May Half Term Fun for kids & teens
Fun things to see and do in Warwickshire and beyond while school's out, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3.
A Heart At Sea, Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Studio, Wed 23 May – Sat May 26
Be enthralled by this 50-minute epic musical folk tale told on a miniature scale for ages 7+. The haunting live music tells the story of a boy who bottles up his heart and throws it into the sea. Original song-writing, intricate puppets and a heart-warming tale of whales, tiny boats, sea captains and beards. An intimate gig that will resonate with all ages. Post Show Talk: Wed May 23.
Wars of the Roses Live & the UK’s first family Escape Room, Warwick Castle, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3
May half-term sees the return of this jousting spectacle with a new challenge –and the launch of the UK’s first family Escape Room set in a medieval jail. Set in the underground prison, the challenge provides a thrilling live actor-led experience for visitors as they battle the clock to set a knight free in time to return to the arena and join the famous Lancaster versus York battles. Available in timed sessions, £5 per person when booked online in adv. plus admission fee.
BBC Radio 2 & Radio 3’s The Biggest Weekend: Coventry, Sun May 27 & Mon May 28
War Memorial Park is the venue for two days of performances by Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, Paloma Faith, Billy Ocean, Jamie Cullum, Snow Patrol, UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey and Coventry’s own 2-tone legends, The Selecter. On Monday the BBC Concert Orchestra, Dinosaur, Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band, GoGo Penguin, Milos, Angelique Kidjo and Nigel Kennedy will be entertaining the crowds. Sold out on Sun! Tickets for Mon available here.
Woolly Week, Mary Arden’s Farm, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3
Come and see traditional sheep-shearing demonstrations daily, or try your hand at spinning wool and discover how to make a Tudor braid which you will be able to proudly display at home. The Stonemason and Blacksmith will return bank holiday weekend for a special demonstration of their craftwork.
shakespeare, Tel: 01789 338536
Pirate Festival, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3
Discover your inner Jack Sparrow or Elizabeth Swann for more skulduggery and pesky pirate antics during the Whitsun half term. The Pirate style entertainment includes a live Pirate Show in the family theatre, Pirate Battles, finding smuggled booty in the hidden Treasure Hunt and panning for gold. Not forgetting, there’s also the Guinea Pig village, snake handling, tractor safari, falconry demonstrations and outdoor laser combat (8yrs+).
hattonworld.com/adventure-world, Tel: 01926 843411
Warwick Festival – The Legend of Guy of Warwick, Sat May 26 – Mon May 28
This is a new festival – which coincides with Warwick Food Festival on Sun May 27 – and celebrates the legend of Guy of Warwick. It includes historic tours, banquets, exhibitions, Guy of Warwick crafts, town stalls and a parade from Warwick Racecourse into the town on Mon May 28. You can also climb the iconic tower at St Mary’s and kids can make their own superhero mask at Market Hall Museum on Sat (10am-12noon, £1).
Brum’s Big Fat Pizza Festival, Level Digbeth, Birmingham, Sat May 26
Now in its third year a whole festival dedicated to Margherita’s, Meat Feast’s, Hot and Spicy and even Chocolate Nutella Marshmallow Pizza (think I’ll give that one a miss!). Twelve of the UK’s top pizzerias will be battling it out to find out whose crust is King or Queen, six street-food traders will be providing epic sides and outstanding puddings across the day and bars will be serving craft beer, Prosecco, cocktails and more. There’ll also be 80s kid’s film screenings, free face-painting and retro games. Local artists and top clubbing DJ’s will be spinning tunes day-to-night.
Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, April 21 – Sept 21/ Live in Cinemas: Jul 18
A clever, thought-provoking and moving modern-day production, designed especially to strike a chord with teens. Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teenage lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime.
STOMP & free musical half-term workshops, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues May 29 – Sat June 2
Combining dance, comedy and music STOMP takes everday objects like newspapers, bins, plastic bags and even the kitchen sink, and uses them to create a universal language of rhythm and movement that’s playful, thrilling and full of energy. Running alongside the show are series of fun, free and interactive family-friendly workshops inpired by rhythm, instruments and music-making. On Tue May 29 (10am – 12 noon or 2 – 4pm) join visiting artist Charles Craggs for an interactive play session exploring sound through different percussion instruments. This will be followed by a live samba workshop with students from Birmingham Conservatoire. On Thurs May 31 (10am – 12 noon or 2 – 4pm), join artist Sophie Handy for a chance to craft your very own musical instrument and the chance to try out your own self-made instrument with the multi-talented Daz Dolczech. Finally on Fri 1 June (10am – 12noon), everyone who has taken part across the week is invited to join Daz Dolczech and Bongo Damo to be part of the Hippodrome’s very first ‘Live and Legendary One Day Orchestra’ featuring an end-of-week performance plus special guests from the cast of Stomp.
All workshops are free to attend and no advanced booking is required. Simply pop along on the day and register at the Information and Sales desk, Tel 0844 338 5000, birminghamhippodrome
May Half Term at Warwickshire’s National Trust homes
Discover Adventure, Animation and Land Rovers, British Motor Museum, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3
During May half-term, the Warwickshire car museum is celebrating the 70th birthday of Land Rover. Visitors can make their own animated film by creating a storyboard and building a Land Rover model to star in their own animation using ‘Animate It!’, the animation software and app developed by Kudlian Software and Aardman – creators of family favourites such as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph.
Become a scientist with Operation Earth at Thinktank, Birmingham
Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum, has half term covered, with the Operation Earth show running throughout the holiday, inspiring little minds to become environmental specialists. On Mon May 28 there’s the first multi-Doctor, multi-verse, fulldome Planetarium show. Not one, but ten Doctors battle it out with their darkest enemy ever. Starting at 7pm, this is a perfect evening for Dr Who fans.
For dates, times and prices of all events across Birmingham Museums check out birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on
LEGO fans – The giraffe is in! Birmingham city centre
Not long now… The £7m LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham makes its final preparations ahead of opening this summer on July 5 at Arena Birmingham. Exciting! There’ll be 10 themed LEGO play zones, a Build and Test area, two LEGO themed rides and a 4D cinema.
To find out more & to be the first to know when tickets go on sale, check out birmingham.legolanddiscoverycentre
Macbeth, RST, Stratford, March 13 – September 18
The Motor Show, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Sun May 27 & Mon May 28
See 600 vintage and classic cars, American, kit & custom, motorcycles and commercial vehicles plus club stands, trade and auto-jumble stands. The judges will select the concourse winners with an award ceremony plus there is an interactive arena, vintage rides for children and live music.
Tix for adults: £10 & children (4-16 years) £5, ragley
Mary and The Witch’s Flower Broomstick (U), Cinema, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat May 26 – Mon May 28
This well-received Japanese anime is almost an homage Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 coming-of-age story Kiki’s Delivery Service with a nod to Harry Potter. The film tells the story of schoolgirl Mary who is swept away on a flying broomstick to the magical Endor College during the summer holidays. It’s the first feature from Studio Ponoc, created from the ashes of Studio Ghibli with a team boasting former Ghibli staff including lead producer Yoshiaki Nishimura. The animation and storytelling approach is near-identical to the iconic Japanese animation house, whose founders bowed out in 2013.
Wander into Hall’s Croft and discover the magical world of the fairies. Have a go at making your own head-band using flowers or leaves and learn about their influence in Jacobean folklore. Which Shakespeare characters would you class as heroes or villains? Uncover the truth in Heroes vs Supervillains at Shakespeare’s New Place. ‘Draw me…As You Like It’ at Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Get yourself drawn by our caricature artist, with a Tudor twist. Transform into one of your favourite Shakespearian characters – Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, Puck or don a Tudor ruff… you decide! (May 26-28 only).
All activities included with admission, unless otherwise stated. For more info and to plan your visit, see www.shakespeare.org.uk/events
Playful Artful Stories, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, Sat May 26 – Sat June 2 (except Sun)
Children can create crafty artwork inspired by the world of storytelling and the folk-lore-themed exhibition Fevral from yarn painting to patch-working and making their very own story spoon person, £2.50, drop-in. Day-by-day events here. Ages 3+
Medieval Festival & Creepy Crawly Castle, Kenilworth Castle, Sun May 27 – Sun June 3
Over the Bank Holiday, Sun May 27 & Mon May 28, travel back in time to experience some hands-on medieval fun and visit the living history encampment. Transform yourself into a courtly Lord or Lady with tips on everything from curtsies to combat. Visit travelling knights to have a closer look at the armour and even try some on! Be put through your paces by Griffin Historical on a junior jousting tilt and challenge all the family in the mini melee. Play some medieval games; Raphael Historic Falconry will show off some of their birds of prey in the ‘mews’ and listen to the medieval music of Myal Pyper. From Tues May 29 – Sun June 3 meet some amazing animals with ZooLabs rangers. Encounter creepy crawly creatures and discover what makes them so special, 11am – 5pm.
Ticket to Ride: Bus Journeys, Coventry Transport Museum, Sat May 26 – Sat June 2
Invent a futuristic bus. mark out your travels on a map or make a suitcase collage inspired by this summer’s Ticket to Ride exhibition all about buses, 10.30am – 3.30pm, drop in £2.50. Kids can also explore the Half Term Trail.
Dippy at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Sat May 26 – Sept 9
The Natural History Museum’s iconic Dippy is on tour. The Diplodocus arrives just in time for the May half-term, so there’s lots of dinosaur inspired activities including handling real fossils, making dinosaur masks and badges, and dinosaur fabric painting. There will also be a special Little Dinos Messy Play for the under 3s and the Captain Cretaceous family show. Children can also experience what it’s like to be a real palaeontologist at a Dino Dig excavation sessions.
For dates, times and prices of all events across Birmingham Museums please visit birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on
BAFTA-winning TV choirmaster Gareth Malone, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 27
Are your kids fans of the BAFTA-winning TV choirmaster? Joined by close harmony singers The Swingles (one of the leading choral groups in the world), Gareth Malone’s show will combine feel good, sing along sessions.
Warwick Food Festival, Sun May 27
This lively family-friendly festival returns for its fourth year celebrating the wonderfully diverse locally-produced food and drink from across Warwick District and beyond including more than 60 food, drink & local producers, live entertainment and cookery demo theatres.
Market Place, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4SA, 10am – 6pm, localfoodfestivals
Ginger Johnson: Glamorous Gran and Other Tall Stories, Symphony Hall Level 3 Foyer, Birmingham, Sun May 27
Glamorous Gran and Other Tall Stories is a lively collection of original children’s stories inspired by the lives of LGBTQIA+ people and their experience of the world; ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Written and performed by nightmare in nylons and drag superstar Ginger Johnson, they are gutsy, hilarious stories for switched-on kids, that just so happen to feature queer characters. Free. For ages 7+
Join Kinetika dance in three RSC Midsummer Dance Party workshops, Tues May 29 & Wed May 30
Join Kinetika dance artists in a fun and energetic workshop to develop a mass dance for their Midsummer Dance Party on June 23 and 24 June, or come along to a craft workshop in preparation for the party. Kinetika, one of the UK’s leading outdoor arts organisations, will be re-imagining a different ending for Romeo and Juliet. These practical, fun and energetic hour-long workshops are accessible to all ages, with a family session at each. They will be held at Warwickspace and Stratford- upon-Avon High School on 29 May and at the Clore Learning Centre on 30 May. Timings for both days are: 11am-12pm – Families; 2-3pm – 13–17 years and 3.30-4.30pm: 13-17 years; 5-6pm: 18+. No experience necessary.
All events are free. To book a place on the May half-term workshops, rsc.org.uk/mayhalfterm. No booking required for the Midsummer Dance Party
May Half-term at the RSC, Tues May 29 – Fri June 1
Get stuck in with Blood, Guts and Gore, and learn the tricks of the trade behind stage bruises, cuts and scars with the former RSC Head of Wigs and Make-up or create your own set inspired by Romeo and Juliet with an RSC Trainee Designer (for ages 13 – 17). Other highlights include singing workshops, Kate’s Storytree on Fri June 1 and Discover: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Thurs May 31).
For the full half-term activities see here rsc.org.uk/mayhalfterm, Book on 01789 403493.
Make and Take – Mercuralia! Lunt Roman Fort, Tues May 29 – Fri June 1
Pay tribute to Mercury, speediest of the Roman gods, by making your own winged sandals (v fetching!) and headdress to whisk you on your way…10.30am – 3.30pm, for ages 5+. Free but site fee applies.
May Half term at Brandon Marsh (nr Coventry) & Parkridge, (nr Solihull)
Pond-dipping, bug-hunts and making survival shelters are on the agenda at these two Warwickshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves.
Full details here.
Horrible Histories: More Best of Barmy Britain, Belgrade Theatre’s Main Stage, Coventry, Wed May 30 – Sat June 2
A gag-filled gallop through history in the latest chapter of Birmingham Stage Company’s adaptation of Terry Deary’s best-selling kids’ books. Prepare to brave the Vicious Vikings, party with the Puritans, clap along with Crazy King Charles, or go wild with Wordy Will Shakespeare. It follows recent productions of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie. Directed by company founder, Neal Foster.
Tel 024 7655 3055, belgrade
Outdoor Cinema Screening: Pretty Woman (15), Rugby School, Thur May 31
Book yourself a deckchair or beanbag, grab a cocktail, some popcorn and enjoy this 1990 classic. For families with teens aged 15+.
Get creative at Aston Hall, Birmingham, Wed May 30 & Thurs May 31
Awaken your creativity at Aston Hall on a Family Drawing Tour. Tap into your inner artist and take part in an interactive drawing exploration of the hall. Get involved with drawing challenges and enrich your knowledge by finding out the secrets that lie behind the portraits adorning the walls. Suitable for children aged 6-12 and accompanying adults. After the drawing tour there’s plenty of time to enjoy Aston Hall and its grounds.
For dates, times and prices of all events across Birmingham Museums check out birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on
Make your own mini-Lowry collage, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum Thurs May 31
Arty kids can unleash their creativity making matchstick men/women, cats and dogs – for ages 12 & under, £2.50 per child. Also enjoy an activity from the Art Cart on Sat May 26. Create your own Hammam patterns! Free, drop in and join in.
An Audience with Kate Humble, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Thur May 31
Wildlife-loving older teens may enjoy this. Join Kate for a fascinating talk about her life working with animals, the many wonderful and inspiring people she has met and the chance to find out how the programmes are made along with lovely anecdotes about the filming. The BBC Springwatch/Autumnwatch broadcaster and writer specialising in science, wildlife and rural affairs lives with her husband Ludo in permanently muddy jeans on a smallholding in Wales. For ages 16+.
Shakespeare’s Assembleth: Age of Obero, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri June 1 & Sat June 2
Ever wondered what would happen if Shakespeare was kidnapped by a crazed fairy in an enchanted forest? With the fate of the Bard and his mystical infinity quill in the balance, can Shakespeare’s heroes save their creator from the evil machinations of Oberon, Lord of Midsummer? Presented by Drake’s Drummers Theatre Company, this fast-paced new comedy featuring fairies, Romans and a whole host of madness. For ages 10+. Tickets cost £10 adult, £8 child/concession.
shakespeare, Tel: 01789 338536
Children’s Crafts with Jo Chorley and Tools with a Mission, Chedham’s Yard, Wellesbourne, Sat June 2
Children can make a variety of items at this prize-winning heritage site – a restored historic blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s workshop – with experienced crafter Jo Chorley of Chase Meadow Crafts. It’s also another great opportunity to clear your garage, loft or shed of inherited or unused tools. A representative from Tools with a Mission will be talking about how tools are refurbished and sorted into useful kits and shipped overseas to developing communities. Garden, farming, DIY and mechanics tools are all wanted. Guided tours, the mouse trail, films and refreshments in the café will also be available.
1940’s Tea Party, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat June 2
Feeling nostalgic? You’re invited to a 1940’s Tea Party commemorating the centenary of the RAF and sharing stories of visitors who brought their sweethearts to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage through the war years. Swing by in your best 1940’s attire and enjoy vintage music and entertainment, traditional games and evacuee dressing-up competition, as well as delicious, non-rationed afternoon teas. During half-term children can create a bird feeder with recyclable materials in the family activity tent.
shakespeare, Tel: 01789 338536
See the world’s largest spider, May Half-term, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Sat May 26 – Sun June 3
The Goliath Bird Eating Spider is the largest spider in the world and was named by explorers who saw one eating a hummingbird and reported the sighting. Plus, visitors can see a venomous Vietnamese Centipede which has a venomous bite that causes extreme pain but is not fatal to humans. Lots of beautiful, rare and exotic butterflies to admire for those not keen on creepy crawlies!
Arts Fair Discover: Gather:Give, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, Fri June 1 – Sun June 3
Might be interesting for teens studying art GCSE or A level. You can see more than 40 local artists exhibiting over 500 pieces of original art, offering a mix of paintings, illustrations, ceramics, jewellery, drawing, textiles, sculpture and book binding at Stratford’s fifth contemporary art fair. Relax in the Golden Cup Café with tea & coffee from Monsoon Estates Artisan Coffee plus cakes by Knead It! The Fair is free to view.
Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, 1 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EF, discovergathergive
Nature Week, Cotswold Farm Park
Half-term family activities include a Mini-beast’s safari, woodland adventures with tree rubbing, leaf rubbing or twig building, pond dipping and eco-warriors. Their very own expert Nature Ranger will take families on a journey of discovery twice daily around the Conservation area and Woodland Walk.
Xscape, Milton Keynes, Sat May 26 – Sun June 2
How cool is this? Muddy’s head ed Hero has already had a test of the new Rush VR (virtual reality) immersive experience and reports it’s totally awesome! Nothing like fighting zombies building castles or wandering through a Mayan maze after a few coffees. If you’re heading up to Xscape, you can also check out Hollywood Bowl – it’s putting on activities between 4 and 6pm with pink pin games, treasure hunts and face painting. Boom – a day of half-term sorted.
Gifford’s Circus, Daylesford Organic Farm near Kingham, Glos, Thu May 24 – Mon June 4
The annual outing of England’s most glamorous and wonderfully quirky circus has come round again. A spanking new big top has been rolled out with sumptuous red velvet and chandelier interiors. The theme this year is My Beautiful Circus to celebrate 250 years since the very first circus near Westminster Bridge in London started the magic in 1768
See full list of dates here.