25 fun things to do this half-term

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Friday, May 23, 2014
9:24 AM

Schools out — what again already! The Spring Half-Term is upon us, but fear not there is plenty to do with all the family over the next week. SIMON PARKIN picks 25 things that offer something for everyone.

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Houghton International Horse Trials

Houghton Hall, May 22-25, £8, children free (May 22), £8, £4 children (May 23), £12, £6 children, £30 family (May 24), £9, £6 children, £25 family, 01485 210070, www.musketeer.co.uk

A weekend packed full of activities and entertainment at the Houghton International. See the best riders in the world tackle the cross country course, take part in one of the many unaffiliated competitions, put your dog through their paces with the dog agility club or grab a bargain at one of many trade stands. And for the kids there’s circus workshops, bouncy castles, and climbing frames.

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The Snow Queen

The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, May 22, 7.30pm, £8 (£6 cons), 016903 630000, www.thegarage.org.uk

Once upon a time, in the town of Grimmsville, there lived two little children called Kai and Gerda, who were friends. When the shards from an evil mirror begin to rain upon the town, Kai and Gerda’s lives are shattered. Now Gerda, and her band of trusty folklore friends must travel to the Snow Queen’s palace to find Kai, kill the Queen, and rescue Grimmsville from an eternal winter. Minotaur Theatre Company reinvents one of Hans Christian Anderson’s most enchanting and well known tales to please children and adults alike.

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Wymondham Busking Day

Wymondham Town Centre, May 24, free admission, 01953 333500, www.wymfestival.org.uk

Wymondham Music Festival’s annual mass busking returns. More than 50 musicians took part last year and it is hoped that there will be an equally good turnout this year. Over the years they’ve heard almost every kind of music in town at this informal event. Individuals and groups are welcome to perform and should register in the marquee on the Market Place between 10am and noon.

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Comedy Club 4 Kids

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, May 24, 1pm, £6.50, £5 under-16s, 01284 758000, www.theapex.co.uk

Cracking entertainment for everyone over six years old and under 400 (no vampires).

The Bury Festival welcomes this proper comedy club for anyone over the age of six (and their parents), featuring the best comedians on the circuit doing what they do best…but without the rude bits! The club has been running to great acclaim in London for four years. MC will be Rich Sandling while George Egg and Matt Green will be among those performing child-friendly sets.

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Science Museum Live

Ipswich Regent, May 24, 7pm/May 25, 1pm, 5pm, £16, £13 children, 01473 433100, www.ipwichregent.co.uk

Science Museum’s live show is an explosive family treat for curious minds. Methane bubbles are set alight to make fireballs, hydrogen balloons explode and rockets are fired into the audience. Two futuristic science students race against time to prove their knowledge of energy. With help from the incredible virtual lab-assistant, i-nstein, and a steampunk workshop full of gadgets and chemicals, they explore, experiment and explode anything and everything they can find, live on stage. Aimed at everyone aged 7+.

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Medieval Murder Mystery/Gruesome Goings On

Framlingham Castle, May 24-26/May 27-30, 10am-5pm, included in normal admission £7.70 (£6.90 cons), £4.60 children, £20 family, 0870 3331181, www.english-heritage.org.uk

Keep your wits about you and gather the clues as you turn detective to solve this half-term medieval whodunit. There’ll be witnesses aplenty to interview in the medieval camps, and information to uncover as you and your family prepare for the murderer to be revealed. Then amid the ghastly gallows, horrific hangmen and terrifying torture – travel back in time and discover the painful punishments your history teacher’s too timid to tell you about. Everything you didn’t want to know about crime and execution in Tudor times.

Blickling Spring Fair

Blickling Estate, May 24-26, 10.15am-5pm, £3, under-14s free, 01263 738030, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Enjoy the village fair past and present. Step back in time to the early days of Blickling when knights showed their skills and jesters entertained the crowd. With cameos from many eras of Blickling’s history, modern day traders, crafts and plant fair, there is something for everyone over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Fly Away Home!

Norwich Castle Museum, May 24-27, 11am-3.30pm, included in museum admission £7.95 (£6.50 cons), £5.20 children, 01603 495897, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Swoop in to Norwich Museum over half-term and join a fabulous array of stories and craft linked to the new exhibition The Wonder of Birds. Find out the mystery of migration: where do birds go and why do they do it? Plus get up close to some real museum specimens, including some of our feathered friends.

Empire Day

Ickworth, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, May 24, 11am-4pm, included in normal admission £5.40, £2.70 children, £13.50 family (garden only), 01284 735270, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Step back in time. Experience Ickworth Living History days which tells the real stories of the people who lived and worked in the 1930s. Follow in the footsteps of the servants as the basement comes to life. Check out what’s cooking in the kitchen and discover the servants’ secrets. Experience what life was like for servants and estate workers on this grand estate on living history days.

Bats, Boats and Boardwalk

NWT Ranworth Broad, May 24, 8.30pm-10.30pm, free admission, pre-book 01603 598333, www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Bats, boats and a boardwalk stroll are on offer at Ranworth Broad. As the sun sets join Norfolk Wildlife Trust and go in search of nocturnal wildlife. The evening will be split into a lovely walk along the reserve boardwalk and a boat trip on Malthouse Broad.

Everything Goes!

Bure Valley Railway, May 24-26, 9am-5pm, £12.50 rover ticket, £6.50 children, under-5s free, £33 family, 01263 733858, www.bvrw.co.uk

All Bure Valley Railway engines, coaches and rolling stock will be action over the Bank Holiday weekend. A special intensive timetable will be in operation to allow visitors the opportunity to see as many different locos as possible hard at work over the nine miles between Aylsham and Wroxham. To keep younger visitors entertained there will a competition on the train journey, with a free prize for every correct entry. Fares allow unlimited travel on the day of issue. Under-5s travel free.

Jamie’s Game 2 - Celebrity Charity Football Match

Carrow Road, Norwich, May 25, 3pm, £10, £1 under-17s, 0844 8261902, www.sellebritysoccer.org.uk/jamiesgame2/

Carrow Road hosts its second celebrity football match for the Sporting Light Appeal. The match, dubbed ‘Jamie’s Game 2’ after CSF Junior Ambassador Jamie Abbott, again features line-ups of stars from the worlds of film, TV, music and sport, including EastEnder’s Danny Dyer. Last year’s event saw 8,000 people enjoyed an evening of family fun and entertainment that ended in magical fashion, with Jamie scoring the winner in the dying moments. Tickets can be purchased from NCFC stores and online.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Thursford Collection, Thursford, near Fakenham, May 25, 12pm-5pm, £9.50, £5.50 children, 01328 878477, www.thursford.com

An afternoon in celebration of the humble Teddy Bear. Take along your favourite plus a picnic. There will be giant Teddys to meet, Teddy-themed food, a Teddy treasure hunt fairground rides, circus workshops, and the admission includes the Thursford Collection, steam engines and organ show.

Fairy Fair

Holt Hall, May 25-26, 10am-5pm, £10, £8.50 children, under-3s free, www.fairylandtrust.org

Now in its 13th year, The Fairyland Trust’s Fairy Fair returns with its unique combination of entertainment, nature and magic. The Norfolk-based charity with a national reputation for introducing families to flowers, wildlife and trees hosts entertainment for all the family, including workshops in making fairy crowns, fairy gardens, wings and wands amid the stunning 86 acres of gardens, ancient woodlands and lakes of Holt Hall. Back for 2014 is the Elf Training Camp. Children can also take part in drop-in (no booking) activities such as making a secret dens, building a fairy house in the woods, sending a post card from the Pixie Post Office or following the Rainbow Trail to visit the Fairy Queen. Plus storytellers, live music, puppet shows and more.

Dersingham In May

Dersingham, May 25-26, 11am-5pm, £5 on day, £4 adv from village post office, www.dersinghaminmay.org.uk

There’ll be over a dozen gardens to wander round at Dersingham Open Gardens. Five of those gardens will belong to members of the Dersingham Art Trail, so that you can pop into their studios and view paintings, photography and pottery. The Village Fair is at St Nicholas Court with a variety of stalls, refreshments and family fun. On Monday, Ken Warner’s Cocktail Jazz Band performs in the church (2pm).

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking

Aylsham Town Hall, May 26, 7pm, £10, £5 under-18s, 01263 733441, www.aylshamfestival.co.uk

Join Albert, the genius behind the übercoolest moustache in science, for this lecture like none you’ve ever attended. The eccentric theoretical physicist is accompanied by his two wives and mum on the piano, and by guest rapper MC Squared, as he quantum leaps us through two theories of relativity, and the deployment of two very big bombs. Ever wanted to travel back in time? Ever needed to get a 20m spaceship into a 10m garage? This hilarious and thought-provoking show has all the answers. Part of the Aylsham Wide Sky Festival.

History Alive

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, May 26, 10am-5pm, included in museum admission £9.90 (£8.60 cons), £6.50 children, £29 family (2 adults), 01362 860563, www.museum.norfolk.gov.uk

Discover the dark days of the Victorian Workhouse and hear true stories from Gressenhall’s archives. The workhouse inspector has come to call and the Master is determined the inspection will go well. But not everyone is happy to follow the rules. Discover how hard inmates worked every day and what they might expect for dinner. Visit the farm and watch the horses working in the fields. Meet the farmer’s wife, toiling in the kitchen. Plus see Lorina Bulwer’s amazing embroidered Letters from the Workhouse – recently featured on the Antiques Roadshow.

Razz & Auntie Pearl

Stars Showbar, Regent Road, Great Yarmouth, May 27, 1.30pm, £3 each, family tickets available, www.starsgy.co.uk

A fantastic afternoon filled with family fun with international clowns Razz & Auntie Pearl at this special event at Yarmouth’s newest venue. There will be free balloons, free prizes, disco, competitions and best of all some magic to baffle and entertain.

Signor Baffo

The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, May 27, 3pm, £10, £5 under-25s, £22.40 family, 016903 630000, www.thegarage.org.uk/Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, Lowestoft, May 28, 2pm, £9 (£8 cons), £5 children, 01502 589726, www.theseagull.co.uk

Signor Baffo is their lovable and eccentric chef, serving up generous helpings of silliness, mischief and adventure. Children will be invited his the café with open arms, though it becomes quickly apparent that things don’t run as smoothly as Signor Baffo might like. An interactive children’s show, aimed at children aged 5-8 and where they are in charge of the show.

Come On You Yellows!

Bridewell Museum, Norwich, May 27-31, 10am-4.30pm, included in museum admission£4.95 (£3.95 cons), £2.95 children, £12 family (2 adults), 01603 629127, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

The Bridewell has got football fever and will be celebrating the history of Norwich City. Spot the tiny team hidden around the museum, have a go at our pub quiz in the recreated bar, and try your hand at football-themed crafts. Join Steve Arber, descendant of Robert Webster, one of the co-founders of the Canaries to find out more (May 29); while devoted supporter Sam Jinks, who has been talking to fans all season about their connections to the club, will reveal more (May 31). Places are limited, so pre-book.

Pied Piper

Norwich Puppet Theatre, May 28, 11am/2.30pm, £8.50 (£7 cons), £6.50 children, £24 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

When the Pied Piper plays his flute the rats run, the greedy mayor rubs his hands and the children dance.

Norwich Puppet Theatre’s humorous and irresistible one person show, performed by Gemma Khawaja, combines a skilful mix of puppetry, foot-tapping live music and storytelling and will have audiences young and old entranced.

Bully Beef and Chow

Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth, May 28, 11am-4pm, 01493 855746, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

In the centenary year of the Great War this event looks at whether an army really did march on its stomach. And just what were families back home eating? Find out about field kitchens, food and rations in the First World War. Try some plum and apple jam and take away a recipe for trench stew.

Nature Tots

How Hill, Ludham, May 28, 9.45am/12.30pm, £3, under-2s free, pre-book 01692 678555, www.howhilltrust.org.uk.

Head to How Hill for outdoor fun with sticks, stories, mud, potions, mini-beasts, dens, collecting, listening, smelling, touching, exploring, playing, pots, pine cones, imagining, treasure hunts, crafts and more. Both morning and afternoon sessions for guided activities suitable for 2-4-year-olds. Why not take a picnic too? The Toad Hole Cottage Museum will be open as usual.

Captain Calamity

intu Chapelfield, Norwich, May 28-29, 10.30am-3.30pm, free admission, www.intuchapelfield.co.uk

Captain Calamity conjures up some entertainment for children during the half term break at the Norwich shopping centre. Meet the award-winning entertainer at his School of Wizadry show and help with his conjuring crisis, shocking spells, tragic tricks and ridiculous ramblings as the attempts to teach a thing or two about sorcery. There will also be balloon modelling, puppetry and story-telling. Shows at 10.30am, midday, 2pm and 3.30pm on both days.

Rockpool Ranger

Sheringham Park, May 29, 1.30pm-3.30pm, £5/£4.25 children, £2.25 accompanying adult, pre-book 0844 2491895, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Join the guided walks to look for the incredible creatures that can be found living on (and in!) the beach. From Sheringham seafront, explore the tidal pools and beach to find some amazing marine life. There will be digging for worms, netting for shrimps and catching crabs!

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