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25 things to do with the kids this summer holiday

On the hunt for ways to keep big and little kids busy over the summer holidays? Grab your diary and fear not, Muddy's got you covered with plenty to do.

GREAT OUTDOORS

At beautiful Compton Verney there’s chance to let their imaginations run wild at Woodland Tribe – where kids and families work together to create magical structures and play spaces. Between 3-14 Aug children can get hands on with the team using real tools to build a wooden structure on site – think a bridge, tower or even a castle. Also at Compton Verney is the Big Art Holiday Club from 23-26 Aug. It’s a whopper four day event of making inspired by amazing outdoor artwork in the meadow and the current sculptural colour exhibition. Well, that should keep them busy for a bit. 

Fancy meeting some ‘real life’ dinos? Europe’s largest walking dinosaurs will be on show at Hatton Adventure World from 23 July-4 Sept including the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, towering Brontosaurus and ferocious Raptors, feeling brave? The beasts will be brought back to life using state-of-the-art animatronics, puppetry and SFX – and even better, Muddy’s bagged a fabulous family pass. Win tickets here.

At Draycote Water in Rugby on 30&31 July there’s a weekend celebrating the Commonwealth Games. Pack up a picnic (fizz optional but recommended), watch the games on the big screen and take part in some retro activities put on by local company Eventurous.

WILD WAVES

For the ultimate scream-a-thon take them to Coventry’s The Wave for the day. There’s high speed slides, a splash zone, wave pool and don’t worry, a relaxing lazy river for you too (and Mana Spa if they’re old enough to leave for a few hours!) Check out our review of the waterpark here.

CASTLES

Warwick Castle is back with its Dragon Slayer night-time spectacular from 12-21 Aug. If you haven’t been before it’s got a bit of everything – live battles, fire-breathing dragons and awesome special effects along the side of the castle. If you fancy making a night of it book into the Knights Village for glamping or stop in a lodge.

On 30-31 July there’s a joust at Kenilworth Castle which sees four knights charge at each other at full speed. Then from 27-29 Aug there’s the Knight’s Tournament where you can see life in a medieval encampment and see warriors do battle. Shield optional.

Head to the grounds of Tamworth Castle on 28 Aug for Funtopia, when the grounds will be taken over by bouncy castles, obstacle courses, inflatable slides and sumo suits and circus skills to name a few. If you’re looking to tire them out, this is the one. It’s suitable for kids up to ten-years-old but for little ones there’s a designated play zone for under 5s.

MUSEUMS

At the Black Country Living Museum there’s loads of crafty workshops to keep them busy with a focus on crafting, creating and making friends. They’re held every Tuesday and Wednesday over the holidays, and on Thursdays there’s also family workshops in leather keyring and felt making.

Head to Brum’s Thinktank for a fun day out and take part in the Great Thinktank Games which are inspired by the science of sport and takes place on weekdays at 1pm and 3pm from 25 July – 2 Sept.

Fancy enjoying a bit of history outside? On 25 July there’s a Museum in the Park at St Nicholas Park in Warwick (next to the tennis courts). It’s totally free (amen to that), and focuses on archaeology – think mini digging, stone-age crafting and artefacts.

ROAD & RAIL

Ohh now this is something different to keep them entertained. How about a journey on vintage steam train The Shakespeare Express? It runs throughout July and Aug calling at stops along The Shakespeare Line. Enjoy some sightseeing in Stratford-upon-Avon and if you’re quick you can book in on one of the trains with extra entertainment like Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties. Sign us up!

Have a petrolhead in the family? Head to the British Motor Museum which is celebrating the 100th birthday of the Austin Seven with 7 different activities from 22 July- 5 Sept. Think tours, exhibitions and the chance to make a car to take home (no, not life-size).

WORKSHOPS

Yoga, smoothie bikes and all around wellness are the focus of this clean-living session at Market Hall Museum in Warwick (sounds blissful, right?) The Race Ready workshops are for ages 2 up and are being held on 2 Aug throughout the day. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Oh well, if you insist.

Also at Market Hall Museum little ones can customise their bikes on 6 Aug by creating their own handlebar streamers. It’s a drop-in session between 10am and midday so just turn up.

THEATRE

Maybe one for teens than the littles, but pack up a picnic and enjoy one of these live, free performances at The RSC’s outdoor stage The Dell. It’s in Avonbank Gardens, just next to Holy Trinity Church, with performances running until 28 Aug. They are all student, community and semi-professional productions and include The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet. Here’s the full listings.

Ratty, Toad, Mole and Badger will be along for the ride in this family-friendly production of The Wind in the Willows by Paperback Theatre. It’s returning to Assembly Festival Gardens for an open air performance on 23&24 July after sell-out shows last year. If you haven’t been to Cov’s awesome venue yet then grab the kids and go – now’s your chance!

Head to The Belgrade to catch The Gruffalo on 1&2 July for a musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. 

Think your days of enjoying live music are long gone now you’ve got kids? Think again. Check out Peppa Pig: My First Concert which introduces ages 18 months up to a live orchestra. Its at Birmingham Town Hall on 28&29 July.

FESTIVALS

One to keep the kids and the dog busy? We’re in. Let me introduce you to one of the most dog-friendly places around – FarGo Village – and they are holding Dog Fest on 23 July for our four-legged furry friends. Obsessed. There’s a fun dog show raising money for Broken Souls Rescue, stalls, street food and a doggy agility course.

Every year organisers pull out the stops for Solihull Summer Music Fest at Tudor Grange Park. This year it’s being held on 23&24 July offering includes acts like Billy Ocean, Shaggy, Artful Dodger and Belinda Carlisle.

One of the UK’s largest family music festivals is being held in the West Mids for the first time this year at Camp Bestival from the 18-21 Aug and the line-up is good. There’s Fatboy Slim, Faithless and Mr Scruff among the acts and loads of theatre, activities and talks too.

You’ve never seen Ragley Hall like this before. The fields of the stately home are transformed into a huge festival site from the 26-28 Aug for family-friendly Camper Calling Festival. There’s music from the likes of Basement Jaxx, James, and Del Amitri (what a blast from the past!) Make sure you check out the Mindfulness Field for all things zen.

If, like me, you’re still wishing Radio 1’s Big Weekend in the Memorial Park wasn’t over then put Godiva Festival in your diary from the 2-4 Sept, stat. Yes, you do have to pay for tickets now but I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty good line-up this year, which includes The Libertines, Katy B and Craig Charles. The same weekend it’s the Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, with Supergrass, Seasick Steve and The Coral among the headliners. Its now in its 16th year (so these guys know what they’re doing!) There’s no camping available onsite but you’re in Birmingham and spoilt for choice (I love The Grand Hotel which would be perfect to relax in after a day of dancing!)

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