May half-term events for 2014


If you're searching for activities round your way over half-term, or planning a trip somewhere else in the UK and need some inspiration, then look no further.

Our Local editors have rounded up the best events and activities for all ages in their areas over the bank holiday weekend and throughout half-term week. 



South East




canterbury festivalCanterbury Children's Festival Canterbury

Enjoy performances,workshops and free events at the Marlowe Theatre and the Beaney this half-term. Highlights include interactive storytellings and a Little Monster cotume workshop.


Cookery classes for kids and adults Dealcookery classes for kids and adults

At Kids Cook It! workshops, children and adults cook together. During half-term you can make pizzas and bake cakes. Suitable for children aged over four, accompanied by an adult.


Wilderness Week GuildfordWilderness week

Enjoy a half-term week of wilderness crafts, including den-building, making miniature rafts, foraging, and growing seeds to eat, at the National Trust's Dapdune Wharf.


YMCA Holiday Playschemes SurreyYMCA

YMCA school holiday playschemes in Redhill, Banstead and Reigate are open to children of all abilities aged between four and 12. Enjoy fun, stimulating play and creative activities, including sport, arts and crafts, cooking, music, drama and team games. Children who have never been to Y-Kids before get one free playscheme day.


How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer Reading how to draw like a fashion designer

At Jelly ArtPad in Reading, designer Emma Bradbury will demonstrate techniques to draw and examples for fashion illustration throughout history. Inspired by vintage items depicting fashion over the decades from Alexandra Vintage's collection.


Family Tree Walk Readingfamily tree walk

Do you know what a handkerchief tree is? Have you ever been round a mulberry bush? Reading Tree Wardens invite you to a guided Family Tree Walk to learn more about these and other trees within the Forbury Gardens. Then working with artist Suzanne Stallard, using willow and tissue, you will be able to make floating butterflies and leaf branches inspired by your walking adventure.


Come and try canoeing Cavershamcanoeing in Caversham

These ever-popular 'have a go' sessions have returned for the Children's Festival 2014. This is your chance to take part in an hour-long paddling session. Remember to bring a towel, change of clothes and sun cream!


Family Activity Area on board HMS Warrior Portsmouthfamily activity on board

Once the lower deck mess and schoolroom for young officers, Warrior's Gun Room is now somewhere you can bring your young 'sailors' for R&R. This half-term, enjoy pirate arts and crafts, costume roleplay as sailors swabbing the decks, and colouring and quiz sheets.


The Treetop Restaurant Puppet Show Oxfordtreetop restaurant puppet show

Barefoot Books present a Wild Boor Ideas puppet show about a restaurant in a tree top visited by a hungry caterpillar who asks for all sorts of food, from oak-leaf pie to sycamore pudding, and just keeps growing!


Family Bushcraft Day Oxfordshirefamily bushcraft

Bring the whole family and go wild in the great outdoors! Explore the woods, make shelters, learn how to make fire and use a knife safely. You will cook on the fire but bring a packed lunch too.


Shake, Rattle and Roll! Didcotshake rattle and roll

Create your own musical instruments from recycled materials, then have a go at making music with them. Compose some fun and funky tunes and rhythms and get green in the process!


Wild at White's African Safari Altonwild at White's

Follow in the footsteps of Victorian explorer Frank Oates this half-term with an 'African Safari' for the whole family to enjoy at Gilbert White and the Oates Collections. Hunt for the now-extinct Quagga hidden in the famous gardens.


Half-Term at Beaulieu Ashursthalf term at Beaulieu

Come and join in with special holiday activities for all the family, including giant games in the grounds. All half-term activities are included in the standard admission price at Bealieu, which means you can also explore the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House and gardens, Beaulieu Abbey plus unlimited rides on the high-level monorail and open-topped replica London Bus.


South West




Mike the KnightMeet Mike the Knight Christchurch

Mike the Knight will be at the park to meet and greet his fans on Wednesday 28 May, on his quest to 'be a knight and do it right'. He will be making personal appearances at intervals throughout the day.


Marazion Adventure Park CornwallMarazion Adventure Park

Opposite St Michael's Mount, this park has possibly the best view in the county. The willow arches are still growing but this park is well equipped with plenty to do. The toddler area is well maintained and a tube slide, climbing frame and swings keep older ones entertained too. A café nearby sells coffees that will be welcomed if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction!


Crocodile Rocks BournemouthCrocodile Rocks

Come and meet the new crocodiles at the Oceanarium, and enter the competition to name one of them. There's plenty of other creatures to meet as well - starfish, bearded dragons and cute leopard geckos. You can feed the turtles, hold a python and watch daily feeds and presentations. There's also free face-painting throughout half-term.


The Big Vintage Lunch BoscombeBig Vintage Lunch

A day filled with 50s-inspired activities and games, live music, children's entertainment, a live arts workshop, artisan food and a fully licensed bar to boot, culminating in a charity auction. Come in 1950s fancy dress - bring your big hair, red lips and 50s garb! Keep an eye out for the vintage photobooth and try your luck at fete games. Entrance is free for all the family.


North East




timmy timeMeet Timmy from Timmy Time Durham

Popular children's character Timmy from Timmy Time will be appearing at the Locomotion National Railway Museum in Shildon on Wednesday 28 May. Free for all ages.


Undercover Detectives Family Fun Day TeesdaleUndercover detectives family fun day

Crack the codes and uncover the mystery in this fun day. Become an undercover detective and try these drop-in activities: design your own secret agent badge and ID card, make a notepad to record your findings, create a magnifying glass to help you find clues, make undercover dark glasses, and explore the museum with a detective trail - but can you solve the mystery?


Floppy Ears and Cotton Tails Story Party NewcastleFloppy ears and cotton tails

Go hopping mad for bunnies this May half-term. Enjoy Jo Epsom's beautiful picture book Rabbityness, learn songs and create your very own rabbit to take home. Suitable for children aged 18 months to four years. Booking is essential.


Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens NorthumberlandKirkley Hall zoological gardens

Come along and help celebrate Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens' third birthday weekend. Enjoy face-painting, arts and crafts, games and more.


North West




spirit of salfordSpirit of Salford Weekender Salford

Saturday 31 May-Sunday 1 June: Bring the whole family for a fun-filled day with a special appearance from Joe and Andrew of CBeebies' The Rhyme Rocket, plus activities, music and more. Pack a picnic and join the big lunch on the lawns, complete with live entertainment and a teddy bears' picnic.


Samlesbury Hall dog showSamlesbury Hall Fun Dog Show Lancashire

Enjoy a family day out with your best four-legged friend, who you can enter in fun dog competitons, with categories including waggiest tail, nicest eyes, fancy dress and best in show.


Gruffalo's Birthday Party Picnic Gruffalo picnicNorthwich

2014 marks The Gruffalo's 15th anniversary (and The Gruffalo's Child's 10th anniversary). There will be party celebrations and activities throughout the year, including themed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic in the deep dark wood this half-term.


Just Us Three and the Sea Just us 3 and the seaManchester

Artful Playground tell the story of Sedrick the Seagull who gets lost, and how his new friends help him find his way home. Children will learn about the instruments of the orchestra while enjoying the story and joining in.


Multi Sport Camps SaleMulti sports camp

Join in at Sale Sports Club - coaches will be able to help children of all ages and abilities gain self-confidence and social skills, and make friends. Sample a wide range of sporting activities, including Zumba.


Whitsun Fun Session at Jump Space StockportWhitsun fun session

Trampolining, soft play, sensory room, ball pool, fun slide and sports activities for children aged four and over. Jump Space provides specialist trampolining, rebound therapy and active/sensory play to children and young people across the whole spectrum of disability, as well as their siblings.






campfireCook on a Campfire Pembrokeshire

Tick off one of the National Trust's 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 and 3/4 - cook on a campfire. Join the head gardener and the Colby team, who will show you how to light a fire, and learn how easy it is to cook on it.






Ackers Adventure campAckers Adventure Half-Term Camp Birmingham

This half-term holiday programme gives families a chance to partake in skiing, climbing, a jungle challenge, tobogganing, archery, bushcraft, kayaking, orienteering and more. There's also Go Canoeing taster sessions to celebrate Go Canoeing Week.  


Lanterns, Dragons and Storytelling BirminghamLanterns and dragons storytelling

Make your own lanterns and dragons - then watch as they become part of the story at these fun workshops, suitable for children aged between four and eight years old.


neat14 Festival Nottinghamneat14 festival

neat14 is Nottingham's cross cultural, city-wide festival, which brings together work that will delight and surprise in equal measure. There are several family-friendly performances including Too Many Penguins, A Boy and his Box, Constellations, Rime and White Feathers.


The Milk Race NottinghamMilk race

Legendary cycling event The Milk Race returns to Nottingham in 2014. Two days full of exciting elite cycling, plus loads of fun for all the family. There will be music and entertainment to enjoy on Saturday 24 May, with the main event, including two elite races, taking place |in the city centre on Sunday 25 May, alongside a festival of cycling that will be open to cyclists of all ages and abilities. 


East of England




fairy fairFairy Fair Norfolk

Join the Fairy Queen and King for a magical, fun-packed family day, including music and entertainment, the Good Elf Pub for parental respite and the Fairyland Wildlife Hospital for bumps and grazes, human or otherwise. This event won gold for Best Festival in the Festival Kidz 2013 awards.


Pulse Festival IpswichPulse festival

Celebrate the best emerging young talent in this Ipswich-wide festival with events, plays, music and food for all ages. Refreshingly, the theatre involved, The New Wolsey in Ipswich, has a policy of inclusiveness meaning that most performances come with signers and audio visual enhancements, and take into account the needs of people with learning disabilities.


Thurleigh Farm Centre CambridgeshireThurleigh

Take a tractor trailer ride up to the Wacky Woods and become part of The Gruffalo story meeting the fox, owl and snake along the way. Join in a visual re-enactment of this delightful story. Magical fun for all the family with plenty of picture opportunities!


D-Day Air Show Duxford CambridgeD-day Duxford

The D-Day Anniversary Air Show commemorates the 70th anniversary of this decisive military campaign. Meet with serving soldiers from today's airborne forces and explore their vehicles, see their equipment and find out about their weapons and capabilities. A number of living history groups will bring D-Day airborne history to life.


Wildlife Detectives ColchesterWildlife detectives

A mystery creature has left telltale signs throughout the park. Can you find the clues and discover what it was?






outdoor missionsAmazing Outdoor Missions for Kids Greenwich

Kids hungry for adventure and curious about the world around them can discover the great outdoors with use of gaming and iPod technology. Lots of hands-on and challenging activities including geocaching, fire making, whittling, wildlife tracking, planting and growing, potion-making and engineering.

 Children use real tools to solve real problems, with results they can be proud of!


Wild Learning Holiday Club WimbledonWild learning holiday club

A range of activities including shelter-building; crafting from natural materials; tracking; green woodwork; assault courses and games, all enjoyed outside in a safe and supportive environment. These kids' clubs increase children's motivation, confidence and communication skills. Accompanied by trained instructors, they will make new friends and learn new skills.


Stand Up Comedy Workshop WimbledonStand up comedy

Workshop for ages 13-18. The chance to work with professional comedian John Gordillo to learn skills of the stand-up, create your own material and share your best jokes at the end of the day to an invited audience.


David Wood's Storytime: The Gingerbread Man Raynes Park David Wood's gingerbread man

Free event: come and join David Wood OBE, actor and writer whom the Times called "the National Children's Dramatist", retelling the story of The Gingerbread Man at Raynes Park Library.


Redbridge Green Fair Ilford Redbridge Green Fair

A community festival with a green theme, organised by local volunteers. There will be more than 120 stalls, two music areas, performances, a large 'green' arts area for children and adults, eco attractions and workshops, plus delicious vegetarian food and local beer. 


Wild About Flowers Woodford Wild about flowers

Flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Come and collect your own from our wildflower meadow and learn how to make a flower press in order to keep your flowers safe!


Dino Decopatch Workshop Kingston Upon Thames Dino decopatch

This half-term, drop in to Cass Art and join the fun, creative activities designed to inspire and ignite children's imaginations. On Wednesday 28 May, decorate a Decopatch dinosaur using colourful, patterned papers. 


mi Sport Holiday Camp Ealingmi sport holiday camp

mi sport holiday camps in Ealing are great fun and allow children to progress and gain confidence in lots of different sports and physical activities, while making friends in a safe and secure environment.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at The Tricycle Theatre Curious incident of dog in night timeKilburn

The National Theatre production based on Mark Haddon's acclaimed novel returns to cinemas. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been hailed by The Times as 'a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle'. Winner of seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play.


Sharky & George Adventure Days Kensington and ChelseaSharky and George adventure days

Come to the Natural History Museum and join in an Adventure Day. Activities throughout half-term include races and games in Hyde Park, woodland skills at Battersea Park, science experiments and a trip to the Science Museum and a wet'n'wild day of games around the Serpentine.


Mozo Island Half-Term Camp PutneyMozo Island camp

Fun music and art activities for five to 10-year-olds. Sing pop songs, jam in a band and escape to a tropical beach club! Join in with guitars, ukuleles, keyboards, recorders, drumming and more. 


Open Air Fit Kids Camps WandsworthOpen air fit kids camp

Open Air Fit Kids are inclusive, fun and flexible multi-sports camps on Wandsworth Common. Every morning children take part in individual and team challenges, fun games and sessions of sport-based covering games such as softball, lacrosse, football, tag rugby, quick cricket, mixed martial arts and athletics.


Last updated: about 3 years ago