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Half Term Survival Kit: Part 1

Don’t despair as you’re chasing the kids round the house after your mop.  Take a deep breath, grab your iPad/phone and here’s your survival guide…12 cool things to do with the kids this Half Term in Warwickshire and beyond:

1. Sculpting the Museum, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, until March 25

“No don’t climb on it – it’s art!” But it looks so tempting! Michael Shaw is an artist specialising in giant inflatables, which just sounds a brilliant job. He has created this humongous one as part of his ‘site specific response’ to the architecture and collections housed inside Rugby Art Gallery itself. It fills the entire main gallery. He’s also reimagined other historic buildings including the V&A in London, and the Varna Palace in Aarhus, Denmark.

Little Elborow Street, Rugby, CV21 3BZ,

2. Shakespearean Cottage Bird Watch, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, near Stratford Sat Feb 18- Sun Feb 26

Get the kids to pop on their wellies, grab some binoculars (provided) and set off on a woodland adventure to discover fascinating facts about birds and learn about the feathered friends who have a starring role in Shakespeare’s plays. Stop off along the way in the Garden Cafe for a mug of hot chocolate.

Other interesting stuff going on at Shakespeare’s family homes include Zoolab on Feb 23 and Feb 24 – at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Shakespeare’s New Place – Quill Writing and Tudor Feast Talks.

3. Lego Brick Week, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sat Feb 18-Sun Feb 26

If you have any burgeoning engineers in the family they can help build a life-size Mini out of LEGO bricks, take part in a 25 Brick challenge and follow a Mini Figure trail around the family-friendly museum. Car fanatics can see more than 300 British vehicles. Outside the museum, you can see Jaguar/ Landrover’s huge design centre where the real cars are engineered. The onsite Junction 12 Cafe serves snacks and lunches.

Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0BJ,

4. The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, The Belgrade Theatre, Sat Feb 18-Sat March 4

The Belgrade’s Artistic Director Hamish Glen (brother to Game of Thrones’ actor Iain Glen) directs the world-premiere of this slightly surreal and brilliantly chaotic musical with a magical ‘bong tree’ – adapted for stage by Monty Python, Eric Idle ( the one who one sings  ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life‘ in Life of Brian)

Belgrade Square, Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GS,

5. Running Wild, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Feb 22 -Sat Feb 25 

The Belgrade has not one, but two fabulous new family shows for the Feb Half Term… Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild for ages 6+ has been created by the team behind War Horse with puppetry design and direction by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié.  Schoolgirl Lily is on a family holiday in when a tsunami hits just as she’s taking an elephant ride along the beach…

6. Snowdrop Walks: Hill Close Gardens, Ragley Hall & Baddesley Clinton

Get some fresh air and let them run wild while you admire the snowdrops and first sign winter’s nearly over…See them in the Nut Grove and around the churchyard at National Trust house Baddesley Clinton near Lapworth, Warwickshire, throughout half-term and enjoy a family day out.

Hill Close Gardens  in Warwick has a Snowdrop Day on Sun Feb 19 in aid of NGS. There’ll be many varieties of snowdrops, plant sales and refreshments, 11am – 4pm. (£4, Children £1). Ragley Hall, Alcester has Winter Gardens Walks on Sat Feb 18 & Sun Feb 19, where you can enjoy the multitude of snowdrop varieties hand planted by the gardening team, 10am – 2pm (£5). Also on Sat Feb 18 you can visit an NGS garden open for charity at Elm Close in Welford-on-Avon, 5m from Stratford, with drifts of snowdrops and spring flowers, 1.30pm – 3.30pm.

7. Wow! said Owl, Warwick Arts Centre, Tue Feb 21-Thur Feb 23 

Looks cuuuuuute. Based on the acclaimed children’s book by writer Tim Hopgood, Wow! Said the Owl explores the world of colours with a curious little owl who’s determined to stay awake to see what daylight brings. Aimed at 2-5 years, but might be good for those with hangovers too. Just saying.

8. Re-opening of Market Hall Museum Warwick, Sat Feb 18– Sat Feb 25

Market Hall Museum, which celebrates the stories of Warwickshire and its people, re-opens on Feb 18 after a major Heritage Lottery revamp,  10.30am-5pm. There’ll be offbeat MusGuided Tours by the highly amusing Talking Birds’ Theatre Company and children can help artists Ruth and Adrian Spaal build a life-size Warwickshire bear. In the week, fun events include a STEAMpunk spectacular on Fri Feb 24 with free rides on Pif-Pafs theatrical vehicles The Submercycle and The Flycycle (until 3pm); and a Silent Disco for over 16s (8 – 10pm); Arty Tots on Feb 21 and Jurassic Beasts and Horace the Pilosaur on Wed Feb 22 (10.20am – 3pm).

Market Place, Warwick, CV34 4SA,

9. Big Top Bonanza, Hatton Adventure World, Warwick, Sat Feb 18-Sun Feb 26

A new circus show is coming to Hatton with acrobats, aerialists, clowns, jugglers and Hatton’s very own Zoobee with his magic and puppet shows. There’s all the usual favourites too with animal handling on the farm, fun fair rides for younger children, Laser Combat for 8+ and the super slides.

Hatton Country World, Dark Lane, Hatton, Warwick CV35 8XA,

10. Awesome Archaeology, Kenilworth Castle, Mon Feb 20-Fri Feb 24

Meet the intrepid adventurers and see artefacts gathered from their digs around the world. Take part in coin rubbing and facial reconstruction as well as digging for finds in the sand pit.

Castle Green, Off Castle Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1NG,

11. Raymond Briggs’ The Bear, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Feb 24-Sun Feb 26

Have you ever tried to give a polar bear a bath, or clear up its poo? Tilly has – she’s a little girl who befriends a mischievous bear who appears in her bedroom in this funny and heart-warming tale from the lovely Raymond Briggs. It’s a Pins and Needles’ adaptation with inventive design, original music and puppetry. Times: 11am & 2pm.

University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL,

12. Master the Schooling of Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, Stratford, Feb 18-26

Dress-up like a Tudor and enjoy the fun and drama of a Tudor lesson with Thomas Jenkins, a Tudor School Master where young William Shakespeare went to school. Discover what his schooldays would’ve been like and find the etchings made by old boys everywhere from the desks to the windows. There’s also interactive exhibits and a film screening about the story of the building. 10am – 5pm.  You could combine this with a visit to the quirky The MAD Museum, of mechanical art and design in Henley Street.


Banking for Victory, Upton House

See the award-winning transformation of how this National Trust stately manor, in the idyllic Warwickshire countryside, was turned into a country house bank during the Second World War. Find out about the bank staff evacuated from London, Lord Bearsted’s secret war work and choose which part of his art collection you’d save from bombing raids. Entry is by timed ticket, you can pre-order online.


The original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Think Tank, Birmingham

Think Tank’s Mechanical Things: Adventures and Inventions from the World of Rowland Emett explores the work of this eccentric English inventor,  including the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car and A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley – his last and largest machine. Families can also enjoy interactive kinetic art and exhibits from the MAD Museum (Mechanical Art and Design) in Stratford-upon-Avon.  While you’re there take a sneaky peak at Tim Peake’s Photos from Space and enjoy lots of half-term Family Activities from storytelling robots to Mad Machines science shows until Sun Feb 26 (11am – 3pm).

Musical Picnic for young children, Symphony Hall Cafe Bar, Birmingham Sat Feb 18, 10.30am

Saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes is back in Birmingham with her brilliant band for a fun and jazz-inspired Musical Picnic for children up to the ages of seven. Jamie Cullum is a fan! Free.


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