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May Bank Holiday and Whitsun fun
Wander over to Willows Farm in Colney Heath for a fun packed week this half-term. The dog agility show is back every day, along with the spring sheep shearing demonstrations, performed twice a day by Tuck the Shepherd.
Don’t worry about the unpredictable British weather, the farm also has plenty of indoor activities including ball pools and an adventure playground or take time out and check out Wooly’s showtime theatre. Other daily events will include sheepstakes sheep racing, Bird-O-Batics falconry displays, Tristan the runaway tractor, a fun fair, daft duck trials and farmyard ferret fun. A day out for the whole family to enjoy. The dog agility shows will be taking place at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm and the sheep shearing demonstrations will follow the daily 1.30pm and 4.30pm shows on the sheep stand.
Details: 0870 129 9718, www.willowsfarmvillage.com
It’s a bug’s life
Get in a summery mood with Watford Museum’s creepy crawly-themed workshops. Make your own spectacular bugs and butterflies out of recycled materials or build an insect home.
On Thursday, June 3, young visitors can have a go at building Insect Homes – designing and making a house for all the mini beasts that frequent our gardens while Bottle Bugs and Bees on Friday, June 4 gives children a chance to create their own wild and wacky bug-eyed creations to take home.
Both workshops run from 10.30am to 12.30pm and are suitable for ages eight to 12. Watford Museum, High Street, Watford. Advance booking is essential.
Details: 01923 232297, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Sunday, Sunday, May 30 to Sunday, June 6 visitors to Celtic Harmony can enjoy Summer Celebrations at the camp from 10am until 5pm with animal feeding at 11am and warrior demonstrations at 1pm, plus hands-on activities including leatherwork and crafts. Explore the woods for storytelling sessions and meet faeries and gnomes on the Woodland Trail, try out longbow archery (ages seven and up) and enjoy summer games in the meadow.
Details: 01438 718543, www.celticharmony.org
World Cup players wanted
Open to anyone from the Watford area aged 14-plus, whether you’re an actor, a singer, a dancer, or a football fan on or off the pitch, workshop auditions at the Palace Theatre take place on Friday, June, 11 from 7pm-9pm, Saturday, June 12, 1pm-3pm and Tuesday, June 15, 7pm-9pm
Details: 01923 810307
Pom-poms a go-go
Burn off some excess energy with the Saracen Sensations holiday camps. Work with specialist coaches learning the skills, styles and techniques of cheerleading combined with street dance. The day will include performing chants, jumping and tumbling, stunting and dismounting and pom-pom dancing, just like the Saracen cheerleaders. The Saracens also offer a rugby holiday camp.
Sir John Lawe School, Manland Way, Harpenden. Details: 01727 792800, www.saracens.com
If you go down to the woods
Let your child channel their inner explorer with the Down In The Woods team. A combination of outdoor play in natural woodland environments and learning, can help build self-esteem, communication skills, independence and self-confidence. Woodland activities include building shelters, exploring mud, collecting firewood, bow and arrow making, camp crafts and games. This will certainly keep your child entertained throughout the day. Suitable for children aged from eight to 12 years.
Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, St Albans.
Details: 01707691807, www.downthewoods.org
Triumph over adversity is the name of the game in Radlett this half term as Image Musical Theatre presents Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, for ages five and up.
A parentless girl finds the courage to stand up to her bullying headmistress in this interactive show, which features original songs and audience participation.
The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett on Wednesday, June 2 at 11am and 2pm. Details: 01923 859291, www.radlettcentre.co.uk
Take a stroll through The Maltings Shopping Centre on Friday, June 4 and keep your eyes peeled for a face painter, who will be decorating children’s faces for free. If your little one would like to become a beautiful butterfly, a perfect princess, a ferocious lion or a slithery snake then make a bee-line for The Maltings, St Albans from 11am to 4pm.
Details: 01727 844226 www.maltingsshoppingcentre.co.uk
All shook up
Opera lovers and families alike will enjoy Prodigal Theatre’s latest production, Caruso and the Quake, which chronicles the life of Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso and his escape from the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Playwright Andrew G Marshall, intertwines storytelling with live opera and music from Puccini, Rossini, Cilea and Tosti. The show is suitable for ages 12 and up and comes to Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans on Thursday, June 3 at 7.30pm.
Details: 01727 850950, www.trestle.org.uk
Travel back through time this bank holiday to World War Two at The Linconsfield Centre.
Explore the 1940s House, Anderson shelter, Dig for Victory garden, attend the evacuees school, see the London Blitz display and the Militaria collection. It’s a fun way to learn about history. Also on site is Farmyard Funworld, where children can meet various animals such as ponies, goats, parrots, rabbits, chipmunks and more. Feel free to stroke the wandering peacocks and let off some steam on the aerial runway in the play area.
Linconsfield Centre, Bushey, Monday, May 31,(farmyard open daily 10am-5.15pm). Details: 01923 233841, www.lincolnsfields.co.uk
Go wild in the country
Go wild with the Wild Child holiday activity camps. Whether your son or daughter wants to skateboard like Tony Hawkes, be the next Vivienne Westwood or shoot arrows like Robin Hood, the Wild Child Group has some unique experiences in store.
Activities are suitable for children ages seven to 12 years.
Tuesday, June 1 at various schools in St Albans. Details: 08453 717099, www.wildchildactivities.com
On a knife edge
Knife crime as told through musical theatre is the next production to call in at Watford Palace as Nitro and The Albany present Desert Boy. Written by Mojisola Adebayo, the performance combines an eclectic mix of modern and traditional styles of music from Mali to hip hop, gospel and rap. In Desert Boy, a troubled teenager called Soldier Boy (Emanuel Idowu) lands on Deptford beach with a knife in his stomach. As he lies crying for his mother, his cries are heard through the centuries by the long-dead Desert Man (Femi Ogunbanjo), a mysterious man from Mali 300 years ago.
Details: Watford Palace Theatre from Thursday, June 3 to Saturday, June 5 at 5pm, 7.45pm, and 8pm. 01923 225671, www.watfordtheatre.co.uk
Something to crow about
Out in the fields and under the sea – the Old Town Hall has two family shows to entertain audiences during the holidays. For starters, you can delve deep into the ocean with expert submariner of 17 years, Eric. His one-man show, Eric’s Tales Of The Sea, has been a big hit in Edinburgh for the past two years and is a mix of vibrant visuals and black humour that’s suitable for ages 16 and up. The performance takes place on Friday, May 28 at 8pm.
Then, on Saturday, June 5 at 2.30pm, AJTC Theatre Company presents The Scarecrow, which uses music, movement and puppetry to tell the tale of a sad, lonely scarecrow and his constant battle against a group of niggling crows. The show is suitable for children aged five and above.
The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead. Details: 01442 228091, www.oldtownhall.co.uk
It’s a Tring thing
Running riot in the ring in Tring, this bank holiday weekend is the Live American Wrestling show. Fighting for victory in the five-match show will be ex-WWE and TNA star James Mason, British wrestling legend Johnny Kidd and the Tag Team Rock and Roll Express, among others. Finally, face a finale of Battle Royale, where all the wrestlers will be in the ring together, fighting to be the last-man-standing.
Shows are at 3pm and 7pm on Saturday , May 29 at The Court Theatre, Pendley, Tring. Details: 01442 823130.
Day at the museum
Head over to the National History Museum at Tring to enjoy some drop-in sessions. Under-fives can create a brightly-coloured tropical fish and over-fives can make a bird hat or a car. Visitors can also record insect life in the meadow or head over to Ashridge Estate pond and discover what creatures are lurking at the bottom.
Akeman Street, Tring. Details: 020 7942 6171, www.nhm.ac.uk
Off with their heads
The fun starts in St Ann’s Shopping Centre with free family entertainment including dance performances throughout the day from Harrow Arts Centre and a children’s Alice in Wonderland-themed craft workshop. Meet the Queen of Hearts, decorate Alice in Wonderland cartoon sun-catchers and enter the colouring competition.
St Ann’s Shopping Centre, Harrow on Saturday, May 29, 12noon-4pm. Details: 020 8861 2282, www.stannsshopping.co.uk
Pots of Fun offers something creative for the whole family.
Tucked away in the heart of St Albans is this ceramic studio. Activities on offer include building a bear, messy play, pottery painting, clay and painted impressions, baby photography and adult and children parties. You can even learn how to use patterned paper mache to decorate gifts.
Holywell Hill, St Albans. Details 01727 739933, www.potsofart.com
Dragons and eggs – there’s plenty of magic on offer from the team at Harrow Arts Centre. On Sunday at 2pm, it’s time for Watch the Birdy – winter is drawing in and the egg is reluctant to hatch, but unless he makes a break for it, he could become lunch for a hungry bear, wolf or an eagle. Can his friends help him to come out of his shell? This gentle show features theatre-toys, songs and original music.
Then on Tuesday at 2pm families can join Blunderbus Theatre Company and puppets for The Dragon’s Daughter, a funny and moving story about a brave little boy and a scared little dragon, who grow to become the very best of friends.
Harrow Arts Centre, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End. Details: 020 8416 8989
What could be better than watching 70-minutes of the world’s most popular pre-school characters perform on stage together for the first time ever?
Join Bob The Builder, FiFi Forget-me-not, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, Barney and friends and Fireman Sam on stage.
The Little Club at The Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans on May 29-30. Details: 01727 844488, www.alban-arena.co.uk
Children's musical toys such as Michael Nyman’s toy piano feature in an afternoon of experimental music at Usurp Art Gallery & Studios, Vaughan Road, West Harrow on Sunday from 4pm to 8pm. Steve Beresford and friends make sounds with rubber gloves, coat hangers and a host of toy instruments.
Details 020 8426 6264, www.usurp.org.uk
Circus and song
Laughter, music and acrobatics are on the menu when Circus Hilarious rolls into Hayes’ Beck Theatre on Wednesday at 2.30pm. Featuring father and son Clive Webb and Danny Adams and Clownforce Cousin Timoni, the show promises laughs, slapstick and all the magic and excitement of the big top. Expect some high kicks, hit tunes and lots of surprises with Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, which calls in at The Beck on Thursday at 7.30pm. A new musical is created from scratch at each performance. Audience suggestions help to build a unique show packed with drama, dance routines and sing-along songs.
Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes. Details: 020 8561 8371, www.becktheatre.org.uk
Flutter along to Butterfly World this bank holiday and half term. Set in 27 acres of meadows, the whole family can enjoy a range of activities including face painting, a butterfly pageant where garden designer Ivan Hicks will be a judge. There will be creature craft sessions, a butterfly treasure hunt, nature activity walks and The Very Hungry Caterpillar family picnic day on Saturday, June 5. More activities include stepping into the tropical butterfly house, home to more than 600 butterflies, discover various insects in the Insect Study Centre or take a break at Chrysalis lake and Nectar House café.
Noke Lane, St Albans. Details: 01727 869203, www.butterfly-world.org
Visit the RAF Museum during half-term and you can learn about the history of the museum’s helicopter collection, and also witness various RAF helicopters as they take off and land from the helipad. Children can also make their own helicopter to take home with them.
May 31 to June 4, session times: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, at the RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, Colindale. Details: 020 8358 4896
Fun at the mill
Unleash your creative side at the Mill Green Museum and Mill in Hatfield. There are various activities to try out such as paper-making, creating pop art posters, storytelling, Lego Technic challenge and a clay day where your child can make a piece of pottery and the museum will fire the produced piece.
It’s suitable for the whole family, you can also explore the old mill and wander in the picturesque gardens. Booking is essential for most activities.
Tuesday, June 1 at Mill Green Museum and Mill, Mill Green, Hatfield. Details: 01707 271362, www.welhat.go.uk