May Half Term sorted!
It feels like Easter was only yesterday! Don't worry, Muddy has you covered with the best family-friendly things to do in Warwickshire, Coventry and beyond.
Dinosaur World Live, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues May 28 & Weds May 29
Using large-scale puppetry to stunning effect, this interactive family show offers an experience like no other, transporting audiences back in time to the wilds of prehistory for a life-like encounter with Triceratops, Microraptor, Segnosaurus and Giraffatitan as paleontologists’ daughter Miranda introduces her favourite prehistoric pals – but not every dino is a docile one…The creative team have an impressive CV! Puppet design is by Max Humphries (National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Cirque du Soleil), puppet direction is by Laura Cubitt (Running Wild, Chichester Festival Theatre; Don Quixote, RSC; War Horse, NT Berlin), with Toby Olié (War Horse, Elephantom, Peter Pan, The Light Princess and Hansel & Gretel, National Theatre) as puppetry consultant.
Recommended for children aged 3+. Tickets are available on 024 7655 3055, belgrade.co.uk
CIRCUS XANTI: As a Tiger in the Jungle, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 29
These Nepalese artists perform their deeply personal story of being trafficked into the circus industry as young children. Circus, spoken word, movement and ceremony are used to show how, against all odds, Renu Ghalan and Aman Tamang survived their childhood and created their own destiny, warwickartscentre.co.uk
The Little Prince, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick campus, Coventry, Sat Jun 1
Children aged five+ can join the Little Prince as he leaves behind his own tiny asteroid and beloved rose and journeys through the universe, coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups in this 60-minute theatrical adventure, 2.30pm. Tickets £15, warwickartscentre.co.uk
If All The World Were Paper by Mike Kenny, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Jun 2
Fred and Ted are best friends. They’ve been best friends a long long time. But they don’t always see eye to eye. Fred likes things ‘just so’. Ted is more ‘that’ll do’. Today, they have a job to do… together in this amusing 55-minute show for children aged 3 – 6 (11.30am & 2.30pm), £12 (£10), warwickartscentre.co.uk
Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids & Childish Grown-Ups, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Tue May 28
More half-term fun with time-travelling magicians and festival faves Morgan & West, who mix brain boggling illusion and good old fashioned tom-foolery. For ages 5+. Café and FREE craft @ 1.30pm. The show starts at 2.30pm, macreadytheatre
ZOG by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 24 – Sun May 26
Another imaginative and colourful 60-minute stage adaptation for children of all ages based on a book by Julia Donaldson by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston (they currently have 4 on the go – Zog, Tabby McTat, Stick Man and Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales). Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know! Timings: Fri – 4.30pm; Sat & Sun -11am, 2pm & 4pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk
POP: Rita Ora, Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Sat May 25
MAY BANK HOLIDAY WEEKENDER FOOD FESTIVALS
For a foodie family day out, there’s Warwick Food Festival this bank holiday weekend on Sunday May 26 with a mouth-watering line-up of more than 90 local food and drink producers, bars, live entertainment and kids activities, as this popular festival returns for its 5th year. Slightly further afield Blenheim Palace’s sixth annual Food Festival is also on this weekend – Sat May 25- Mon May 27 – a gastronomic weekender packed with talks, demonstrations, family activities and a hearty sprinkling of celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Celebrity MasterChef champion, Angellica Bell. There’ll also be up to 160 local and regional foodie and drink stalls with artisan bakers, craft brewers, gourmet burgers, international cuisine and, new for this year, the Vegan & Veggie Garden. Go stuff yourself silly.
MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIES
Designer Week, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Fri May 24 – June 2
May half term is all about car design. Families are encouraged to discover the fascinating stories behind the Museum’s most famous cars and their designers, and then design a car of their own in the pop-up studio! Have a go at the Back to the Drawing Board Mini Trail is inspired by the legendary Sir Alec Issigonis, who designed the Mini. Visitors can pick up a trail board and explore the Museum, seeking out different pieces of the drawing board jigsaw to design their own Mini. Every day at 1.30pm costumed characters Victor or Patsy will lead a fun family tour of the Museum, sharing their knowledge of car design in a relaxed and informative way. Families can also Design a Car in the studio – take inspiration from British legends and choose a cut-out design template of a Land Rover, Mini, Jaguar or Metro 6R4, then use imagination and creative flair to personalise your own design icon. Tel:01926 641188, britishmotormuseum.co.uk/events/family-activities
Further afield The Ashmolean, in Oxford, has drop-in Magical Maths workshops inspired by Dimensions: The Mathematics of Symmetry and Space, in collaboration with Oxford University’s Maths Institute (Wed 29 – Thurs 30 May). The Roald Dahl Children’s Museum, in Great Missenden, Bucks, is piling on the activities with Clay Cockatooloos modelling workshops, Whirlgig Whiffle-birds crafting where kids can make their own imaginary birds, a talk with best-selling children’s author and poet Jen Campbell, who’ll be reading from her new book Franklin and Luna go to the Moon, Propsposterous Flying Thingalingalings junk modelling (try saying that after a couple of Margaritas) and May Scoff ‘n’ Stroll, a 3km guided countryside walk and afternoon tea, part of Chilterns Walking Festival (Sat 25 – Fri 31 May). It’s also your last chance to see the Matilda at Thirty exhibition, featuring eight drawings of a grown-up Matilda by Quentin Blake (ends Sun 2 Jun).
Enjoy nature trails, welly walks, kite-flying and traditional games. At Upton House children can learn how to to become a junior garden designer and earn your bronze Kitty Lloyd Jones badge, explore natural play at Packwood in the beautiful gardens and countryside, discover the Woodland play area at Baddesley Clinton and try to tick of as many of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ at Charlecote Park.
Go Ape’s new High Ropes Experience at Coombe Abbey, Binley, Coventry is now open and Umberlade Adventure in Hockley Heath has plenty of adventurous woodland activities including a Low Ropes Course, Commando Course, Zip Line, nature trails, archery and tree climbing. For more outdoorsy activities check out Really Wild Workshops run by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust for 4-11-year-olds, what’s on at Warwickshire County Parks including Ryton Pools and Burton Dassett Hills and urban community woodland, Foundry Woods, nr Leamington.
Check out the revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a new peasants’ hovel at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and see their first lambs! The popular Woolly Week takes place from May 25 – June 2, and on June 23 celebrate the longest day, Midsummer Day where you might even meet the farm’s own magical unicorn! Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar this year: on Aug 1 to make your own mini lammas loaf out of salt dough reviving the tradition of Lammas Day, with storytelling and music. And at Harvest Home on Sept 15, try your hand at traditional crafts, like candle-making, willow weaving and wool crafts, while enjoying puppet shows and Tudor music. Open daily until Sun Nov 3, check out shakespeare.org.uk/visit/mary-ardens-farm. Book online.
I Never Liked Shakespeare! Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, May 25-27
Don’t think Shakespeare is for you? The Shakespeare Aloud acting company and award-winning poet Roy McFarlane will perform poetry that will amaze, bemuse, and help you conquer those Shakes-fears! 10am-5pm
The Play-Doh’s The Thing, Shakespeare’s New Place, Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, 25 May-2nd June
Take inspiration from the sculptures at New Place and design your own tribute to Shakespeare using Play-Doh, 12pm-4pm.
Spice Up Your Life, Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon, May 29
Living history group Pario Gallico will tell all about spices from the Jacobean era and how they were used. 12pm-4pm
Garden of Inspiration & The Activity Tent, Anne Hathway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, May 25-2 June
Get hands-on with The Tempest-themed activities in the Sculpture Garden: dress up scarecrows as the sprites, create your own storm in our musical corner, or just hunker down in the natural story pods. In the activity tent enjoy games, quests, crafts and other hands-on activities for all ages, all based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, 9am-5pm
HERITAGE: Knights’ Tournament, Kenilworth Castle, Sun May 26 & Mon May 27
Go back in time and get closer to the action as rival knights compete in the ultimate test of strength and skill at Kenilworth Castle’s Knights’ Tournament. Arrows will fly, swords will clash and the winner will be decided in the Grand Melee finale. Immerse yourself in medieval life in the encampment, where you can meet people from the Middle Ages and try on a knight’s armour for yourself. Mini warriors can join in with drills out on the field, and even get a taste of medieval combat in the kids’ battle. There’ll be plenty to see and do throughout the day, before the Knights’ battle for victory in the thrilling final competition, 11am-5pm,
More than 40 award-winning artists and craftspeople will be showcasing a selection of high-quality paintings, prints, jewellery, textiles, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and designer furniture at the Contemporary Arts Festival, Stratford Town Hall, Stratford upon Avon, June 1 & 2 now in its 6th year. It’s an unmissable fixture in the craft, art and design calendar within Warwickshire’s artistic community. Escape Arts will be hosting workshops for children and adults over the weekend at the Old Slaughter House, Stratford-upon-Avon. Recreate your pet in the style of Lichtenstein or Warhol on Sat and on Sun ceramic artist Ros Ingram will run a workshop creating terracotta garden hens. The Golden Cup Cafe will be selling tea, coffee and homemade cakes served on a collection of golden vintage china. The event is again raising money for Shakespeare’s Puppies Appeal Guide Dogs for the Blind. A private viewing is held on May 31 at 6pm & 8.30pm. The Festival is open to the public on Sat June, 10.30am – 5pm & Sun June 2, 10.30am – 4pm.
Further afield there’s the Cotswolds weekender, Lechlade Music Festival where Brit indie-pop crew The Feeling are headlining, plus there’s yoga, woodland skills workshops and storytelling (Fri 24 – Sun 26). Just over the Glos border, Wychwood Festival pitches up at Cheltenham Racecourse, it’s another family fair with comedy, yoga and performances from Scouting For Girls, The Stranglers, ABC and, um, Basil Brush (Fri 31 May – Sun 2 June).
FILM SINGALONG: Beauty and the Beast, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Fri May 31
The updated Disney singalong version is showing during May half-term if you’re looking to entertain little people. Screening starts 2.30pm. Tickets £5 (£3) Café and FREE craft @1.30pm, macreadytheatre
How cute is this little guy?! Throughout half term, Cotswold Wildlife Park will be holding competitions, board games and feeding talks in the walkthrough Lemur enclosure in aid of the Park’s Madagascan conservation initiatives. There’ll be a Lemur themed trail round the park too.
New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London
As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden just in time for May half term. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree.
Big Doggie Do, Willen Lake South, Milton Keynes Sat 26 – Sun 27 May
This free weekender for the whole fam, including Rover, has doggie stalls, family entertainment and four legged fun including K9 Aqua Sport (I’ll believe it when I see it).
Roll up, roll up! Gifford’s Circus pitching up its Big Top at Sudley Castle, Thurs May 16 – Tues May 28
And speaking of, it’s circuses galore this half term, with Gifford’s Circus pitching up its Big Top just over the border in Glos at Sudley Castle (Thurs 16 – Tues 28) and, Daylesford Organic Farm in Kingham (Thurs 30 – Mon 3 Jun). This year’s theme is ’70s summer of love, so expect hippies and flower power amid the chaos and clowns.