Thursday, 25 October 2012

Half Term Holiday Part III – The Inside Story

In my final episode of the Half Term Holiday trilogy, I look at a few indoor attractions to visit and home-based activities to keep the kids amused.

These have changed so much since my childhood, with many now offering organised activities, quiz sheets, dressing-up corners and ‘hands-on’ exhibits and many are free! I recommend:

The National Railway Museum at York, admission free. A really impressive collection of railway engines from different eras and parts of the world. Not just for railway fanatics – I love the story of the Royal Mail and the Royal train carriages – and between 27th October and 4th November you can join in ‘Fun with Paddington’.
The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum, London, admission free. Highly recommended are the Dinosaur Gallery and the interactive Earth Gallery at the Natural History Museum, whilst the Science Museum has some great interactive exhibits and games in its Launchpad area.
Lancaster City Museum in Lancaster (there’s a surprise) admission free. Small but beautifully put together, houses some great exhibits and offers the chance to dress-up.
York Castle Museum, York (this blog is starting to sound like the War of the Roses), admission £8.50 adults (ticket valid for a year), children free. This is a great museum with the highlight being its Victorian Street – soak up the atmosphere in this recreation of Victorian England, a real gem.
Time & Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth, admission adults £4.90 (or £4.20 if part of family group), children 4-16 £3.60. Lots of activities to have a go at on the way round, plus a recreation of traditional Yarmouth Row Houses (real ones of which can be visited in the town and are run by English Heritage).  

Of course, many towns and cities have local museums that you can visit for little or no cost, so do check out your area. Strangely it is often the attractions on our own doorstep that we ignore. Libraries often hold activity workshops and story-telling sessions during school holidays so do be on the look out for these too.

Staying at home? Put away the computer games for the afternoon and revert to some more traditional pastimes: gather together all the old card, paper scraps, material oddments etc that you can find and make a colourful collage or fun model; bake or buy a batch of plain fairy cakes, then see who can come up with the most fun and creative topping; dig out the old board games for a change - don't have any? - visit a car boot sale and snap up bargain old favourites. 

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