January was far too long and holidays have been few and far between since Christmas. Don’t fear, here are some bright ideas to get your half term break into shape. You’ll feel smug when you’ve got some good old organised fun to look forward to.
Journey on the High Seas
In Boulogne-sur-Mer, less than a two-hour journey from central London, NAUSICAA’s new jaw-dropping, 20m-deep Journey on the High Seas exhibition makes it one of the world’s largest aquariums in the world. Spend the whole day there, also exploring the Mankind and Shores and Ocean and Climate exhibitions in this extensive, astonishing underwater world. Open 9.30-7 during French holidays, from €18.20 per day. www.nausicaa.co.uk
Trinity School Basketball Camp
In partnership with the London City Royals and the AGP skills Academy, Trinity School in Croydon are hosting a star-studded course aimed at budding basketball players. Run by GB international and former Trinity pupil Ashley Hamilton, the sporty attendees will have the chance to be coached by current BBL professional league athletes offering an insight into the elite level of basketball in the UK. For the less bouncy (or smaller) boys and girls, cricket and football camps will also take place at the school over the same weekend. 21-22 February. £40 for one day, £70 for two. www.trinity-school.org.
A Pirate’s Life for Me
If you haven’t had the chance to see the V&A Childhood Museum’s newest exhibition, then now’s the time. Focussing on how fictional pirates have fought for years on the screens and pages of our most beloved childhood stories, the exhibition will chart their wayward characters’ development from the Victorian times to the present day. Sponsored by Playmobil and including toys, games, books, illustrations and comics that span over 300 years, it’s an unmissable day out. 20 October-22 April. Free. www.vam.ac.uk.
Play Polo with Princes (Almost)
The Longdole Polo Club, a favourite of Prince Harry’s, has partnered with Ellenborough Park Hotel in the Cotswolds to allow your rookie family to get to grips with the sport for the first time. Upon arrival at Longdole, guests will first venture out for a session on life-size wooden horses to master some new moves. Once everyone has got to grips with that, the real fun on real ponies will begin! A two-hour polo experience at Longdole for a family of four, followed by an overnight stay and dinner in the restaurant, (available every day except Fridays and including half term) is £600 including breakfast. www.ellenboroughpark.com.
Glamping in the Lake District
Forget waking slightly damp in a freezing cold tent at this time of year. Level up and book one of the superior Plus Pods at the Great Langdale campsite. Surrounded by the stunning Langdale Pikes, they provide underfloor heating and cosy beds for a family of four. The high winds and sub-zero temperature can’t put you off now. And if it really is that bad, and hiking is totally of the question, the event programme (and delicious menu) at Sticklebarn just up the road will keep you busy – and warm. From £55 per night. www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Seen & Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame
The Victorian era was a pivotal time for children, when people came to treat them with more empathy and understand their need for special protection, regardless of class. Childhood as we now know it was born: a time for being carefree. Enjoy the Seen & Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery, which showcases artist’s interpretations and idealisation of the new concept at the time. Until 28 April. Adult £8, Concession £6. cityoflondon.gov.uk.
Young Holiday Cooking Classes
Get them in the kitchen over half-term and you could transform your child into an accomplished chef. There’s no pizza toppings and cupcake decorating here. Think proper, nutritious recipes that will stand your children in good stead for the future (by which we mean, after university). 11-22 February. £85 for one class, £225 for three. theavenuecookeryschool.com
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