The summer holidays are here! Six long weeks of adventure, punctuated by cries of “I’m booored!” Well, we guarantee you won’t hear that dreaded cry if you treat them to one of these brilliant days out.
Horrible Histories Maze at Warwick Castle
There’s a truly “de-knight-ful” summer in store at Warwick Castle. As well as the multi-sensory Horrible Histories Maze, there are twice-daily fireball and birds of prey displays (not at the same time!), a Horrible Histories stage show, classes in swordmanship and a lively jousting reenactment. Young historians and their parents can also sleep over in the new Knight’s Village: 28 medieval-style lodges that can accommodate up to five guests and tents fit for a prince or princess. There’s even an all-you-can-eat feast in the banquet hall every evening.
For more information: warwick-castle.com
Cbeebies Prom at the Royal Albert Hall
On Sunday 28th August, CBeebies presenters are teaming up with the BBC Concert Orchestra for what promises to be a lively and colourful introduction to classical music for young viewers. Aimed at 0- to 5-year-olds and their families, there’ll be a dinosaur adventure with Andy Day, a garden party with Ben Faulks (aka Mr Bloom, pictured above), a treasure-hunt with Gemma Hunt from Swashbuckle and much more, all to a soundtrack of orchestral classics.
For older children, there’s the culmination of the Ten Pieces II project on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July, which has taken classical music to secondary schools across the UK and combines live performance with video animations.
Read our review of last year’s Ten Pieces Prom here.
For more information: royalalberthall.com/tickets/proms/proms-2016
Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures at Tatton Park
With Spielberg’s BFG in cinemas on 22nd July and the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth on 13th September, there are dozens of scrumdiddlyumptious activities across the country this summer. In the grounds of Tatton Park in Cheshire, you can dress up and create invites to Fantastic Mr Fox’s feast; go on a journey through the gardens with Danny Champion of the World; meet Matilda Wormwood and do Dahl-inspired activities in the mansion. If you’re brave enough, you can even go deep into the jungle to try and find the Enormous Crocodile.
For more information: tattonpark.org.uk
There’s also lots going on at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in the village of Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire (where Dahl lived), and an exhibition of original Quentin Blake artworks including unpublished illustrations of The BFG at the House of Illustration in London.
The Story of Children’s Television in Bristol’s M Shed
Seven decades of children’s shows, characters and memorabilia come together in M Shed’s summer exhibition. It takes a nostalgic look at how children’s television, from Muffin the Mule to Rastamouse, has helped generations of children make sense of the world. Tickets are £5 for adults and under-16s are free.
For more information: bristolmuseums.org.uk
The Gruffalo in the West End
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved story is back in the West End – and as enchanting as ever. Tall Stories, the theatrical troupe that specialises in children’s storybooks, have taken up residency in the West End until January 2017. The show first opened on 12 May 2001 – just 18 months after the charming tale was first published – and is an excellent introduction to theatre.
Read our full review here and book tickets here
Aladdin in the West End
Having wowed on Broadway, the stage adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animation landed in the West End in June. There are dazzling costumes, new songs, pantomime gags, a show-stopping genie and a magic carpet that lives up to its name.
Read our full review here and book tickets here.
And not forgetting a few old favourites…
Peppa Pig World and The Lost Kingdom in the New Forest
Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Family Theme Park and exactly what you would expect if you were able to step inside the show rather than watching the same five-minute-long episodes over and over again with your toddler. The rides are, as you might expect, rather gentle as they are aimed at small children. If white-knuckle experiences are what you want, you’ll need the rest of the Paultons Family Theme Park (which is included in your ticket price). New this year is The Lost Kingdom, a Jurassic Park-themed area with an excellent Flight of the Pterosaur roller coaster. Tripadvisor has just crowned Paultons the UK’s best amusement park.
Read our full review here.
For more information: peppapigworld.co.uk
Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay
Young buffs and big kids will adore the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. Located in a giant exhibition centre next to the studios where the BBC favourite is filmed, it’s a scripted walk through Who’s best-loved sets, brought to life with special effects and cameos from former Doctors, who pop up on wall screens. There’s also an impressive collection of costumes and props, including Tardises galore and, creepily, a wrinkly mask of 11th Doctor Matt Smith’s face.
Cardiff has been the centre of the Time Lord’s universe since Welshman Russell T Davies brought him back
in 2005 and moved production to Wales. So if you have time for more adventure, the city and surrounding area are dotted with familiar landmarks that can be ticked off at leisure on an unofficial three-hour bus tour.
Alternatively, try our short walking tour, which takes in key scenes around regenerated Cardiff Bay.
Read our full review of the Doctor Who Experience here.
For more information: doctorwho.tv
The Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a magic wand to conjure up a ticket for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, the two-part play that has just opened in the West End. An excellent, if pricey, second best is the Warner Bros Studio Tour: an ugly warehouse off the M25 in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, which is home to the sets and props from the eight Harry Potter movies.
You can stroll along Diagon Alley, wander through the Great Hall, snoop in Dumbledore’s office and even balance on a broomstick above the Thames thanks to the wizardry of green- screen film booths. In other words, it’s heaven for anyone who knows their Polyjuice Potion from their Patronus Charm.
Read our full review here.
For more information: wbstudiotour.co.uk
CBeebies Land at Alton Towers
For pre-schoolers who cannot get enough of Charlie and Lola, Mr Bloom, Postman Pat, Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and of course Mr Tumble himself, heaven is a little oasis off the M1 near Uttoxeter. There’s a Mr Tumble’s Sensory Garden, a Treetop adventure with the CBeebies Bugs, an In the Night Garden boat ride and the chance to watch a show with Nina of Nina and the Neurons fame or the singing apes the Zingzillas.
Read our full review here.
For more information: altontowers.com