The Top things to do with your little people in Warwickshire and beyond over the next week.
The Doodle Dance Show, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Feb 23 – Sun Feb 25
This playful, interactive show by Anatomical sounds absolutely brilliant especially if your kids love drawing! Grab some pens, kick off your shoes and let your family’s imagination run wild as you all dance, draw and create a world of crazy birds, dancing pirates and strange underworld creatures on a huge piece of paper!
Awful Auntie, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Feb 20 – Fri Feb 24
Awful Auntie by Birmingham Stage Company. Photo by Mark Douet
No, it’s not him! I also did a double-take. After the sell-out success of their theatre touring production of Gangsta Granny, the Birmingham Stage Company, who also produced Horrible Histories Live, are bringing another of David Walliams’ children’s books to the stage. In Awful Auntie young Stella Saxby finds herself separated from her parents while heading out on a visit to London and soon discovers she’s in a fight for her life against her very own awful Auntie! Featuring a very large owl, a very small ghost and a really awful Auntie!
Milkshake! Live, The Magic Story Book, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Feb 17
Television presenter Derek Morgan will be on tour with the morning TV children’s show. Families can follow Milkshake here: facebook.com/milkshakelive, twitter @milkshaketour or Instagram @milkshakelive. Two shows: 12noon and 3pm, under 2’s free.
New Circus Show: Big Top Bonanza, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, Sat Feb 17 – Sun Feb 25
Roll-up, Roll-up the circus is in town! Enjoy a 40-minute show performed by an international cast of comical clowns, acrobats, champion jugglers and awesome aerialists inside the warmth of a large heated 400-seater big top. Plus, circus themed arts and crafts, indoor falconry and the usual Hatton favourites’ – animal handling, funfair rides (for younger children), Laser Combat (8 years +) and Snorty’s Superslide Mania.
The Play’s The Thing, The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, children free Mon Feb 19 – Fri Feb 23
The Play’s The Thing
The RSC’s fun super-interactive family-friendly exhibition. Check out the incredible detail of hand-made costumes and props, try on virtual costumes, discover gory stage tricks and how sound effects are made, and experience how RSC productions are staged through interactive hands-on activities. Children go free throughout the Warwickshire school holidays (Mon Feb 19 – Fri Feb 23).
Half-term fun at Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University, Coventry, Sat Feb 17 – Sun Feb 25
A Tigers Tale. Pic Credit: Lewis Wileman
Award-winning musical comedian Jay Foreman breaks the traditional family show with his Fringe Fest sell-out Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children on Sat 17 Feb – a devilishly cheeky hour filled to the brim with comedy, poetry and song. Should you wish to encounter an epic adventure while remaining in the heart of England, then M6 Theatre’s A Tiger’s Tale (Fri Feb 23 – Sun Feb 25) sounds like a high-spirited balancing act of circus, puppetry and live music. And Hiccup Theatre masterfully re-invigorates The Gingerbread Man (Tue Feb 20 – Thu Feb 22).
Feb half-term for young people at the RSC, Stratford, Mon Feb 19 – Fri Feb 23
Pic by Paul Stuart, RSC
Coinciding with the RSC’s forthcoming production of Macbeth, which opens next month, young people can enjoy a range of activities inspired by Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy including:
Play in a Day: Macbeth, £28, Clore Learning Centre, Tues Feb 20 & Fri Feb 23, 10am-4.30pm
Create their own shortened version of the Shakespeare play in just one day with help from an RSC expert. For ages 11-12 who can attend without their parents or carers.
Introduce: Macbeth, £3.50 adults, £2.50 children, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Wed Feb 21 , 11am-11.45am
Take part in this fun and active session and introduce your child to scenes and themes from Shakespeare’s famous play through simple rehearsal techniques. Suitable for ages four to eight and their parent or guardian.
Discover: Macbeth, £3.50 adults, £2.50 child, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Wed Feb 21, 2pm-3.30pm
Discover the stories and themes of Shakespeare’s brooding play. Suitable for ages eight to 12 and their parent or guardian.
Voice Workshop: (8-12 years), £9, Clore Learning Centre, Thurs Feb 22, 10.30am-12pm
Young people can find their voice and uncover different sounds and techniques through games and exercises with an RSC vocal expert.
Other highlights include a free Craft Workshop, Colonnade, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Thurs Feb 22, 11am-4pm; a free 30-min Kate’s Storytree for under 5’s, Upper Foyer, The Other Place, Fri Feb 23, 10am-10.30am & again at 11.30am-12noon and a Blood, Guts and Gore workshop with former RSC Head of Wigs and Make-up, Brenda Leedham, The Other Place, Event Space, Mon Feb 19, 11.30am-12.30pm, £3.50 adults, £2.50 child.
Book Now: Teen Direct’s BrandMe Workshop for 15 – 18-year-old, The Hall, Rugby Road, Wolston, nr Coventry, Tues Feb 20
These hands-on 3-hour sessions cover interview skills, how to write a killer CV & Personal Profile, Linkedin and how to become known professionally, 10am – 1pm.
If you would like to book a place on a Teen Direct workshop, discuss how career coaching could support your son or daughter, or a young person you care for, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 07901 517012.
Black Panther, in cinemas out now
One for super hero loving teens. Great reviews.
Feb Half-term at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford, Fri Feb 16 – Feb 25
Shadow Puppet Theatre, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford – Discover the magical story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Come and play in the shadow puppet theatre and bring to life characters from Shakespeare’s spellbinding play.
Leather Working Week, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford – Discover the working world of William’s father John Shakespeare. Step into the workshop and with the help of in-house experts you can have a go at stretching and working leather just as Shakespeare’s father would have.
Winter Sniffles by Live’n History, Hall’s Croft, Stratford,Tue 24 Feb, 12pm – 4pm – Join the Live’n History team for a lesson on Jacobean medicine. Discover what ingredients the Jacobean’s believed would cure their colds and find out how Shakespeare’s daughter helped her physician husband John Hall in the herbal garden.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery – The 1540s, was a time of unrest in England and in this unruly time, the Hathaway’s first moved to idyllic cottage in Shottery. Discover the gruesome facts, rebellions and intrigue of Tudor England that the Hathaway’s lived through by reading the ‘Hathaway Times’ a newspaper trail sheet that leads you through the cottage on a path of surprising facts.
Little Mochi Man, Patrick Studio, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sat Feb 24
Inspired by the traditions of Shogatsu (Japanese New Year celebrations), Birmingham Hippodrome and A Thousand Cranes theatre company will take families on a high-flying adventure through the snowy mountains of Hokkaido, to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo in the delightful new children’s show featuring ‘origami’ puppets, animation and music. Suitable for ages 4-7 and takes place in the 200-seat Patrick Studio.
Activities have a Roman theme ranging from a Treasure Hunt, all day, Tue Feb 20 – Sat Feb 24; Little Discoveries – Mini explorers for under 5s on Tues Feb 20 11am -12pm, to making Super Shields for Roman soldiers or super-heroes on Wed Feb 21, 10.30am- 12.30pm. Young artists can create Magical Unicorns and Dancing Horses on Thurs Feb 22, 10.30am – 12.30pm, inspired by Melanie Thompson’s horses in the gallery’s craft show. All suggested £1 donation. On Fri Feb 23 & and Sat Feb 24 February kids can Paint and Glaze, 10.30am-1.30pm from £8, in the foyer. Great for gifts. Ring Emma, 01788) 560771.
Visit a country park -Ryton Pools , Coombe Abbey, Stratford Greenway, Kenilworth or or the Burton Dasset Hills, some ancient woodlands or explore the grounds of a nearby National Trust property in Warwickshire, Canon Ashby nr Rugby or Birmingham.
New exhibits, The MAD Museum, Stratford
Experience interactive new exhibits, interact with weird and wonderful inventions and build marble runs. The quirky museum takes about 1 – 2 hours to experience so is perfect to while away a morning or afternoon.
It may not be snowing but you can pretend – indoors! Fly down the 170m slope at SnowDome during a tobogganing session, get your skates on and take on the ice rink with the UK’s only ice track, make snow angels and throw snowballs in the dedicated snowplay area or race along the inflatable obstacle course in the 25m swimming pool. There’s also the brand new climbing day ticket to enjoy. Three epic activities, including SnowDome Climb all for £21.50 (juniors).
Legends and Lights Spring Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome, throughout half-term
Free holiday workshops in storytelling and crafts inspired by Chinese New Year. There’s a wide variety of activities on offer which means you can take away something different each day. Join Haruka Kuroda (pictured above), regular presenter in CBBC’s Officially Amazing and soon to be appearing in the show The Little Mochi Man Sat 24 Feb. As well as half-term fun, the theatre is also co-producing a jam-packed festival in celebration of Chinese New Year in the foyers and around the city centre (Fri Feb 16 – Sun Feb 18).
Feb Half Term: Poptastic Art, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, Sat Feb 17 –Sat Feb 24
Pic credit: Joe-Tilson_-Cut-Out-and-Send_-1968_
See the new exhibition, Pop! British And American Art 1960 -1975, Fri Feb 16 – June 3, and delve into the world of Pop Art with a different activity each day, except Sun. Create bright and bold pop art prints, turn famous faces into colourful Warhol masterpieces and collage yourself using recycled materials, 10:30am – 3:30pm. Drop in, £2.50pm.
Stay the Night at Warwick Castle’sluxury Themed lodges
Each Lodge is fully set-up with a double bedroom, two bunks and an optional truckle bed. Equipped with a wet room, shower and towels, there is also cable TV, free WiFi and heating. Prices start from £38.25 per person, per night including breakfast and free second day entry to the castle plus parking. Guests can dine like a King in the Evening All-You-Can-Eat Medieval Dinner Feast.
‘Star Car’ Family Fun, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Feb10 – 25
Join Parker and Penelope on a family tour and explore the collection of Star Cars. Get creative with ‘Star Car’ crafts and Lego building, and have a go at the ‘Star Car’ family trail. All activities are suitable for 3+ years.
Younger children aged 5 and under can get creative in Arty Tots at Market Hall Museum, Tue Feb 20 (£2.50 per child). Look behind-the-scenes at the Warwickshire Museum store at Montague Road on Wed Feb 21 and see some of the fossils and treasures of Warwickshire’s Jurassic past with Curator of Natural History, Jon Radley, and make a Jurassic treasure to take home, £5. On Thurs Feb 22 join in dino crazy games and crafts at Market Hall Museum – explore the museum for dino bones and meet the Warwickshire Dinosaur, £2.50 per child.
See a butterfly hatch at Stratford Butterfly Farm
Keep your eye’s peeled for a rare White Letter Hairstreak butterfly ‘Satyrium w-album’ spotted on Stratford-upon-Avon Recreation Ground last year
See science in action and observe the life-cycle of a butterfly and you may even see a butterfly hatch! Minibeast Metropolis is teeming with life and home to a variety of creatures including a leafcutter ant colony, one of the largest on display in the UK. During half term the Education Team will be holding twice daily Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions – a fantastic opportunity for all the family to find out about the creatures that live within the Butterfly Farm.
Beyond the Petticoat, Black Country Museum, Dudley, until Sun Feb 25
This half-term the museum marks the 100th anniversary of women getting their first voting rights with hands-on activities and powerful characters bringing women’s history to life from nurses to lady chain makers. Kids can also have a go at brickmaking, a trade which employed thousands of women of the Black Country throughout the 19th century. Also enjoy a trip ‘Into the Thick’, experiencing life in a 1850s coal mine and attend a Victorian school lesson. My daughter was on a school trip recently and saw Peaky Blinders being filmed!
See Pogo Junior, the latest addition at Twycross Zoo, Atherstone
This super cute doe-eyed young female antelope, born in January, is the first ever baby of the Kirk’s Dik-Dik (Madoqua kirkii) to be born at Twycross Zoo, and is the first zoo baby of 2018. She joins 2,780 other individual animals (counted during the zoo’s annual stocktake earlier this month, not including the ant colony!) already living at zoo on the Warks/Leics border. From now until Sun Feb 25, tickets are £10 per adult and £5 per child.
Twycross Zoo is open 10am – 5pm daily, twycrosszoo Tel: 0844 474 1777.
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds Feb 7 – Sun Feb 18
12 days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual festival by kids for kids. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a whole clutch of free possibilities in The Clore Ballroom, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, dance-theatre Tidy Up, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, plus debut authors comedian Harry Hill and Radio One’s Greg James.
Operation Earth, National Space Centre, Leics, until Sun Feb 25
Join Mission Commanders, along with expert scientists, as they investigate the science of planet Earth. Become a trainee environmental scientist and help them investigate land, air and oceans, and see if together you can find solutions to some of the issues in the world today. Throughout the day the mudlets will also be able to join workshops, demonstrations and hands on science sessions.
Winnie The Pooh: Exploring a classic, V&A museum, London, until Sun Feb 25
AA Milne’s enduring bear is the subject of this charming exhibition (the V&A’s first ever family show), which features letters, sketches, ceramic, photographs and fashion. There’s a free pop-up interactive performance each day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm includes role-play and story-telling. Children are encouraged to dress up as their favourite character or bring their favourite cuddly toy.
Live Lambing every day @Cotswold Farm Park, until April 15
Live lambing takes place every day in the state-of-the-art animal barn right up until Easter. Established in 1971 and the home of rare breed conservation, Cotswold Farm Park offers a fun day out for visitors of all ages.
Birds Behaving Badly Week, Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, Saturday, until Sun Feb 18
From blood-sucking songbirds and puking penguins to stinking storks and spitting swallows, keepers at this Cotswolds wildlife attraction will reveal revolting facts about some of the world’s baddest birds. Expect toxic talks and terrible trails highlighting the horrible aspects of natural history and visitors will also be able to meet some real feathered fiends during special meet the creatures sessions.
Birdland Park and Gardens, Rissington Rd, Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos, GL54 2BN. Open Daily From 10am. Tel: 01451 820480, birdland
Snowdrop Time, Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, until Wed Feb 28
It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry day (there must be one coming soon, surely?) and wander through drifts of snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and hellebores in the arboretum. Batsford are predicting this as the time to see the snowdrops, but advise calling first on 01386 701441 in case the weather has put the snowdrops in a grump and they’re late flowering.
Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, all week
Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.