MGM 2008 - Top Ten Events For Late May Half Term Holidays

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 23 May 2008
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Photo of a woman and children dressed as pirates on board a ship deck

It's ahoy me hearties! at The Historic Dockyard Chatham over half term. © The Historic Dockyard Chatham

It's as if the last one was only yesterday, but no-one's complaining about the next bank holiday at the tail end of May. Even better for some, there's a half-term holiday attached to it.

So, naturally, 24 Hour Museum has come up with a few top picks for things to do over the break – ten, in fact. Here they are.

Photo of a two little children in nightwear

1. Pyjama Party at Eureka! Halifax
Saturday and Sunday, May 24-25

Eureka! will be holding a pyjama party to celebrate the opening of their new Bedroom and Attic spaces. Children coming to the museum dressed in pyjamas will be allowed into the museum for FREE when accompanied by a full paying adult.

Children’s bedrooms are places where they sleep, read, play and dream. The new bedroom space in Eureka! will explore these themes and help children look at their own bedroom in a different way.

In Eureka's bedroom, the bed is influenced by the story of ‘The Princess and the Pea’, by Hans Christian Andersen, while the wardrobe follows the theme of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis. Inside the magic wardrobe, children will be mesmerised by the infinite number of reflections looking back at them and a starry sky.

Photo of a Royal Marine in camouflage abseiling down a rockface

2. Comando Tech at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea
Tuesday to Thursday, May 27, 28 and 29

Get kitted out, Royal Marines style, at this event. A Royal Marine is often reliant on the equipment in his rucksack; it can mark the difference between success and failure.

The Commando Tech event will provide visitors with a fun and informative way about learning about the tools of their trade, with a number of hands-on activities ensuring the event is one to remember!

The event, which will run at 11am and 1pm each day, lasting about one hour, is included in the cost of admission for visitors, who will have access to the numerous exhibitions, videos and interactive displays on show throughout the Museum.

Photo of animation characters Wallace and Gromit

3. Say Cheese! Animation workshop and film event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall
Saturday May 31, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Wallace is an inventor and his house is full of labour-saving gadgets and gizmos though they don’t always work!

At Wallace’s right hand is his ever-faithful (and long-suffering) Gromit. Shaun is a sheep who does not follow the flock. Curious, resourceful and fun-loving, his mix of enthusiasm and inexperience is often a recipe for trouble.

Take part in an animation workshop led by artist and craft worker Elaine Kenyon, in the McGuinness Gallery before adjourning to The Eden Theatre for a film showing of ‘The Wrong Trousers’ and a selection of episodes of Shaun the Sheep.

Tickets: £2.50 (50p from every ticket sold will go towards Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation which helps sick children in hospitals and hospices across the UK)

Early booking is recommended as places are limited. The workshop is designed for ages 8+; under 8s will need to be accompanied by an adult.

This Museums and Galleries Month event is possible thanks to Aardman, the BBC and 2entertain.

Photo of a boy dressed as a pirate

4. The Four Winds Pirate Festival at Chatham Historic Dockyard
Sunday and Monday, May 25 and 26

It’s swash-buckling fun for all the family at The Historic Dockyard Chatham when the ‘Pirates at Chatham!’ event makes a welcome return for the fourth year running.

This year’s event is bigger and better than ever as Pirates, Soldiers and Revenue Men also gather for the annual Four Winds Pirate Festival! The Festival, being held in Chatham for the first time, is the annual gathering in the south east of the UK Pirate re-enactors ‘Brotherhood’.

Photo of medieval tiles

5. Storytelling and tile-making at Cleeve Abbey (English Heritage), Somerset
Sunday and Monday, May 25, 26, and Thursday May 29

Make some tiles the medieval way or meet children's author John Bassett at Cleeve Abbey.

Visitors can learn how to make their own tiles, nspired by the designs at the 13th century Cistercian abbey, on Sunday and Monday, May 25 and 26 at 10.30 and 11.30am, 2 and 3pm, half-hour sessions.

Or if you come along on Thursday, May 29 at 10.30am, 12noon or 2.30pm, you can meet John, who will read from his new book set at Cleeve, 'Brother Cedric and the Missing Sheep'.

No booking necessary, just sign up at the ticket office on arrival. Normal admission applies.

Photo of a woman

6. Dalek Olympics at Warrington Museum
Saturday May 24, 10:30am – 3:30pm

Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is proud to host Warrington’s inaugural Dalek Olympic Games. Learn how to build your own model Dalek and have fun putting it to the test in a series of unique games. Real Daleks will also be in attendance to keep an eye on proceedings.

Other events over the week will include making Da Vinci inspired flick books (Tuesday May 27), make your own instruments (Thursday May 29) and performances by youth dance group Urban Footsteps (Saturday May 31, 11am and 12noon).

All events are free.

Photo of an Anglo Saxon helmet

7. Anglo-Saxon Helment and Sword making at Ipswich Museum
Tuesday to Friday, May 27-30

Come along to Ipswich Museum and discover more about the fabulous Anglo-Saxons before you make your very own piece of Anglo-Saxon history to take home with you.

A friendly artist will help you make your very own Anglo-Saxon style helmet and sword. You won’t be short of inspiration, of course, because as part of your fun day at Ipswich Museum you can visit the Anglo-Saxon gallery for a real slice of what life was like all those years ago. Ipswich is one of the oldest recorded Anglo-Saxon towns so there is plenty to leave you enchanted.

After you've painted your helmet and sword, you'll be ready to lead your own small Ango-Saxon army!

Bookable Activity, £2 per child. Book by calling 01473 433554. Sessions start at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30am, 2pm and 3pm. Free Admission to Ipswich Museum.

Photo of a windmill

8. Ideas and Innovations workshops for children at The Beacon, Whitehaven
Thursday to Sunday, May 29 – June 1

Seven to 12-year-olds are invited to The Beacon to make innovative machines on May 29, or younger ones (ages three to 12) can make some other clever stuff, like zoetropes and windmills, on May 30 and June 1.

Workshops run 11am to 12pm or 2pm to 3pm on the dates stated. The cost for the 'Moving Machines' workshops is £5 per child. The 'Clever Stuff' workshop costs just £2 per child. Places should be booked in advance on 01946 592302.

Photo of knights on horseback

9. Damsels in Distress and Knights in Shining Armour at the Museum of Kent Life near Maidstone
Saturday to Monday, May 24-26

To celebrate the 360th anniversary of the Battle of Maidstone, the Museum of Kent Life is encouraging all children to join in by dressing as Damsels in Distress and Knights in Shining Armour.

You can design and decorate your very own foam crown and enter the dressing up competition all week long. There will also be tractor rides throughout the day, an art competition and a wildlife discovery trail for the whole family to explore.

As well as this there will also be themed running races including broomstick riding, jewel and spoon races and a grand tug-o-war. Other entertainment such as a sheep sheering by our Livestock Officer, bouncy castle, face painters, candy floss and toffee apples, a craft fayre, live music and of course our many farmyard animals will be adding to the festivities during the day.

Photo of flint axe heads

10. Flint Knapping - the skills of Prehistoric Man at Red House Museum & Gardens, Dorset
Saturday May 31, 10am – 4.30pm

Find out how early communities made stone tools, and have a go at flint knapping with Will Lord, of Beyond 2000 BC, on this day exploring the skills of prehistoric man.

There will be five workshops on the day with only five seats available per workshop (a child and an adult can fit one seat or one adult per seat). Each workshop will last one hour.

Workshop 1: 10.00 am-11.00am – how to make arrow heads
Workshop 2: 11.15 am-12.15pm – making hand axes
Workshop 3: 1.00pm- 2.00pm - how to make arrow heads
Workshop 4: 2.15pm-3.15pm - making hand axes
Workshop 5: 3.30pm-4.30pm - how to make arrow heads

Safety glasses and gloves will be provided. Participants should wear clothing that covers bare skin from the waist down.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited. Children must be accompanied by an adult. (ages: 8+). Cost: £4 per adult and child

For more ideas for things to do over the summer half term, search our what's on listings.

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