16 brilliant half term saviours
Harassed parents, breathe. The hols are nearly here, but we know exactly to keep the kids entertained across Sussex – from film courses and cookery days to the best theatre and days out.
South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, 7 – 23 Feb
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 in West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire.
Out of this World storytelling, crafts and magic Fishers Farm Park, Wisborough Green, 15 – 23 Feb
For half term there’ll be a series of special space-themed events for kids including storytelling sessions in Fishers Barn Theatre, crafts, daily magic show and family disco. If that isn’t enough to keep the little blighters entertained then you’ll also get all the usual farm activities thrown in with your ticket including tractor rides, tree climbing and animals.
Little ones growing up too fast? Give them a peek into life as a working adult with a trip to Little Street, the indoor play town where kids can explore a medical centre, supermarket, construction site, school and theatre. There are also toy vehicles in abundance to manoeuvre around the roads of Little Street. They’ll be taking their driving tests in no time!
Comedy Club 4 Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Sat 15 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.
Circus Arts, Knockhatch, Hailsham, 15 – 23 Feb
Roll up, roll up! Knockhatch will be hosting circus skills workshops in a big top throughout the week, hosted by East Sussex School of Circus Arts – plus it’s totally freeeee with admission!
Brighton Science Festival, various venues, Sat 15 – 23 Feb
This February half term will be the 15th instalment of Brighton Science Festival which aims to get tweens excited about science. Across the festival there’ll be heaps of family-friendly makes, workshops and brilliant (and gross) experiments, generally at low cost.
Hands on workshops The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux
There’s more science-tastic half term fun at Herstmonceux with half day workshops Fun with Chemistry (18 Feb, 6 – 8 year olds), Discover Chemistry (20 Feb, 9 – 11 Feb) which both mix up solids, liquids and gases. There’s also an Explore the Moon twilight session for 9 – 11 (20 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.
Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids, Komedia, Brighton, Fri 21 Feb
Psst here’s something for kids that adults can also enjoy – I know, I’ve seen the show myself. Beatboxer extraordinaire SK Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. In this show he gets children involved and teaches them some tricks. I took my nephews the other year and they produced their own impromptu mini iPhone beatbox video afterwards. Tickets are £10 adults, £8 children.
Treasured Objects crafts and trail, Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, near Chichester, 17 – 21 Feb
Ready to get crafty? Activities here run from 11am – 3pm daily throughout half term, this year with the theme of ‘Treasured Objects’. Kids can make picture frames and badges as well as play with traditional toys and follow a trail around the museum. Most activities are included in the admission price with optional donations welcome. Also worth a look if you’re visiting is the annual People’s Show exhibition which features items from visitors’ personal collections. This year the museum is celebrating its 50th birthday so it should be a biggie.
Fancy watching a Disney classic this half term? Your wish is my command! Showdown Theatre are putting on a brand new version of Aladdin with expanded characters and original song. Looks like a goodie.
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.
The Addams Family, The Old Market, Brighton and Hove, 18 – 23 Feb
Looks who’s moved into the neighbourhood! From the writers of multi award-winning Jersey Boys, and performed by BTG Youth, this comic musical adaptation of everyone’s favourite Gothic family will feature a live orchestra.
The ex-gaff of The Jungle Book creator Rudyard Kipling, this 17th century house has loads of thing to do – 50 to be precise – within it’s walls and grounds. You can download the 50 Things To Do at Bateman’s this winter guide here, which includes playing Pooh Sticks, den building, bird watching and, erm, making friends with a bug (I think I’ll pass on that one).
Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures, Brighton
A cross between Crystal Maze and I’m a Celeb (don’t worry, you won’t have to eat a cockroach), this experience centre was voted Sussex’s Tourist Destination of the Year and Brighton and Hove’s Attraction of the Year in 2019. It’s a race against the clock to complete tasks and challenges as a family, with experiences lasting around 80 mins. A dead cert for a rainy Feb afternoon.