The Muddy Herts Half-Term Survival Guide
Half term already? Didn’t we just have a bank holiday? There’s no escaping it and — lucky for us — there’s plenty going on to keep the little lovelies out of mischief. No idea what the weather’s going to be up to (who does?) so there’s a fair old mix of indoors and out. Good luck, all, and I’ll see you on the other side….
Aldenham Country Park will be chock-full of activities this half term – milking displays, tractor rides, sheep shearing, pony rides, feeding lambs, face painting, tree climbing, and so on. And there’s a 10% discount online if you book at least a day ahead. Willows Farm has all sorts planned throughout the week, too, for their Spring Special: sheep shearing, pony displays, and all the usual goodies.
Sat 23 May
This one might be a bit weather-dependent – unless your kids are particularly hardy – although the pool is heated: Letchworth Outdoor Pool will be opening this Saturday. If they’d rather be on the water than in it, they can have a go at a fully-supervised canoe and kayaking taster session at the Grand Junction Arms, Bulbourne, for free.
Or, if you fancy staying indoors, check out the Wild West Weekend (23-25 May) at the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey. As well as the gunfights, there are science shows and Spy Kids Secret Mission Workshops all weekend where you get to take the night vision and bomb disposal challenge, tackle an assault course, and train to be a super sleuth. Sounds… er… loud.
This one sounds fun. The Goblin Groove – a family-friendly festival day filled with goblins, elves and fairies. There are also two live music stages, a bar, food, circus skills, crafts, and free workshops for tiny fairies and, er, more grown-up goblins. Grab your wings and get on down.
Sun 24 May
Not for the faint of heart, Mead Open Farm’s Reptile Week (24-29 May) will have you canoodling chameleons, touching tarantulas (although why you’d want to…) and stroking snakes. Safari Stu (khaki shorts, methinks) will get you enthusing about some not-so-mini-beasts and some fairly dramatic reptiles.
Mon 25 May
It’s all going to get a bit explosive at the Alban Arena with The Ministry of Science Live. There’s a hovercraft they build on stage, a human cannon (really?), frozen flowers, bottle rockets, among other loud stuff going bang.
Whizz over to Aston Clinton’s Green Park and ALF (the Adventure Living Foundation) is running Holiday Activity Days (25-27 May) for kids aged 8 and above. It’s a long day – 9am-5.30pm – and there’ll be loads of things for them to try, all of them adventurous and exhilarating. Gotta love a day that reminds you to take two changes of clothes…
Fancy something a bit quieter? At Leaf Cafe in Hertford, they’ll be reading Katie and the Sunflowers (25 & 28 May) – then decorating pots and planting sunflower seeds in them.
If the weather’s looking up, then Butterfly World has events going on all week. Monday 25 May is their Family Fun Day, though, with all sorts of things to see and do. You can handle some of the creepy crawlies, paint and get crafty, try the treasure hunt, or find out all you need to know about ants.
Bletchley Park, home of the code breakers, has activities going on all week – their Bright Sparks @ Bletchley Park (25-31 May) activities include guided tours for families, activities around codebreaking, WWII history, and e-safety, and even a Top Secret room. But I can’t tell you what’s in it. Obvs.
Tue 26 May
Hertford Theatre has three different children’s movies showing through half term (26, 28 & 30 May): The Sponge Bob Movie, Cinderella, and Home. But do book – their showings fill up fast.
If you’re near Berkhamsted, the lovely little Make Believe Ideas café has some mini-foodie activities https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=946516985380180 planned this week. Tuesday and Thursday (26 and 28 May) there’s pizza making to be done; and on Wednesday (27 May) they’ll be baking cookies with cutters. You’ll need to book – and there’s the distinct advantage that they serve great coffee, too!
If your small folk are really into their food – or, more importantly, if they’re not – you could sign them up for one of Cookery Eatery’s amazing Cookery Capers Camps in Hitchin or Letchworth (26-29 May). They’re whole-day affairs, and your children prepare and eat all three meals there – as well as learning about where food comes from, how to prepare it, and even how to wash up (hoorah!) under the watchful eye of friendly foodie mentors.
Wed 27 May
Fingers crossed for a windy day – you can book in for a free morning of kite making and flying in Watford’s Cassiobury Park. It’s aimed at 5’s and up, and you have to stay with your kids. (No wandering off in search of a coffee, ok?)
Oh help! Oh no! It’s a… fun day out at The Natural History Museum at Tring. Sounds like you’ll have a load of Gruffalo fun, make masks, and build a den worthy of a wily mouse – or a great big Gruffalo!
Letchworth way? The Centre for Healthy Living has a Wild About Play Family Day, during which you can have a taste of some of their summer play scheme activities: den building, natural art, bug hunts, messy play, that sort of thing. Great to get those little ones outdoors – but know they won’t stay clean for long.
Budding actors? The Radlett Centre has just the thing with their you-join-in production of Merlin: The Sword in the Stone. First, some of the children rehearse different parts for about half an hour – while everyone else (yes, that includes parents) are taught some of the songs. Then there’s an interval, and then it’s showtime! Sounds like a different, interactive theatre experience.
Thu 28 May
Got a green-fingered girlie? A digging-in-the-dirt sort of a boy? The Walled Garden Kids Club at Luton Hoo sounds perfect for them. The session this half term with the Head Gardener is all about sowing salads, caring for the plants, and then eating them (of course).
Over at the National History Museum in Tring, you can get up close and (ewww) personal with real live snakes. You’ll have to book in advance though, and it’s really only suitable for 6 and up.
Fri 29 May
If you’re over Bishops Stortford way, the Manuden Scarecrow Trail (29-31 May) is a great way to get out and about with your little ones. All the scarecrows are themed around TV and film, and once you’re spotted them all (and entered your trail map in the prizes draw), you get to vote for your favourite.
Sat 30 May
Summer may be on its way, but there’s an eternal winter in Arendelle…. Let it go, get your Elsa dress on, and head to the Alban Arena for not just Frozen but Sing-a-Long-a Frozen. Or if you have under-5s, you can venture into Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom at Watford Colosseum (30-31 May).
Sun 31 May
Finish up the week with a lovely horsey day out at the Herts Heavy Horse Show at Capel Manor Gardens. There’ll be displays and judging, dog agility (leaping from horse to horse? no, probably not), as well as stalls and (hoorah!) refreshments.
And then…. back to school.