There’s a sense of impending doom in the air and parents everywhere are looking a little wild-eyed as the realisation dawns that half-term arrives next week – argh! A whole seven days (nine, in fact, if you include this weekend) of persuading our offspring to get out of bed, policing their screen time, quelling their squabbles and spending money like it’s going out of fashion. It’s half-term tradition, isn’t it?
But it needn’t be! I’m determined that this half-term will be different, with wholesome activities planned and booked in advance and a careful balance between good quality freebies and more expensive splurges if my not-so-littles earn themselves a treat. Plus, I’m turning the wifi off and disconnecting the TV so that we can all enjoy each other’s company and really connect with long conversations over board games…gotcha! I’m just kidding; I haven’t completely lost the plot 😉
So if you’re stuck for ideas for half-term activities in God’s Own Country, you’re in the right place. Read on for my top 5.
If your children are anything like mine, getting them outside during half-term can be a battle – up go the cries of “It’s cold!”, “It’s wet!”, “I’m allergic to fresh air!” etc and in go the heels. However, this Bank Holiday Monday event organised by the wonderful Woodland Trust is certain to appeal to those with any kind of macabre interest. Visitor Officer Hazel promises a fascinating hour-and-a-half walk featuring thrilling woodland stories of crime, misfortune and fun from Yorkshire’s newspaper archives.
Details: Parking at Skipton Castle Car Park on The Bailey all day on Saturday is £2.50 Postcode: BD23 1UA. £5 for adults, free for children.
Eureka is a brilliant day out any day of the year, but it really ups its game during half-term. Next week’s offerings include Minecraft taster sessions, the chance to explore Microworld – five interactive digital ecosystems created by artists Genetic Moo – and some superhero storytelling through stop motion animation – make your own superhero movie with no stunt doubles required! Plus, when you pay once you can activate your pass online and enjoy free access for the rest of the year – now that’s what I call a bargain.
Details: Tickets £12.95 for ages 3+, £5.25 for 1-2. Under 1s are free.
Castle Howard has to be seen to be believed – and I mean seen in reality, not just by watching Brideshead. This half-term they’re celebrating the work of Beatrix Potter, with opportunities for little ones to meet Peter Rabbit, a house and outdoor trail included in the admission price and a beautifully nostalgic daily theatre show. Plus there’s plenty for the adults to enjoy, too; I love a walled garden and there’s no finer than Castle Howard’s. This promises to be a real treat, but book early – it’ll be popular.
Details: Castle Howard offers different ticket prices for different combinations of attractions – see the website for further details.
Another bargainous pay-once-and-visit-all-year attraction, The Deep is one of a kind. Its focus on sustainability and pollution is commendable, and this half-term The Deep team are committed to promoting ways that we can protect our local environment. Children can get creative in the craft corner, plant wildflower seeds to take home, follow the ‘Save Our Seas’ trails as well as enjoy all of the usual attractions, including touch pool sessions and daily dive shows.
If you’re quick, you can catch CBeebies Mr Bloom on Saturday 26th May when he launches Harlow Carr’s brand new Children’s Gardening Weekend. If your little ones are in any way green-fingered, there’s a whole range of activities running, from making a Thumbellina-style rock garden to learning about bees with the Harrogate & Ripon Beekeepers. You can even make a butterfly and bee seed bomb! It’s all about encouraging youngsters to get out into their gardens and get growing – who knows, you might have a future natural candle-pourer on your hands!
Details: There are lots of other events running through half-term week, including birds of prey and craft sessions – see the website to plan your visit. £5.75 for 5+, £11.50 for adults. Special family ticket prices available.
And after all of that activity, make sure you take some time for yourself this half-term too – you definitely deserve it! Our handmade, hand-poured candles are made from 100% natural ingredients – beeswax, coconut and soy combine to make the wax, while the fragrances derive from essential oils and plant extracts – and are ideal for unwinding. Born of botanics and hand-poured with love and care in our North Yorkshire village studio.
May we suggest Serenity? Or perhaps Sleep? Happy half-term, one and all!