Things to do during the summer school holidays in East Anglia. Fun, cheap and free family days out this summer.
Discounts at two Norfolk nature attractions
Pensthorpe Natural Park, a 700-acre family-friendly nature reserve located in Fakenham, 11 miles inland from the North Norfolk coast – and Watatunga, a new wildlife reserve based outside King’s Lynn – will provide visitors with a money-saving discount so they can enjoy more fun-filled family days out for less.
Anyone who visits Watatunga will receive 20% off their next trip to Pensthorpe, and those who have an annual membership to Pensthorpe will be able to redeem a 20% discount when booking a guided tour at Watatunga throughout the rest of the season.
Raynham Estate, Fakenham, Norfolk
Visit Lady Ferrers’ Wood for a brand-new adventure trail. A great outdoor activity, families can search for more than 80 hidden characters nestled in the woods and wander through six themed zones. At just under 1.2km, the trail is the perfect length for little legs and usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes to complete. With so many things to look out for, there’s no danger of children getting bored, and each intrepid explorer will receive a trail booklet to keep track of what has been spotted in the woods. Price: £8pp. Book here.
Rumble Live Action Gaming
Perfect for Fortnite and Call of Duty fans, gaming comes to life in the woodlands at Graftham Water in Huntingdon. A giant outdoor laser quest, gamers can scavenge to find extra ammo and special weapons. The adrenaline filled activity is suitable for all ages. Price: £15pp. Book here.
A budget friendly day out in Cambridge, Treasure Trails takes families on a tour through the city discovering its history, famous colleges and parks. There are five trails to choose with clues to solve and each circular route takes around two hours complete. Cambridge trails include a treasure hunt in the city centre, a detective mystery on Parkers Piece and a spy mission in parts of Midsummer Common. Booklets cost £9.99 and are available to buy online and download to print at home or can be sent via post within 3-5 working days. Visit treasuretrails.co.uk for a full list of locations and Trails by region.
Behind the Mask at St Albans Museum + Gallery, until 5 September
Museum + Gallery, St Peter’s St, St Albans
St Albans Museum + Gallery has a range of exhibits and activities running over the summer – with many of the exhibits being free of charge. The Trestle Trust turned 40 in 2021 and to celebrate, this internationally renowned theatre company is partnering with St Albans Museums to run an exhibit of some of its most famous masks. The exhibit takes place in the Keeper’s Gallery.
Throughout the summer holiday St Albans Museum + Gallery and the Verulamium Museum will also be hosting their Museum Minis and Tots Tales sessions. These drop-in sessions are targeted at younger children and are jam-packed full of fun crafts and storytelling activities. Find out more.
Unit 217, waterhouse business centre, 2 Cromar Way, Chelmsford
A brand-new digital hub has opened in Chelmsford. Perfect for video-game loving kids, Code Ninjas provides the opportunity to learn about coding through multiple platforms. Suitable for ages 5-14 years, there’s a focus on STEM which include engineering and robotics and certain aspects of maths and English. If you struggle to get your child away from a screen, this is a must-visit! Parents can sign up for a 6 or 12 months rolling subscription or book sessions via the Parent Dojo. Sign up here.
Nature Discovery Days at Mannington Estate, until 2 September
Mannington, Norwich NR11 7BB
Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer holidays, the gardens will host fun packed days for families with activities such as den building, natural crafts and mini beast hunts on the agenda. The gardens are also open on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays until September and feature a playground, a bare foot sensory experience, nature garden, enchanted path and nature trails. Discover the best gardens in East Anglia.
Norwich city centre
Get ready to go on a Jurassic jaunt with GoGoDiscover 2021 when 20 large Tyrannosaurus-Rex sculptures will stomp into Norwich. The GoGoDiscover charity sculpture trail is delivered by East Anglian based children’s charity Break, in partnership with Wild in Art. Each T.rex has been decorated by local and national artists and sponsored by businesses from across the region. The family-friendly trail coincides with and celebrates another prehistoric visitor as the T.rex arrive just days before Dippy the Diplodocus at Norwich Cathedral, meaning trail go-ers will have 21 dinosaurs to visit.
Secret Garden Trail at Pensthorpe Natural Park, until 5 September
Pensthorpe Rd, Fakenham NR21 0LN
Pond-dipping, den building, storytelling, noughts and crosses and lots of natural play activities to find across the park, including the iconic WildRootz stream for splashing and exploring, are just some of the brilliant activities on offer, as Pensthorpe recalls those glorious, carefree summers of the past and offers it up to a new generation of children.
The new Secret Garden Wildlife Trail will allow visitors to make the most of the stunning four gardens that have been sculpted by some of the world’s leading designers. Keys will be hidden across the park for families to find, and children will be able to track their progress using a complimentary activity sheet that will be handed out upon entry.
St Albans, Hertfordshire
Enjoy a fun and exciting morning being entertained by monks and jesters whilst exploring St Albans Cathedral. Discover its mysterious medieval secrets, learn about its historic stories and create amazing works of art!
Suitable for children aged 5 – 11 years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The event is free but donations are welcome.
Lost in Translation, 23-24 Aug and 31 Aug – 1 Sep
Orton & Bretton Water Park
The Norwich circus experts, Lost in Translation, have teamed up with The Oak Circus Centre to bring a summer of fun to Peterborough’s parks. Try your hand at juggling, acrobatic and trapeze. All ages are welcomed to practice their circus skills and watch the fun performances and demonstrations. Find out more.
Horrible Histories, 24-28 August
Cambridge Arts Theatre, 6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge
History comes alive on the stage as the Horrible the Horrible Histories Live franchise, brings ‘Barmy Britain’ to Cambridge. Price: adults £20, children £15. Book tickets here.
Maui Waui Festival, 27-29 August
The family friendly festival takes place at Hill Farm, Gressenhall in Norfolk. There’s plenty of activities for children and for adults, a host of world class bands, full circus shows in a dedicated circus tent, small upbeat bands and acoustic acts, plus cabaret and comedy. This year’s highlights include an Americana Day on 29 August and a living art show! Book your ticket.