Muddy Herts Half Term Survival Guide 28 May-5 Jun 2016
Half term already? ‘Fraid so. Comes round fast, don’t it? Still, the weather should (oh, *please* let it be…) ok and you’ve got to love a bank holiday Monday. Plenty going on to keep you and yours occupied — and to keep your small folk busy and happy…
For just a few days, you can step inside Number Four, Privet Drive at the Warner Bros Studio Tour (27 May-6 Jun) and peer into the Dursleys’ living room — with hundreds of Hogwarts letters suspended in the air as though they’ve just flown in through the fireplace. How cool is that?
Get your wellies on and wade on over to the Rye Meads Nature Reserve for their Wildlife Watch (2-4pm). Free, no need to book, and pros on hand to help identify what you’re spotting. Or, if you’re still hankering for the outdoors, there’s the Spring Special at Willows Activity Farm (28 May-5 Jun) with live sheep shearing and acres of springtime fun, as well as new shows in the Peter Rabbit Theatre, Sheep Racing and Tristan the Runaway Tractor.
Or there’s some theatre to be enjoyed — Peter Pan is flying in to the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage (2.30pm & 7.30pm). Or there’s Pinocchio at Hertford Theatre (5pm) — Ballet Theatre UK transform the story we all know from Disney into an original dance production. Clap your hands if you believe in fairies — and then maybe you’ll become a real boy.
For any young historians, there’s Oak Apple Day at Hertford Museum (10:30am-3:30pm). Discover how Charles II escaped his pursuers with the help of an oak tree — and get crafty while you’re at it.
And the Herts County Show kicks off in Redbourn (28-29 May, 8.30am-5.30pm). It’s a huge annal event, and well worth a visit if you’ve not made it there before. Loads to see and do, and plenty to keep everyone in the family happy.
And how cute is this one? It’s Elmer Day at Waterstones in St. Albans (10am). Join in their celebration of Elmer the adorable patchwork elephant. Make an elephant sparkle in the carnival of elephants, pin the trunk (ouch) on Elmer, make Elmer Ears, and enjoy Elmer story time. Awww….
Zootropolis is showing at the Watford Palace Theatre (2pm). It’s cute and funny, and my two (6 and 12) both enjoyed it — which rarely happens. And if you can’t make it there, Hertford Theatre has showings all week, too.
Of all the CBBC offerings that I’ve had to sit through, I have an unaccountable soft spot for Bear Behaving Badly — which is on live at Hertford Theatre (1.30pm & 4.30pm) on its Jam Sandwiches and Ice Cream Tour. Will Nev be able to resist Mr Prank’s ice cream? Can Keith help Nev control his crazy cravings in the kitchen? And can Beatrice encourage Mr Prank and Aunt Barbara to bust a groove with keep fit moves? Honestly, I just love Crazy Keith.
Explore and Art at at Rye Meads Nature Reserve (12 – 2pm) sounds good. You’ll need to book for this one — head out onto the reserve for inspiration, then put it to use in creating your own artwork.
Or you could Live Like a Celt at the Celtic Harmony Camp, Brickendon (29-31 May). Spend a day exploring ancient Britain, making your own bread, training as a warrior, meeting owls and more. Definitely need to book this one.
“The sun’ll come out… tomorrow…” Well, it might if you head to see Annie at the Radlett Centre (5pm). Guaranteed you’ll be humming the tunes for the rest of the week.
Did gladiators have fridge magnets? You can make your own Gladiator Fridge Magnets at Welwyn Roman Baths (30 May, 1 & 3 Jun, 2 – 4pm) so that there’s always someone on hand to guard the contents of your fridge.
More Pinocchio, but this time it’s The Curious Adventures Of Pinocchio at Rhodes Theatre in Bishop’s Stortford (noon & 2pm) — and it’s puppets, appropriately enough. You’ll have a whale of a time!
And even more puppetry with My Pet Monster and Me at Watford Palace Theatre (noon & 3pm). Little Sophie Bucket spends all of her time day-dreaming until a baby monster pops out of an egg she finds on the farm. Monster fun ensues.
Fancy a film? Check out The Jungle Book at Hertford Theatre (31 May, 4.30pm & 2 Jun, 1.30pm ). Disney’s live action (well, apart from the animals, I’m assuming?) version of its classic cartoon has had some seriously good reviews. And even if its only Idris Elba’s voice that’s in it, I am SO there. (Bear — sorry — in mind, though — it’s a PG but my littlest sat on my lap most of the way through.)
You can make your own pterodactyl at Mill Green Mill & Museum(10am, 11.15am, 1.15pm & 2.30pm). Hour-long sessions run throughout the day.
Looking for something that will really make a difference? Check out a Cookery Eatery Camp. My eldest went to one and, seriously, his eating habits changed overnight. They’ve got camps for ages 4-11 in Hitchin (31 May-2 Jun, 9am-5pm) for for ages 8-16 in Letchworth (2-3 Jun, 9am-5pm). Super-enthusiastic mentors, great food, and some life-changing stuff.
Fancy something sweet to follow? How about a Daisy Bake Cupcake Workshop at Inn on the Park in St Albans? Under-the-sea cupcakes first thing? Or farm animal ones later in the day?
Or you can get Nuts about Nature! at Hertford Museum (31 May-2 Jun, 10.30am-3.30pm) with nature-inspired crafty bits — clay sculptures, countryside scenes, that sort of thing.
Learn something new with Discovery Archery at the Celtic Harmony Camp, Brickendon (1-3 Jun). Experienced instructors will make sure you know the basics and then help you develop your technique. Later on in the week, there’s also the Archery Big Weekend there (5 Jun, 10.30am-1.30pm ) — a chance to drop in and learn more, as well as having a go yourself.
Time for a movie? There’s an interactive screening of Disney’s Aladdin at the Rhodes Arts Theatre in Bishop’s Stortford (10.30am & 1.30pm), with fancy dress prizes — kids and grown-ups — and Jasmine and friends on hand to entertain. Or check out Kung Fu Panda 3 at Watford Palace Theatre (2pm) with Po teaching Kung Fu to an army of clumsy, fun-loving pandas in order to defeat an evil, supernatural warrior.
Little ones will enjoy Spot at the Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead (11am & 2.30pm). Not Spot the dog — but Spot the stage light that draws colours and shapes on the floor, exciting and delighting the imagination.
Not heard of this one, but it sounds neat. Norm of the North at Watford Palace Theatre (2pm) has Norm the polar bear battling the building of luxury condos (with central heating, I hope!) in his Arctic home.
Or there’s Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure at Harlow Playhouse (2-4 Jun). It’s a classic and always good for a spot of Neverland escapism.
I can’t quite get my head round this actually being a thing — but it is. Mission ImPUDSEYble is at Watford Colosseum (2 Jun, 3pm & 3 Jun, 1.30pm & 4.30pm). K9 Intelligence Agents Ashleigh and Pudsey must *ahem* defeat their arch nemesis Dr Feline and his acrobatic cat burglars as they battle for world domination. Yup, really.
Check out The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at the Radlett Centre (11.30am & 1.30pm) — a new production with music, puppets and storytelling, all about little Charlie Hubble and his quest to become a magician.
There are plenty of Roman-themed Crafty Capers at Verulamium Museum in St Albans (2-4pm). Just drop in and make something with a classical feel to it…
Such a gorgeous movie — Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is showing at the Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead (11am). No violence, no peril, no swearing, no anything horrid at all — and so faithful to the feel of the original cartoons. Love this one.
Oh, I do love a bit of Julia Donaldson — even though my youngest is pretty much out- growing her books already (*sniff*). Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales at Watford Palace Theatre (4 Jun, 2pm & 5 Jun, 11am & 2pm) sounds brilliant — I might just have to borrow a toddler and go. All sorts of characters from Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze come together on stage with singing, dancing, and lots of jolly story-telling fun.
The St Albans Steam and Country Show 2016 at Oaklands College (4-5 Jun) has everything you’d expect — steam engines, vintage vehicles, classic cars and more. Marvelous for machine-mad small folk.
Fresh for CBeebies — and the box in which he appears to live — it’s Mister Maker and the Shapes Live! at Watford Colosseum (1.30pm & 4.30pm) on his first ever live theatre tour. Lots of making and doing — and all with the massive smile of his.
And that’s all folks! Back to school…