Sussex Half Term What’s On
25+ ideas to keep youngsters amused this half term including science workshops, hip hop, puddle jumping, comedy, trails, stargazing, skating and shows.
Sussex Puddle Jumping Championships, Arundel Wetland Centre, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb
Who can make the biggest, craziest puddle splash this half term? Get your wellies on and have a go at registering a big one on the ‘splashometer’ at the Sussex Puddle Jumping Championships at Arundel Wetland Centre. Daily winners will be awarded and there’s plenty more splashy fun to be had with pond science, a mud hunt for food and even walking on water experiments. Free with regular admission.
Once Upon a Fairytale, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Wisborough Green, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb
Collect the missing items along the fabulous fairytale trail to bag a treat, meet characters in the enchanting storytelling sessions and a unicorn in the Animal Encounters Barn and be amazed by magic during daily shows in the Barn Theatre. Free with admission.
Brighton Science Festival, Hands on Half Term, various venues, Sat 16 Feb – Sat 2 March
The February half term instalment of Brighton Science Festival involves heaps of family-friendly makes, workshops and experiments. Get involved in a STEM day specially for women and girls; an art workshop on seahorses; a Minecraft fossil dig; forensic science crime solving; beach surveys; Blue Planet III-inspired comedy and more.
PART FREE South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, Fri 15 Feb – Sun 3 March
Wrap up warm and get out for this annual celebration of the South Downs being designated a dark sky site. There are several guided stargazing events and tie-in activities, many of them free or low cost at locations including Herstmonceux, Chichester, Midhurst, Lewes and Brighton. See Muddy’s Sussex round-up here.
Half term STEM activities, Amberley Museum, Wed 20 – Sun 24 Feb
Get stuck into family STEM activities at Amberley Museum this half term and take part in a trail around the 36 acre site. The museum reopens for its main season on 6 March with all the usual vintage transport and workspaces and traditional craft demonstrations.
Bateman’s guest book trail, Bateman’s, Burwash, Sat Feb 16 – Thurs March 7
Discover some of the famous guests who have visited Bateman’s over the years with this half-term garden trail – find all the clues around the garden to claim a prize.
Family workshops, Worthing Museum Sat 16, Tues 19 and Fri 22 Feb
Get stuck into crafty workshops during half term at Worthing Museum. First up is Making History on Sat 16 Feb for 7-11 years, encouraging them to create pieces based on inspiration from the museum (£5). Then on Fri 22 Feb there’s a drop in dino crafts session for all ages (£2.50).
DROP OFF Half term chemistry and moon workshops, The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux, Tues 19, Wed 20 and Thurs 21 Feb
There’s more science-tastic half term fun at Herstmonceux where there’s a Fun with Chemistry half day workshop for 6-8-year-olds on Tues 19 and a Discover Chemistry half day workshop for 9-11s on Wed 20, both mixing up solids, liquids and gases. There’s also an Explore the Moon twilight session for 9-11s on Thurs 21 Feb with model making and a visit to one of the centre’s huge telescopes. Chemistry workshops are £12.75 and there’s an additional charge to stay on in the centre. The 5.5 hour Moon session is £25. Booking essential.
Psst here’s something for Half Term that adults can also enjoy. Beatboxer extraordinaire SK Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. I’ve seen him in action and he’s really impressive. In this show he gets children involved and teaches them some tricks. I took my nephews the other year and they produced their own mini iPhone beatbox video on the seafront afterwards! Tickets are £9 and there’ll no doubt be the chance to buy a signed CD afterwards.
Knights & Dragons Workshop, Lewes Castle, Thurs 21 Feb
Lewes Castle has a half-term workshop for four to eight-year-olds with stories about castle knights, armour to try on and lots of things to make, including a dragon mask. There are sessions at 10.30 – noon and 14.00 – 15.30. £5 per child, adults free but must stay with their child.
Nature explorer passport/ bird feeder making, Nymans, near Haywards Heath, Sat 16 to Sun 24 Feb
Tick off a nature explorer passport of activities and challenges at Nymans then make a simple bird feeder in the Potting Shed (11.00 – 15.00) that you can take home to help feed feathered friends in your garden. £1 per passport and £1.50 per feeder on top of normal admission.
FREE Solar system trail, Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, Sat 16 to Sun 24 Feb
Follow clues about the solar system around the visitor centre to discover more about the planets on a self-guided trail at Birling Gap. Free. There’s also a spring beach clean coming up on 3 March.
Fairies and Fantastical Creatures Trail, Standen House and Garden, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb
Delve into the enchanted world of fairies and fantastical creatures that live at Standen on a trail inspired by Arthur Rackham’s illustrations. £2 per child with small prize on top of admission.
Fat Tuesday umbrella workshops, St Leonards / Hastings, Sat 23 Feb / Sat 2 March
Hastings’ Fat Tuesday is coming up and here’s an early chance to get in the Mardi Gras spirit with an umbrella decorating workshop ahead of the parade at a workshop run by Radiator Arts. On Sat 23 Feb drop in from noon to 15.00 at St John the Evangelist Hall, Brittany Road, St Leonards on Sea. There are other workshops in Hastings on Sat 2 March, 11.00 – 16.00 at The Stade Hall and Ore Community centre. You’ll need about an hour to pimp your brolly. Children must be accompanied.
High School Musical, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Fri 22 Feb and Sat 23 Feb, 2pm & 7pm
Disney’s High School Musical is a perfect half term treat. You know the drill – Troy, Gabriella, and the students of East High must deal with issues of first love, friends and family while balancing their classes and extra curricular activities. But really it’s just about the songs.
Sundae Club, Komedia, Brighton, Sun 24 Feb
At the half term incarnation of this regular event there’s over three hours of creative fun for kids aged 2- 8 with a theatre show ‘Plain Bob’, craft workshop and live music from The Swing Ninjas. Starts 11am (doors 10.30). £7 or £27 for a family of four.
National Trust snowdrop spots, Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth, Jan & Feb
In January and February we rely on plucky snowdrops to cheer up the winter landscape. Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth are among the best spots to catch them.
Kids for a quid, British Airways i360, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb
It’s a good time to get up the big stick and doughnut because kids 4 – 15 go for £1 this February half term. That’s up to two kids per paying adult (no, you can’t just leave them riding up and down all day!) There’s are also a discovery trail to learn fun facts about Brighton and hands on experiments as part of Brighton Science Festival. Plus, at the West Beach Bar and Kitchen at the base kids eat free with paying adults.
LAST CHANCE TO CATCH
Worthing Ice Rink , Steyne Gardens, Worthing, until 24 Feb
Worthing’s rink is in a giant marque with regular sessions for over-fours, while toddlers can get on the ice in special quieter weekday slots. There are children’s skating courses and private lessons by arrangement. You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party. It’s been up since November and half term’s your last chance to take a glide.
PART FREE Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank, London, Wed 13 – Sat 24 Feb
With over 12 days of activities (50% of them free), this festival offers the best children’s theatre, literature and music so worth popping into town for. Authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell are coming in to talk about their books, there’s a Peppa Pig concert to introduce little ones to orchestral music, there’s outdoor games, a giant blackboard and sound pit, a screening of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with a live orchestra, hip-hop workshops and more, more, more. Check out the full programme here.
The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, Wed 6 – Thurs 21 Feb
This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare – it’s only an hour long! The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019 following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year. Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show will also be accompanied by interactive family workshops on Mon 18 and Tues 19 Feb.
The Spring, Havant, Hampshire, Tues 19 – Fri 22 Feb
Get ready to blast off and get interstellar with The Spring in Havant‘s Family Festival. Get ready to adapt as you land on a distant planet and need to build a brand new habitat to live in. This is a great way to get the kids to explore their imagination and create lots of random stuff to bring home with you (joy).
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hampshire, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb
The Dockyard is rammed with things to do this February. From Pirate School (Arrrr!) to meeting Captain Hardy and Lego Shipbuilding (Thurs 21 Feb). Definitely one for all swashbucklers.
Smartphone filmmaking club, Depot cinema, Lewes Weds from 27 Feb for six weeks
Starting just after half term, this six week course for 8-12 /13-16 year-olds will take budding film makers through the process from start to finish using a phone or tablet. The course is led by Anthony Gates – an experienced filmmaker and teacher. Sessions run from 16:00 to 17:00 on Wednesdays starting on Wed Feb 27. The full cost for the six weeks is £70 for 8-12s; £90 for 13-16s.
Sooty’s Magic Show, Capitol Theatre, Horsham/ Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Sat 2 March/ Sun 3 March
Izzy Wizzy let’s get busy! Sooty’s Magic Show is still going strong and it’s coming up at Horsham and Eastbourne on Sat 2 and Sun 3 March. Sweep and Soo will be there too of course with the mayhem supervised by TV’s Richard Cadell and circus and ultraviolet acts performing. I’m told there will also be a flying car and a levitating sausage – oooer. Tickets are £13 (children £11).
Pancakes alfresco, Woolbeding Countryside, West Sussex, Tues 5 March
A tad after half term but this always sells out early – a chance to cook pancakes alfresco over a campfire, so they won’t stick to your kitchen ceiling. The National Trust event runs 16.30 – 17.30. Parental supervision is required but everything’s provided. £5.
***** ALREADY GONE ******
Tom Gates, Live on Stage, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 14 Feb – Sun 17 Feb
My nine-year-old nephew saw this coming up and campaigned hard to go. The books are best sellers and now our hero is on stage in an adventure about his efforts to climb out of trouble and make the school trip. This first live version of the stories is by the team behind the productions of Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories, so if you’ve got a Tom fan in your family too it sounds like a great treat. It’s down to the last few tickets, £19.50 – £21.50.
Peter Pan Theatre Workshop, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Mon 18 Feb
This workshop for ages 7+will use MacDonald Gills’ Peter Pan illustrations as inspiration for children to create adventure stories to act out around the museum. It starts at 11am and finishes with a performance for friends and family at 2.30pm and costs £22.50. Also book ahead for an animal illustration workshop on 17 April.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, De La Warr pavilion Bexhill, Mon 18 and Tues 19 Feb
Everyone’s favourite tea-guzzling tiger is back. Direct from a West End season this musical play adapted and directed by David Wood, based on the book by Judith Kerr. It’s packed with sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos. He drinks all the water in the taps you know… It’s aimed at ages 3+ . Tickets are £12.50.
DROP OFF Greatest Showman half term workshop, The Hawth, Crawley, Mon 18 – Fri 22 Feb
Got a child who can’t stop singing Greatest Showman tunes? Well they can really let rip at this half term workshop ending in a performance inspired by the movie. Junior places have already sold out but there are a few places left on 12 – 18s sessions. It runs 10.30 – 15.30 daily for a total £110.
DROP OFF Stop Motion Animation, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Mon 18 – Wed 20 Feb
Back by popular demand, over three days this course will teach 9 – 15s all there is to know about creating a story using stop motion animation and every day objects, sweets and even humans! From creating your figurines to positioning the camera, they can bring tales to life with the help of a skilled facilitator and be sent their work after the course. It runs 10.00 – 16.00 each day.
FREE Lewes Children’s Book Group bookswap, Depot, Lewes, Sat 16 Feb
The first Saturday morning of the half term holidays means it’s the Lewes Children’s Book Group bookswap. Children can bring along any number of books (in a reasonable condition) and swap them for the same number of books from the selection. There’s also time to catch the new Lego Movie after.
Comedy Club 4 Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Sat 16 Feb
This is a great concept – regular comedians doing non-patronising material pitched at the over sixes. Jokes and songs about poo, bogeys, space and dinosaurs, with knowing comments and humiliation for the adults. The kids heckle with their hands up and you’ll have a brilliant laugh too – trust me, I’ve been a couple of times. £8.50 adults, £6.50 children.