NOTE: This post is from 2014. The dates listed are for 2014 events.
Looking for something new to do with the kids over winter-come-spring? Then look no further than this A – Z guide of great things to do around Peterborough, Stamford and Bourne.
Arts and crafts
Get crafty in the holidays at Peterborough Museum. First up: February half term and the Menagerie at the Museum (17 – 21 February) . Follow a safari trail, listen to some stories and make some animal crafts to take home. Then in the Easter holidays: jewellery from junk (7 – 15 April). Make your own jewellery from magazines, newspapers and plastic bottles.
Build a den
Let the kids explore their adventurous side at New Ark adventure playground. It’s only about 10 minutes from Peterborough centre, and has an adventure playground, eco garden and a little farmyard, all within a wooded area. There’s a toddler session on Wednesdays from 1-3pm, otherwise New Ark is open during term time Monday – Friday, 3.45 – 6pm and daily over school holidays. Check the New Ark website for more information on times and prices.
Cycle around Rutland Water
Burn off some of those Christmas pounds by cycling around all (or part) of Rutland Water. Take your own bike, or hire one at Rutland Cycling at the Whitwell car park. And if you want to meet some other Mums and Dads, try the Friday morning ‘Mums and Tots’ ride (Dads and other carers welcome too says the website) that meets at the Whitwell car park at 10am. Bring your own bike, or hire one with a bike seat and helmet for just £5. The rides start for 2014 on 7 March. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dancing on ice fan?
Embrace your inner Jane Torvill or Christopher Dean at Planet Ice in Peterborough. There are regular sessions throughout the week and weekend, including an after school skate on Wednesdays (4.15 – 6.15pm) and ice tots (5 years and under only) on Sunday mornings (10-11am). See the Planet Ice website for more information on times and prices.
Easter egg hunting
Celebrate Easter and spring at Burghley House. Come along on 20 April (11am – 5pm) and take part in the Easter Egg Hunt. Just follow the clues in the treasure hunt to solve the riddle and you’ll be rewarded with a chocolate egg. There’s also an Easter quiz for parents – enter to win a family season pass to Burghley. Normal garden admission applies.
Feed a lamb
Newborn lambs are one of my favourite signs of spring. Head along to Sacrewell Farm between 9 March and 27 April for a chance to see the new lambs and have a go at feeding one yourself. It’s a lovely time to visit, as there will be lots of new baby animals on the farm, as well as the lambs. Normal entry prices apply. Read my recent blog post about Sacrewell Farm.
Goodbye winter, hello spring
Welcome in spring with an afternoon of nature-inspired activities and crafts at the Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre at Ramsey Heights. Have a go at making woodland animals or spot some wildlife. Come along on 19 February, 1.30 – 3.30pm. See the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire website for more details.
Hang out with the elves and fairies
The Fairy Fair at Holt Hall in Norfolk is a mini festival especially aimed at kids 3 – 8 years, with music, dancing, craft stalls, woodland walks, den building, stories, a performance tent and workshops such as making fairy crowns, planting a fairy garden and making elf sticks. It is a two day event held over the late May bank holiday (25 – 26 May), and although there is no camping on site, there’s plenty of options in the local area. Tickets will go on sale second or third week of March, and are usually very popular. See the Fairyland Trust website for more details.
If you go down to the woods today. . .
Bring your favourite teddy to the Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Ferry Meadows on 24 April (11am – 1pm). There’ll be singing and dancing and a chance to meet Barney the Bear. Don’t forget to bring your own picnic. This is a free event, but you need to book – see the Ferry Meadows website for more information.
Just monkey-ing around
Take your own little monkeys to meet the REAL monkeys at Hamerton Zoo Park in Sawtry. As well as monkeys, see cheetahs, tigers, wallabies, wolves, camels, sloths, anteaters, zebras and a lot more (the vultures are my favourite). There’s also a bird aviary, reptile house and farm animals. Bring your own picnic to eat in the ground (there’s a covered picnic area too), or eat in the café. See the Hamerton Zoo Park website for opening times and prices.
Knock down a few pins
Bowl a few frames at MFA Bowl in central Peterborough, where kids can bowl for £1 and adults for £2 from 9 – 11am weekends and school holidays, with the Kidz for Quidz promotion. At AMF Bowling in Bretton, check online for special deals for families and kids, including the children’s deal: £5.95 for a meal, drink, one game and shoe hire.
Let off some steam at Hills and Holes
Run up and down and round and round at Hills and Holes in Barnack. It’s an ancient quarry, which is why the landscape has been left all ‘bumpy’. It’s one of Britain’s most important sites for wildlife and has eight species of rare orchids. But the kids will just enjoy running up and down the steeply-sided hills and humps.
Meet a marmoset
And meet other weird and wonderful animals you may never have heard of. The Exotic Pet Refuge in Deeping provides a home for all kinds of animals from all sorts of backgrounds – many are from zoos that have had to close, or owners who can no longer care for them. There are over 300 different animals at the pet refuge. Meet some of these characters at one of the open days – the first is on 20 April, 9am – 4pm. The Exotic Pet Refuge only opens six days a year – see the website for dates of all the open days.
No such thing as a Gruffalo?
Well, find out for yourself at Stamford Arts Centre on 19 February, where there will be storytelling and screening of The Gruffalo film, and maybe a chance to meet the Gruffalo himself. Sessions at 11am and 2pm, tickets are £5 each (adults and children). Buy tickets online or from the box office.
Once upon a time
Most of the Peterborough libraries and Lincolnshire libraries hold rhyme time and story time on a weekly basis. They are most suitable for under 5s, with rhyme time more geared towards babies and toddlers. Some have singing and colouring-in as well.
Picnic in Central Park
It’s not quite picnic weather yet, but when it warms up, pack up a picnic lunch and head to Central Park in Peterborough. The playground is great, lots of space and swings, slides, climbing frames and a see-saw. There’s also a smaller area for younger children to play in as well.
Quiet please, the show’s about to start
The spring programme from the Key Theatre in Peterborough has plenty on offer for children of all ages. Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play will be popular with fans of the TV programme – catch this on 15 or 16 April. There’s also a magic show (Wow – This Show is Magic on 17 February), puppetry (Tomten on 15 February) and interactive theatre (Mr and Mrs Moon 4 – 8 February). See the Key Theatre website for more details and booking.
Race your kids
Get into the competitive spirit at Teamworks Karting in Peterborough. The minimum age is 8 years old to drive a kart (and 140cm tall). Kids can ‘arrive and drive’ by booking a 30 minute time slot in advance (online or by telephone) – this is available most days from £19.95 per child. Or come along to cadet club on Sunday mornings for two hours of racing for £21.95 per child, again book online or by telephone. See Teamworks Karting website for times and more details.
Swing through the trees
The adventure playground at Grimsthorpe Castle is set in a beautiful woodland area in the grounds of this stately home. Kids can play on swings, a see-saw, scramble nets, swinging bridges and slides. The playground opens when the house opens again for 2014 on 3 April. Ticket prices are yet to be confirmed for 2014. See the Grimsthorpe Castle website for more details.
Take time to smell the flowers
Take a stroll through the aptly named Bluebell Woods at Ferry Meadows during April when the bluebells will be in flower. It’s quite an amazing site to see the woodland floor covered in a sea of blue. And when you’ve finished your walk, treat yourself to a piece of cake and cup of tea in the Ferry Meadows café.
Unleash your creative side
A pot or plate painted by your own child makes a lovely keepsake or, alternatively a special gift for family or friends. A visit also makes quite a nice rainy day activity as well. There are plenty of ceramic studios in the area that cater for kids: Paint a Pot Place (Bourne), Andronicas (Peterborough), Rainbow Crazy Ceramics Café (Whittlesey) and Pots of Fun (Stamford).
Very little trains
Railworld on the banks of the Nene in Peterborough is a great place to take any young train enthusiast. There are model railways, a larger garden railway and once you’ve seen enough trains, have a walk through the wildlife haven. Railworld opens at Easter 2014.
Wander through an ancient woodland
Old Sulehay is a Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Wansford and Yarwell. It’s a large reserve with a number of different habitats, including an ancient woodland, scrub, reed bed and dry grassland. The woodland area is particularly pretty in spring with bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemones carpeting the ground. It’s a great place for a walk, wildlife spotting or some hide-and-seek.
If you’ve got kids with a hankering to appear on X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, then send them along to this one-day workshop at Wildcats Academy in Stamford on 20 February. They’ll learn songs from famous artists, make props and perform a concert at the end of the day. Costs £22.50 per child, for more information see the Wildcats website.
Rutland Sailing Club offers lessons for children from 7 years onwards, usually as a course over four or five days, starting at £235. All equipment is provided. The next courses start in April. See the Rutland Sailing Club website for more information.
Zip down a zip wire
There’s plenty to do at the Bythams Spinney (Little Bytham) for kids of all ages. The play equipment is really great, with two big slides built into a slope, swings, zip wire, wobbly bridge, climbing frame, look-out tower and a small area for under 5s, with a smaller slide, seesaw and little hut. And it’s all for free! Read my recent blog post on the Bythams Spinney.