Top activities to enjoy in Stroud district during half term
Published: Friday, 26 May, 2023
Find out what’s happening in the district during half term with our guide below. Stroud District Council has compiled a list of exciting activities and events – most of which are either free-of-charge or low cost. Become acquainted with Stroud’s friendly robot, aptly named Ohbot, take a boat ride on the canal or visit one of the many local, family-friendly markets in the district.
Museum in the Park
- Intrepid explorers of 5+ can take their parents on a free-of-charge adventure trail around the museum. There are different trails to choose from and you’ll get to discover more than 4,000 objects – everything from dinosaur bones to the world’s first lawn mower.
- There’s a buzz in the air – come and find out about pollinators and blooming flowers. The Buzz Club will help us to support nature and show us how miniature garden worlds can thrive. Free-of-charge but donations are welcome. There is also Miss Daisy’s pop up café featuring wonderful homemade soups and tempting cakes.
- Look more closely at nature – there are plenty of ideas at the museum including in the walled garden where you’ll find lots of inspiration; from pear blossom trees to striking insects. Bring out your creative side and have a go at family printmaking. Suitable for children 5+, this workshop aims to encourage everyone to investigate the natural world around them. £2 per child and remember to bring an apron or clothing that you don’t mind getting a bit messy in.
- Stroud Valley Community School are exhibiting some amazing self-portraits of the students; find out all about the way the students see themselves and the word around them through the medium of inks, wire and paper bags.
- Meet the Butler. Step back in time and enjoy a trip back to the past – discover what it might have felt like to live as a servant in a Victorian Mansion House. Free-of-charge and all ages welcome.
- Just because you’re in a museum doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING is old – come and meet Stroud’s lovable robot called Ohbot. Ohbot will tell you all about Edwin Budding, the ingenious inventor of the lawnmower.
- Call in and meet talented local printmaker Molly Lemon and learn more about the magical art of wood engraving. Molly will be ‘in residence’ in the art gallery, surrounded by the Society of Wood Engravers’ intricate and incredible work.
Find out more at: https://museuminthepark.org.uk/calendar
Stroudwater, Thames and Severn, and Gloucester and Sharpness canals
Get some fresh air and increase your daily step count with a trip to the canals. There will be plenty of wildlife to spot and you can immerse yourself in nature along your chosen route. There are miles of beautiful towpath to explore, most of which is accessible, flat and buggy-friendly. If you want to get closer still, then why not book a boating adventure on the water and glide along with the resident swans and if you look closely you might even spot an otter or two. The Trust run a number of trip boats on the canals from the Saul Visitor Centre, Ebley Wharf, the Wallbridge Lock Visitor Centre and St John’s Lock at Lechlade.These can be chartered for exclusive parties, or you can buy tickets on public trips. Tickets must be prebooked in advance.
To find out more visit: https://cotswoldcanals.org/canals/boat-trips/
The Pulse leisure centre in Dursley
- Throughout the May half term there will be intensive swimming lessons for children who can’t currently swim or who are in the process of learning to swim. Course is £36 per child and must be prebooked in advance.
- Join Amy Addle on a half-day dance workshop on Tuesday 30th May. A fun way to get active and there will be two different styles of dance to learn: contemporary and commercial. Tickets are for children aged 4-8 and cost £15 per child and must be prebooked in advance.
- Little Ducks Swim School will run daily from Monday 29th – Friday 2nd June from 9am-10am and we advise booking your tickets in advance.
- Family swimming sessions will also be taking place throughout the week at various times.
Find out more at The Pulse: https://www.pulsedursley.co.uk/whats-on/
Visit your local market and farm shops
Stroud district offers a variety of different markets to visit; find out where your food comes from and savour what’s in season. Marvel at all the different colours of seasonal produce. Talk to your local stall holder; they’re extremely knowledgeable and will be able to tell you all about the foods they have on offer. Soak up the local, family atmosphere and savour the bustling stalls. Visit the famous Farmer’s Market and the Shambles Market, recent winner of the Best Trader in the Stroud Town Awards in Stroud. Saxon Barn Market will be taking place on Sunday 28 May from 10am-2pm where you’ll find a variety of stalls selling food, soaps, jewellery and plenty more. Remember to pay you local farm shop a visit too; Wotton Farm Shop is open from 9am – 5pm from Monday to Saturday; and Eastington Farm Shop too.
For further information visit: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/sport-leisure-parks/events-and-things-to-do/markets
Visit one of Stroud’s great high points; Selsley Common. Managed by Stroud District Council since 1942, Selsley Common is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest with an incredible array of wildlife– and there’s even a Bronze Age burial mound known as the “Toots”. There is plenty of space to get up close and personal with nature; marvel at the minute world of insects that live in the limestone grassland or take your gaze further afield towards the Malvern Hills and see if you can spot a Red Kite; these birds of prey are unmistakable and have a wingspan of approximately 5 feet. Selsley Common is the home of the iconic Skylark - why not see how many you can spot and record? – find out more about Stroud Valleys Project ‘Landscapes of the Lark’ here: https://www.stroudvalleysproject.org/svp-projects/current-projects/landscapes-of-the-lark
Please respect the landscape – don’t bring barbecues, take all your litter home or dispose of it in your nearest bin, and keep your dog on a short lead to protect ground nesting birds and grazing livestock.
Join in the fun at Berkeley Castle – transport yourself back in time and learn who Henry VIII’s favourite wife was and find out about the gossip, politics and glamour of the 16th Century.
Have you always wanted to learn the ancient art of sword fighting? If so, then look no further. Learn from the best with a warrior show performed by Dressed to Kill who skilfully show-off their mastery of the sword. Suitable for children aged 5-12 and £8.00 per person. To find out more details visit their website here: https://www.berkeley-castle.com/
Dad Matters ‘Sports Play’ in Stonehouse
A fantastic opportunity for dads and their kids to socialise together and get active. The event is for fathers with pre-school aged children and will offer plenty of sporting equipment, activities and games for everyone to stay entertained. Food will be provided; bacon rolls and there will be a veggie option (all free-of-charge). This free-of-charge event requires you to pre-book so that they can manage numbers. Find out more at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dad-matters-sports-play-in-partnership-with-sportily-tickets-629193543827?aff=erelpanelorg
Outdoor play sessions providing lasting friendship, creativity and fun. Children will be encouraged to explore their outdoor surroundings together and build their confidence. Play Rangers will be on hand to deliver the activity days and the nature of the sessions is inclusive for all school aged children. Whatever the weather the sessions will run from 10am – 4pm, are free of charge and no formal registration is required – just turn up.
For a full timetable visit their website: https://playgloucestershire.org.uk/play-timetables/
Chalford Scarecrow Trail
The Chalford Scarecrow Trail is returning so that all the family can meet the unique and artistic creations. The trail will run throughout the half term and there will be plenty of points where you can stop for refreshments and some delicious delights. For more information visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChalfordScarecrowTrail/?locale=en_GB
Stroud Trinity Rooms
Trinity Rooms will be hosting The Kids Art club for children aged 4-14 and will encourage them to bring out their creative flair and have some fun over half term. £25 per child and the activity must be prebooked in advance. To book your tickets and find out more visit: https://sarahdixon.sumupstore.com/product/kids-art-club-summer-half-term
Take a spooky adventure in an unfinished Gothic building and discover the unique history of Woodchester Mansion. See if you can spot any of the stone gargoyles that call the mansion home. There is a shuttle bus that can transport visitors to the house on open days. The mansion is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and bank holidays). There is an admission charge to visit the mansion. Find out more at: https://www.woodchestermansion.org.uk/
Woodchester Park is open all year round and provides miles of meandering wooded valleys and play trails to make memories and explore in. There is also a boathouse perched on one of the five lakesides, see if you can find it. Remember to bring suitable footwear for everyone who intends to explore as some of the paths can be steep and muddy. Entrance to the park is free-of-charge and there is a National Trust car park that visitors can park in (free for NT members). Find out more at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/gloucestershire-cotswolds/woodchester-park
There’s something electric happening in Wotton – Wotton Electric Picture House presents The Little Mermaid – join friends and family and prepare to be transported into adventures under, and above, the sea. A mesmerising cinematic tale of love and betrayal; find out what happens and prebook your tickets here: https://www.wottoncinema.com/film/The+Little+Mermaid/1375
Visit an art gallery
For inquisitive and curious minds, visit Almuth Tebbenhoff’s Unsentimental Beauty exhibition – truth, beauty and detail are displayed through silver and bronze sculptures at Gallery Pangolin, Chalford. The exhibition will also be accompanied by an illustrated photographic catalogue by Sue Hubbard. Find out more here: http://www.gallery-pangolin.com/exhibitions/unsentimental-beauty-almuth-tebbenhoff
Slimbridge Wetlands Centre
The sights, sounds and smells of nature will be all around and there are plenty of ways to explore the wetlands – from the armchair of Scott House Museum, to up close and personal on a canoe safari. And don’t forget to pay Welly Boot Land a visit – hop on one of the lily pad trampolines, scramble through a log tunnel and swing from the climbing trees. The fantastic new Drawn to Water Trail has also launched – the illustrated trail map complete with Quentin Blake’s drawings will transport you into a watery wonderland.
A new Slimbridge shuttle bus service with Slimbridge Wetland Centre – taking passengers from Dursley and Cam and connecting public transport users to main line trains from Bristol, Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Find out more about Slimbridge and future Quentin Blake activities at: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/whats-on/drawn-to-water-quentin-blake-at-wwt-6