Feral kids? Check. Valium? Check. All you need now is the Muddy guide for top child-friendly days out, summer camps and fun in-and-around Warwickshire.
Got six weeks (plus) of childcare and family-friendly entertainment sorted out for the school summer holidays then? *Hollow laugh* yup, me neither. But I have ferreted out top child-friendly days out, summer camps, festivals and general fun stuff in-and-around Warwickshire to keep you going. Well, it’s a start, isn’t it? And even your resident Kevin the Teenager will surely like something here. Wallet? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Valium and hip-flask? Check. Let’s go…
MUSEUMS & CASTLES
Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle
Looking for something exciting to entertain kids aged 8+? This is Warwick Castle’s first night-time experience telling the tale of 10th century warrior Guy as he battles monsters and dragons in a bid to gain a knighthood and win the heart of his one true love – Princess Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick. It’s an explosive epic tale depicted over the course of an evening using live action, animation, equestrian acrobatics, fire and pyrotechnics. Boom! There’s also the regular birds of prey demos, the Mighty Trebuchet, Horrible Histories Maze, dungeons, archery and ramparts to rampage for day time fun.
Tickets start from £15 for show only with immersive dining packages also available, warwick-castle.com/dragonslayer
Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens, Wed July 25 – Mon Aug 27
The Hands on History Crew will be bringing history to life, including a chance to learn the ingenious secrets of castle-building (Wed July 25 – Fri July 31). Major events will be The Norman Castle on Sat July 28 & Sun July 29, an open-air production of The Tempest on Fri Aug 10 and Siege! on the Bank Holiday weekend of Sun Aug 26 & Mon Aug 27.
Events over the summer include Museum in the Park, St Nicholas Park – drop-in excavation events and crafts (Tue July 24, 10am – 3pm), Miracle Medicines (Thur July 26, 10am – 3pm) at Market Hall, Busking at the Museum, as part of the Warwick Folk Festival at Market Hall on Sat July 28, a Behind the Scenes Tour: Montague Road – Natural History Adventures on Mon July 30 (10.30am – 12noon); Creepy Crawlies & Bumbling Bees, (Thurs Aug 9); What Did the Romans Do for Us, (Thurs Aug 23) and Family Fossil Hunt, St John’s House, (Thur Aug 30) Some relaxed openings are scheduled.
Lunt Roman Fort, Coventry Road, Baginton, Warwickshire, CV8 3AJ, Mon July 30 – Fri Aug 31
Make your own gladiator arm protector, helmet, sword and Roman medals over the course of the summer holidays. You can also take to the field and play the ancient gale of Harpastum – the Roman version of rugby under expert supervision in Week 4 (Mon Aug 20 – Fri Aug 24). Drop in, for ages 5+.10am – 3pm.
Coventry Transport Museum, Sat July 21 – Aug 31
In a city still famous for manufacturing cars, bikes and motorcycles, check out vintage buses in the new Ticket to Ride exhibition, go along to the Toy Toy Toy Summer Saturday Engineer Challenge workshops and the weekly summer holiday Toy Toy Toy Factory drop in. My kids, nieces and nephews always love going here in the summer holidays together with The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and the Priory Centre, as all three are just a short walk away from each other. Three brilliant interactive places for kids, always with lots going on – all free with minimal charges for activities.
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, Stratford-upon-Avon
Discover the schoolroom where William Shakespeare was educated and check out the Elizabethan graffiti on the desks.
The MAD Museum, Stratford, Stratford-upon-Avon
The UK’s only permanent venue for mechanical art. You can now a £57 family super saver ticket for two adults & two children combining three attractions Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall and Stratford Butterfly Farm.
British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Land Rovers 70th birthday
Join in the Land Rover’s 70th Birthday celebrations with a programme of themed fun, family activities. Discover some of the Land Rovers in the collection with the Land Rover Explorer Trail. Every Wednesday visitors can discover the world of science with AutoScience LIVE – two 25-minute shows full of cool interactive demonstrations with the ‘mad scientists’.
St John’s House, Warwick, World War One Day, Sat July 28
Take part in family-friendly Battlefield Medicine Workshops, craft activities and enjoy an outdoor performance of Local News 1915 by Tell Tale Theatre Company (2.30pm). Explore the Home Front stories and the extraordinary stories of soldiers from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Also find out how to research your family military history at 2pm. Event runs 10am-5pm.
Priory Visitor’s Centre, Coventry
Any young Indiana Jones’ interested in archaeology in the family? Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, join Deep Fact Friar Paul Curtis for a legendary tour around the Priory and Undercroft – the ruins of Lady Godiva’s Cathedral. No advance booking necessary, just turn up. Tours begin at 12 noon and run every hour on the hour, with the last tour at 3pm. This is one of the loveliest parts of old Coventry near the Cathedral with quaint cobbled streets and Georgian houses, you can imagine how it must’ve looked before the bomb raid.
Check out Dippy on Tour at Birmingham’s beautiful Museum & Art Gallery slap bang in the city centre. Advanced booking is advised. You can also see what’s on at science museum Thinktank, Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Museum of the Jewellery Qtr, Sarehole Mill, Soho House and Weoley Castle.
Legoland Discovery Centre, Birmingham, July 23 – Sept 2
It’s now open! Attractions include Miniland, Lego 4D cinema, Duplo famr, Lego City soft play, rides and a creative workshop. During the summer holidays it will be open from 10am-7pm (last admission at 5pm).
Cadbury’s World, Bournville, Birmingham
Good for a chocolate-fuelled rainy day. Inside this huge historic factory in the pretty Quaker village of Bournville you can watch the talented chocolatiers in action, discover how chocolate is made and the world’s biggest Cadbury shop.
National Space Centre, Leicester
With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, the award-winning National Space Centre is an out of this world experience. It’s one of the city’s main landmarks and is such a popular destination. brilliant activities and events on throughout the year and this summer will be no different! Enjoy The Secret World of Gases this summer – there will be daily talks, workshops, science sessions sure to go off with a BANG!
BEST SPORT HOLIDAY CAMPS
StarTrack Summer Holiday Athletics
Children aged 7 to 15 can develop their athletics skills and enjoy specialist coaching in sprints, endurance, jumps and throws including hammer, hurdles and pole vault. Venues include Coventry (Warwick University), Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.
Practise everything from your serve to drop volley. Courses include inspire2coach at 30 venues across Coventry, Warwickshire and the Midlands; tennis for all coaching at Warwick Boat Club Warwick University Sport and Stratford-upon-Avon Tennis Club.
Coventry City FC Football holiday courses
Run across Coventry and Warwickshire open to boys and girls aged 5-11 and are centred around children having fun with a range of skill activities, games and competitions. The day runs 9am-4pm.
A great venue, part of Warwick University, offering a wide variety of sports camps in girls football, cricket, netball, hockey, climbing, tennis and multi-activity.
Fit for Sport activity camps, Kenilworth & Stratford
Umberslade Adventure, Hockley Heath, Warks
Looking for some woodland fun and an adrenaline rush? A Low Ropes Course is located in the heart of Warwickshire’s beautiful countryside, in 80 acres of woodland between 13 majestic oak trees – just 2ft from the ground. There’s also a Commando Course and 420 ft zip line between two 100-year-old oaks (for ages 5+).
Go Ape, Cannock, open all year
No matter what the weather, if you want to get outdoors, get some fresh air and have some fun head to Cannock and tackle the Go Apecourse. You’ll enjoy a fun-filled hour exploring the canopy, trail blazing and tackling obstacles – finishing on the zip wire. The Junior Adventure is aimed at 6-12 year-old Tarzans, but if your child is under 6 but over a metre tall they can still join in.
Hatton Adventure World, Sat July 21 – Sept 2
New this summer is Land Zorbing. Step into a large inflatable Zorb bubble and propel yourself around. Back by popular demand is ‘Water Wars’, a water-based interactive game – a massive hit in previous summers. Other attractions on this 50-acre site include up to 30 daily shows and activities, a 4-acre laser combat field, one of the largest indoor play areas in the Midlands and 100 creatures great and small, plus food in 5 outlets, a shopping village and free parking. The summer sees the arrival of two new baby wallabies, lizards in Scales and Tails known as ‘Rankin’s Dragons’ and a new kid goat called Bruce.
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature
Fun outdoor nature-inspired summer activities including Bat walks and summer party.
Choose from Coombe Country Park, Binley, Coventry; Ryton Pools, Ryton-on-Dunsmore; Hartshill Hayes, Nuneaton; Burton Dassett Hills nr Leamington and Kingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield. Great for picnics, walks and play in woodland adventure playgrounds. Summer holiday activities for kids are listed here for Coombe and for all other bookable events here. Highlights include Heartbreak Productions open-air production of The Railway Children overlooking Ryton Pool, on Fri Aug 3; Minibeast walks, summer ponds afternoon session, Pop Bottle Rockets and Campfire/Survival Dens.
Passing Shakespeare’s Birthplace and other sights in the town, your guide will tell fascinating stories of fire, flood, plague, old-fashioned sayings, medieval cures and history, wrapped up in a little Shakespeare. Takes place Mon – Fri 11am & Sat & Sun 11am and 2pm. Duration: 2hrs. Cost: Adult £6, Over 65’s & students £5, Child £3. Under 8yrs free.
Go Cotswolds tour
Go Cotswolds, owned and operated by the knowledgeable and engaging Tom Benjamin, offers small group guided day tour of the Cotswolds departs from Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, visiting 7 unique and beautiful locations in the Cotswolds with a local guide. The day tour operates every Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sun and costs £40 for adults and £30 for children. (Parents may also be interested in their Purity Brewery and Cotswolds Pub Tour (£55) on the first Sat of every month.)
The Maize Maze, Cotswold Farm Park, opens Sat July 21 – Sun Sept 2
The famous maize maze is returning to Cotswold Farm Park for another year running. How quickly can you beat the Wonderland themed maze, or will you fall down a rabbit hole? If you find your way to the middle there will be a Tea Party and you may spot The Mad Hatter.
There’ll be extended Summer Nights, July 28 – Sept 2.
Summer Sundown live music events over 4 Saturdays during the holidays (July 28 – Aug 18); the new Chimpanzee Eden is open, Zoo Club for 8-14-year-olds and Zooiversity for 15-18-year-olds. There’ll also be a Family Bat Walk and Talk on Wed Aug 22.
The Battle of Evesham Medieval Festival, Aug 4 & 5
This free family event takes place in Evesham, just a 15-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon, featuring a medieval festival and camp with live demonstrations of cookery, weapons and medicine, plus the main battle re-enactment.
FARMS – PICK YOUR OWN
Farms include Malt Kiln Farm Shop, Stretton-under-Fosse, nr Rugby, Little Kineton Plant Centre, a small nursery in Red Road, Warwick and Manor Farm Fruits, Tamworth with a couple of enormous fields full of the most wonderful produce. Bring the kids, bring a picnic, make a day of it and come home with strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries and much more.
STATELY HOMES, SHAKESPEARE’S FAMILY HOMES & GARDENS
On our doorstep we have moated Baddesley Clinton in the heart of the Forest of Arden, Victorian home and deer park, Charlecote Park, imposing Tudor houses Coughton Court and Packwood House, 1930s made-to-measure country home, Upton House and Gardens, as well as Farnborough Hall and 14th-century Kinwarton Dovecote. In the settings of these beautiful properties you can enjoy lots of open-air theatre (see our Muddy guide), outdoor cinema at Baddesley Clinton), Bat Walks (Fri Aug 3, Charlecote, 9.45pm – 10.15pm & Fri Aug 17, Upton House, 8 – 10pm) and Duck Race at Coughton Court on Wed July 25.
Camper Calling, Ragley Hall
The family-friendly Camper Calling festival returns from 24 – 27 August with headliners Mel C, Scouting for Girls, Feeder and The Coral.
At Mary Arden’s Farm Experience the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor farm on a fantastic family day out. Meet the Tudors who run the farm just as Shakespeare’s mother would have done, watch craft and falconry demonstrations and explore the farmyard, playground and historic buildings. Enjoy the Big Picnic, Threads of the Unsaid, Peter Pan (Aug 11) and pooch-friendly Shakes-paws Day (Aug 25) at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Gastrell on Trial at New Place. As well as a season of outdoor theatre.
Game Fair, Ragley Hall, Alcester, July 27 – 29
Get your fix of country pursuits from Shooting on Europe’s longest clay line to Gun Dogs, Ferreting, Horses & Hounds, Fly Fishing and Falconry at the 60th anniversary of this British countryside festival at Ragley. On the Friday and Saturday night Ronnie Scott’s will be hosting an intimate soiree of live music, with a light supper menu created by celebrity chef James Martin. There’s plenty to do for kids too including 45-min Forest School workshops, a 9-metre climbing wall, 40-metre-high inflatable obstacle course, low ropes course and woodland creche.
THEATRE, FILM & FESTIVALS FOR KIDS & TEENS:
Make It Reel – Summer Film School 2018, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Aug 6 – Fri Aug 10
At this year’s 5-day film-making summer school for 13-18-year-olds, young creatives can choose a specialism in either Acting, Music, or Film-Making offering an opportunity more akin to how industry works. They also get the red carpet treatment with a film premiere in the cinema, 10am – 4pm. Cost: £150.
5 fun-filled days for young thespians. The theme this year is Australia Mythology bringing stories to life using a range of theatre and performance skills such as mask, sound-scaping and physical theatre. There’s a family performance at the end of the week. Cost: £126
Super popular with Harry Potter and Beyond for 7-11’s, Musical Theatre Junior and Young Designers (5-9) already sold out. Currently workshops include Les Miserables – Musical (11+); Angelo’s Travelling Circus, Film School (13+), Shakespeare Chamber of Horrors (7-12), Technical Theatre (14+), In a Galaxy Far Far Away Star Wars adventure (7-12) and Adventures in Theatre (5-8). 3 extra workshops have been added. Cost: half-day to 3-day courses range from £23 – £125.
Escape Arts’ Summer camps, Stratford-upon-Avon, (every Tues & Wed), July 24 – Aug 22
Creative CSI Spy Camps and Big Builds will be running in the summer holidays for 6 – 13-year-olds every Tue and Wed. Escape’s Big Build Land of the Giants involves creating super-sized bugs, beasts and mythical creatures (including Unicorns and Dragons) with a range of large-scale recycled materials. They’ll be heading to Escape at Art in the Park at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa on Aug 5 & 6. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our round-up across Warwickshire & beyond.
KIDS THEATRE: Peppa Pig’s Adventure, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Aug 28 & Wed Aug 29
Peppa Pig returns to the Belgrade with a brand new live stage show. In Peppa Pig’s Adventure, families are invited to join Peppa and all her friends on an exciting camping trip to the woods, packed with music, games, laughter and of course, lots of muddy puddles to splash in.
Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade
Check out our picks of the best local outdoor productions in Warwickshire andfurther afield.
Matilda The Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 3 – Sat Sept 8
Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!
Cirque Beserk, Belgrade Theatre, Thurs July 26 – Sat July 28
Adrenaline-fuelled stunt action meets breath-taking cirque style artistry. Have you ever seen a bow-and-arrow shot like this before? I know I haven’t. Combining traditional acts with fresh, contemporary feats, Cirque Berserk pays tribute to the rich 250-year history of circus, while bringing it bang up-to-date. Expect anarchic thrills as you witness the world’s most hair-raising circus act – the legendary motorcycle Globe of Death – as well as displays of astonishing skill from a talented international group of performers, including more than 30 acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, jugglers and daredevil stuntmen.
Royal Shakespeare Company Summer Holiday Family activities, Stratford-upon-Avon
Highlights include an outdoor pop-up theatre hosting a range of puppet shows and production-themed mini performances and interactives for people to play with including Montagues v Capulets table football and an opportunity to create your own sound effects. For all summer holiday activities and workshops for children and teens at the RSC.
Macbeth, RST, Stratford, until Sept 18
The Play’s The Thing, Swan Theatre, Stratford, daily
Take a journey through 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon at The Play’s The Thing. Discover rarely-seen treasures from the company’s museum and archive, exquisite costumes, amazing model-boxes and weird and wonderful props. Free for children in the Warwickshire school holidays.
Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21
Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.
Lunar, Umberslade Farm Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, Warks, July 27 – 29
After skipping a year last year, the 5th anniversary line-up in 2018 is arguably their biggest line-up of artists yet. Headline acts includes Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam, electronic party pioneers Basement Jaxx, acclaimed cinematic pop duo Goldfrapp and legendary punk band The Stranglers. The jam-packed festival programme includes partnerships with the RSC, the National Space Centre and the Glee Club. Luxury camping includes bell tents, landpods & vintage tents. There’s kid-friendly workshops to get them moving, creating and learning new skills. Here’s the line-up of music, tasty gourmet food traders and kids films.
Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School & town centre, Thurs July 26 – Sun July 29
Award-winning folk music and traditional English dance go hand-in-hand at this friendly town centre festival, now in its 39th year. Headliners include Jon Boden & Remnant Kings –the lead singer from multi-award winning Bellowhead. Families are well catered for with perennial festival favourites Panic Circus, puppetry with Hand to Mouth Theatre, mad cap antics with Keith Donnelly and Dan the Hat. Under 14s go free. Book tickets online or Tel: 01926 776438, Full line-up here: warwickfolkfestival
Incredibles 2 – from Jul 13 nationwide
They’re back and in a nod to modern life, Mrs Incredible (aka Elastigirl) is tasked with bringing back superheroes whilst dad stays at home and looks after the kids. Humorous, delightful and great fun for kids and adults, this is perfect for the hols.
Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again – from Jul 20 nationwide
Can’t wait for this one. The original cast plus Cher as Sophie’s grandmother, let’s hope it’s as good as the first, full of sunshine-y joyful ABBA hits, a great story and plenty of laughs.
ARTS & CULTURE:
Set to be a summer highlight. Watch artists making and creating, buy an original piece of art from more than 150 designers and makers, dabble in a creative workshop from Escape Arts, Furzie Animals or The Art of Okse, take part in Leamington Studio Artists 20th artistic celebrations, check out the pop up suitcase stalls and follow the community crafted knitted bird tail. You’ll be able to see a very special free open-air performance of Pride & Prejudice by Heartbreak Productions, listen to music from The Pease and Ellipsis, eat mouthwatering artisan food and locally brewed drinks. What more could you possibly want? More? Ok, there’s also dance performances by Motionhouse, fun theatre from Highly Sprung, Fabularium and Wet Picnic and by live mural art creations by BRINK Events.
There’s lots of brilliant things to do this summer at this Muddy Award-winning art gallery and sculpture park including two family-orientated summer exhibitions, The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Artspace on Tue July 24 and Forest Schools every Thurs from July 26 to Aug 30 (11am – 3pm).
A whole range of lovely creative summer holiday activities, pottery classes and trails run Sat July 21 – Sept 1.
You can see the costumes worn by Jenna Coleman in ITV’s Victoria in Dressing Victoria (White Gallery, until Sept 9) at this lovely historic building in Riversley Park, including Victoria’s wedding dress and her coronation robes. Kids can also join in free Victorian themed children’s arts and crafts.
Alongside three excellent free exhibitions, summer events for artsy older teens at Birmingham’s award-winning contemporary gallery include Meet the artist – Ming de Nasty: Bring Your own Vinyl Night on July 28 (7pm – 10pm), on a converted narrow boat, Slow Boat; Making Knots – creating jewellery with artist and Ladywood resident Maral Mamaghanizade on Wed July 25 (2 – 5pm) and Fanzine & Showcase launch on Thurs Aug 16.
This summer is all about play – we likey! From the super kid-friendly interactive summer holiday exhibition Play: An Exploration of Toys, Games & Fun, Early Years Exhibition: World of Play, gaming exhibition celebrating award-winning Warwickshire video games company, Rare, – From 8-Bit To Xbox One (until Sept 23) and Fevral: A Folklore exhibition, there’s loads to do for all ages. Every day except Sun there’s fab imaginative drop craft activities for ages 3+(£2.50). Cool one-offs include Plastic Play on July 22 hacking up old plastic toys to create something new; Chinese Games & Crafts on Aug 10 with experts from the Confucius Institute at Coventry University at the Family Day. Older teens aged 16+ interested in jewellery-making might want to sign up for the Silversmithing workshop on Aug 11 (£72); while techies may like the talk by Dom Breadmore, Creative Director of Coventry-based postdigital arts organisation Ludic Rooms – Play! on July 24 (£3).
Creepy new inhabitants include 3 Redback spiders, a close relative of the black widow, along with a Chilean Rose Tarantula and a giant prickly Stick Insect. Throughout the holidays children and adults can take part in twice daily ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions in the Discovery Zone and hold creatures such as a Madagascan hissing Cockroach, giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and a variety of Stick Insects.
This refurbished indoor trampoline park has brand new decor, a new cafe, new lighting and soft play. Events over the summer holidays include a disco night for ages 13+, under 5’s Tots n Toddlers sessions; sensory sessions and open jump sessions.
Go ski-ing, snowboarding, ice-skating, indoor climbing wall and swimming with inflatables at this Tamworth-based snow, ice and leisure activity centre.
Xscape, Milton Keynes
Hyper teens driving you mad? Bundle them off Xscape in MK for the day. There’s loads of activities to keep ’em out of trouble – they can hone their snowboarding and skiing skills at Snozone, channel The Big Lebowski at Hollywood Bowl, play virtual reality games at Rush VR or try indoor ski-diving (see our review iFLY review ). Eat at Pizza Express, Wagamama or chirpy, good value Mexican Cocina (click for review).
FAMILY DAYS OUT FURTHER AFIELD:
ACTIVITY: Zip Now London, Southbank London, now – Sun 9 Sept
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube anyway of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. It’s not cheap – adults pay £22.50 and children get to ride it for £16.50. Suitable from 8+, book online.
MUSEUMS: Life in the Dark, Natural History Museum, until Jan 2019
Take your kids to the RA Summer Exhbition. With Grayson Perry’s curation, this year is the best ever. Paintings and sculptures by new artists sit cheek by jowl with work by Royal Academicians and Harry Hill. This is a great family outing!
ART: Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, the V&A, London, June 16 – Nov 14
More than 200 previously unseen personal objects will be on show including her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish, outfits, medical corsets and even a painted prosthetic leg! They were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House, Mexico, by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954.
BALLET: English National Ballet School, London
This is not a budget option but if your child is serious about a life in ballet, these courses are designed to give aspiring dancers a taste of student life at the famous ballet school, whilst improving their technique and making new friends. Mon 16 to Fri 27 July is for 15 to 19 year olds (£395 per week or £735 for 2) and Mon 30 July to Fri 10 Aug for 11 to 14 year olds (£375 per week or £720 for 2). You need to have had at least 4 years of ballet training to apply and the older girls will be expected to dance on pointe.
SEASIDE: Croyde Surf School, Croyde, throughout August
Every day – yes, every day, Croyde surf academy is out in the water for 2.5 hours with minis aged 5-14… they even have family sessions available if you too are keen to learn a new skill?! Prices vary but work out at approx £35 per lesson. Times vary according to the tides.
EXHIBITION: The Future Starts Here, V&A London, now – Sun 4 Nov
With phone obsessed kidults in mind, the V&A’s new The Future Starts Here exhibition is a brilliant day out with older kids. The V&A’s Sainsbury Gallery has been turned into an interactive playground of techy gadgets, detailed dioramas and video installations – there’s even a sandpit to run your RSI-riddled fingers through, an emotion-reading mirror, a self-rocking crib and a robotic cuddly seal designed to keep dementia-sufferers company. Basically, it’s the V&A does the Science Museum, and might even spark a conversation with your teen that’s longer than a series of grunts.
THEME PARK: Legoland Windsor, Summer of Fun now – Sun 2 Sep
This way to the beach… As the Lego figures wrestle with their Love Island style short shorts and high cut wedgie swimwear, your kids can go wild at Legoland Windsor’s first ever Beach Party with pop music, activities, challenges, sandy beach, splash safari and drench towers.
FILM: The Making of Harry Potter, Watford, until Sun 23 Sept
Warner Bros never runs out of new reasons to get families back to this paean to the boy wizard. A new special feature dedicated entirely to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth instalment of the magical film series, revealing secrets behind the characters, costumes and props that made it so special.
BEEN & GONE:
Belgrade Mela, Sat July 21
Highlights include Bollywood and Fusion dance workshops, Dhol drumming, a special Colonial Hangover exhibition and Afternoon Chai – a Desi twist on a traditional British afternoon tea.
TV: Countryfile Live, Blenheim, Oxon, Tue 2 – Sun 5 Aug
Can’t get enough of Adam Henson and the Countryfile gang? Roll up, roll up, catch the show while you can at Blenheim Palace as the team showcase the best of the British countryside. Expect live arena shows where Matt Baker does a semi-naked trapeze act while John Craven tames the Fresian cows in top hat and fishnets. Apparently (and this bit is true) there’s also a National Trust theatre, waterside activities, off-road experiences, animal displays and 700 exhibitors. This year they are also throwing a BBC Countryfile Live Summer Party on the Saturday 6-9pm, headlined by country duo The Shires (a BBC Radio 2 favourite) and supported by Newton Faulkner and Ferris & Sylvester.