WWT Wetland Centres Country Wide
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) award winning Downy Ducklings experience has been re-vamped ready for families to enjoy this summer half term at selected WWT wetland centes.
Downy Duckling Days let visitors go behind the scenes at our world famous duckeries for a full egg to duckling experience. Families can get a sneak preview of baby ducklings, goslings and cygnets in the egg, watch live hatchings, see baby birds take their first steps and watch them splashing about. Some of the baby birds on show include more exotic breeds such as Black-bellied whistling, Mandarin, Eider and Common golden eye ducklings.
New elements have been added to the Downy Ducklings tour this year, including being able to put eggs to your ears to hear ducklings chirping inside the egg at Martin Mere and hatching live cam at Washington.
Outside at our centres, families can find even cuter baby birds, such as Nene goslings, Shelduck ducklings (known as humbugs due to their stripey down) and flamingo chicks waddling about. Beyond, on our wetland reserves, look for wild lapwing chicks and families of mallard ducklings.
Visitors can take part in Downy Duckling Days at Slimbridge (Gloucestershire), Martin Mere (Lancashire), Llanelli (Carmarthenshire, Wales) and Washington (Tyne and Wear) WWT wetland centres from 27 May to 4 June. Castle Espie Wetland Centre (Northern Ireland) is holding Downy Duckling Days every weekend in June.
Paddling or gliding through reeds, spotting kingfishers, water voles and lots more on our canoe or boat safaris at Martin Mere, Slimbridge and Arundel.
Splashing about in our water play areas such as Welly Boot Land at Slimbridge and The Rushes at Martin Mere
Pond dipping at special exploration stations at most of our WWT wetland centres across the UK
Other events running over the half term at WWT centres include:
Caerlaverock Wetland Centre (Dumfriesshire, Scotland) – GIANT LEGO® brick animal trail (6 May – 30 July), including a gigantic otter, supersized kingfisher and huge frog
Llanelli Wetland Centre (Carmarthenshire, Wales) – Celebrity Giant Dusty Duck trail (27 May – 25 June), 14 six foot Dusty Ducks for the public to discover on a special trail, each designed by a celebrity, including Joanna Lumley’s Absolutely Fabulous Patsy Dusty, Chris Packham’s Ziggy StarDusty and Kate Humble’s Camo Dusty
Castle Espie Wetland Centre (Northern Ireland) – Giant Wetland Wildlife Top Trumps (29 April – 4 June), can you beat Castle Espie at a game of giant top trumps featuring some of our favourite wetland superstars
WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire wwt.org.uk/slimbridge (Downy Ducklings tours are part of the Spring to Life activities)
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire wwt.org.uk/martin-mere
WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre, Carmarthenshire, Wales wwt.org.uk/llanelli
WWT Washington Wetland Centre, Tyne & Wear wwt.org.uk/washington
WWT London Wetland Centre, Barnes wwt.org.uk/london
WWT Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex wwt.org.uk/arundel
WWT Welney Wetland Centre, Norfolk wwt.org.uk/welney
WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Northern Ireland wwt.org.uk/castleespie
WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Dumfriesshire, Scotland wwt.org.uk/caerlaverock)
Bluewater, Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination is set to delight guests by hosting a series of fun activities and events for the whole family to enjoy this half term.
Free family craft fun hits Bluewater this half term where kids can decorate beach-themed items so that they are ready for the summer months ahead. Children can design their very own shoulder bag or summer tee to take home using multi-coloured fabric pens, sequins and stickers. Look out for Bluewater’s craft staff who will be sporting Hawaiian shirts and straw hats. The craft event will take place from 29th May – 1st June outside M&S on the lower mall and is free of charge.
For budding Lewis Hamilton’s, there’s an opportunity to get behind the wheel at a kid’s motorsport experience with The London Karting Company. With a large mobile circuit being set up in the M&S carpark, drivers as young as 4 years old can race one of the F1 styled karts. The London Karting Co. will be at Bluewater from 27th May – 4th June. £5 per session.
Embark on a spring walk to explore some of the 50 acres of stunning Green Flag parkland and lakes surrounding Bluewater. The new and improved award-winning Nature Trail now features interactive games to enjoy along the way. The great outdoors at Bluewater is also home to three playgrounds, including sandpits and climbing areas.
At Pirate Cove Adventure Park, guests of all ages can navigate their way through two adventure-filled 18-hole mini golf courses, featuring pirate ships, cascading waterfalls, castles and sunken boats. For more info visit www.Bluewater.co.uk
The Festival Theatre at Hever Castle
This summer we have three fantastic family shows to delight children of all ages. Presented by critically acclaimed specialist outdoor theatre companies, the shows are packed with music, story-telling and lots of laughs!
On Wednesday 31st May & Thursday 1 June in the May half term week, Illyria bring their unique brand of imaginative theatre to bear on Hans Christian Andersen’s much loved tale The Emperor’s New Clothes.
On Thursday 3rd August Immersion Theatre return to Hever with a new adaptation of children’s classic The Wind in the Willows.
Illyria return to present Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic adventure The Lost World on Wednesday 9th August. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s thumping adventure, intrepid explorers travel to an uncharted plateau and find flora and fauna beyond their wildest dreams. But how will they make anyone believe the wonders they have seen actually exist? Unless, of course, they bring something back…
Wed 31st May & Thurs 1st June 2.30pm: The Emperor’s New Clothes Thurs 3rd August 2.30pm: The Wind in the Willows Wed 9th August 2.30pm: The Lost WorldTickets for all performances: Adult £16.50; Child £15; Family Ticket (2A&2C/1A&3C) £54
01732 866114 www.heverfestival.co.uk
Family fun at The View from The Shard this May half-term
Kids Go Free between May 27th to June 4th The View from The Shard is encouraging families to explore the sights of the capital this May half-term, by offering two free child tickets with every two adult tickets sold, as the popular Kids Go Free offer returns.
Children can hunt down some of London’s most famous sights with a chance to win a monthly prize via the Activity Sheet available to download. The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Olympic Park and Wembley Stadium are just some of the buildings waiting to be discovered. Parents can entertain themselves with a tipple from London’s highest champagne bar as the sun sets over the city’s skyline. Truly a day out for all the family. www.theviewfromtheshard.com
Sea Life Join the jellyfish ‘Invasion Creation’
From 27th May – 4th June As May half-term is fast approaching Sea Life London has announced it will be running a craft activity for guests – giving them the opportunity to design and make their very own jellyfish. Invasion Creation will give visitors the chance to add their creation to Sea Life very own ‘invasion board’, displaying all the crafty jellies made by visitors to the London aquarium next month. Guests joining the invasion will receive an Ocean Invaders pop badge.
The craft activity session will be included in the normal ticket price and includes all the necessary materials to create your own jelly.
To book your May half term ticket, visit: https://www.visitsealife.com/london/tickets/.
Horniman Museum and Gardens
Opening on Saturday 29 April 2017, Tuning 2 You: Lost Musicians of India features photographs from brothers Souvid and Soumik Datta’s film series of the same name, documenting their search for artists who are helping to preserve India’s incredible, rich musical heritage.
11am – 2.45pm Join free and fabulous Horniman craft activities inspired by our temporary exhibitions and Gardens. Sessions run every 45 minutes. Free.
Hands on Base: Horniman Explorers Monday 29 May and Friday 2 June 11am–12.30pm; 2-3.30pm Discover the collections that make the Horniman special! Touch and explore real things from a West African thumb piano to sharks jaws in our Hands on Base gallery. Take part in challenges that could have you trying on clothes, playing music, drawing and exploring objects related to our holiday theme. Free www.horniman.ac.uk
The Sailor’s Challenge Sign up for The Sailor’s Challenge and see if you’ve got what it takes to join Cutty Sark’s crew. Visitors can demonstrate their sailing skills as they navigate their way around the giant gaming board, collecting cargoes from all around the world. Only the bravest need apply.
1-4 June 11.30 – 13.30 | 14.00 – 16.00 Suitable for all ages Free with admission to the ship www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark
National Maritime Museum
Art of the Sea For centuries artists have taken inspiration from the sea in their creations. Follow in their footsteps this half-term and create a sea-themed masterpiece, whilst exploring the museum’s extensive collection of paintings. 29, 31 May 2017 11.00 – 13.00 | 13.45 – 15.30 Suitable for all age
Into the Deep Dive under the water in this sensory play session for under 5s and their carers as the art space is transformed to look like a deep ocean. 30 May 2017 11.00 – 13.00 | 13.45 – 15.30
The Story of the Greaves Brothers Hear about the journey of Walter Greaves and his brother Henry, who travelled across the sea with American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler and eventually became artists in their own right. 31 May 2017 11.30 – 12.15 | 13.30 – 14.15 | 15.00 – 15.45
A Stitch in Time Explore the history of the textiles and clothing in our collection and create your own fabric collage in this creative art session. 28 May 2017 11.00 – 13.00 | 13.45 – 15.30
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Mon 29th May- Fri 2nd June Love Your Zoo Week : This May half term Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is taking part in the BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) ‘Love Your Zoo’ week celebrations. Each day a different animal will step into the spotlight.
Make an animal badge (cost £1) between 11am-12.30pm and listen to an animal story @ 11.45am. In the afternoon that day’s animal will be getting special treatment with your help!
Monday 29th May our ever popular meerkats get to have some extra fun! Help the keepers to make enrichment for them at 2.15pm.
Tuesday 30th May our coati will be getting something new to explore! Help the keepers to make enrichment for them at their 2.00pm feed.
Wednesday 31st May our pigs get their turn to be the centre of attention. Help the keepers to make enrichment for them at their 3.30pm feed.
Thursday 1st June Our Ferrets get special treatment with your help at 2.45pm.
Friday 2nd June our cheeky monkeys finally get their turn! Help the keepers to make enrichment for them at their 3.00pm feed.
Time between: 11am – 3.30pm Adult £9.50, Child (2-15yrs) £7.50, Family ticket (2x adult + 2x child) £31, Senior £8.50, Disabled child £6.50 + free carer, Disabled adult £8.50 +free carer
Events are warming up at Eltham Palace
With the sun set to reappear soon, English Heritage is getting ready for the new season at Eltham Palace House & Gardens in Greenwich with two fantastic events taking place during the school holidays in April and May.
Visitors can surround themselves with art deco decadence and sample the splendour of the thrilling thirties at Art Deco Fair over the weekend of Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 May. The darling fair offers vintage stalls to satisfy the most ardent shopper, as guests sit back and relax for an opulent journey into the palace’s past.
Looking ahead to summer and the May half term, children will be kept entertained at the Kings and Queens event from Monday 29 May – Friday 2 June as they learn how to avoid the pitfalls of palace life and impress your regal rulers. They will get to uncover the ultimate curtsey, bow like a pro, and entertain without being a fool.
There are also the travel themed children’s play area, stunning gardens café with seasonal dishes and shop, making it an ideal day out for all the family. www.english-heritage.org.uk/eltham
Manchester’s most anticipated attraction
Manchester’s highly anticipated treetop adventure attraction Treetop Nets has now announced its official launch date. The unique woodland attraction, which will be located at the heart of Manchester’s Heaton Park, will open its gates to the public on Saturday the 27th of May – perfectly timed for half term and May bank holiday family fun in the great outdoors.
Treetop Nets, which is a UK first and one of only four sites of its kind throughout the whole of the UK, is an aerial woodland adventure featuring a collection of giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels, all made from super bouncy netting, suspended up to 40ft off the ground – for fun high up in the treetops. There’s even a tree-house too.
To find out more please visit www.treetopnets.co.uk or call 01539 447 186.
Ironbridge Gorge Museums
Discover more about your favourite heroes of history, engineering and sport during the spring half term, 27th May – 4th June, at a variety of fun family events across the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Shropshire with hands-on activities, interactive workshops and demonstrations. The events are part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s 50th anniversary celebrations, which will continue throughout the year.
Hands-on activities bring the inventions of our past heroes to life at Blists Hill Victorian Town, near Ironbridge
On Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May only, Blists Hill’s own ‘engineers’ will demonstrate how a large, steel oil drum can be crushed using less than a cup of water. This simple but very effective ‘trick’ was developed by Thomas Newcomen when he invented the world’s first steam engine.
Decorate a frisbee flinger with your own superhero logo At Enginuity during half-term 27th May – 4th June Go along to Enginuity, near Ironbridge during the spring half-term, between 27th May and 4th June, and join a hands-on workshop to discover more about your favourite heroes from the world of science, engineering, technology and sport.
Heroes and villains tile decorating and ceramic clay workshops Between 27th May and 3rd June, excluding Sunday 28th May, join drop-in heroes and villains tile decorating workshops at Jackfield Tile Museum
Coalport China Museum you can take part in hands-on superhero themed workshops between 27th May and 4th June. On Tuesday and Wednesday, you can try sculpting your own character from air-drying clay www.ironbridge.org.uk.
The Best of Barmy Britain at Hampton Court Palace
Experience the most gruesome parts of history as battling Boudicca, horrible Henry and gunpowder Guy take to the stage at Hampton Court Palace. 27 May – 3 June 2017
The Best of Barmy Britain. From battling Boudicca to highwayman Dick Turpin and the putrid plague, dive into the most ghastly parts of British history in the palatial gardens of Henry VIII’s former home.
Presented by The Birmingham Stage Company- the producers of Terrible Tudors- The Best of Barmy Britain promises to uncover centuries of bloody history – from horrible Henry and his wives to the ‘quirky Queen Vicky’- perfect for those with a thirst for all things awful and amusing. www.hrp.org.uk.