Places To Go, Things To Do

All Treats, No Tricks

Off with your kids over half term? Me neither. I’ll try squeezing in some mini jaunts to quell the FOMO beast but here are some of my top spots for this incredibly Halloween saturated week ahead.

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

Abominable Friday 25 October – Saturday 2 November (various times) from £3.50 in advance

Animation from the makers of How to Train Your Dragon about Yi meeting a Yeti and going on a quest to Everest.

There are loads of showings which include an Autism Friendly Screening on Tuesday 29 October at 11am for a more relaxed environment with the lights kept on low, the sound not quite so loud and a breakout quiet space.

Little Shop of Horrors Wednesday 30 October (4pm) £3.50 in advance

An amazing cast including Steve Martin and John Candy star in this 80s comedy musical about a plant with a taste for human flesh. Before the film they’ve got Halloween crafts in the café from 3.15pm.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Thursday 31 October (3pm) £3.50 in advance

Dress up in your Halloween gear for this Tim Burton animation about Jack Skellington. Before the film they’ve got Halloween crafts in the café from 2.15pm.

Oskar’s Amazing Adventure Friday 1 November (2pm) £7

I saw this lovely play in Edinburgh a few years ago and I’m so glad it’s coming to Barry. It’s about a puppy and uses songs and puppets. At the end the children can meet the performer and get to play with the puppets.

National Museum, Cardiff

Dippy on Tour Saturday 19 October – Sunday 26 January (10am – 5pm) FREE

It’s only bloody Dippy the Diplodocus from the National History Museum. He’s in Cardiff for a few months but this half term is the first chance to catch him here. There are some cracking Dippy themed events coming up like a Museum Sleepover on 16 November and a family friendly HUSH Silent Disco on 30 November.

Cosmeston Medieval Village, Penarth

Medieval Hallowe’en Event Thursday 31 October (10am – 3pm) £5 per child

Discover where the Monsters of Mayhem are hiding. For ages 5-12, accompanying adults are free.

St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff

Halloween Nights Tuesday 29 – Thursday 31 October (6-9pm) £13 adults, £10 children

We went to this last year and had I loved that the event tapped into the opposite of the overly Americanised plastic crap Halloween filling up supermarket aisles nowadays. There were traditional ghost stories steeped in Welsh history, folk traditions and ghostly guests. Suitable for ages 4-12 and their grown ups.

Pumpkin Picking Patch, St Nicholas

Pumpkin Picking Friday 18 – Thursday 31 October (9.30am – 4pm) parking and entry FREE, Crafts from £4.50, pay for your pumpkins

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this will be incredibly busy with instagrammers, I fear that the best pumpkins have already gone and there’s potential for a mini squash flavoured Fyre Festival but PYO veg has that irresistible wholesomeness about it. I’ve not been but with the closure of Hendrewennol, there’s an appeal to a local pumpkin picking patch. Let me know what you think.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps Thursday 31 October (7pm) £8

A dark and witty mix of storytelling and poetry from the BBC 6 Music Poet in Residence, Murray Lachlan. Bizarre and hilarious death stories told by a butler to a boy. Halloween outfits encouraged. From 6pm there’s a unique Virtual Reality prequel to the show. For ages 7+.

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

I Wish I Was a Mountain Tuesday 29 October – Friday 1 November (11am all days and 7pm on Tuesday) £7

Written and performed by former Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion, Toby Thompson. Based on a fairy tale of a man who wishes to be turned into a mountain. Creatively translated into BSL by deaf poet Donna Williams at 7pm on 29 and 11am on 30 October. For ages 6+.

Central Park, Barry

Pumpkins in the Park Saturday 26 October (12 – 5pm) £2 for pumpkin carving

Online bookings have sold out but limited slots available on the day. Expect pumpkin carking, bouncy castle, fun fair, crafts and even a dog fancy dress show.

Scream Your Heart Out Saturday 26 October (7pm) £5

For adults only, this screening of the classic horror film Scream for over 18s is in the park, in the dark. Not a family friendly event, obviously.

Amelia Trust Farm, Barry

Pumpkin Patch Trail Saturday 26 October – Sunday 3 November (10am – 4pm) £2.50 plus entrance fee

Buy your trail leaflet from the café, solve the clues to find the pumpkin faces .

Creepy Crawly Shows Monday 28 – Tuesday 29 October (2pm) £3.50 plus entrance fee

Brave enough to meet rats, snails and snakes? Meet the creatures in these ticketed shows. For ages 1+.

These aren’t the only events and shows on this half term but it’s a starter. We can’t do everything and it can all get a tad overwhelming at times. This list is for when you’re looking for a treat.

Places To Go, Things To Do

February Half Term 2019 – Out and About

Sorry for jinxing the weather by optimistically writing this when the sun was still shining. It’s trying its best to come out again so let’s make the most of the tail end of half term with some fresh Welsh air.

We’re so lucky to have so many lush parks, beaches and countryside for walking and exploring. Over half term, there are a few special events and activities dotted around so, whatever the weather, get out and about.

St Fagan’s National Museum of History

On St David’s Day, this half term staple has family friendly craft activities themed for Wales’s special day. Perfect day to grab a slice of bara brith from their bakery. Free entry as usual but it’s about a fiver for the car park.

Amelia Trust Farm

A lovely little farm for a tootle around, Amelia Trust Farm have a February Half Term Farm Funday on 1st March with both morning and afternoon sessions. Full details on their website http://www.ameliatrust.org.uk £8.50 for bouncy castles, soft play, ball pit and more.

You can also do Bertie the Birdman’s Bird Trail. Each child is given their own card binoculars , bird booklet and a pencil to keep. £2.50 per child. 

Don’t forget that Five Mile Lane is blocked for road works at the Barry end on the way there but you can take the scenic route through rural Vale or a detour via Culver House.

Beach Academy Wales at Ogmore Beach

Celebrate World Wildlife Day on Sunday 3rd March 11am – 12.30pm by searching, handling and spotting Beach Creatures with Beach Academy Wales on beautiful Ogmore Beach. £5 per child, free for their adult, aimed at age 6+ but younger siblings welcome. Text 07966 572293 or email beachacademywales@gmail.com to book.

Places To Go, Things To Do

Mwah Ha Halloween Half Term

October half term is here and no doubt there’ll be a glut of Halloween related activities on offer. I’m not a massive Halloween fan. There, I’ve said it. Why can’t we just carve a pumpkin, dunk some apples and wear a sheet to be a ghost? What’s all this decorating the house faff about?

What’s jumping out at me so far:

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

One Man Shoe Monday 29th October (2pm) £7 / £24 for 4

A family show with puppetry, slapstick and magic. My youngest currently wants to be a ventriloquist when he grows up so it sounds right up his street.

The Little Mix Experience Thursday 1st November (6.30pm) £13.50

This Little Mix tribute act were incredibly popular last time they were in town.

Dyffryn Gardens

Lots of activities on offer here and it is a lovely day out.

Autumn Apprentice Trail Saturday 27th October – 4th November (10am-3pm) entrance fee but event is free

Whack on your wellies and join in with five tasks like raking up piles of autumn leaves.

Pumpkin Carving Saturday 27th October – 31st October (11am-3pm) £4 per pumpkin plus the entrance fee

If you don’t fancy tackling this in your own kitchen, make the most of the stencils, carving sets and helpers at this event.

Make It Mondays Monday 29th October (12-3pm) entrance fee but event is free

Craft activities.

Cook on a Campfire Friday 2nd November (12-3pm) £2 plus entrance fee

As the name suggests, you get to cook on a campfire.

Amelia Trust Farm

Pumpkin Patch Trail Saturday 27th October – Sunday 4th November

Kids Crazy Headwear Monday 29th & Tuesday 30th October £5.50 per child, pre book on website

Mini Beasts & Pond Dipping at the Farm Saturday 3rd November £5.50 per child, pre book on website

Penarth Pier Pavilion

Snowcat Cinema: The Curse of the Wererabbit – scratch ‘n’ sniff experience. Wednesday 31st October (2pm-3.30pm) £7.50 / £6 concessions (50p extra if you buy on the door)

Watch this family film from the makers of Wallace and Gromit with a special scratch ‘n’ sniff card. Fancy dress is encouraged. No adverts so arrive for a 2pm start.

Mountain View Ranch

Halloween Daily Events Saturday 27th October – Sunday 4th November (11am & 1pm)

Room on the Broom read by the Ranch Witch (11am & 1pm)

Marshmallow Toasting at Creepy Creak (2pm-3.30pm)

Spooky Pumpkin Trail (all day)

All activities are included in the entrance fee of £23 for a family of 4 and £28 for a family of 5. Wrap up warm, take a flask and a picnic and have a lovely time. Dressing up is optional. Last time we went we bought delicious pizzas and hot chocolates in their café which I’d thoroughly recommend.

St Fagans National Museum of History

Halloween Nights Monday 29th – Wednesday 31st October (6pm-9pm) £15 adults, £8 children, under 2s free but recommended for ages 4+

I really want to go to his. Expect Halloween special effects display across the outdoor Museum, Creepy Craft workshops, wand making, ghost stories for children and adults, Halloween character walkabouts, live music, lantern parade (no naked flames), Burning of the Wickerman (!) and a Scare Zone for bigger frights with a 12+ age advisory! The timing makes this perfect for those of us working over half term with older kids.

 

Sadly, they’re not running their usual Halloween event at Hendrewennol Fruit Garden this year. No pumpkin picking for us.

Let me know what you think of any of these goings on if you get a chance to try them out.

Places To Go, Things To Do

A dozen eggs-ellent things to do in the Easter hols 2018 (part 2: the stuff that is Easter themed)

Easter trails, Easter egg hunts and Easter crafts are plentiful. Here are some egg-cellent places hosting their own Easter themed stuff:

  1. National Museum Cardiff
  2. Bute Park and Arboretum
  3. Dyffryn Gardens
  4. St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life
  5. Cardiff Castle
  6. Mountain View Ranch
  7. Amelia Trust Farm
  8. Cosmeston Lakes
  9. Porthkerry Park
  10. Techniquest
  11. Victoria Park, Cadoxton
  12. Barry Tourist Railway

 

1. St Fagans National Museum of History

 

St Fagans Easter Hunt 30th March – 2nd April (10am-3pm) £3.50 (age 4+)

Easter Holidays: Family Craft Activities 3rd – 6th and 9th – 13th April (12-4pm)

Always a favourite with us. If you’ve not checked out their new playground, go have a peak. Free to get in but £5 for parking and you have to pay for some of the extra activities. There’s so much to explore there. They’ve got some special Easter things going on. Animal Mask Making is £2 per child and Pop up wildlife scene making is free.

 

2. National Museum Cardiff

 

National Museum Cardiff Easter Hunt – 30th March – 2nd April (10am-3pm) £3.50 (age 4+)

Or as we call it “The Museum” is a go to free day out for us and my 6 year old’s favourite place in the world. He wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up so he might be biased. He’s also oddly obsessed with a guy who works in the gift shop who shares his name.

Wriggle! The wonderful world of worms – now – 3rd June – free

We’ve been to this a fair few times and it’s well worth checking out. As you’d expect there are lots of worm related things to do, see and explore. Perfect for curious kids.

Who decides? Now – 2nd September – free

This exhibition isn’t designed specifically for kids but it’s really family friendly. Expect weird and wonderful paintings, sculptures etc curated by people who have experienced homelessness in Wales. We filled out some bits of paper asking who picks what art we see and what art can do for the world. Big questions but great conversation starter with my kids. Plus it’s free.

 

3. Cardiff Castle

 

Easter Trail 30th March – 15th April £1 (on top of admission price)

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/whats-on/2018/03/30/easter-trail/

Easter Fun 31st March – 2nd April (included in admission price)

A weekend of traditional Easter japes including storytelling with Dylan Adams, egg rolling, The Warwick Warriors with their witty bants and dramatic fight sequences and egg and spoon races. http://www.cardiffcastle.com/whats-on/2018/03/31/easter-fun/

 

4. Bute Park and Arboretum           

Easter Egg Hunt 1st April (1pm-3pm) £2 age 3+

Egg-citing art and craft activities and an Easter egg hunt. Meet at the Bute Park Education Centre. http://bute-park.com/tribe_events/helfa-wyau-pasgeaster-egg-hunt-2/

Spring Stories 5th & 10th April (10.30am-12pm) free

http://bute-park.com/tribe_events/storiaur-gwanwynspring-stories/

If you don’t drive, this is a nice one to get to on the train or bus.

 

5. Dyffryn Gardens

 

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt 30th March – 2nd April (11am-3.30pm) £3 and normal admission

Lovely National Trust place in the Vale with a massive mansion and 55 acres of gardens to explore. You have to pay to get in at £4.95 for children and £9.90 for adults (or slightly more with gift aid) and from £25 for a family. Or you could join the National Trust and really get your money’s worth by returning regularly and heading to other sites like Tredegar House in Newport. We had a really special day at Dyffryn Gardens in the Christmas holidays on the 12 Days of Christmas trail so I’m sure the Easter activities will be great. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens

Plant Hunter Expedition 24th March – 15th April (during opening hours) free but normal admission price applies

 

6. Mountain View Ranch

Easter Fun at The Ranch Friday 30th March – Sunday 15th April (9.30am-5pm) last entry & café closes at 4pm.

Under 2s free, family of 4 £23, family of 5 £28 or £6 per person.

A fresh air fuelled family fun day out. On top of all the usual things to do at Mountain View Ranch there will also be a an Easter Egg Trail, Funny Goat Walks, Campfire & Marshmallows, Archery and the Gruffalo Trail. The High Ropes course will also be open but you’re advised to book in advance.

We’ve had some really lovely days out here.

 

7. Amelia Trust Farm

30th March- 15th April (10am-4pm) Entrance free for under 2s, children £1.50, £3 adults, £5 family. Tractor Rides £1, Lamb Feeding £5 per person, Easter Egg Eggstraveganza Hunt £2.50 each with pencil and prize)

Have a go at feeding the farm’s adorable baby lambs, take a ride on a tractor and cart and have a go at their Easter Egg Eggstraveganza Hunt with a prize at the end!

Lamb feeding is very popular so book ahead.

https://www.ameliatrust.org.uk/

 

8. Cosmeston Lakes

Easter Egg Trail 30th March-1st April (10am-3.30pm) £3 per person

Collect your map from reception, find the Easter egg posts and answer the 10 questions. Once you’ve completed the Easter egg trail return to check your answers and claim your bag of goodies. All kids need an adult with them. Obvs.

 

9. Porthkerry Park

Easter Egg Trail 30th March-1st April (10am-3.30pm) £3 per person

Pretty much the same as above but at Porthkerry!

Collect your map from the Golf Hut, find the Easter egg posts and answer the 10 questions. Once you’ve completed the Easter egg trail return to check your answers and claim your bag of goodies. All kids need an adult with them. Obvs.

 

10. Techniquest

Amazing Eggsperiments 28th March-15th April (10am-5pm)

Families £28, under 4s free, child £6.50, adult £8. (did you know there’s a special £3.30 price if you go in after 3pm?)

Who doesn’t love a bit of Techniquest? This Easter hols one of their Science Theatre Shows is dedicated to the egg.

How strong is an egg? Why do they turn solid when heated? Go and check out this eggsciting show created especially for Easter, full of science and bad yolks!

https://www.techniquest.org/events/amazing-eggsperiments-2-2018-03-28/

 

11. Victoria Park, Barry

Free Easter Family Fun Day Friday 30th March (11am-2pm)

There’ll be a colouring competition, cake decorating, face painting and lots more. Free Easter Egg for each child who takes part.

Children under 16 must be with an adult. Raffle tickets with a draw at 2pm and proceeds going to charity.

 

12. Barry Tourist Railway

Vintage Train Rides 30th March-2nd April (11.35am, 1.10pm, 2.10pm and 3.10pm)

£25 family of 2 adults & up to 3 children, under 3s are free. Adult £9.50, child £5.50.

Vintage Train Rides at Barry Island over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Friday 30th March-Monday 2nd April. Every child travelling on the vintage train gets a free Lindt chocolate Easter bunny or a soft toy. The military museum and café will be open too.

Barry Tourist Railway will be running a 40 minute out-and-back journey from Barry Island Station at 11.35am, 1.10pm, 2.10pm and 3.10pm each day including a guided tour of the railway depot where the vintage trains live. They’re dog friendly. No steam over Easter, but the diesel railcar’s lovely.

https://www.facebook.com/Barry-Tourist-Railway-196540117115590/?hc_ref=ARROoB-d8X0yET3RBFTGk9EntzbdBq6H6c-_jVJvUpQ2fsKkjVY1na9OV547IBjV8Lg&fref=nf

 

I know, I know it’s a lot to take in. It’s been a tad overwhelming just typing it all up.

theatre, Things To Do

Christmas Show Overload

A trip to the theatre is a real festive treat. I know I go to a heck of a lot of live shows all year long because of work but there really is something magical in dragging the entire family to watch a classic children’s story or fairy tale come to life. It feels decadent and wholesome, charming and silly. It doesn’t have to mean panto and it doesn’t have to mean spending shedloads of money.

Family Friendly Shows in Cardiff and the Vale this Christmas

Sherman Theatre

Wind in the Willows / 1 – 30 December

£16 – £26 Range of prices. Previews (1 – 3 December) are cheaper so worth checking out. Under 25s are half price.

We’ve loved the annual Sherman Christmas show for many years and this sounds like it’ll hit the spot again. The classic Wind in the Willows story by Kenneth Graham will be brought to life with live music. There’s a lovely option to have a letter from Father Christmas for your child on their seat when you arrive. There are also accessible performances including Relaxed Performances.

The Magic Porridge Pot / 3 November – 30 December

£9. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Perfect for under 7s this show is overflowing with songs, music and fun. It’s a classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, retold by the very funny Alun Saunders.

Chapter

The Giant Who Had No Heart in his Body / 22 – 23 December

£5. £17 family ticket. Aimed at ages 7+ but a comedy show for all ages. (Wins the CHEAPEST TICKETS award from me.)

A warm, funny show with original music, puppetry and a sprinkling of magic. Likely Story Theatre bring their unique story telling style to this classic Norwegian fairy tale. A story of friendship, courage, adventure, an umbrella cow, a giant’s heart and a silly duck.

Wales Millennium Centre

The Bear / 12 – 31 December

£10. Babes in arms tickets £2. Recommended for age 3+.

Based on the Raymond Briggs storybook this is a really lovely theatre show for children and their families. It’s only 55 minutes long so perfect for younger kids. It’s in the Wales Millennium Centre’s smaller studio space, the Weston Studio rather than the huge auditorium. The Centre are holding free Christmas crafting activities too so you can spend longer in the building. I walked through the building this week and it’s looking amazing with all the decorations.

Second Star to the Right  / 30 November – 2 December

£9. Under 6s are £6 and under 2 year olds are FREE. Recommended for everyone, all babies welcome.

A cast of disabled and non-disabled performers from Odyssey and pupils from Woodlands High School restore hope to Neverland in this new production.

The Gate

Hansel and Gretel / 2 December – 16 December (Fridays and Saturdays only)

£8.50/£8 for adults and £6 children.

The classic Grimm fairy tale is brought to life with puppetry and music from Black RAT. We’ve seen a fair few of this company’s Christmas shows over the past 7 years and the songs and humour have been a hit with the children.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Cinderella / 3 – 5 December

£10. Under 16s are £8.

For something a bit different, try out this introduction to the orchestra for an age old fairy tale. Cinderella as you’ve maybe never experienced before with music, film and illustrations.

St David’s Hall

Tiddly Prom: Bert and Cherry’s Christmas Plum Pudding / 16 December – 19 December (10.30 and 12.30 each day)

£7.50

Ideal for under 5s, you can expect lots of silly songs to sing along to, a lively festive story and a large helping of musical plum pudding.

Ballet (3 different shows: The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Swan Lake) / Cinderella 19 – 20 December / The Nutcracker 21 – 24 December / Swan Lake 27 – 31 December

Ticket prices vary. Lowest is £8.25 for under 16s and £16.50 for adults at the 2pm matinees with a family ticket (2 adult and 2 children) for £46.50.

The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Swan Lake are also all at St David’s Hall in December. The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia bring these 3 classic and enchanting ballets to Cardiff. There are lots of offers on including a multi-ballet saver. If your child is into ballet and has never seen a live performance, this could be a really special experience watching a popular ballet with recognisable music. The Nutcracker is set at nightfall on Christmas Eve and is perfect for this time of year.

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If you’re really gagging for a full on Panto experience, here you go, these are for you. Oh no they aren’t. Oh yes they are.

New Theatre

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs / 9 December – 14 January

Cheapest standard ticket is £13. Family Offer 4 tickets for £79 (only some shows). There are about a billion different ticket price options so check with the box office what’s best for you.

It’s panto as you know it, big costumes, big sets and big names. This year’s includes Gareth Thomas, Mike Doyle, Samantha Womack and Chico!

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

Snow Queen “A Frozen Tale” / 14 – 17 December

£13. Children £11. Family group £45.

Barry’s amateur dramatic drama company BillBoard Ensemble are back at the Memo with panto. This year’s is based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale of the Snow Queen featuring songs from Disney’s Frozen.

Paget Rooms, Penarth

Beauty and The Beast / 7 – 10 December

£10. Children £8.

Penarth Operatic and Dramatic Society return with their annual family pantomime.

Jack and the Beanstalk / 4 – 10 January

£14. Children £8. Family £42.

Owen Money heads up this panto from Rainbow Valley Productions. It will be in Penarth following a tour of South Wales.

 

Let me know what you think of these if you get to any of them and if I’ve left any out!