveden, near Oundle, Northamptonshire PE8 5AT

Circus Funtastic – Billing Aquadrome, until 3 Sept 

Circus Comes to Town

This is a summer residence not to missed. The spectacular summer show includes the beautiful Bonita Brophy all the way from Australia with her Hoola Hoop sensation, Matthew is a UK based artist with his unique cube manipulation, watch how he spins the giant metal shape with ease – It’s going to be mesmerising from start to finish. Tom is from Russia and will amaze you with his fabulous routine as he balances on one hand, Tom definitely has the OMG factor!! Charlotte Rose can be seen swinging high in the roof of the big top on her trapeze, her dare devil act will have you on the edge of your seats, Marishka will astound you all with her magic tricks and of course we have the funny clowns all the way from spain to ensure all round laughter is guaranteed.

Shows daily at 2pm & 4:30pm

Tickets prices: Children £5.99 Adults £6.99 (Upgrade to ringside for £1) Family offer £20 Tickets to be bought on arrival only, doors open one hour before the show.

Billing Aquadrome Northamptonshire NN3 9DA

Bats and Boats, Wicksteed Park, 11 & 18 Aug

Northamptonshire What's On, kids

Holy August activity!!!  Don’t be misled by the picture.  This is a twilight cruise to watch these fantastic flying bats  come out to forage and feed and you’ll be able to hear their calls using specially provided bat detectors. Meet at the Boathouse near the Lake at 8:00pm where the trip starts out in the Ferry Boat (or subject to numbers, rowing boats). Suitable for children over 8 year’s and ability to swim is advised. £3.50 per person or £12 per Family of 4.

Wicksteed Park, Barton Rd, Kettering NN15 6NJ

The Royal Ordnance Depot open days Sat 12 – 13 Aug

Weedon bec depot open day

Earlier in the year we headed over to The Narrow Boat at Weedon for a great foody review. On the way over we stopped of at the majestic Royal Ordnance depot  to visit Vintique limited. The buildings at the Depot date back to the first years of the 19th century when, in 1803, Britain was preparing itself to deal with the french menace – Napoleon. Back to 2017 and the encouraging news is that the historical warehouses are currently a source of huge private investment in the county and you can’t help but feel that the area will become a real attraction for us all in the next few years.  Even better – they’re holding an open weekend this week. The Open Days celebrate the history of The Royal Ordnance Depot by welcoming visitors to come and experience this hidden gem. A piece of British military history, long closed to the public invites you to come and look around.  Enjoy military reenactment, classic cars and commercial vehicles, theatre, great food, music, craft, vintage, antique stalls and lots more.
There is a free vintage bus park and ride from the car park in the village (carpark postcode for satnav NN7 4QU). Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are £5 each on the day for over 16 yrs, under 16s free entry. A limited number of Earlybird Family Tickets are available from Granny’s Cafe and Vintique Ltd prior to the event for £8 (2 adults and unlimited under 16s). Well behaved dogs are welcome on a lead. Most of the site is accessible to wheelchair users however there are areas of uneven ground due to the historic nature of the site. Some parts of the event will be in upstairs rooms with no lift access. There will still be lots to do and see on ground level.

Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon Bec, NN7 4PS

Lunaflix presents La La Land @ Boughton House, Sat 12 Aug

“City of Stars, are you shining just for me?” Now this is what outdoor cinema is really all about.  Gor-jus Ryan Gosling is the jazz pianist falling for an aspiring actress, played by the equally lovely Emma Stone.  Swap the location of  the city of angels for Boughton House in Kettering and there you have it.  Fantasy becomes reality. Doors open open at 7.30pm.  Tickets can be bought just here.


La La Land @ Boughton House, Geddington, Kettering NN14 1BJ

Visit Riverside Hub, Northampton – August 2017

In the recent Muddy Awards this fine hub of activity and learning received loads of votes so let’s tell you all about it.  If you didn’t know, The Riverside Hub a is a whopping great family entertainment centre right here in Northamptonshire. Both children and adults can enjoy a brilliant experience, with state-of-the-art soft play facilities, unique crooked house toddler village, sensory room featuring the latest specialist equipment, huge climbing tree, go-karts, laser tag arena and more! As well as all the play facilities they offer a range of classes to enable children to enjoy doing something different and perhaps learn a new skill or two at the same time. Why not try out the creative studio, with a make-a-bear workshop and pottery painting, as well as a cafe serving freshly prepared meals and snacks.  You could of course just chill out whilst eh kids tire themselves out.

Riverside Hub, 7 Carousel Way, Riverside Park, Northampton, NN3 9HG

Wind in the Willows, Boughton House, Kettering, Gates open 5pm, Showtime 6-8pm 15 Aug

Fun and frolics aplenty with this adaptation of the classic novel loved by children and adults alike, performed in the grounds of some of the UK and Ireland’s most beautiful open-air venues.Join Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad for a perfect summer of adventure. What starts as a search for the best picnic spot rapidly turns into the most hilarious of escapades. With the bumptious Toad’s heart set on a shiny new motorcar and his very liberty soon at stake, will his faithful friends come to his rescue – and will he let them? Alive with music and song, this magical family show is presented in beautiful traditional costume and features a woodland parade during the interval for everyone to join in with!  Adult £15 / Child £10 / Family (2 Adults & 2 Children) £44 10% discount for parties of 10 or more. Bring your own rugs or low-backed seating.

Boughton House, Kettering, Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire NN14 1BJ

National BikeSafe Show, Rockingham Motor Speedway, 10am – 5pm, 19 Aug

Bike safe 2017 Boy on Bike Rockingham

Does your family love love fast cars, bikes and want the chance to ride in a police car or fire engine.  Then the  National BikeSafe show is an amazing event that’s right up your street and its FREE entry.  The show brings together the very best of the national BikeSafe show and track experience and the Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service ‘Open Roads’ event. They want to raise awareness of improving motorcycle skills, whilst delivering a track experience and showcasing the very best of what the motorcycle industry has to offer. This year we are merging this with the ‘Open Roads’ event that highlights other vulnerable road users and their experiences. We think it’ll be great fun.  The aim is to provide a fun day out for families, non-drivers and drivers, young and old, but the motivation for the day was also to help cut the number of people being killed or injured on Northamptonshire’s roads.  Here’s what you can expect;

  • Stunt shows
  • ‘Have a go’ experiences including ‘Get on’ and ‘crazy bikes’.
  • Try your hand at driving an articulated truck around the track for free
  • Experience a traffic police car ride around the circuit
  • Watch the police bring pursuits to a ‘tactical resolution’.

Rockingham Motor Speedway, Mitchell Rd, Rockingham, Corby NN17 5AF

Camping at West Lodge Farm, Desborough Sat 19 August

Who fancies a overnight trip to Northants Best Family attraction? West Lodge Farm were voted as winners  of the Muddy Award 2017 (beating some larger attractions into second place) and so when they have a special event planned we know it’s going to be great.  The team up there in Desborough have two weekends pencilled in where families can pitch a tent and spend 2 days at the farm, enjoy their home reared hog roast, twilight walks, camp fire, marshmallows and stargazing. Its a ticket only event and they’re going fast.  Don’t worry if you miss out this month   – there’s a great Summer programme in place at the farm;

A visit to West Lodge gives you the opportunity to explore the whole farm, the livestock (animals) the woods, the fields, the streams and the machinery. Visitors can also handle the rabbits and guinea pigs in cuddle corner, take a pony ride, watch the very popular piglet race or play in the adventure playground. A full list of the activities can be found on the timetables below.

10.00 Pony grooming
10.30 Small animal petting session
11.00 Bottle feed the kid goats
11.30 – 12.30 Pony Rides (book in shop)
12.30 Piglet racing
13.00 Small animal petting session
13.00 – 14.00 Tractor Trailer rides (book on arrival)
13.00 – 15.00 Craft activities in the classroom
14.00 Small animal petting session
15.00 Bottle feed the kid goats
15.30 – 16.30 Pony Rides (book in shop)
16.00 Small animal petting session

All ticket details can be found here.

West Lodge Farm, Back Lane, Desborough, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN14 2SH

Travis Perkins Trailblazers Festival of Cricket, – NCCC, Northampton, 11am, Sun 20 Aug

Cricket has never been more popular with we Muddy Types.  With the influence from government to promote women’s sport and female athletes delivering on the back of it, UK women’s sport is thriving and now it’s cricket’s turn. The pinnacle for any female cricketer – the ICC Women’s World Cup – began on June 24 and guess what? England’s women’s team beat India to win the World Cup final on 23 July.

If you love cricket (The sound of leather on willow), play cricket or have been caught up in the world cup action then read on…

The exciting news, for sports/leather/cucumber sandwich fans is that Northampton-based builders merchant Travis Perkins is sponsoring a team – the Travis Perkins Trailblazers – at an exciting and unique cricket event in the summer at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club (NCCC).

It’s called T20 Pro:Am and brings the fast and furious excitement of T20 cricket – think music, cheerleaders, party atmosphere – to amateur players from across the region. Not only that, it pits them against – and with – professional cricketers from NCCC (the current T20 Blast champions, nonetheless) and proper legends from yesteryear in what is being dubbed an all-day ‘Festival of Cricket’ on Sunday 20 August at The County Ground in Northampton.  Check out this video to get a flavour of the excitement in the build up to the event

Coaching the Travis Perkins Trailblazers to glory is England cricketing legend Darren ‘Goughy’ Gough and ECB Young Coach of the Year in 2015, Matt Earl. Not only that, the team’s pros are NCCC’s Steven Crook and former England bowling legend Simon Jones. And the Trailblazers’ have announced their wildcard – England’s Rugby World Cup winning ace Paul Grayson, who is very, VERY handy with the bat. Other pros and legends playing include NCCC’s captain Alex Wakely, Monty Panesar and Devon Malcolm.  The fun starts at 11:00 with two semi-finals across the day and a final played under floodlights – not something amateur players ever get to experience (let alone being bowled at by a current or past cricketing legend).

Tickets are just £10 (that’s a whole day of live sport) and kids under 16 go in free.  See here for more details.

The County Ground, Abington Ave, Northampton NN1 4PR

Northampton Balloon festival, Billing Aquadrome – Friday 18 to 20 Aug

The Northampton Balloon Festival has always created a spectacular event over our skies – in fact the festival has been going for 28 years and seems to get more spectacular every year. Whilst ballooning is a weather dependant activity the balloonists want to fly, so if the conditions allow, the balloons will be flying at both 6am and 6pm on each of the three days of the event. At 9.00pm on Saturday evening, they will also be having a “Balloon Glow”. Come and watch the balloons turn into giant lanterns tethered to the ground, pulsating to the music – its magical! The event is FREE to all holiday makers at Billing Aquadrome (minimum 3 night stay applies) and owners. Public day pass subject to admission fees as follows: Car: £5, Adult: £5, Child under 16: Free

Northampton Balloon Festival, Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, NN3 9DA

Atomic Festival, Sywell Aerodrome 19/20 August

A spectacular two-day celebration of mid-century music, dancing, fashion and style, with international bands & DJs, large covered dance floors, classic & custom car show, huge specialist vintage & retro market, Sunday morning indoor flea market, rock’n’roller rink, vintage kids zone, hot rod racing, fairground rides, Wall of Death, free dance classes and lots more. And for teh adults, teh festivities don’t end when teh sun goes down.  You can dance your socks off at ATOMIC…There’ll be top DJs playing in four of the fantastic on site venues , with some unique sessions…
The new ‘Vinyl Vault’ in HANGAR TWO will jump to the sound of vintage vinyl from the awesome collections of Colin Silcocks, BeBop Kaz, Jumpin’ Jim, Rob Heron, Simon Flint and Moon.
And there’ll be 4 hours of hot rhythm & blues and rock’n’roll each evening in the fabulous art deco CIRRUS ROOM, where Terry Elliott, Tim Hellzapoppin’ and Johnny Hoodoo will serve up solid sounds, all on 78s!

Atomic Festival, Sywell Aerodrome, Northants NN6 0BN

Arts and Crafts summer fair, Scotch Lodge, Earls Barton, 10am – 3pm, Sun 20 Aug

Hows this for a lovely craft fair to visit, in the lovely surrounds of Scotch Lodge Farm.  Held in their “big barn”, this is their second annual craft fair and the Scotch Lodge Team are expecting to have at least  20 stalls – all attended by local craftsmen and women! Including all sorts of hand made from wooden gifts to jewellery, they also have a cake and sweet stall, tombola and will have a kids colouring competition! If you can’t make this fair, but love the idea of crafts then keep an eye for the regular events taking place at Scotch Lodge.

Scotch Lodge Farm and Craft Shop, Mears Ashby Road, Earls Barton, NN6 0HQ  Tel: 01604 810910

Shambala, Secret Country Estate, 27 August

This is a mahoosive festival based in Northamptonshire that spans over four days in August and displays over 200 diverse musical acts on 12 different stages and also boasts world class cabaret, as well as nationally acclaimed poetry. Acts in the past have included 47 soul and Alfresco Disco and the festival also plays host to a multitude of other events such as stand-up comedy shows, a wide array of motivational speeches as well as a series of acrobatic performances (hmmmm, maybe that’s how I’ll sneak in). I’ve heard great things about Shambala, haven’t managed to get a ticket thus far but I think 2017 will be the year

Luna flix presents a trio of magical films @ Stanwick Lakes 25/26/27 August

It’s a Bank Holiday film bonanza at Stanwick Lakes with 3 classic films on offer for all of the family in one of the most beautiful locations in the county.  Doors open at 7pm each night, with films starting at approximately 8.40pm.  Book early…

Jurassic Park (PG) (1983) Fri 24 Aug

Stomp.  Stomp.  Is that vibrating cup of wine in my hand?

Buy tickets here

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (PG) (1983), Sat 25 Aug

No need to go home…buy Tickets here – use the code:ELLI_OTT to get a £2 per ticket discount.

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them (PG) (2016) Sun 26 Aug

Yes, yes.  We find them in Stanwick, but where to buy tickets? Here in fact.

Stanwick Lakes, Stanwick, NN9 6GY

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Rockingham – Sun/Mon 26/27 Aug

Thee Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship once again headlines the Rockingham 2017 race calendar. The BTCC returns to the Northamptonshire circuit over the August Bank Holiday weekend and if previous seasons are anything to go by, fans can expect another fantastic two-days of top class racing. Not only from the BTCC teams but the support series too. Advance tickets cost £38 for weekend passes, while Sunday race day tickets are £30 and Saturday entry price is just £12.50. Rockingham prides itself on providing access to all motorsport fans, and those who are registered disabled can apply for a complimentary* admission ticket for their carer, while children aged 15 and under get in FREE.

As always at Rockingham all tickets include access to a grandstand seat offering panoramic views of the entire circuit, the pit garage roof and race paddock, which means there are no hidden costs. Gates open at 08:00 on both days.

What’s included:

  • FREE Grandstand Seat! No need to purchase additional access
  • FREE general parking
  • Open Paddock Access
  • Pit lane walkabout & autograph session
  • Live Commentary and TV screens points with timing and race footage
  • Entertainment options including racing simulators and kids games
  • Trade Stalls, Food & Drink outlets including the newly refurbished Rockingham Diner
  • Free Wifi throughout

Rockingham, Mitchell Road, Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 5AF

And why not mix it up a bit. Get yourself organised, book ahead and head into London to take advantage of some brilliant events and exhibitions…

Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands until 3 Sept

I saw a preview of this exhibition on the telly and it looks amazing. It’s the most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail to be displayed and has gone on display alongside the story of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Over 10,000 artefacts shine a light on people in almost every important period of the Capital’s history from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. There are skeletons, tools, pottery, even makeshift ice skate blades fashioned from bones. Entry is free.

Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Dock Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL

Ocean Invaders – Sea Life London Aquarium (ongoing)

The London Aquarium never disappoints. The beautiful, bonkers and plain ugly get the full point and stare treatment. This month jellyfish joins the celebrity gold fish bowl with a new permanent exhibition dedicated to Ocean Invaders’. Discover the most dangerous species and create our own digital jellyfish. It’s cheaper to book in advance, £19.50 for adults, £14.50 under 16s and under 3s for FREE!

Sea Life London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB

Robot Zoo – Horniman Museum until Sun 29 Oct

It doesn’t get much cooler than a robotic zoo. Let’s be fair it needs to be impressive to schlep deep into south east London. But it’ll be worth it to see a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-ft tentacles and a mahoosive house fly with a vacuum cleaner for a mouth at the Horniman’s Museum in Honor Oak. All the robot animals are made from everyday machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the creations will reveal how real anatomy works. Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time. Tickets: Adults £7; Kids, £4.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ

KidZania – Westfield (ongoing)

Those who’ve been rave about this place at Westfield. A friend from overseas bought her sons for a rammed fortnight in London during which they saw pretty much every museum and attraction and this was their favourite. It’s a child-size ‘city’ where the kids are in charge (scary, no?). It provides real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds, blending learning and reality with entertainment. They can try more than 60 role-play activities (actor, doctor, police officer etc) with each  experience crafted to teach kids essential life skills like team work and independence. Younger kids can hang out in the dedicated Early Years area. And you can, you know, go shopping.

KidZania, Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7GA

Science Museum, Kensington, London (ongoing)

Masses on at this ever brilliant museum – spend the whole day here – including the new exhibit of  Tim Peake’s Spacecraft – Soyuz TMA-19M.  Also on is a brand new exhibition Robots, which reveals our 500-year quest to make machines human, from a 16th century mechanised monk to some of film’s most iconic robotic creations and the very latest humanoids. Finally, your kids will love Wonderlab, the newest and most spectacular interactive gallery in the world.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, Kensington, London SW7 2DD

Wizarding Wardrobes, Harry Potter Studios, Leavesden, Fri 21 July – Mon 4 Sep

There’s always a new angle to explore at the wily Harry Potter experience and this Summer we look back over the 250,000 costumes that have been stitched up since during the 10 years of filming. From initial sketches to the finished costume, this special feature will take you on a journey through the behind-the-scenes process that brought our favourite characters to life.

Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR

The Sherlock Holmes Experience Madame Tussaud’s, Mon 18 July – Fri 30 Sep

A departure for Madam Tussauds, this new Sherlock Holmes Experience (included in the normal ticket price) is live walk-through adventure. Journeying from 221B Baker Street to Dartmoor where a demon hound lurks, with plenty of stops along the way. You must help Dr. Watson find the missing Sherlock Holmes to reach a dramatic ‘watery’ conclusion. The experience is totally interactive with textured theatrical sets laden with detail, hidden clues and special effects. Bring your own deerstalker.

Madam Tussauds, Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London NW1 5LR

Star Wars Identities, O2 London, ends 3 Sept

Learn about the characters of Star Wars in a new dimension through this exhibition which boasts some 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films <squeal!>.There’s also an interactive identity quest that helps you learn your Star Wars identity (please not Jabba the Hut!) It’s all about what forces shape you – geddit? It’s open daily from 10am onwards till Sept so plenty of time to catch this one.  Tickets cost from £20 adults, £10 children and £48 family off peak.

Star Wars identities, The 02, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX

Derren Brown’s ‘Ghost train: Rise of the Demon,Thorpe Park, Chertsey (ongoing)

The latest attraction at Thorpe Park is super-scary sounding Derren Brown’s ‘Ghost train: Rise of the Demon’  – seriously not for the faint-hearted, with live action and physical effects, it’s probably not one for your toddlers! There’s plenty for little ones to do though and the website has a brilliant ‘which rides are for you’ search by height function so you can check out the gentler options in advance. Great idea!

Thorpe Park, Staines Rd, Chertsey KT16 8PN

London Zoo, Regent’s Park London (ongoing)

Visit the amazing London Zoo and see  Land of the Lions, a new immersive exhibit with walkways from where you can explore Indian-themed areas  – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut.  No extra charge – it’s all included in entry to the Zoo.

London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY

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