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10 things to do over Half Term

Live like a monk, upcycled fashion, wildlife watch, baby swans (aah!), a new museum - and more

Children’s Literary Festival at Perrott Hill Prep School, nr Crewkerne

Come meet Ron Biddulph, author of Odd Dog Out, at the festival

Two days of lively, interactive workshops with a gaggle of the UK’s most inspirational children’s authors and illustrators. Open to all children in Years 1-8, whatever school your kids go to. Best of all,  you don’t have to be there: drop off from 9.45am; pickup 4pm. Thurs 1 & Fri 2 June. Contact [email protected] to book.

Make like a monk at Forde Abbey in Chard

Put on the woollen tunic, leather belt, cowel and all the accessories (please organise your own tonsure) and find out how the Cistercian monks who inhabited Forde Abbey 900 years ago lived and worked. There’s a free wildlife discovery day (booking essential) run by Blackdown Hills Nature Futures on Fri 2 June too.

Trashion Show Holiday Jam at The Explorium in Compton Dundon, nr Somerton

Be part of a up-cycling fashion show and photoshoot on Fri 1 June: designers and animators/film-makers wanted to create a range of clothing using only recycled materials and then make an advert for them. No experience necessary!

Steam trains, buses and boats at Hestercombe, near Taunton

Jump on a steam train at Minehead and then by vintage bus on to Hestercombe on Sat 27 May and Sat 3 June. When you’re there, take the garden trail around the spectacular gardens (spot the follies), have lunch or tea in the cafe or take a picnic.  Throughout the week: a Bank Holiday BBQ and games on the lawn, charcoal-burning, bunting workshops and radio-controlled model boats.

Young Wardens at the Avalon Marshes, near Glastonbury

Calling all 12-17 year old wannabe Chris Packhams: come join the Somerset Wildlife Trust Reserves Warden on Tues 30 May to discover the aquatic wildlife – toads, newts, dragon-fly larvae – lurking in the ditches and lakes across the Marshes. Part of the Young Wardens wildlife/conservation programme (take part in one of their sessions or all and get a certificate). There’s also a Forest School day, making crafts using traditional wood-working tools, on Fri 2 June.

Booking essential.

Go all arty farty

All sorts of creative workshops for all ages at The Brewhouse in Taunton: making the bunting to celebrate the theatre’s 40th birthday on Weds 31 May (the workshop, not the birthday), felted pictures and creative writing workshops both on Thurs 1 June. Mask-making at Postscript in Frome on Weds 31 May (10-11.30am) sounds fun – kids can design and make a mask using decoupage or paints (all materials and refreshments provided) – book here.

Football coaching at Millfield Prep School in Glastonbury

Get in some footie coaching at one the UK’s best sporting schools. A week-long, non-residential course is for all abilities, age 5-14 years and runs from 9am-4pm (bring your own lunch) every day. Runs from Thurs 30 May-Fri 2 June and looks like amazing value at £64.


Cygnets and dragons at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells

Ooh and aah over Theresa Born-in-May, Attila the Swan, Swan Quixote, Gloria Swanson, William the Swan-queror, Swanny & Clyde and Swan Wayne – the brand new cygnets on the Palace moat. There have been swans here since the 1870s and if you’re lucky you’ll see the adults ring a bell for their lunch!  Lunch for humans at the cafe is cooked by chefs coming from some of the counties best kitchens. Kids can let off steam on the Dragon’s Lair adventure playground afterwards.

Curtains up! A trip to the theatre

The Mrs McMoon Show

Take your pick:  at the Theatre Royal in Bath, there’s The Mrs McMoon Show (above) at the egg Weds 31 May-Fri 2 June, with Fantastic Mr Fox on in the Main House, Tues 30 May-Sat 3 June.  The Tap Dancing Mermaid on Sat 27 May,  Three Half Pints: The Three Musketeers on Mon 29 May and Rex The King on Weds 31 May on at The Brewhouse in Taunton. See Sid’s Show: Deep Sea Discovery (Sid’s the bloke from CBeebies) at The Octagon in Yeovil. The Emperor’s New Clothes is outdoors at the ECOS amphitheatre/Merlin Theatre in Frome.

Go to the opening of a spanking new museum

They’ve spent £2.4million on redeveloping the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury – and based on the job they did at the splendid Somerset Museum in Taunton, I imagine the refurb will be top notch. All will be revealed at 11am on Sat 3 June, with family activities including a trail and what’s said to be a very good cafe (essential).




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