Ten fun activities to try in half term which won’t cost the earth
Published: Thursday, 23 May, 2019
1. Discover that life’s nicer on the water
Have a go at a water-based activity on the Stroudwater canal. Choose from stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, Boatmobility, or take a trip on the Cotswold Canal Trust’s narrow boat on Saturday, June 1. There’s live music all day, bring a towel, picnic, friends and family. All activities are free. Find out more details at www.cotswoldcanalsconnected.org
The Cotswold Canals Trust operate two narrow boats that cruise on weekends and Bank Holidays. Prices and times are available on their website www.cotswoldcanals.com
2. Feed the ducks
There are plenty of places to find ducks to feed in the district, including along the canal and at Stratford Park Lake in Stroud. But please, don’t feed them bread which isn’t healthy for either the birds or the water quality. Bird seed, oats, peas, lettuce and sweetcorn are all tasty and healthy alternatives, and many water-side attractions will sell bags of seed. Download the Canal & River Trust’s free duck activity guide www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
3. Ride a miniature railway
Catch a ride on the miniature railway in Stratford Park while you can – it only operates on nine days during 2019. Take a ride through the park on Sunday 26 May, 2-4.30pm, 50p per person. Follow the Facebook page `Stratford Park Miniature Railway’ for updates and photos.
4. Get into the spirit of Shakespeare
Family Drop in Workshop: Jester’s Sticks & Royal Crowns
Wednesday 29 May 11am – 4pm (drop in) £2 per item
Come along to Stroud’s Museum in the Park as it prepares for Stroud Shakespeare Festival and play homage to the Bard’s Fools and Kings and Queens – make a jester’s stick or royal crown. A family drop in workshop for all ages. See www.museuminthepark.org.uk for more details.
Stroud Shakespeare Festival, Thursday 30 May – Sunday 2 June
Stroud Shakespeare Festival returns to the Museum in the Park with a kaleidoscope of all things Bill. Theatre, visual arts, craft, music, and children’s workshops (and plenty of “mirth and merriment” in-between) will delight both newcomers to Shakespeare’s work, and those with annotated complete works. Come along and “fall into the rustic revelry.”
As well as performances from 18 different companies, there are plenty of activities planned for the four days, including a children’s trail, a dress-up box (not just for kids!), poster designing, and sonnet writing. Refreshments available from local providers such as Grouch Coffee, and The Canteen.
Tickets range from FREE to £10, and are available from www.stroudshakespearefestival.com
The Museum in the Park and walled garden will be open all week including Bank Holiday Monday (11am – 4.30pm). Entry and museum trails are free.
5. Take a dip in an open air pool
The Grade ll listed Stratford Park Lido opens its doors on Saturday 25 May, when brave swimmers can take a dip in the unheated spring-fed pool. It opens every day from 11am until at least 5pm. Check www.everyoneactive.com for further details and charges.
If you need to acclimatise yourself to open air swimming, the open air pool in Wotton-under-Edge is heated to 28-30 degrees C and has a retractable enclosure which is closed in colder weather, and drawn back for open air swimming when the weather is fine. It runs a range of sessions including Parent & Baby and Ladies Therapeutic, as well as general swimming. Now open for the summer season, check out their website for times and prices www.wottonpool.co.uk
6. Make a splash at The Pulse
The ever popular activity days at Dursley’s Pulse are back for May half-term, allowing kids to make a splash while you relax, or go to work. Unless otherwise stated, all days are ideal for children aged 5–12 years old.
Tuesday 29 May 9am-4pm Fun and Games Day: A fun-packed day involving a variety of sports, team games, relays and spending time with your friends. This day includes a water session with games and challenges, so please bring your swimming kit.
Wednesday 29 May 9am-4pm Athletics Day: Enjoy a full, fun and fast-paced day with our activity team. Participants will learn how to master traditional track and field events such as the 100m sprint, 800m stamina race, long jump, high jump and discus. The day will finish with a team relay race. This day is weather dependent – if we cannot go outside, then children will enjoy a variety of retro sports inside.
Thursday 30 May 9am-4pm Pulse Wipeout: A high-octane day for all those mini ninja warriors. This day will involve obstacle courses, challenges and a swim session with the Pulse Twin Track.
All activity days are suitable for children aged 5-12 years old and cost £20 per child, with discounts for booking all three days, or for two or more siblings.
Inflatable fun sessions run every day throughout half term.
For more information and to book check out the website, pop into the centre and pick up a leaflet or phone 01453 546441.
7. Picnic on a common
There are picnic sites galore throughout the district, many with breathtaking views across the five valleys. Take a picnic, fly a kite, walk the Cotswold Way or just enjoy the scenery. Beware of the recently-released cows on many commons and ensure dogs are under control, and please remember to take all rubbish home with you. Find inspiration at www.visitthecostswolds.org.uk
8. Visit a sculpture exhibition
Bristol born sculptor Jon Buck is known for pushing the boundaries and possibilities of colouring bronze. His new solo exhibition celebrates life and its incredible diversity, while warning of the pressures we are imposing on our natural environment and the creatures that inhabit them.
The ‘Time of Our Lives’ solo exhibition is showing at Gallery Pangolin in Chalford, Monday – Friday 10am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm (closed Bank Holiday Monday). Admission free. See www.gallery-pangolin.com for more details.
9. Celebrate Dr Jenner’s birthday
Celebrate Edward Jenner’s 270th birthday at the Dr Jenner’s House Museum and Garden and learn about the man who pioneered the smallpox vaccine, whose legacy saves over 2 million deaths every year. The museum will be marking the occasion with a hunt for presents around the house, and party-themed craft activities. Charges apply. Check the website for details www.jennermuseum.com
10. Play outdoors with Play Gloucestershire
Play Rangers will be bringing their active and creative play equipment to the district during half term. They operate outdoors whatever the weather, and all activities are free. Typical sessions might involve informal sports, tag, den building, face painting and giant bubbles. Whole families join in the play and children with disabilities are welcome.
- Tuesday 28 May, 10am-4pm – Oldends Lane, Stonehouse
- Tuesday 28 May, 10am-4pm – Lawnside Playing Area, Forest Green
- Thursday 30 May, 10am-4pm – Millennium Green, South Street, Uley
- Friday 31 May, 10am-4pm – The Playing Fields, Leonard Stanley
There’s more information on the website www.playgloucestershire.org.uk