May Half Term Guide
Fun things to do with the kids, from tots to teens, around Somerset and Dorset
Routes, online via the egg theatre, Bath, Tues 1 – Weds 30 June
Eco warriors: are you up to the challenge? Routes is an online escape room style adventure exploring the threats and challenges facing the natural world, including logging, poaching, corruption and the destruction of forests, created by The Egg Assembly. Suitable for 14+ years.
Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, near Yeovil, from Mon 17 May with special Half Term activities Mon 31 May – Fri 4 June
Want know how an F1 car stays on the track and why it doesn’t fly off like an aeroplane? Find out in an exciting working wind tunnel activity in the new Williams F1: The Drivers and The Driven exhibition. Just one of the the museum’s Half Term activities, it’s included with museum entry and runs from 10am–2pm, Mon 31 May to Fri 4 June. There’s plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too. The youngest kids will love pootling around one of the world’s biggest collections of cars and vehicles (over 400 at the last count) in a Little Tikes car. Older ones can follow a Top Trumps trail, make vehicle brass rubbings, play with interactive audios or just walk around in awe at a collection which charts driving history from horseless carriages up to super cars, Formula 1s and Ferraris. Outside, in the Motorland play area, there are vehicles on a mini road system, diggers, coin-operated go-karts and climbing frame. After great grub in Cafe 750 (seating inside and out) send them into a gift shop stuffed with car-related toys, books, clothing and gifts.
The Great Hestercombe Art Heist Trail, Cheddon Fitzpaine, near Taunton, Fri 28 May – Mon 6 June
Track down Cassie the Cat Burglar over half term as she plans to steal the artworks dotted around Hestercombe’s beautiful historic gardens spanning three centuries, with fun art activities at each artwork. The grounds are gorgeous and the cafe’s not half bad either.
Wind in the Willows Afternoon Tea, Moonfleet Manor, near Weymouth, from Mon 17 May – Thurs 30 Sept
Tea time, inspired by the children’s classic, at the luxury family-friendly Moonfleet Manor Hotel. Kids can chomp on sarnies, crudités, ‘Toad in the Hall’ sausage tartlet, Mole’s boiled egg and soldiers, a mascarpone whipped mousse with a ‘yolk’ of yummy mango gel and a chocolate pastry finger. Grown ups nibble on finger sarnies, truffled cheddar and ham scotch egg with pickles, savoury and sweet scones, Ratty’s lemonade posset, Badger’s chocolate and berry swiss roll and can slurp from a glass of Hambledon English sparking wine. Kids £15. Adults £27 & £35.
The Further Adventures of Dr Doolittle, Merlin Theatre’s ECOS Amphitheatre, Frome, Wed 2 June
The illustrious Illyria touring theatre company bring you a brand-new musical adaptation of the Doctor’s FURTHER adventures with Jip the Dog, Dab Dab the Duck, Gub Gub the Pig and Polynesia the Parrot via puppets and an abundance of song. Suitable 5 years+ Bring picnic and a cushion.
Woodland Clan Trail, Durlston Park, Swanage, Mon 17 May – Sun 27 June
Based on the book of the same name by Annie Herridge, join the Purbeck beat of ‘beak, bone, feather and song on The Woodland Clan trail to help save Purbeck’s wildlife from destruction by the ‘Bigfoots’. Sculptures, activities, quizzes, storytelling and a prize.
Marie Antoinette, the egg, Bath, Thurs 27 – Sat 29 May
Married at 14, the Queen of France by 21 and the most hated person in history by her early 30s, Marie Antoinette is famed for her love of OTT wigs, champers, fake fields and perfumed sheep. But it’s not all fun and frolics in Bath Theatre Academy’s production of David Adjmi’s satirical comedy, which draws comparisons with today’s entertainment obsessed culture. Live and online. Age 14+
Flix Drive-in, Bournemouth Airport Events Field, Christchurch, from Fri 28 May – Sun 6 June
Park up and tune in for new releases Tom & Jerry, animated and live-action, family-friendly blockbusters, Scoob, Trolls World Tour and The Witches; sing-along, feel-good flicks Hairspray, Kinky Boots and The Greatest Showman. Food available.
Upswing: Circus Flavours, Lighthouse Poole, Sat 5 June
No need to run away to the circus. Just pop over to the Lighthouse Poole amphitheatre, where the kids can watch the experts at work, then learn some circus skills themselves. Suitable 7 years and up.
Children’s cookery classes, Cooking It! Redland, Bristol, Thurs 3 & Sat 5 June
Proper cooking for kids. What’s on the menu over half term? Kids cook curry breads and other Indian delicacies from scratch on Thurs 3 June and the Saturday Baking Class on Sat 5 June. Suitable for 8-14 year olds.
Jack & the Beanstalk, Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, Weds 2 – Sun 6 June & Rapunzel, Weymouth Pavilion, Fri 4 – Sun 6 June
Trad panto in spring? Oh no it isn’t? Oh yes it is! The shows couldn’t go on in December (‘cos of you know what), so go see them over half term.
The Tank Museum, Bovington, near Wareham Mon 31 May – Fri 4 June
Sounds like an explosive day out! The story of tanks and their crews comes to life, with live displays, arena rides in a mini tank in five camo scenarios, a new World War II exhibition, trails and other kids’s activities – and a whopping number of tanks.
Family day at Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 5 June
Arty crafty types: bring five things from your home that represent who you are, what you do, and what you would like to strive and create sculptures represent you and your life. Aimed at families with kids aged 6–14 years, the family day is inspired by the work of Henry Taylor (currently on show at the gallery), free but you must book.
Cygnets at Abbotsbury Swannery, near Weymouth
The cygnets are hatching at the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute swans – perfect timing for half term. Good homemade good in the cafe with gardens.
Pirates at the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, Dorchester, Mon 31 May – Sun 6 June
Have breakfast with a pirate, treasure hunt, parrot spotting and over 200 years of justice and injustice brought to life using real-life stories and iPad guides at this historic courthouse complete with cells and dock. Cafe (with free hot drinks for parents who’ve got tickets to the Shire Hall).