If you’re on the look out for child-friendly activities to keep the kids happy this May half term school holiday, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the best special events and nationwide diary dates to keep the little ones in good spirits for the week-long break.
What to Do This May Half Term
Arts Trail at the Royal Academy and Portrait Galleries
Spend a day soaking up some culture in the capital this half term and encourage your little ones to get stuck in with the activities taking place at the RA and Portrait Galleries. At the National Portrait Gallery, families can meet Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; say hello to Shakespeare and Jane Austen; and even discuss politics with Winston Churchill.
Other activities include Pop-up Gallery, where kids can create their very own portrait or 3D model. Open every weekend and every day of the May half term between 11am – 4pm.
Head to the Royal Academy on the 27 May (11am to 3pm) for a Landscape Lanterns workshop in the new Clore Learning Centre, inspired by the Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE exhibition. This free workshop for all the family will explore iconic landscapes and the changing seasons through the creation of beautiful willow lanterns. Decorate the lanterns with printed leaves, colourful landscapes and favourite wildlife scenes, inspired by RA artists such as John Constable and JMW Turner.
To Market, to Market in Fulham
Market Halls Fulham is the newly-opened family-friendly spot to grab a bite to eat this half term. Along with long market-style tables and a buzzing atmosphere, there is plenty of room for buggies, a children’s play area, baby changing facilities, and communal dining. There are nine different kitchens to choose from, so there’s something for even your fussiest eater. Located a two-minute walk from Fulham Broadway tube. markethalls.co.uk
Children’s Day or Kodomo no hi is a special event that takes place in Japan during May. Celebrate this half term at Leicester Square’s Japan Centre, where you can pick up some quirky picnic treats with Pokemon chocolate puffs, Dragon ball crisps, sushi doughnuts and noodles galore. The craft centre is crammed with traditional carp fish streamer decorations, origami sets, Manga magazines and stationery. We suggest stocking up on treats before an oriental spring picnic. www.japancentre.com
Escape from Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle marks the return of the acclaimed jousting attraction, Wars of the Roses Live with a new challenge, the UK’s first family Escape Room, set in a medieval gaol. Think family-friendly Crystal Maze, a live actor-led experience with stories and puzzles for families to crack as they battle the clock to set a knight free in time to return to the Wars of the Roses Live.
Once you’re free, check out the live jousting show, where the rival royal Houses of Lancaster and York are pitted against each other in a thrilling joust-off showcasing real historic events in the battle for the English Crown. Opening on 26 May for half term, and selected summer dates, the Escape Room is available in timed sessions, and costs £5 per person when booked online in advance. If you want to make a short stay of your trip, short breaks start from £339 per room based on a Woodland Lodge, with all stays including two days entrance to the Castle, buffet breakfast and car parking. Visit warwick-castle.com for more information.
Ice Age Adventures at Howletts
Check out the new Animals of the Ice Age exhibition at Howletts wildlife park in Kent, where this half term there’s a special ‘kids go for £1’ offer. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to walk amongst the creatures (or enjoy a guided tour) and learn interesting facts on the accompanying signage, which will tell the story of the animal kingdom as it was over 2.6 million years ago. Check out the rest of Howletts’ wild inhabitants with the special Twilight Tour, starting at 5.45pm every day and lasting an hour, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the park as the animals settle down for the night. Priced at £15 per adult and £12 per child, with a £2 discount for Annual Park Members pre-booking is essential. Get tickets at aspinallfoundation.org To take part in the Twilight Tour, book in advance by calling 01303 264647.
Teen Cookery Classes at Daylesford Organic
Get your teenagers out from under your feet and learning something new at Daylesford Organic Cookery School’s ‘Beyond Beans on Toast: Teen Cookery’ classes. Providing the perfect introduction to cookery as well as inspiring participants to think about where their food comes from. Everyone will cook their own nutritious dishes, sitting down together to enjoy each dish they make, accompanied by organic Daylesford juices, teas and coffee. They’ll leave with a recipe pack and plenty of ideas; and who knows, they might even cook you dinner when they get home. (Or they might just retire back to their lairs.) May 30, 11-2pm, age 13-17 years; £75 per person; includes practical and demonstration cookery sessions, refreshments and all course materials.To book, please call 01608 731 620. daylesford.com
The Eden Project Weather Maker
How do you prepare for the weather in Britain? Make your own, of course! The Weather Maker is part of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway at the Eden Project in Cornwall, enabling everyone to explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest from the treetops. Tropical rainstorms and a wobbly rope bridge in the cloudy treetops; sounds like a welcome break from the UK autumn climate… edenproject.com
What’s on in the country? The Culture Diary will tell you…
Digital Detox for all the Family at Wilderness
If you’re all suffering from screen-fatigue, take the family to Wilderness this May half term. Wilderness, a 5,000-acre private estate, is home to fully-serviced properties from luxury manors, country houses, farmhouses and cottages, and is the perfect location for a group digital detox to enjoy time together. Activites on offer include archery, scavenger hunts and bonfire experiences. All properties on the estate are within cycling distance of one another, the Pashley bikes provided are the perfect way to discover the grounds and local wildlife. Take to the Wilderness waters in complimentary rowing boats and sail around Sibton Park lake, then make fish the dish of the day and cast rods out into the water to take supper home. From £459 a night, wildernessreserve.com
Looking for more to do in London? The London Diary is your ticket.
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