With 6 weeks of school holidays to fill, we thought we’d help out with a guide to what’s on in Berkshire over the summer holidays 2018. Here are all the best, not-to-be-missed bits for families from days out, to eating out, walks and special events – we’ve got your back. And we’ll be adding to this as more stuff is announced so keep checking back…
Robin Hood – A Musical Celebration at South Hill Park, Bracknell
Following the summer sell-out successes of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, South Hill Park presents Robin Hood, David Wood’s enchanting tale for all the family. Take a journey around the musical Maypole and into the English countryside with a troupe of village players as they delight in the tales of Robin Hood. Share in the stories of Friar Tuck, Little John, Maid Marian and more in this lyrical production. This production will be an enjoyable and visual treat for all the family.
The show will be running at Bracknell’s beautiful South Hill Park from17 – 19 August and 23 – 27 August 2018. It’s suitable for children aged 5 years +. To find out more and book your tickets, click here.
Maidenhead Beach at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts **Free Summer Fun**
24 July – 2 September 2018, 10.00am – 4.00pm daily
The ever popular Maidenhead Beach is back, all summer long – this year inspired by the laid back tropical paradise that is Goa. It’s free to play on every day with beachside tables available for snacks and lunch from the Café Bar (including children’s picnic bags). Or why not peel yourself off the beach and get creative with your little ones in the daily Beach Craft sessions:
Arts and Crafts (45 mins) | £5 per child Monday – Saturday 10.30am
Or sit back and relax with them in the story den for Storytelling sessions:
Storytelling (20 mins) | £2 per person Monday – Saturday 1.30pm and 3.30pm
For more information on these summer holiday events at Norden Farm, click here.
Summer Fun at Wellington Country Park
This summer there’s loads going on at Wellington Country Park to keep the kiddies entertained, here our are highlights:
Dinosaur Weekend – Come and see the magnificent dinosaurs on the main green on 4 & 5 August 2018, including T-Rex, Raptor and baby dinosaurs. There will also be inflatable fun and a treasure hunt.
Teddy Bears Picnic – On 11 & 12 August there will be a teddy bears picnic at Welly Park. Come down for stories and lots of children’s entertainment, inflatables, and of course a picnic!
Unicorn & Dragon Weekend – Stories, shows and a disco make up the agenda for this great fun weekend on 18 & 19 August. And don’t miss out on the inflatables and dragon treasure hunt.
The Big Inflatable Takeover – Come down to Welly Park for this fantastic fun event where children can bounce away the Bank Holiday. From 25 – 27 August there will be; castles, a ball pond, obstacles courses, and a bungee run.
Find out more about all of these events, click here.
West Berkshire Museum, Newbury
You can expect lots of fun over the summer holidays at West Berkshire Museum.
Messy Museum Days – Every Friday throughout the holidays these sessions run from 10.00am – 3.00pm. Children will be getting crafty and hands on with activities like; Make a Roman oil lamp out of air-drying clay, personalise ceramic tile coasters with porcelain pens, decorate a wooden bird with deco pens and then varnish, make your own nature inspired stamp to print on fabric. Sessions are £2.00 per child and are suitable for 4 -11 year olds. No need to book, just turn up!
Bats at the Museum – Friday 31 August 2018, 7.30pm – 9.00pm. A talk and walk by local bat expert James Shipman about the life of these amazing creatures. James explains where they live, they fly in the dark, and why they are so important and protected by law. After a short talk, James will help you to see and hear several species that emerge at dusk near the museum (weather dependent). Suitable for ages 7 + years. Tickets are £5.00 each.
For more information on these events and to book Bat at the Museum, click here.
Eton Mess Workshops at Bel & the Dragon, Cookham & Reading
This summer Bel & the Dragon Cookham & Reading will be opening up their chic doors to families for their delicious Children’s Eton Mess Workshops. We went on one of these last summer and can confirm we may have eaten our body weight in Eton Mess, oh and the kiddies had lots of fun at the same time. Bring the children down for a fun introduction to the world of cookery and learn to make their classic Bel & the Dragon Eton Mess, one of Britain’s favourite summer puddings. Little ones will get a lesson on making the pudding from one of their top chefs before trying their creation at the end. Make sure you bring a tuperware dish to bring home any leftovers. Oh, who are we kidding…
The workshops will run every Tuesday throughout August from 10.00 – 11.30am (7 August, 14 August, 21 August & 28 August), and cost £5.00 per child. You’ll need to book in advance and there are limited spaces on each date, so book early to avoid disappointed little faces. Suitable for children aged 12 years and under.
Lego Brick Safari, The Lexicon, Bracknell **FREE SUMMER FUN**
1 – 14 August 2018
Families visiting the Lexicon this summer will have a chance to walk on the wild side as the Lego Brick Safari comes to Bracknell town centre from 1 – 14 August 2018. The animal sculptures, created from thousands of Lego bricks, will be located around the Lexicon for little ones to find, discover and photograph – whether that’s an elephant, lion or gorilla.
Safari themed workshops will also be running from 1 – 3 & 8 – 10 August from 11.00am – 4.00pm. These fun and FREE arts and craft sessions will allow little ones to make and take home safari themed crafts including mini jungle jars, peg crocodiles and stick animal bookmarks. There will also be a safari treasure hunt across stores in the centre. Pick up a sheet from the craft workshops and go on a hunt to find 10 hidden smaller animal sculptures for your chance to win a Lego prize, including a Premium Annual Pass to the Legoland Windsor Resort!
For more information, click here.
Cup Cake Decorating at Stubbings Garden Centre, Maidenhead
This summer Stubbings Garden Centre in Maidenhead is running cup cake decorating for children over the school holidays. For just £2.99 per child they will get 2 plain cup cakes ready for some coloured icing and a selection of awesome sprinkles – all accompanied with a Babycchino. Plus there will be a chance to win a prize for the best creations photographed and posted on the Stubbings Facebook page. No booking required, just come to the café and enjoy!
For more information, click here.
Summer at The Jelly Lounge, Windsor
This summer over the school holidays there’s loads of fun to be had for kiddies at The Jelly Lounge in Windsor. They have summer camps, workshops and great activities running throughout July and August. As well as their amazing soft play space with creche options, you’ll find things like; Jelly Mini Chefs, Jelly Slime Club (some including a pizza dinner), messy play, yoga workshops. The Jelly Lounge is a great place to take the kiddies this summer, there’s also a fab café offering a big selection of healthy and tasty meals, snacks, and drinks including a great wine and G&T menu! Who said the summer holidays were all about the kids!
To have a look at sessions, dates and to book your spaces, click here.
Splash Pads, Pools & Lidos in Berkshire
With summer on our minds and thoughts turning to long hot days with the little ones, we started thinking about all the family friendly splash pads, pools and lidos in Berkshire and just beyond, to cool down and have some fun with the kids this summer.
Click here to check out our suggestions.
Beale Park, Pangbourne
Pond Dipping Detective Sessions – Back by popular demand, free pond dipping sessions will run at Beale Park every Wednesday from 25 July – 29 August 2018, 10.30am – 12.30pm. Youngsters will have the chance to discover what lurks beneath the water from a new pond dipping platform on the lake.
Meet the bugs – Get up close and personal with some of the bugs and creepy crawlies that live at the park over the summer holidays! Experience the amazing world of giant insects, meet a snake, stroke a giant African snail, or get close to a tarantula. Runs every Wednesday from 25 July – 29 August 2018, 1.30 – 3.30pm.
For more information on these events, click here.
Eating out with the Children this Summer in Berkshire
Fancy getting a bite to eat out and about this summer with the kids? If you’re looking for a fantastic family friendly restaurant in Berkshire we’ve done a lot of research (tough job but we took one for the team), and you can check out our guide to eating out with children in Berkshire here. From great children’s menus, to outside play spaces, and entertainment at the table, there’s something for everyone. Click here.
**Kids Eat For Free this Summer**
Watch out for Kids Eat Free in certain restaurants and cafés this summer, normally you’ll get a free child’s meal with a paid for adults meal, and some you need to download a voucher. Check details before visiting in case of changes or cancellations. Here are a few options we’ve seen already: Corn Exchange Newbury, Bel & the Dragon Kingsclere, Giraffe Restaurants including Reading. Las Iguanas Restaurants including Reading
The Best Family Friendly Beaches on the South Coast
Even with all the fun on offer in Berkshire this summer, sometimes you just need to escape for a day and we’re so lucky to have some amazing family friendly beaches just a short drive away on the south coast. We’ve pulled together a list of our favourites with some of the fun and practical details you’ll want to know before heading off. So, read on to find out what our suggestions are for the best beaches nearby, and why we love them, click here.
The Superhero Show at The Lookout Discovery Centre, Bracknell
21 July – 2 September 2018
Are you a superhero? Bring your little ones to The Lookout Discovery Centre in Bracknell from 21 July – 2 September 2018 for The Superhero Show. This is a great science show where you’ll look at super strength, invisibility and you’ll have lots of fun with science experiments. Shows run at the weekends and during Bracknell school holiday times, at 11.00am, midday, 2.00pm, & 3.15pm.
For more information, click here.
Squires Garden Centre, Windsor
23 July – 29 August 2018 – Mondays and Tuesdays only
This summer there are loads of fun activities taking place for children at Squires Garden Centre in Windsor. Running from 23 July – 29 August on Mondays and Tuesdays there will be great fun sessions which will change weekly letting little ones get creative and have fun at the same time. Activities include:
- Paint a pair of pebble animals – 6 & 7 August, 9.00am – 12.30pm – £3.00 per child + free wildlife work search
- Plant and decorate a beautiful summer pot – 13 & 14 August, 9.00am – 12.30pm – £6.00 per child + free spot the difference activity
- Decorate a trio of bug catcher wind chimes – 20 & 21 August, 9.00am – 12.30pm – £4.50 per child + free bug word search
- Go on a wildlife hunt trail and enjoy a sweet treat – 27 & 28 August, 9.00am – 12.30pm – £2.50 per child + free paper butterfly maze
With plenty of free parking, a café, family friendly toilets and baby changing, Squires Windsor is a great choice for holiday activities. To find out more click here. Always check online before travelling in case of changes or cancellations. No need to pre-book just turn up and pay at the tills.
Mermaids & Pirates at The Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading **FREE SUMMER FUN**
9 – 30 August 2018
This summer throughout August bring the kiddies to The Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading for Mermaids & Pirates! There will be storytelling, dance workshops and crafts – lots of fun activities to keep children entertained this summer. The activities run every Thursday between 9 & 30 August (9, 16, 23 & 30 August) and are totally free for families. Activities will take place in the Upper Mall near Victoria’s Secret Pink.
For more information on these great free events, click here.
Saddleback Farm Shop Summer Events
This summer, Saddleback Farm Shop in Brightwalton has some lovely holiday events for families with younger children.
Alice in Wonderland Storytime – 21 August 2018, 2.30 – 4.30pm. This is an afternoon of story time with the famous Alex Shows. The tales of Alice in Wonderland will be performed in the garden at Saddleback Farm Shop. The afternoon includes a Saddleback picnic and an ice cream, please call ahead with any dietary requirements before the day. Cost £12.95 per child. Recommended for children 2 – 10 years. Must be booked in advance. To get your tickets, click here. There’s also great coffee for tired parents!
Children’s Teddy Bear Picnic – 13 August 2018, 2.30pm. A lovely afternoon of singing with Music with Mummy. Followed by a delicious picnic tea outside with ice cream to finish. Don’t forget to pack their favourite teddy! Please call ahead with any dietary requirements before the day. Cost £12.95 per child. Recommended for children 1 – 5 years. Must be booked in advance. To get your tickets, click here.
To find out more about all the events at Saddleback Farm Shop this summer, click here.
Fierce Ladies and Naughty Knights at Windsor Castle
1 – 27 August 2018
Bring the kiddies to Windsor Castle over the school holidays for some great family activities.
Art Workshops – 1 – 27 August, 11.00am – 4.00pm. Come to the castle’s magnificent State Apartments to take part in some great art workshops for children, where they can create a mini masterpiece to take home.
Armour & Knights Talk – 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 21, 22 & 23 August, 11.30am, 1.30pm & 2.30pm. Head to St. George’s Hall for talks about armour and knights, including the opportunity to handle and try on our replica armour collection.
Meet a Mail Armour Expert – 4, 18 & 25 August, 11.00am – 4.00pm. Chat with a mail armour expert in St. George’s Hall. Handle objects, try on costumes and maybe even receive a Knighthood!
Interactive Activities – 14, 15 & 16 August, 11.00am – 4.00pm. Take part in a range of interactive activities related to armour and knights on the Castle’s Bandstand.
For more information on any of these events at Windsor Castle this simmer, click here. To find out more about admission costs to Windsor Castle and to book tickets, click here. Residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead with an Advantage Card can get free entry to the Castle, click here to find out more.
Family Activities at The Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys
Bring the kiddies to The Living Rainforest this summer over the school holidays and discover the rainforest right on your doorstep. Each day there will be crafts and family games from 11.00am – 3.00pm. You’ll have the chance to watch the Goeldi’s monkeys feeding time at 12.30pm, or go on one of the fascinating guided tours at 11.30am or 1.30pm.
To find out more, click here.
Fancy Something a Bit Further Afield…
Summer Fun at Hughenden Manor, Bucks
25 July – 2 September 2018
Discover summer days at Hughenden.
Grab your explorers hat and follow an adventure trail with Holly Hedgehog, every day of the summer holidays from 25 July – 2 September, £1.00 per child – find out more here.
Tick off no.7 of your 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ by joining a kite making session in the studybase every Thursday and Friday throughout the holidays, £4.00 per child, click here for details. Suitable for ages 5 //- 12 years.
Feeling adventurous? The Great Big Tree Climbing Co will be at Hughenden on various dates over the summer, teaching you how to climb some of the tallest trees in the parkland! Must be booked in advance, suitable for ages 6 years +. £20.00 per child. Find out more here.
Normal admission applies for all events, admission to Hughenden Manor is free with National Trust membership. To find out more, click here.
Pirates, Pants & Wellyphants at the River & Rowing Museum, Henley
Nick Sharratt, the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker books, is the subject of this colourful, humorous and hands-on exhibition which runs throughout the summer until 16 September 2018.
This fun packed exhibition explores Nick’s passion for drawing, from childhood to his current status as an internationally renowned illustrator and author.
For more details, click here.
Millets Maize Maze, Abingdon
Millets Farm ‘Maize Maze’ is back again this year and it’s definitely worth a visit for families, plus there’s so much more at Millets to see too. As well as a range of mazes you’ll also find; woodland and courtyard games, pan for gold, bouncy castle, trampolines, ride on tractors, go karts, crazy golf, sand pits and much more.
The theme this year is the Wild Wild West and it will be open from 18 July – 3 September 2018 with lots of activities to explore. For more details, click here.
Storytelling at Greys Court, Henley
Everyday in the summer holidays, Greys Court will be telling the stories that Lady Brunner loved as a child in the secret garden at Greys Court. Rediscover the childhood classics adored by Lady Brunner this summer, as you join our storytellers in the secret garden, an area not normally open to the public.
Sessions run at 1pm and 2.30pm every day of the summer holidays, subject to availability. For more details, click here.
Summer of Colour at Cliveden National Trust, Taplow
26 July – 5 September 2018, weekdays only
The summer gardens at Cliveden are in full bloom and waiting to be discovered by little legs. Come along for Cliveden’s fun summer adventure trail where children will get to explore nature and create their own gift to take home.
The trail runs from 26 July to 5 September on weekdays only, and will change every fortnight over the 6 week school holidays. So plenty of reason to keep visiting. £2.00 per child. Normal admission to the grounds applies, free admission with national trust membership. For more information, click here.
Tree Climbing at Cliveden National Trust
30 – 31 July & 29 – 30 August 2018
As part of the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4 The Great Big Tree Climbing Company will be coming to Cliveden over the summer holidays. Experts will be on hand to help you into a harness and safely on your way into the woodland canopy. Enjoy views from above the estate and then zip line your way back down. An unforgettable experience for children and teenagers.
Must be booked in advance. £20.00 a ticket. Recommended for children age 6 years +. For more information and to get your tickets, click here.
Amazing Summer Adventures at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common
21 July – 2 September 2018
The Oddsocks Family return this summer to Odds Farm Park, bringing with them themed shows, arts, crafts and summertime games. Runs from 21 July – 2 September 2018. You’ll also not want to miss the new water feature play attraction, H2Odds, plus all the usual fun at the farm! To find out more, click here.
Superhero Academy at ZSL London Zoo & ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
21 July – 2 September 2018
Don’t miss the Superhero Academy this summer at ZSL London Zoo & ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. ZSL is celebrating all things super this summer and is giving kids the chance to put their animal skills to the test in the Superhero Academy. Join forces with ZSL and fight against some of the biggest threats facing wildlife.
- Learn all-important night vision skills from the nocturnal owl – using special goggles to spot potential food in its woodland home.
- Unlock the power of super speed, racing against the world’s fastest land animal, the cheetah.
- Master the leafcutter ant’s super strength in time to lift a three tonne taxi safely out of the way.
- Climb like the incredible gecko, mastering the toughest skill yet – defying gravity to crawl across the bedroom ceiling.
Afterwards get your graduation photos before taking on The Maze. Then enjoy your downtime exploring everything the zoo has to offer!
To find out more and to book your tickets, click here.
We hope you found this useful and have a great summer! For other ideas on what’s on for families in Berkshire, click here.