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School’s Out

Wondering how you’re going to keep the young ‘uns entertained over the weeks ahead? Panic over,  I’ve done the hard work and rounded up the best 50 things to do in Somerset with kids over the Summer holidays. No need to trawl the internet, find out here what’s on in Somerset. Oh, you’re welcome!

Lego dragon workshop, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, Sat 22 July

Help create a giant Lego dragon based on Cressida Cowell’s Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus, which will be part of the gallery’s new Summer exhibition  ‘Here be Dragons’. For ages 5+, from 10.30am–4.30pm. There are other dragon-related activities throughout the Summer hols, all of which are included in the gallery’s normal admission price, with no need to book.

50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ weekender, NT Tyntesfield House, nr Wraxall, Sat 22 & Sun 23 July

Tick off a few of the National Trust’s famous 50 activities in one pop, including den building (no.4), walking barefoot (no.24) and making trails with sticks (no.12). 11am-4pm. Free with normal admission.

Sweet Track Trail Game, Shapwick Heath, nr Glastonbury, Mon 24 July

Walk in the footsteps of our Stone Age ancestors. The second oldest wooden trackway in the UK,  uncovered by a Mr Sweet in 1970, was once part of a network crisscrossing the Somerset Levels around 4,000 years ago.  Now you can walk along reconstructions, learning about habitats and wildlife along the way.  Also on Mon 31 July, 7 & 17 August.  Drop in any time between 10am-4pm.

Codingbug: Summer of Code, Curzon Cinema & Arts, Clevedon, Mon 24-Fri 28 July

Free coding workshops where kids can create their own interactive stories, games and apps etc. There’s a different workshop, for different ages, each day:  ScratchJr, Minecraft, Kano Art, Micro-bit and Python. 10.30am-12pm,

Terrific Tuesdays, Hestercombe House & Gardens, nr Taunton, Tues 25 July + Tues throughout the hols

Themed activity days throughout the Summer, filled with crafts, trails, sports and more. Included with normal admission, activities run 10am-3pm.

Scott May’s Daredevil Stunt Show, Brean Leisure Park, Brean, Weds 26 July + Weds throughout the hols

Every Wednesday at Brean: the ground rumbles with the extreme power and roar of the monster trucks, metal twists and crunches in car smashes and rubber burns during full throttle motorcycle stunts. Could this be the greatest show on wheels? Weds 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 July – and Thurs 31 July at Yeovil Showground.

Have a go archery, NT Montacute House, nr Yeovil, Thurs 27 July + other dates

Let your arrows fly at balloons tied to targets, handle replica armour, weapons, arrow heads and longbows or just throw some ‘quoits’. It’s all Tudor fun and games.

Family Fun Fridays, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Fri 28 July + Fridays throughout the hols

Fridays sorted: weekly themed family days throughout the hols, including ‘Glorious Gardens’ ‘Wacky Weather’, ‘Brilliant Bugs’, ‘Dastardly Dragons’ and ‘Crazy Castles’. From 10.30am-3.30pm, included in standard admission but best to book a slot.

The Little Mix Experience, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sat 29 July

Possibly the nearest your teen will get to the real thing, the X-Factor four sing and strut through all the hits.

Upfest 2017, venues around Bristol, Sat 29-Mon 31 July

Could be counterproductive if you’ve only just managed to stop your kids scribbling on walls but teens may love Europe’s largest, free, street art and graffiti festival. Over 300 artists from 30 countries paint on 30,000 sq ft of surfaces in 35 venues throughout Bedminster and Southville. Plus live entertainment, children’s workshops including Morph making sessions and an affordable art fair area.

The Lost World, ECOS Amphitheatre, Frome, Sun 30 July

One of the UK’s very best alfresco theatre companies, Illyria, puts on Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale of four intrepid explorers who travel to South America and discover a lost world of prehistoric humans, ape men and terrifying dinosaurs.

Wild Academy Animal Detective School,  Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Highbridge, Mon 31 July

Learn to identify wildlife, find tracks and signs of wild activity and complete mini surveys of your local patch to see who lives there.  10am-12pm (6-10years); 2pm-4pm (11-16 years).

Great Big Tree Climb, NT Leigh Woods, Bristol, Mon 31 July

Climb up into a tree’s canopy using ropes, knots and carabiners (tho’ securely attached in a harness at all times!) then abseil to the ground. Suitable 6+. Booking essential.

Peter Pan, The Regal Theatre, Minehead, Tues 1 August

Great Ormond Street Hospital will be receiving royalties from this Chapterhouse Theatre production. Author JM Barrie gave all the rights to Peter Pan to the famous children’s hospital, requesting that the amount raised should never be revealed.

Have a go pistol shooting, NT Dunster Castle, Dunster, Weds 2 August

Take aim and… !

Rhyme Around the World, Museum of Somerset, Taunton, Thurs 3 August until Sat 7 Oct

Step straight into your favourite nursery rhymes in this multi-sensory exhibition from Seven Stories, the National home of Children’s Books in Newcastle, which opens Sat 22 July.  With stunning artworks from famous children’s authors and illustrators.

Firestarters, Ham Hill Country Park, nr Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Fri 4 August

First collect your wood and then learn how to build a fire using flint and steel, bow drill and fire steels. 10am-12pm.

Family Saturday, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 5 August

Free sessions in the gallery, exploring one of the main themes of the current Rashid Johnson exhibition: escapism. Runs 10am-12pm. Free but best to book These sessions run on the first Saturday of the month, so the next one is Sat 2 Sept.

Nature by Canoe at RSPB Ham Wall, nr Glastonbury, Sat 5 & Sun 6 August + other dates

Explore this watery nature reserve from the perspective of an otter! Qualified canoe instructor and a wildlife expert will guide around by canoe. No experience needed. Hourly slots from 10am-4pm. Suitable 6+. You must book. Also Sat 2 & Sun 3 September.

Carter’s Steam Fair, Victoria Park, Bath, Mon 7 August, until Sun 20 August

Authentic travelling funfair consisting of rare vintage fairground rides and attractions, showman’s wagons, caravans all transported by a highly-decorated fleet of vintage lorries. This is a brilliant – very noisy – fair. Take a ride 12pm-8pm daily.

Youth Theatre Group taster session, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Tues 8 August

Producer, writer and actor Nick White has worked with the best (RSC, National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic) – now he’s leading this taster session for a youth theatre group starting on Tues 5 Sept. Suitable for age 7 and above; no experience necessary. 10.30am-12.30pm.

Detective Project, Red Brick Building, Glastonbury, Tues 8 August

A CSI experience which will transform 7-11 year olds into Crime Scene Investigators, carrying out real techniques used by real CSIs, solving crimes using forensic evidence. 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Book here.

World War I assault course, NT Dunster Castle, Dunster, Weds 9 August + other dates

Get those gaiters on and stand up straight, you ‘orrible lot! Lots of dates throughout the hols. 11am-4pm. Free with normal admission.

Have a go at croquet, NT Lytes Cary, nr Somerton, Thurs 10 Aug + other dates

Meet on the lawn for expert tuition from the Lytes Cary Croquet Club. Feel free to bring your own mallet! 11am-4pm, free with normal admission.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court Estate, Bristol, Thurs 10-Sun 13 August

The awesome spectacle of over 150 hot air balloons from around the world rising into the sky, with live music, stalls and iconic nightglows and firework finale.

Wind in the Willows, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Fri 11 August

Picnics at the ready: join Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad in this open air production of the classic tale.

Civil War Weekend, NT Dunster Castle, Dunster, Sat 12-Sun 13 August

Join the Taunton Garrison and find out what life was like during the Civil War. Battle re-enactments and weapons demonstrations aplenty, of course.

Creative crafts and forest fun, Forde Abbey, nr Chard, Mon 14 August

Make and race mini rafts, create clay creatures, bows and arrows, sculptures/pictures, an obstacle course – and campfires with marshmallows 10am-1pm.

Lacy Days of Summer, Fashion Museum, Bath, Tues 15 August

Design a fashion statement from lace inspired by the Lace in Fashion exhibition. 10:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-3:30pm. Free with normal admission. Lots of other family activities on other days.

Pirates & Princesses,  East Somerset Railway, nr Shepton Mallet, Weds 16 August

Dress up as either and get a free ice cream. Oh, and go for a ride on a steam train.

Music mash & junk instrument making, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Thurs 17

Free drop in anytime between 11am-3.30pm to try out over 50 musical instruments and make your own from junk.

Discovery Day, Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Thurs 17 August + other dates

Explore the museum’s super shiny collection of cars and other vehicles by undertaking a family discovery mission.

Grand Designs at Ham Hill Country Park, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Fri 18 August

My den’s better than your den. Not just twigs and sticks but layers of building, one over the other, topped off with a beautiful bracken roof. 10am & 12pm.

World Honey Bee Day, Somerset Museum of Rural Life, Glastonbury, Sat 19 August

All you ever wanted to know about bees, with family trails, Q&S, art sessions…

Have a go sailing, Wimbleball Lake, Exmoor, Sun 20 August

Learn how to sail in a little dinghy in a 2 hour instructor led family sessions. Kids need to be aged 6+.

Lion King workshop, Huish Episcopi School, Langport, Mon 21-Thurs 24 August

Four-day holiday workshops for 4-16-year olds run by the talented Ginger Fred Studio people. 10am-3pm.

Children’s photography, Yeovil Country Park, Tues 22 August

You don’t even need a camera to go on this course, you can borrow one of theirs to learn how to take exciting photos around Yeovil Country Park. From 10am-12pm; 1pm-3pm. Suitable for 6 to 12-year-olds.

DNA Code Breakers, At Bristol, Bristol, Weds 23 August

One for science boffins aged 7+. Extract and observe DNA from wheatgerm in the lab and find out why we are similar but not identical to our parents. Part of the Festival of What If. 11am & 1pm.

Great Dorset Steam Fair, nr Blandford Forum, Thurs 24- Mon 28 August

Massive 600 acres covered with vintage steam engines, fairs, hurdy gurdies, agricultural machinery, vintage vehicles, food, drink, six live music stages. Truly a sight to behold, hear and smell, esp the steam fair at night.

Grease, Walled Gardens, Cannington, Fri 25 August

Danny, Sandy and Rizzo outdoors as the sun sets. Mamma Mia’s on tomorrow.

The Wild Cafe at Ham Hill Country Park, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Fri 25 August

Cook and scoff wild garlic risotto, nettle bread, wild carrot juice, nettle tea, wild salad and berry jams – all made with ingredients found in the hedgerows and fields of the country park. 10am-12pm.

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sat 26 August

Based on the bestselling children’s book by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, this fab feel-good show for little ‘uns has music, songs, puppets and Biff, the ballet-dancing dog. 11.30am & 2.30pm.

Bowlore Mediaeval Weekend, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Sat 26-Mon 28 August

Archery and sword fights galore in the Palace gardens – watch the pros then have a go yourselves. 10am-6pm.

Open Day at the North Somerset Birds of Prey Centre, Congesbury, Sun 27 August

Not just over 50 birds of prey including hawks, owls, buzzards, red kites, falcons and eagles but foxes, marmosets, raccoons, ferrets, skunks, raccoon dogs, genets, civits, coatis, meerkats, reptiles….

Fantastical Fairy Folklore, Museum of Rural Life, Glastonbury, Tues 29 August

Make an orchard fairy and fairy house, post a wish in the tree trunk wish box and search for fairies hidden around the orchard. For fairy lovers aged 3-11. 11am-1pm; 2pm-2.30pm. Free with normal museum entry.

Night time at Ninesprings, Yeovil, Weds 30 August

Explore the twilight woodlands,  toast marshmallows over a campfire and warm up with hot chocolate while you listen to a fireside story. Then it’s time to spot the bats. 7.30pm-9.30pm

Pony Day, Eastfield Equestrian, East Coker, Thurs 31 August + other dates

Groom, muck out, learn about tack and enjoy a gymkhana or ride.  Booking essential.  From 10.30am-2.30pm.

The Princess and the Pig, ECOS Amphitheatre, Frome, Fri 1 September

There’s been a dreadful mix-up in the royal nursery: Priscilla the princess has switched places with Pigmella, the farmer’s new piglet. Find out what ensues from the comfort of your pignic blanket in the stunning ECOS Amphitheatre.

Family Saturday, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 2 Sept

Get creative in the Oudolf Field and the Radić Pavilion (the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Summer pavilion). Free but you must book, 10am-12pm.

Festival of Archaeology trail, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar, Sun 3 Sept

Last day of the Festival of Archaeology trail through the famous Gough’s Cave, with cave tool demos, cave drawing, clay pot making, dress up, etc. Included in Explorer ticket price.

Wave them off to school, Mon 4 Sept

….and crack open the gin.

If you come across any other brilliant holiday stuff, drop us a line in the comment box!

3 comments on “School’s Out”

  • Matthew Miller July 21, 2017


  • Angela July 22, 2017

    No chance to get bored over summer hols! Great selection.

  • Emma parkin July 25, 2017

    Brilliant ideas. thanks for posting.


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset