Summer Holidays - Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man & North of England

By Caroline Lewis
Shows an old looking painting of two Chinese people, a man sat at a desk and a woman standing behind him, placing her arm on his shoulder.

Photo: Chinese painting (Qing dynasty). Gouache on silk. © Glasgow City Council (Museums).


It’s a Chinese summer for children at Glasgow’s Burrell Collection where the One Million Days in China exhibition is on.

On Mondays from now until August 17 visitors can have a go at painting Chinese banners, while on Tuesdays they can try making clay pots, lanterns on Wednesdays and Chinese dragon puppets on Fridays. Only the pottery activity needs to be booked, but there are no lessons on how to use chopsticks…

There’ll be more doing and making every Tuesday until August 10 at the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow, with the Crafty Crabs Club for under sevens.

The sessions accompany the exhibition, On the Beach, Under the Sea, which focuses on the magical world hidden in and around the seashore.

Northern Ireland

At Ulster American Folk Park it’s time to get back to basics with the mighty Woodfest. From July 31 until August 2, top craftsmen will be on hand to demonstrate wood construction, crafts, turning, toymaking, carving and the production of musical instruments.

Shows a photograph of a recreation of 19th century life at Ulster American Folk Park.

Photo: visit Ulster American Folk Park for a taste of life in Northern Ireland during the 19th century. Courtesy Ulster American Folk Park.

Meanwhile, at Ulster Museum there’ll be plenty of creative fun to be had at a series of Crafty Work events on August 11, 12, 18 and 19. Not to mention the Backpack Trail on Sunday August 29, where colour coded backpacks will offer a range of activities for kids of all ages.

Isle of Man

A short hop across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man, a natural material of a very different kind is on show at the House of Manannan.

The Mann in Space exhibition, on until September 14 offers a chance to come face to face with a sample of Moon rock brought to Earth in 1971 by the Apollo 15 mission.

For those wanting to keep their feet a little more firmly planted on the ground, Industry, Ingenuity, Endeavour tells the story of the Lady Isabella and the Great Laxey Mine.

Visitors can learn about the lives of the miners, the fascinating Victorian technology they used and the Island's finest surviving piece of industrial architecture - The Great Laxey Wheel.

North of England

Travelling south, the little ones can meet a Roman soldier at Chesters Roman Fort on August 4 and at Corbridge Roman Site on August 11, 29, 30 and September 5.

Shows a photograph of a man dressed as a Roman soldier talking to a number of children and two older men.

Photo: visitors can meet a ( modern) Roman soldier at Chesters Roman Fort, near Chollerford in Northumberland.

Sticking with the military theme, but fastforwarding to medieval times, you can give archery and other sports a go at Beeston Castle near Chester on August 4 and 5 and at Brougham Castle, near Penrith on August 21 and 22.

These activities are part of a number of English Heritage activities going on all over the UK this summer, so check their website for details.

The Olympics is just around the corner and for budding athletes there’s the perfect interactive exhibition on at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum until September 19.

Shows a photograph of a young girl placing a ball into a basketball basket.

Photo: it's slam dunks all round at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

On Your Marks! will test how far you can jump, how quick your reflexes are and how powerful your grip is (isn’t that what rollercoasters are for?). Little Wayne Rooneys can compare their shooting on the penalty kick and mini Michael Jordans can see how many baskets they can score in 60 seconds.

For those with a more artistic temperament, there will be painting and sculpture workshops led by professional artists at the Bowes Museum in County Durham.

The workshops, on August 10 – 12 and 24 – 26, are inspired by the current exhibition Boudin, Monet and the Sea Painters of Normandy and will include a visit to Souter Lighthouse for sketching.

Shows a photograph of the exterior of the Bowes Museum. it is a large, very grand looking building with a sculpted garden in front of it.

Photo: the stately Bowes Museum, inspiration enough for any artist.

For sculptures of a different kind, get on down to Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries.

Amazing Sound Machines invites visitors to make a noise on sound sculptures and instruments, invented by composers, musicians and artists until August 15.

There’s a musical theme in Halifax too, where kids can travel through soundspace with Orby the Alien, perform live on stage and play with giant musical instruments and virtual DJ decks.

Sound Space is the new permanent gallery at Eureka! The Museum for Children.

Shows a photograph of a CWS poster. There is a woman with blond hair holding up something she has baked. The text at the top reads 'She takes pride in her baking'. The slogan at the bottom of the poster reads 'CWS. Federation. Self Raising Flour.'

Photo: an advertisement poster for Co-operative Wholesale Society flour, 1930s. The Co-operative movement originated in a shop set up in Rochdale in 1844 by 28 working men known as the Rochdale Pioneers. By kind permission of the People's History Museum.

The People’s History Museum is letting under-sevens play with their food this summer – but don’t worry, mum, it’s in a creative way.

From August 3 to 29, children can make foody jewellery, cards and pictures, inspired by the Butties to Bhajis exhibition. On July 28 and August 11 there will be teddy bears’ picnics with story-telling, mask-making and heaps of other fun and games.

Of course this is just a selection of some of the many events taking place all over the country. To find out what else is going in your area, contact your local museum or gallery.

  • for events taking place in Wales, the Midlands and the South and East of England.
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