School's out for summer and for us parents, that means finding activities to keep our children entertained for the long six-week break.
Thankfully, there are a whole host of fun events being put on across the UK, from outdoor action-packed activities to craft-based days and educational visits. Take a look at our top 13 choices below…
Gone Wild Festival with Bear Grylls
Get out into the great outdoors with the Gone Wild Festival with Bear Grylls, held in Powderham Castle, Devon from 25 to 28 August 2022.
The family-friendly festival is for adults and children aged six to 18 years with everything from obstacle courses and climbing, to archery and circus shows - plus music from The Script, Sophie Ellis Bextor, and more.
See gonewildfestival.com/ for details
Captain Careless at Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Centres
Oh no, Captain Careless has lost all the pirate treasure!
Help him find it this August with a trail-led activity featuring costumes, interactive games and treasure to uncover at Sea Life London, Manchester and Birmingham, and Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester and Birmingham.
During the hunt, guests will also learn all about Sea Life’s treasures of the ocean, whilst filling in their pirate map as they discover Captain Careless' missing booty. At the Legoland Discovery Centres, kids can meet Captain Brickbeard and enroll in the Pirate Training Academy so they can learn what it takes to be one of the crew.
To book tickets to the Captain Careless Pirate Treasure Hunt, visit your local site: Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham, Sealife Birmingham, Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, Sealife Manchester or Sealife London.
Buzz Lightyear experience at Novotel hotels across the country
Novotel have teamed up with Disney to celebrate the new Buzz Lightyear film, and little movie fans can stay with their parents in family accommodation that’s been given a cosmic touch to take it literally out of this world. We experienced the Novotel York’s offering and were really blown away by all the little touches that made our son feel super special during our weekend break to the ancient city.
What made it even better is that mum and dad left feeling spoiled and refreshed too! The York Novotel is exceptionally stylish – the outside of the building is pretty standard but as soon as you walk into the lobby you feel like you’re staying in an upmarket boutique hotel. The modern interiors continue throughout – the kitchen and restaurant feel designer too so our expectations were high as we reached the door to our family suite. Little did we know what lay inside!
As we opened the door we were transported into a whole new galaxy, courtesy of the space projections lighting up the entire room, and two large inflatable space rockets floating at the ceiling. Our son’s bed had been made up in the living area, with two Buzz activity packs to entertain, and a welcome fruit and chocolate snack in the shape of space rockets was the cherry on top.
Kids are definitely not an afterthought at the Novotel – first there’s an indoor pool which welcomes children (make sure you book a slot, either at reception or via the WhatsApp concierge comms). And at dinner, whether or not your mini explorer desires to eat from the kids’ menu, there are multiple children’s cockatils to make them feel just as grown up as mum and dad (the Moviestar Martini is brilliant – with a shot of lemonade rather than Prosecco!).
Even tech-mad teens and tweens are catered for, with a Buzz Lightyear video game in reception and a limited edition SnapChat filter to share snaps with friends. For us, a stylish bathroom (with shower and bath), a comfy bed, a complimentary cocktail, delicious food and happy kids, were the perfect ingredients for a weekend away. The proximity to York city centre, and the pleasant location by the river were also great. With or without Buzz, we’ll be back.
Buzz Lightyear packages run until 30th September at over 500 Novotel hotels across the country.
Take the kids to Pensthorpe near Fakenham. The nature reserve has created a new beasts and beaks trails so families can learn about mammoths, elephant birds and the transformation of dinosaurs into modern-day birds.
The first trail will see explorers hunt for clues across the 700-acre park and discover facts about pre-historic animals and insects including the Archaeopteryx – the earliest known bird – and their similarities with today’s flying dinosaur descendants. In the second trail, visitors can find where real-life mammoth tusks were discovered at Pensthorpe!
Plus free arts and crafts, dinosaur activity workshops with Dodo and Dinosaur, pop-up wildlife and fossil talks, pond dipping and mini beastie discoveries.
To learn more about Pensthorpe, visit pensthorpe.com
Sparkle Bright at Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park
Tumblestone Hollow at Berkshire's Stonor Park is a children's paradise with high-level walkways, climbing nets, look-out decks, bridges and slides, and is home to a collection of mythical creatures who protect the magical powers of the ancient Glimmerstone at Stonor!
This summer the magical adventure playground hosts Sparkle Bright, which brings its mystical characters to life through storytelling sessions. Themed temporary tattoos are also included in the ticket price.
The Sparkle Bright event is on from 1 August to 4 September and tickets can be booked via the website: stonor.com/tumblestone-hollow/
ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure
Do your kids like dinosaurs? Then head to the 85-acre ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure park in Norwich this summer, hosting a new dino-themed festival on both Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August.
Expect live music with a velociraptor vibe, arts and crafts, face-painting and a storytelling tent, plus a new Jurassic live show on the outdoor stage.
Raby Castle in County Durham is the place to be this summer.
The castle's Deer Park will come to life with a new summer safari trail as families decipher clues to uncover lost items of treasure.
Included in the admission price from 1 July to 4 September are themed arts and crafts along the trail and Raby’s adventure playground – the Plotters’ Forest – will be a hit with little ones. Additional events taking place include the harvest seasonal market on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August.
A short drive from the castle is Raby Estate’s High Force Waterfall – one of the most impressive and tallest waterfalls in England – which is a must-visit.
For further information, and to book tickets visit raby.co.uk/high-force/whats-on/
Biscuiteers Icing Events
Biscuit makers Biscuiteers are holding special children's icing classes at their Belgravia and Notting Hill Icing Cafes this summer, where kids can learn a new skill while enjoying a tub of Jude's ice cream and go home with some yummy biscuits.
Classes run every Wednesday from 20 July to 31 August (3-4pm).
Kids Sushi Making Classes
Does your child love sushi? Book them a class at Sticks'n'Sushi at King’s Road Chelsea, Greenwich or Cambridge.
The summer holiday classes offer eight to 12-year-olds the chance to enjoy friendly guidance from the sushi masters. They can learn to roll sushi and eat their creations over lunch with their newfound masterclass mates, then take home a brand-new talent along with a sushi rolling mat, bandana, and branded apron.
There’s also an instruction and recipe book with useful Japanese numbers and phrases which will come in handy when they want to impress friends and family with their newly developed skills.
Gripped Adventure Park
Looking for action? Visit aerial adventure park Gripped in Hounslow, West London - part of the largest leisure development in London since the Olympics, which in total spans 126 acres.
There's so much to do: high rope courses, a net adventure park, free jumping from platforms onto huge inflatable bags, 50-metre-long and 20-metre-high speed and spiral slides, as well as a dual zip line trekking course.
Peppa Pig Railway Day
If your kids love Peppa Pig and trains, this is the event for you.
The popular East Lancashire Railway is holding its brand new children's adventure days with Peppa Pig and Friends on Thursday 25 & Friday 26 August. Yep, Peppa, George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig will be there for a fun day out, starting with a meet and greet at intervals at Bury Transport Museum.
Guests can complete Peppa's activity trail and enjoy the fun fair, expert balloon modellers, face painters, and even meet farmyard friends at the petting zoo. Then take a ride through Irwell Valley on a real heritage steam or diesel train, included in the price of a ticket.
Family Movies at Kew Gardens
Kew the Movies returns this August (31 Aug - 4 Sept) with a five-day movie showcase, in partnership with The Luna Cinema.
Families will love watching the likes of Moana, Sing 2 and Encanto in full high definition on a giant screen in the stunning gardens. Pack a picnic and enjoy.
Free Pet Workshops
Throughout the summer holidays, Pets at Home stores are hosting free pet workshops to help kids learn how to keep their pets cool in the summer sun. Children will also be able to meet small animals and learn how to care for them, as well as making their own cooling fan.
All children taking part will receive an activity sheet and a special My Pet Pals certificate for completing the workshop. The free workshops run every Saturday and Sunday from 30 July to 4 September at 1pm.
Find your nearest pet workshop and book your free space here.
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