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Let’s rumble!

A few days into half term and still feeling cool, calm, collected?   Read the Muddy Half Term Guide for some ideas to keep it that way…

Shakespeare Unplugged Festival 2016 at the egg theatre in Bath, Sat 13 Feb-Sat 27 March

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This five-week long, bi-annual family festival celebrating Willy Wagglesword and his works (2016 is the 400th anniversary of his death, ‘case you’re interested) takes place at the egg, the Theatre Royal Bath’s children and young people’s theatre. Over half term, there’s a hip hop version of Romeo & Juliet (9 years+), an hour-long whizz through Shakespeare’s life and every single play he ever wrote (5 years+), an all male version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream (8 years+) and a mini version of the same play called Dinkies Dream (4-6 years). The festival continues beyond half term, until Sat 27 March.

Two performances a day. Tickets adults £8.50, children £7.50 (Dinkies Dream £2.50 all tickets). the egg, Theatre Royal, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET (entrance on St John’s Place). Tel 01225 448844.

Super-sleuthing the Sherlock trail at Tyntesfield, every day


Not just an excuse to put a pic of Benedict Cumberbatch *sigh* on the blog, there really is a Sherlock trail at the National Trust’s gothic pile Tyntesfield, film location for The Abominable Bride. Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock and Holmes to piece together the clues around the Tyntesfield estate and solve the mystery of the missing carbuncle (I’m assuming not a large boil).  At the end you get your very own natty deerstalker hat and a carbuncle gem…aaah, I see.

10am-3.30pm. Trails £2.50 with normal admission. All ages. Wraxall, North Somerset, BS48, 1NX. Tel. 03448004966.

Calligraphy course at Wells Cathedral, Wed 17 Feb
Ever wanted to know how those mediaeval monks created their beautiful illuminated manuscripts? Find out – and create your own using a real quill pen – at a drop-in calligraphy course at Wells Cathedral.  No need to wear a habit, and all materials provided.

Drop-in 1am-3pm. All ages £2/person. Education Room, Wells Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Wells BA5 2US. Tel 01749 674483.

Kids’ Discovery Week at Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Mon 15- Fri 19 Feb

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to discover what’s inside the mysterious red bags at the Haynes International Motor Museum – and then set off to find different objects amongst the UK’s largest collection of 400 cars and bikes. If you’ve not been to the museum since its refurb, you’re in for a treat: inside the slick new building, there’s a light and airy foyer, a shiny new red and white Café 750 serving drinks, snacks and meals and a rather good gift shop.

9.30am-4.30pm. Suitable for up to 12 years. Free with admission to museum. Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, BA22 7LH. Tel 01963 440804.

Zorb football at various 1610 sports centres in Somerset, throughout the week


If you want to wear your kids out in the space of an hour, insert them into a huge inflated plastic zorb and let them loose on an unsuspecting football. We had a zorb party last year and it was spectacularly sweaty, exhausting fun.  Some of the 1610 sports centres around Somerset are running sessions this half term.  Tip from the ground: wear gloves to prevent sore hands.

Aged 10-14. Check with your local 1610 sports centre for further details.

3D photography workshops, Museum of Somerset in Taunton, Sat 20 Feb

Artist Richard Tomlinson is running a 3D photography workshop at the Museum of Somerset where photos of objects in the museum are turned into amazing 3D pictures using the computer.  Kids get to take home the picture and a pair of 3D glasses to impress their friends. Throughout the week, there are also creative drop-ins and a trail inspired by the museum’s New Dimensions exhibition of contemporary artworks based on museum artefacts. If you’ve time, take a peep at the very glorious blue and gold enamelled Becket Casket on loan from the V&A until 2 April. It was made in the 12th century to hold the relics of St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

10am-12pm; 1.30pm-3.30pm, £5. Suitable 8-12 years (must pre-book). Museum open 10am-5pm, with free entry to exhibition, £2/child for activities £1 for trail.  Museum of Somerset, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AA. Tel 01823 255088.

Pongo’s Party at the Frome Memorial Theatre, Sat 20 Feb


If you’re still singing the Wheels on the Bus on a daily basis, then you’ve probably got kids who will love to come and party with Molly-Moo the Cow, Sheena the Sheep, Sally the Scarecrow – and of course, Pongo the Pig, voiced by Justin Fletcher (aka CBeebies’ Mr Tumble), at the Frome Memorial Theatre.  Your little darlings can take part in the best party clothes competition, play in a huge children’s band and join in Frome’s biggest game of pass-the-parcel. Please try and contain your excitement.

2pm. Suitable for children 2-7. £10, concessions £8.50, family ticket £34. Frome Memorial Theatre, Christchurch Street West, Frome, BA11 1EB. Tel 01373 462795.

Peter & the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals at The Brewhouse, Taunton, Thurs 18 Feb

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Introduce your kids to a bit of kulcha this half term. The Brewhouse resident professional orchestra the Southern Sinfonia are putting on a family concert of the world-famous Saint-Saen’s Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  There are clay modelling workshops on the same day, where your kids can make clay ‘beasties’ under the guidance of ceramics teacher Jo Dove. You can buy a combined concert/workshop ticket or book both events separately.

Concert 2pm (£9.50), workshops 10.15, 12.15 and 3 (£10). Combined ticket £15. The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1JL. Tel 01823283244.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare, Tues 16-Sat 20 Feb

I used to know all the words to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat but don’t worry, I won’t be singing – though your kids will be if you take them along to the show. This production is part of the Playhouse‘s ‘West End to Weston’ season, and stars X-factor winner Joe McElderry.

For times of eves and matinee shows see website. Tickets £28-34. Playhouse Theatre, High Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23

Birds Family Activity Day, Bishops Palace, Wells, Fri 19 Feb

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You’ll make bird feeders, feather fans and starling finger puppets at this family activity day at the Bishop’s Palace, before following some friendly twitchers on a trail through the house and garden – sounds fun!

11am-3pm, included in usual admission. Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Market Place, Wells, BA5 2PD. Tel 01749

Family art workshops, Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, Weds 17 and Fri 19 Feb

Heritage Open week at Bath museums. Victoria Art Gallery, Make a Frame. October 2012. Photographer Freia Turland m:07875514528

Bath’s public art gallery, the Victoria Art Gallery is running two free drop-in workshops over half term: ‘Me and my family’ collage making workshop for children aged 3-6 years and the ‘Me and my world’ silhouette workshop and exhibition for those aged 5-11 years. Older kids might enjoy the Grayson Perry exhibition ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ which is also on at the VAG.

Both workshops are free, drop in, 10-11 & 11.30-12.30 17 Feb and 19 Feb. Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, BA2 4AT. Tel 01225 477233.

Thriller Live, Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 15-Sat 20 Feb

This week, one of the Muddies had to do a school project on his musical hero – he chose Michael Jackson. If your kids are fans too, then check out Thriller Live at the Bristol Hippodrome, which celebrates Jackson’s 45-year career with two-and-a-half hours of his hits and awesome dance moves.

Tickets from £19.65 (concessions available). Mon-Thurs 7.30pm, Fri 5pm & 8.30pm, Sat 4pm & 8pm. Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ. Bristol Hippodrome.

‘Let’s animate!’ Stop Motion Animation Workshop, Curzon Cinema, Clevedon, Tues 16 Feb

Budding John Lasseters or Nick Parks should head up to Clevedon’s Curzon Community Cinema for a two-hour stop motion animation workshop inspired by The LEGO movie. Wannabe animators will learn how to plan, prepare and film a stop motion animation using animation apps. Suitable for complete beginners as well as those who know what they’re doing.

10.30am, £15 (must book), 7 -11 years, Curzon Community Cinema, 46 Church Road, Clevedon BS21 6NN. Tel 01275 871000.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset