The Half-Term Handbook – 50 Amazing Activities
Your Half Term Survival Guide is right here - we have 50 of the most brilliant things to do with the kids across Glos and Worcs. Did someone request 3G swings, cookery classes, Scoot-tubers and cinema arvos? Your wish is our command.
Half-term, you won’t crush our souls (*repeat as mantra*) And why not? Easy, because we have created an indispensable and frankly fabulous guide to surviving the school holiday.
Scoo-Tubers in Stroud? (tick), boutique cinema arvos? (tick), baby lambs, mini-raves, puddle-jumping Olympics? Tick, tick, tick! So whether you’re rocking in a corner dreading the lack of routine or excitedly ushering in a slower pace of life, read on for minimising the grey hairs and maximising shed-loads of fun.
There’s tons of Roman-themed fun at your local, friendly Roman villa in Chedworth, Glos (ehem, the grandest in Britain we’ll have you know). Follow their seasonal trail around the site, dress up as a Roman or play with some Roman toys, get creative with historical crafts and get a glimpse of Roman life with Chedworths’ Romans. Hang out with Gaia (still looking fresh from the 3rd century) or Appian the mosaic maker.
If you’re peckish, there’s also a café, serving sandwiches, cakes and snacks and you can visit the shop which offers Roman-themed souvenirs, books and games. Be sure to wrap up warm and bring your boots or wellies with you to walk around. From Sat 15 Feb to Sun 23 Feb, 10.30am to 3.30pm.
Secret Spies at Sudeley Castle in Cheltenham has come up with a brilliant idea to tear them away from those screens. Get them to solve the Sudeley Mystery by completing a tantalizing trail of puzzles, codes and riddles. Pick up a discovery sheet whole exploring the castle, use items you find along the way to try and decode seven specially designed clues.
Introduce them to Hieroglyphics, Morse Code, Nautical Flags and more. Will they guess the passwords within? When they’ve solved the clues head to the Visitor Centre to claim a small surprise. Spend the rest of the day running wild around the gorgeous grounds of this wonderful castle and its adventure playground. From Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb, 10am – 4pm. Credit: Gracious Photography.
Head to the Corinium Museum in Cirencester on Sat 15 Feb from 10am – 5pm for a Stone Age People Trail. Little knitted cavemen and women have been hidden all around this brilliant and fascinating museum. All they have to do is find them amongst the exhibits, and older children get to answer quiz questions too. Cost is £1.50 per child and includes a prize.
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THE FLUFFY AND THE FURRY
What beats springy lambs at this dreary time of year? Exactly. NOTHING. So we have an absolute treat for you down at the brilliant Cotswold Farm Park’s Live Lambing Event in Guiting Power, near Cheltenham. Settle yourselves down in the Animal Barn and keep your eyes peeled as the resident flock of ewes beds in for birthing season. With any luck you might see a lamb popping into the world.
Kids will love the daily talks with keepers – and yes – let them tackle all those awkward questions for you! They can also have a go at bottle feedings (hold on tight, they get hungry) and if that’s not sufficient cuteness overload, you can go to the chick hatching room next door to stroke newly born, fluffy baby chicks. Younger ones will also love the Adventure Barn, Dolly’s Den soft play area and Farm Safari rides. On from 8 Feb – 19 April.
Next up, how about some quality time with some llamas? Glos is llama nirvana. Who knew? With lots of alpaca farms dotted all over the county. Walk a woolly camelid through the picturesque lanes of Painswick with the warm and welcoming lot at Tibbiwell Alpacas from as little as £20 (children welcome). Pick your fave from the bunch for the experience, will it be Dumbledore, Pablo, Apollo or Salvador?
Or head to the hills and woodland with your trusty (llama) stead at Briery Hill Llamas in Newent, Glos (see below). They have a whopping 26 llamas to choose from – all gentle and calm animals that are sociable and happy to walk at a gentle pace through the woodlands and fields.
Advance booking is a must for treks which are available from £35 per person for a 90-minute session. Suitable for children over 8 years old. You can even finish off with afternoon tea on site – all freshly made at Briery Hill.
Booking is also now open for free Wildlife Workshops at Pets at Home Stores throughout Glos and Worcs during half term. Check in for your experience and you’ll also get a free bag of wild bird seed to use in your garden. The workshops are all over Glos and Worcs and are aimed at kids aged 5-11 helping to teach them all about woodland animals and how to help them during the colder months. A wholesome and hands-on few hours we say. From Sat 15 Feb – Sun 1 March.
Little ones will also love a trip to Atwell Farm Park in Beoley, Worcs. A fully working farm which holds regular talks and handling sessions, take them on a farmyard trail or to the petting barn which is home to rabbits, chicks, Guinea pigs, rheas and many more. There are also electric tractors for the tinnies and indoor play areas if it’s chucking it down.
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For some free sporty fun head to Cirencester Skatepark for a Free Scooter Workshop on Weds 19 Feb. Whether you are just beginning to learn or honing your skills, the team will be helping anyone who wants to jump on a scooter and have a go. Go along to learn some new tricks, watch some demos, take part in games and comps. There will be prizes and freebies and music. The fun is on from 12pm – 3pm.
Your cool points will be OFF the scale with this one. Neon-clad Scoo-Tuber Claudius Vertesi will blow their minds with scooter tricks – and well – just his general presence really, at the Claudius Vertesi Meet and Greet / Vlog Day at Rush Skatepark. Skating royalty of the ‘gram (500k followers, probably including your teen!), is heading to Stroud for this cool event on Thurs 20 Feb from 12 – 6pm.
Crowds might be big so get there early, Claudius will be running the day including riding, signing sessions whilst live filming his vlog which goes up on his Youtube channel.
The session costs £20 and is open to any riders with their scooters. Bring some cash as no doubt you will get ambushed for the famous Claudius merch (we apologise in advance). Tickets are available through this link – go go go.
Did you know you can play tennis at the Imperial Gardens Tennis Courts in Cheltenham? The park has six courts in Montpellier Gardens and three in the fun Pittville Park, just down the road. You can book online as a pay and play option from just £6.90 an hour. Click here to get your Wimbledon vibe on. There’s also the lovely Montpellier Garden Cafe and Boathouse Cafe nearby for much needed flat whites or milkshakes. And if you are nearer Cirencester, hit the asphalt at doggy-free St Michael’s Park, where you can pitch up and play for just £4.50 an hour.
Mutli-sports and rugby camps are abound between Mon 17 Feb – Fri 21 Feb at Gloucester Rugby, sports to try including basketball, rugby, dodgeball, Gaelic football, rugby and cricket to name but a few. Click here to book them on to a place and get some feet-up time for you. Locations include Stroud, Stonehouse and Gloucester.
And a good tip for if it’s bucketing down, is to head to the super fun Mr Mulligan’s Crazy Golf in Cheltenham, to play one of two 18 hole courses (£29 per game). There is no age limit and kids will love whacking balls into lurking dinosaurs and wide-eyed whales in this Lost World paradise.
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Book in for a great show, as a mid-week pick (you!) up, Glos and Worcs are bursting with kid-friendly shows this year, here are a few of our favourite picks.
They’re altogether kooky, yes it’s the all-time family favourite The Addams Family Young @ Part, at The Barn Theatre, Cirencester, from Thur 20 to Sat 22 Feb. Created by the Barn Academy, introduce the kids to some Family Noir with this brilliant retelling in which Wednesday Adams has grown up and fallen in love with a guy from a respectable family. A feel-good show perfect for half term (and it’ll make your kids look like cherubs too).
For smoke, mirrors, hidden trapdoors, a host of puppets, a working windmill and an avalanche of fruit & nuts – oh, and a talking cat – head to Puss in Boots at The REP, Birmingham, From Fri 14 Feb – Sat 15 Feb. This latest presentation of the ever-enchanting Puss In Boots will keep children well and truly entertained. CBeebies’ Patrick Lynch is the man coordinating the fur-filled fun for moggie-loving youngsters to enjoy.
Everyone’s favourite jester Tweedy is back at The Everyman with a spiffing mash-up of this this classic genre. Tweedy Presents: The Missing Company of Sherlock Holmes is on at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham from Sun 16 – Sun 23 Feb.
Laughs a plenty are a guarantee at his shows, so you won’t even care if they’ve poured half their popcorn down your back as you’ll be far too busy laughing along. Join Tweedy and his faithful sidekick Monsieur Loyal as the pair solve the mystery with more slapstick than you could shake a stick at. Tickets £19, shows at 11am and 2pm.
NUTS FOR NATURE
Let them flood those wellies to their heart’s content at the ingeniously thought-up South West Puddle Jumping Championships at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Glos. Running from Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb, will they win one of the categories up for grabs? From biggest splasher to most stylish jumper. Have a go at practice puddles across the park then have a go at the daily 2pm Puddle Olympics in Welly Boot Land (of course). There are prizes up for grabs. From 9.30am – 5pm.
For lungfuls of fresh air head to the magical Forest of Dean & Wye Valley. It’s a perfect way to beat boredom whilst exploring one of Britain’s largest forests, as well as miles of picturesque riverside tracks and panoramic viewpoints overlooking as many as seven different counties. Kids will love the zip wires, sculpture trails and biking routes. In addition to outside fun, kids can take part in a cookery class, or the whole family can get crafty with stone carving workshops, or head in to the ancient woodlands of Puzzlewood, which will soon be taking a starring role in The Secret Garden remake (released in April). Find all the details here.
There are three great things to get stuck into at the lovely Westonbirt Arboretum in Glos this half term. On Mon 17 Feb – Fri 21 Feb get down and dirty with a free Fun Sticks event. Activities include stick drawings, twig prints and charcoal making with the beautiful backdrop of Westonbirt’s national tree collections. Kids can run around like crazy loons, or take along a warming picnic with flasks of hot chocolate to enjoy whilst they play hide and seek. Admission is free of charge for the event but adults entry to the Arboretum is £7 and kids £3. From 10.30am – 3.30pm.
Littlies will also love the Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail. Westonbirt has partnered with Aardman for this fun activity, your mission is simple – help loveable alien Lu-la find her way home. There’s a downloadable app for the event and for £3.50 they can have a Glow Trail fun pack with UV pen, stickers and more. Head to the Welcome Building to purchase.
Or, on Sat 15 Feb why not take part in the Family Stool and Mallet Making Workshop. Learn how to make practical mallets and rustic stools with your family in the heart of Westonbirt. This experience includes an authentic wood-fire cooked lunch and the woodwork you crafted ready to take home. Admission prices are £65 for an adult and child. The event starts at 10am to 2pm or go later at 1pm to 5pm.
And did some say caves? Why yes. The absolutely awe-inspiring Clearwell Caves are reopening on 15 Feb in the Forest of Dean, Glos. Check out these incredible ancient iron ore caves where explorers can head 100 ft below ground to discover the harsh reality that children faced when sent down the mines during the industrial age. (cue the eye rolls). Entry to Clearwell Caves is £25 for a family of four or £8 per adult and £6 per child (ages four to 16).
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Right, step up to the plate adrenalin junkies, because there’s a special half term 50% off at the National Diving and Activity Centre (17 – 21 Feb) at Tidenham, Glos. Who’ll buckle first? You or the kids! (Show no fear we say).
Fly like nature never intended on a knee-wobbling zipwire 700m above a flooded quarry or swing (with your eyes firmly closed while they scream with joy) on the giant 3G sky swing which launches its lucky riders 75m over the edge of a steep quarry. Activities are recommended for ages 12 and upwards. For younger ones, check in to the fabulously fun aqua adventure park here – for ages 8 upwards.
There’s a whole heap of inflatable fun to be had at the Cotswold Country Park & Beach Aquaventure Experience. Located at the lovely lakes complex near South Cerney in Cirencester, it’s one big giant pimped-up waterpark, and wipe-out style day out. Climb, bounce or (if you’re us) slide, your way around attempting not to fall into the lake, wetsuits and life jackets are provided. Prices start at £15 per person and kids must be six or over.
Prepare yourself for major mother / father brownie points for this one. They can now play laser tag outside. The new Battlesports Glos Kid’s Outdoor Laser Tag and Paintballing in Newnham in Gloucestershire is spot on to burn off energy. Basically a winning combo of real life video games and lots of fresh air.
Players are issued with a cap, team bib, and camo face paint and get the choice of a laser guns, from a small pistol to a large machine gun. Ammo is unlimited too. The best bit? The big kids (aka adults) are allowed to join in too and purchase smoke grenades to add an extra surprise to the game. Can this get any better? Click here to book. From £10 per person for a one hour session.
Got a head for heights? Then take them to the brilliant Go Ape Treetop Challenge at the Wyre Forest in Worcs. Opening after the winter on Fri 14 Feb ascend to the highest canopies (if you dare, or just wave at them from the ground) and have a go on the obstacle course and fast zip wires. Set in one of Britain’s largest remaining ancient forests, with its enormous Douglas fir trees – they don’t call the Wyre the Valley of the Giants for nothing. Perfect for thrill seekers and fearless mini-bouncers.
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Mini ravers can expect glow sticks, confetti, music and a tuck shop, as well as a DJ and an entertainment team leading the dance moves on the bar’s stage. Early bird tickets to the event cost £6 each for children and adults. Plus, Revolution’s bar will be open and children can also expect glitter painting, face painting and prizes in the dancing competitions.
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CLASS OF THEIR OWN Pizza and pasta heaven
Daylesford does it again with the cookery class they’ll pretty much all want to do. Book in for their Children’s Pizza Masterclass at the fabulous organic farm shop in Kingham. For £40 per child, this two hour masterclass with expert cookery tutors will demonstrate how to create a delicious pizza using seasonal organic ingredients sourced directly from the farm – a perfect introduction to cookery for kids.
Children will gather a variety of fresh tomatoes from the 28-acre garden to be used in a tomato sauce base before learning about seasonal vegetables and herbs that can be picked for toppings. Tutors will then explain how to mix and shape the dough. Once their masterpiece is cooked, each child will enjoy their homemade pizza with a glass of organic orange juice.
Plus, book in and the grown ups get a treat too with 25% off in the Farmshop afterwards. At least you’ll have ticked off one vegetable in 7 days – that’s a half term win right?
There’s also tons of culinary fun to be had the Harts Barn Cookery School Pasta Making Class. Located in Longhope near the Forest of Dean, they will learn how to make a simple pasta dough, then have fun getting hands on creating pasta shapes and coloured varieties. They can taste as they go and soft drinks and aprons are provided. All ages welcome but children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult. Fri 21 Feb from 1.30pm – 4pm, £30. Or, try the useful sounding ‘Simple Meals’ for Kids on 21 Feb, 10am-12:30pm.
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Hub of creativity the New Brewery Arts Centre in Cirencester has four brilliant craft workshops to keep them busy and out of your hair. Try out Print and Play with Stencils (10 – 17 years old) 10am – 4pm (£45). In this class led by artist Sophie Raw all materials are included and they’ll have fun with small rollers, printing ink and paper stencils to create fun abstract or botanical multi-layered print.
Get hands mucky at one of the February Craft Days, where they can discover paint, printing, 3D model making, felt and papier mache. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to make some masterpieces. Classes are from Mon 17 Feb – Fri 21 Feb at the Albright Studio. All materials are included just bring a packed lunch.
You can also opt to Make a Necklace or Bracelet (13- 17 year old) . All materials are included and you’ll get to use silver, pearls and semi-precious stones to make your own bit of bling. Workshops take place on Mon 17 Feb and Tue 18 Feb.
It’s time to get crafty over at Dyrham Park in Glos this half term. Get them all working together (we can dream) to build their very own bird feeders and bird perches so you can enjoy wildlife in your own back gardens. There’s a tearoom and tea garden to keep your strength up and have a little break.
It’s kids crafts a-plenty at the super-luxe Cowley Manor near Cheltenham. Check in for a range of totally free activities all half term week. Up for your entertainment are: Pine Cone Hedgehog Making (Mon 17 Feb), Dragon Spiral Making (Thurs 20 Feb), Crystal Mosaic Pendant Making (Fri 21 Feb) plus lots more.
And – praise be to those fabulous Cowley bods – there’s even a free cinema showing two films daily between 17 and 21 Feb to keep them happy. We’ll meet you on the Terrace with a Espresso Martini yes?? … Don’t delay, book in with reception to reserve your spot.