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Plan a year of adventure

30 January 2019

Whether they’re bookworms, animal enthusiasts, space fanatics or music lovers, there’s plenty of amazing activities laid on for the kids this year, says Charlotte Duck.

Alice’s Day
This year, 6 July has been set aside to celebrate Lewis Carroll’s weird and wonderful books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. As a result, the city of Oxford is set to be inundated with Mad Hatters, playing cards and rabbits carrying pocket watches. There’ll also be afternoon tea as you’ve never seen it, circus performances, face painting, immersive street theatre and Alice-themed crafting. Just don’t be late.
6 July; Oxford city centre; free;


      Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors
The Horrible Histories team is bringing their uniquely gruesome version of the Tudors to the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, this summer. Expect your favourite moments from the 16th century brought to life with comic actors, ground-breaking 3D special effects and blood, guts and gore aplenty.
13-16 June; £18.50; King’s Theatre, Edinburgh EH3 9LQ;


Gwili Railway’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Bring along your furry pal for a day of fun in May at the first-ever Gwili Teddy Bears’ Picnic. As well as a ride on a vintage steam train, you’ll get to watch resident magician Loopy Lews, search for bears as you have your picnic and meet the Gwili Bear. Plus, there’s the choice of bringing along your own picnic or picking one up from the vintage tearoom en route.

4 May; Adults £14, children 3-15 £8,under-threes free; Gwili Railway, Carmarthen  SA33 6HT;




World Inside a Book – Gruffalos, Dragons and Other Creatures

   Have little ones who are fans of the Gruffalo, obsessed with Zog or addicted to the Highway Rat? Then get along to this immersive exhibition of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best-loved books. As well as the famous characters, who come to life in 3D, you can take a ride like no other with Room on the Broom, see Zog flying overhead and enjoy the arts and crafts activities to create your own mini masterpiece.

Various dates from February 2019 to February 2020; Z-Arts, Hulme, Greater Manchester M15 5ZA; from £7.35;



Disney films

   Wherever you live, there’s plenty going on at the cinema. It’s a massive year for Disney with the release of three live-action versions of its classic animations. Dumbo, out 29 March, Aladdin, out 24 May, and The Lion King, out 19 July, all use a combination of real actors or computer-generated animals to bring these film favourites to life. Plus, Elsa and Anna are back as the eagerly anticipated (but very-little-revealed) Frozen 2 hits cinemas on 22 November. If Disney’s not your bag, there’s also Toy Story 4, Shrek 5 and The Secret Life of Pets 2 to keep them entertained.


   Rockpool Explorer

The causeway leading to St Michael’s Mount is full of rich marine life and offers a unique opportunity for little ones wanting to explore this and its rockpools. Great Scott! runs guided tours for kids throughout the year, explaining who is having who for dinner, and allowing them to get up close and personal with the minnows, crabs, snails and starfish who live in these pools. Be warned, wellies are a must.

Various dates; free; Causeway, St Michael's Mount, Cornwall TR17 OHS;


   Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is flying into the West End this autumn to bring her own brand of magic mixed with mischief. Staged at the Prince Edward Theatre, this musical is written by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes and cleverly combines PL Travers’ original stories with the 1964 Julie Andrews film adaptation. Simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Tickets on sale in January; Prince Edward Theatre, London, W1D 4HS;



   Camp Bestival

If it’s your first time taking the kids to a festival, start with Camp Bestival. This year’s theme is Heroes versus Superheroes and Jess Glynne, Sister Sledge and The Human League are all headlining. Expect special guest appearances from Mr Tumble, Shaun The Sheep’s Vegetable Orchestra and kiddy ravers Big Fish Little Fish, plus, new for 2019, there’s Wild Tribe, a wild area of mud slides, bushcraft and drumming circles that encourage screen-free time.

25-28 July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset BH20 5QS; adults £180; children aged four and under £11; over-fives from £31.50;


   Toddlers Take Over The Museum

This isn’t quite as scary as it sounds. North Down Museum is opening its doors to three-to-five-year-olds as part of Playful Museums Month in February. There’ll be puppet shows, storytelling and arts and crafts aimed at teaching them about the area’s Viking history. Plus, they can also step inside a Viking longhouse.

15 February; free; North Down Museum, Bangor BT20 4BT;


Rocketship Adventure

Join Stella the bear and blast off from Bristol’s Planetarium. Designed for under-sixes, this virtual space experience sees you hurtle out to the moon and fly past the sun, before shooting out into the starry galaxies beyond.  

Till 30 September; £2.50 per seat, under-threes free; We The Curious, Bristol BS1 5DB;



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