Not quite sure how it happened, but half term is suddenly upon us and with it brings the slightly stomach-churning thought of how to entertain the children for A WHOLE WEEK without them killing each other or driving you round the bend! Fear not, readers, check out our post 10 things to do in the UK while the kids are young and head off to one of these fabulous festivals.
One of our favourite arts offerings for children, the SouthBank Centre’s Imagine Festival has a distinctly Nordic feel, with the Finnish children’s metal band Hevisaurus, a bike-powered screening of The Little Mermaid and Mischief and Mysteries in Moominvalley to accompany the ongoing exhibition. You’ll also find loads of talks from favourite authors like Julian Clary, Chris Riddell and Lauren Child and plenty of opportunity for family friendly fun and frolics.
Imagine Festival, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX. Some events free, others ticketed – check the website for availability.
Kicking off with the Bright Sparks weekend (basically an entire secondary school filled with science activities, experiments and shows), Brighton Science Festival has loads of stuff going on for children of all ages, including dinosaur digs, motorised monsters, forensic workshops, and shows exploring gases, explosions and all the showstopping aspects of science.
Brighton Science Festival, various venues. Some events free, others ticketed – check website for details.
Got a little bookworm at home? They’ll love the Eden Project’s Story Fest, which sees the domes filled with authors, illustrators and literary workshops among the plants. There’s a trail based on Julia Donaldson’s new book The Everywhere Bear, theatre show Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers, bookmark making, story building, talks and even a book exchange.
Eden Project Story Fest, The Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG. 11-19 February. Included with normal Eden admission ticket/free with a Locals’ Pass.
It’s always exciting to be out in the dark if you’re a child, but doubly so if you celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rooster at the Magical Lantern Festival with a spectacular trail of oversized lanterns representing the Silk Road. Think huge-scale illuminations of iconic buildings like The Houses of Parliament and landmarks from countries along the trade route, including India and China.
Magical Lantern Festival, Chiswick House Gardens, until 26 February. Tickets: child, £12, adult, £18.
The National Parks astronomy extravaganza, Dark Skies, features all manner of nighttime adventures, from nocturnal animal trails, rocket making workshops, galactic geocaching, space treasure hunts, outdoor celestial cinema screenings, ghost walks, night vision tours with a park ranger and a healthy dose of stargazing and telescope technique tips.
Dark Skies Festival, North Yorks Moors and Yorkshire Dales (with a few activities at South Downs National Park the week before), 18-26 February. Mainly free, some charges apply.