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20+ things to do this half term

Harassed parents, breathe! The hols are nearly here, but we know exactly how to keep the kids entertained across Suffolk & Cambs - from bushcraft courses and indoor climbing days to the best theatre and family days out.

Half term’s nearly here already? I only just put away my flippin’ Christmas tree. Muddy to the rescue with 20+ half term saviours across Suffolk, Cambs and further afield to keep the ankle biters entertained. Anything utterly brilliant and unmissable that I’ve left off? Let me know in the comment box below.

Half term activities, Ferry Meadows, Nene Park 

Ferry Meadows Half Term

Nene Park Trust has all sorts of outdoorsy fun for the family this half term so let’s pray for sun! They’re bringing out their colourful climbing wall, hosting a Wild Wednesday outdoors seasonal crafts drop-in event and there’s also a holiday trail to enjoy – collect a trail sheet from the Visitor Centre and then hunt for clues as you walk around Ferry Meadows.

Nene Park, Peterborough, PE2 5UU

 

Twilight at the Museums, Cambridge, Wed 19 Feb 

Grab your torches and get ready for a fascinating insight into our city’s most wonderful museums. On Wednesday 19 February, University of Cambridge Museums’ annual Twilight at the Museums returns with 15 local haunts opening their doors after dark to families to wander the darkened galleries by torchlight. It’s a great way to get kids interested in the local culture and there are also free drop-in and bookable activities, outside entertainment and refreshments. The Museum of Zoology is my top pick!

 

Pirate Half Term Week, Sacrewell Farm

You might know Sacrewell as a fab place for children to see the farm animals, run around in beautiful countryside and let off steam in the state-of-the-art play barn – but there’s a lot more. This half term there’s a diverse programme planned for littlies over the 7 day break all based around pirates! Sail into Sacrewell and be ready to get all hands to the deck for fun activities like unearthing buried treasure, and keeping a patched-eye peeled for real life pirates on board the ship.

Sacrewell Farm, Thornaugh, Peterborough, PE8 6HJ, sacrewell.org.uk

 

Clip ‘n Climb, Cambridge 

girl climbing

Got kids that need to let off some steam during half term, but the weather making it difficult to get out? Tire them out in an instant by booking a session at amazing indoor climbing centre Clip ‘n Climb in Cambridge – a climber’s theme park for everyone from novices to more experienced climbers. They are extending the opening hours to 9.30am – 6.30pm for half term and are hosting a special Little Rockers session for 2 – 4 year olds on 21 Feb from 9 – 10am. Book here.

 

Milkshake Live, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, 19 Feb

If you haven’t had enough of your kid’s favourite characters blaring out of your TV then you can enjoy them in real life (lucky you!) at Milkshake Live at the The Apex on 19 Feb. This musical extravaganza is delivered in two halves – 32 minutes each with lots of audience participation and standing up involved – so even restless members of the audience will love it. All your kids’ favourite characters from Milkshake TV (come on, you know…Fireman Sam, Noddy, Shimmer & Shine, Digby Dragon, Wissper, Nella the Princess Knight and the Floogals) come together in a riot of colour, noise and dancing, that’ll delight little ones.

 

Ring Quest Challenge, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, Bury St Edmunds 

west stow anglo saxon village

Get them away from the TV and enjoying some more wholesome takes on their favourite film with The Lord of the Rings-themed family challenge at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park this half term. There’s a Ring Quest to be completed – find the rings and runes to save Middle Earth. If you’re arachnophobic, look away now because there are also the huge spiders of Mirkwood and a dragon guarding its treasure to see.
Astronaut Academy at The Arc, Bury St Edmunds, Mon 17 Feb 
planets
Give your kids an out of this world experience this half term at the shopping centre…? Just watch their faces when you pitch up at the shops only for it to actually by an Astronaut training day for kids! They can take part in space training sessions, dress up as astronauts, go on a mission to the moon (not literally!) and watch a 3D tour of the solar system inside a planetarium.
Rally Carting, Huntingdon

Rally Cart, Huntingdon Halr Term

Got a teenager who fancies himself or herself as the next Jenson Button? Jump in a Rally Kart or Quad Bike and let them put their driving skills to the test. A great family activity to occupy everyone this half term, it’s aimed at the slightly older kids (age 12+). Once you’ve mastered the flat circuit test your nerve on an all terrain circuit complete with a mud bath or get behind the wheel of a four wheel drive

Rally Karting Centre, Kings Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 2NX, rallykartingcentre.co.uk

 

Holiday bushcraft for 5 -12 year olds, Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge, 17 – 19 Feb 

Outdoor activity experts, Wild Thyme & Embers (mmm sounds like a lovely massage oil to me!), are coming to Wandlebury to inspire children to get outdoors more (aka take the kids off your hands for a few hours), and teach them how to survive in the wild. All the basic bushcraft skills will be covered… shelter building, knots and ropes, whittling, plant and tree recognition, wilderness cooking and woodland games. All very wholesome stuff, that the kids will love. Runs from 8:30 – 4pm.

Wandlebury Country Park, Wandlebury Ring, Gog Magog Hills, Babraham, Cambridgeshire CB22 3AE

Nick Sharratt’s Right Royal Drawalong, Key Theatre, Peterborough, Tues 18 Feb

nick Sharratt drawing class

If your children love characters like Tracey Beaker and Timothy Pope, then they’ll be starstruck to spend a couple of hours with acclaimed illustrator Nick Sharratt, learning how to draw in his amazing style. There’ll also be the chance to learn how to draw dragons and unicorns and to celebrate his latest book ‘Nice Work for the Cat and the King’ everything will have a special royal twist!

Key Theatre, Embankment Rd, Peterborough PE1 1EF

 

Train the troops, Audley End, Saffron Walden, 15 – 23 Feb

Audley End Half Term

Attention! Right you ‘orrible lot, it’s training time. Your kids can become a home front hero and a super spy this half term at Audley End house. A fun and fascinating way for them to discover Audley’s wartime past with a hands on experience of soldiers on the front line.  

Audley End, Saffron Walden CB11 4JA, english-heritage.org.uk

 

Rapunzel, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, 22-23 Feb

Let your hair down to the musical adaptation of the family fairy-tale Rapunzel. Immersion Theatre presents a magical afternoon of singing and laughter at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, from the 22-23 February. This show is perfect for all ages, and everyone is invited to arrive in your best costumes. So, grab your Rapunzel wig and gather your family for what is set to be great afternoon entertainment. 

 

Build a Bug Hotel, Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, 21 Feb

Image: Jonathan Buckley for National Trust

Get your kids involved with an activity that both nature they’ll love with a build a bug hotel workshop at Ickworth House. Half term is a sublime time to visit for parents too with all the snowdrops, so you can have a stroll in the grounds and a nice drink in the orangery while your little ones get all muddy with a wholesome buggy activity.

Suffolk Science Festival, Bury St Edmunds, 15 – 20 Feb

Inspire them to love science, maths, computing and engineering outside of the classroom at the Suffolk Science Festival this half term. There are many family-friendly free exhibits, stalls and stands, with this year’s theme being human biology, with a body parts trail and – new for this year – a toddler zone and a craft area.

Linton Zoo, Linton, Cambridgeshire

Linton zoo

An uncommercialised animal sanctuary set in 18 acres of beautiful gardens. This place is all about the animals with a wealth of rare and exotic wildlife to see including tigers, lions, tapirs, lemurs, owls, parrots, giant tortoises, and tarantulas (urghhh). Linton Zoo schedules events during the schools holidays, with behind the scenes tours, the chance to get up and personal with the smaller animals and kid-friendly talks on some of the bigger beasts.

Linton Zoo, Hadstock Rd, Linton, Cambridge CB21 4NT, lintonzoo.com

 

New films 

 

It might be a slight change of costume from his Iron Man days, but it looks like Robert Downey Jr is still living the high life in his new interpretation of Dr. Doolittle – he lives in a 19th century manor house and embarks on an epic voyage to a mythical island to find a cure for Queen Victoria’s mystery illness (released Feb 7). Also out just in time for half term is gaming giant SEGA’s first foray into live action movies with sci-fi fantasy Sonic the Hedgehog, where the blue hedgehog must prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carey) from stealing his powers to take over the world (related 14 Feb).And finally, for teens, there’s the much anticipated adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma which has been given a bit of a millennial makeover with a fresh-faced cast including Johnny Flynn of Beast fame donning his best side burns to play Mr Knightley and The Miniaturist’s Anya Taylor-Joy (released 14 Feb).

FURTHER AFIELD

Paint Park, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 8 Feb – 1 Mar 

Who would have thought it was the year of ‘phygital’ painting (a combination of physical and digital, keep up!)? Alison Goodyear’s Paint Park exhibition at MK Gallery’s Project Space involves donning a VR headset, leaving you feeling like you just jumped into a painting à la Mary Poppins. A great one to take your kids to – just make sure you let them have a turn with the headset.

Warwick Castle is one of the slickest family entertainment operations around and Feb half term is no exception. This year kids can learn about archery with the UK’s only Medieval Festival of Archery, plus there’ll be a Winter Birds of Prey display (15 – 23 Feb).

Over in Beds you’ll find the UK’s largest zoo, Whipsnade Zoo (the sister outpost of London Zoo) where youngsters can experience first-hand the life of a vet in the Animal Hospital. Budding vets will learn how to examine, x-ray and perform treatments on different animals and practice on soft toys. Activities included in entrance price.

Heading to the Big Smoke? There’s the brilliant Science Museum‘s ongoing cool interactive gallery- Wonderlab, with over 50 exhibitions including hands-on, live experiments at the Chemistry Bar and daily shows. The Space and AI tech exhibitions are also worth seeing.

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