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25 things to keep the kids busy this summer in Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:56 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:59 27 June 2017

Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary. Picture: ZAC MACAULAY

Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary. Picture: ZAC MACAULAY

© Zac Macaulay MMXII

The school summer break is nearly upon us and with it comes the constant challenge of how to keep the kids entertained. With a view to being prepared, we have put together a selection of activities and clubs taking place across East Anglia this summer.

Theatre in the Forest: 
Red Rose Chain Theatre and Film Company will be staging Shakespeare's As You Like It at Jimmy's Farm Theatre in the Forest: Red Rose Chain Theatre and Film Company will be staging Shakespeare's As You Like It at Jimmy's Farm

Theatre in the Forest

Red Rose Chain presents ‘As You Like It’ at Jimmy’s Farm, July 26 to August 27

Escape into the magical woodland of Jimmy’s Farm to enjoy one of Shakespeare’s most bewitching comedies - full of rivalry, redemption and a most-unexpected wedding. Packed with engaging energy, music and dance – Theatre in the Forest is an ideal introduction to Shakespeare for all ages.

Tickets range from £10 to £25.50 (discounts for Over 60s, concessions, groups and families). Visit redrosechain.com for more information.

The House of Fun

Ipswich School, August 7 to August 11

A non-residential, multi-activity holiday camp for girls and boys aged 5-13 years. Each day is divided into six sessions and children are given a choice of activities including: Art, Athletics, Army, Basketball, Board Games, Bouncy Castle, Cheerleading, Computing, Disco Dancing, Drama, Film Making, Indoor Ball Games, Orienteering, Pottery, Swimming, Trampolining, Treasure Hunt and many more. Further off site activities at Suffolk Ski Centre are also available with an additional charge.

Standard week cost £168 (discounts for siblings). For further information, visit www.ipswich.school/house-of-fun.aspx

Old Buckenham Air Show.

Pictured: Stearman Duo Old Buckenham Air Show. Pictured: Stearman Duo

Old Buckenham Air Show

Old Buckenham Airfield, July 29 & 30

The world famous Old Buckenham Airshow is back in July with two packed days of stunning air and aerobatic displays. There will also be experience flights, trade stands, a classic car rally, military vehicle displays, vintage agricultural machinery, live bands and a fairground. This year will also see the return of the four-engined star of Memphis Belle, the B-17 bomber Sally B, and The American Fly show will be bringing a large chunk of stateside to Norfolk with American aircraft, hot rods and US army air force equipment. A great day out for all the family.

Adult Saturday ticket, £15, adult Sunday ticket £20, children 12 and under free. Discounts available for online booking, visit www.oldbuckenhamairshow.co.uk for more details.

Three Day Workshops

Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, from July 31

This summer there are two three-day workshops, for 6-11-year-olds, run by a small team of theatre-makers. At the workshop on July 31, the group looks at The Odyssey, the ultimate source of myths and legends full of epic battles, floating islands, one-eyed giants, angry Gods and powerful magic. Then on August 3, there will be a Super Heroes and Villains workshop which takes a look at popular characters from Marvel, exploring what makes a hero and how, through our choices, we can help save the day. A chance for children to create, rehearse and perform a piece from scratch.

10am to 3pm each day. Price: £80 per child. Book online at www.theatreroyal.org

OPEN Youth Trust will be offering over 50 two days workshops for children this summer OPEN Youth Trust will be offering over 50 two days workshops for children this summer

Summer Holiday Workshops

OPEN Norwich, July 25 to September 8

The OPEN Youth Trust is hosting a variety of one and two-day workshops throughout the holidays offering a range of activities including sport, dancing, art, music, climbing, gaming, writing and photography. One-day sessions cater for four to six-year-olds and run from 10am to 2pm - £16. The two-day workshops are for seven to 12-year-olds and run from 10am to 3pm each day - £30 total. An optional lunchbox is available at £3.

Early booking is advised as spaces are limited. For more information and to book visit opennorwich.org.uk

Inspire Suffolk Holiday Clubs

At various locations across Suffolk, throughout the school holiday

Fun-packed clubs for 5-13 year olds (age dependant on location), offering both boys and girls the opportunity to take part in a variety of sports such as football, tennis, badminton, basketball, rounders and many more. Crafts activities also take place at the charity’s Ipswich base.

£12 per day, 9am to 3.30pm. Visit inspiresuffolk.org.uk for more information.

Framlingham Castle is hosting a variety of family events this summer including Joust and Medieval Mayhem. Picture: GREGG BROWN Framlingham Castle is hosting a variety of family events this summer including Joust and Medieval Mayhem. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Medieval Mayhem

Framlingham Castle, events from July 24

The Suffolk castle has a variety of events taking place throughout the summer break including Castle Attack!, Joust, Knights and Princesses, and Heroes and Villains. You could also head to the English Heritage site from August 14 to 18 for a little Medieval Mayhem, where you can meet Sir Cuss for your squire training and get active in games to test your skill and courage.

Adults, £8.90. Children (5-15 years), £5.30. Concessions available and prices can vary depending on the event. See website for details.

Pond Dipping and Family Nature Walk

RSPB Minsmere, July 25 to August 29

Dip nets into the Minsmere pond to search for what life is present, then discover more about Minsmere’s wildlife on a fun nature ramble.

10am to 4pm on set days - see website for details. Price: £2 per child per activity, or £3 for both, plus usual reserve entry fees.

Free theatre events will take place across two Norwich parks in August. Picture: BILL SMITH Free theatre events will take place across two Norwich parks in August. Picture: BILL SMITH

Kids Theatre in the Park

Norwich, Fridays in August

These fantastic free theatre events will take place across two parks, every Friday throughout August. All plays will be seen first in Jenny Lind Park at 11am then in Waterloo Park at 3pm. First up is Martha the Magical Cat’s Great Big Adventure, then Bell and Bullock Circus Theatre will present Cabin Fever - a nautical extravaganza of eccentric experiments and sensational circus skills. The Cat’s Grin Theatre Company will be performing their adaptations of Shakespeare for children (Winter’s Tale, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Entertaining Circus will explore the science behind the thrills and spills of the circus.

Visit www.norwich.gov.uk for more information on this and a series of Play Days also being held across the city.

Musical in a Day

Gresham’s Pre-Prep School in Holt, July 27

Perfect for those aged eight to 16 years who want to develop performance skills in musical theatre. Those attending will be coached in singing, dancing and acting, while experienced theatre practitioners will help devise an original piece of theatre with songs and dance routines. The fun filled day ends in a showcase for family and friends. The day runs from 10am to 4pm with the performance at 3.30pm. This free event is part of the Holt Festival.

Places are limited and it is advisable to book early by emailing children@holtfestival.org

Visitors to Brandon Country Park's Enchanted Forest event last year. Visitors to Brandon Country Park's Enchanted Forest event last year.

Enchanted Forest

Brandon Country Park, August 25

This fun, family event promises a host of fun activities throughout the park including forest drumming, headband making, tree dressing, fairy den building and lots, lots more. On arrival pick up a passport to access each activity. Complete an activity for a passport stamp, and if you get enough stamps you’ll get a lovely woodland gift.

Open from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Suitable for those aged three and above. Passports are £3 each.

Creative Kids Cookery Club

Suffolk Food Hall, August 12

Let your children have fun while you relax in the restaurant or shop for delicious treats. The club aims to bring fun to cooking and build a passion for years to come. Children, aged nine and above, will learn how to cook sweet and savoury dishes, identify utensils and equipment, and be more confident in the kitchen. Check out the Puzzle Room Escape Challenge for more fun at this venue.

Price: £26 including tuition, ingredients, refreshments and recipe cards.

Dippy will be hosting a Beach Party at Dinosaur Adventure this summer Dippy will be hosting a Beach Party at Dinosaur Adventure this summer

Dippy’s Summer Beach Party

Dinosaur Adventure, August 29 to September 3

The perfect day out in hot weather. Dippy is ready for a special summer beach party – so pack your swimsuit and enjoy a splashing good time! Other events will also be taking place during the holidays - visit www.dinosauradventure.co.uk/events for details.

Online prices: Adults £13.20, children (3-15) £16.10. Concessions available.

Suffolk Dog Day

Helmingham Hall, July 30

This is a great day out for families and their four legged friends, with fun dog classes, agility, stalls and children’s activities to keep everyone entertained. This year marks the charity event’s 10th anniversary and to celebrate, the people of Suffolk have been voting for their Dogs of the Decade. Special guest, BBC Blue Peter and Crufts legend Peter Purves, will lead special parades celebrating the top ten winning breeds on the day. An annual fixture in the dog lovers’ social calendar, the day is run entirely by volunteers and all money raised is donated via Suffolk Community Foundation to local Suffolk charities.

Adults £10, children (4-16 years) and concessions £5. Tickets on the gate, cash only.

The Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

End of Pier Show

Cromer Pier, June 24 to September 23

The highly-acclaimed Summer Show returns in 2017 with three traditional variety performances on offer - two shows and a ‘best of’ finale. Each will feature comedy, juggling, singing and dancing, and popular headline comedian Phil Butler, vocalist Emily Yarrow and Australia’s favourite comedy juggler James Bustar will be returning this summer after wowing audiences in 2016.

Entry level price starts at £12 and the top price premium seats are £25.00. Family tickets are available for the school holiday matinees. Visit www.cromerpier.co.uk for more information and to book.

Dinosaur World

Norwich Theatre Royal, August 3 to 5

Dare to experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World in this interactive new show for all the family (ages 3+). Grab your compass and join an intrepid explorer to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with a Triceratops, Giraffatitan and Segnosaurus, to name a few.

Tickets £12.50. Visit theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk for more information and to book.

Enjoy a canoe trip along the Deben at the Suffolk Fun Festival at Easton Farm Park. Enjoy a canoe trip along the Deben at the Suffolk Fun Festival at Easton Farm Park.

The Suffolk Fun Festival

Easton Farm Park, July 29 & 30

The family event celebrates its fifth year with an action-packed weekend programme that will include Story Pocket Theatre (sublime slapstick splendour for the whole family), Morris dancing, Jonathan the Jester and Circus Wessex presenting a whole range of circus skills and tumble-track, a climbing wall and canoe rides on the Deben. Entry includes all the fun of Easton Farm Park, including meeting all the animals and the rides.

Day tickets £10.95, weekend £16.20, weekend with camping £21.60. Family tickets also available.

Fun for kids with the Dogstrust

Gaywood Library, Kings Lynn, August 16

Join Dogs Trust for a morning of doggy storytelling and craft activities at Gaywood Library. Children (up to 12 years old) and their families welcome. This activity is free but must be booked with library staff or by calling 01553 768498.

Please note: no dogs will be present at this event.

Bushcraft expert John Stewart at West Stow Country Park Bushcraft expert John Stewart at West Stow Country Park

Into the Wild with Fire and Steel

West Stow Country Park, August 19

Learn to light good fires, carve spoons and much more! A great opportunity to spend the day in our woodland base camp with experienced bushcraft tutor John Stewart. Learn everything there is to know about fire lighting - good locations, finding and using the right wood, getting a spark and how to keep a good fire going - and cook some simple food then use the wooden spoon you’ve made to eat it. You will get to take home the spoons you’ve made and your own natural fire-lighting kit. Suitable for ages 12+ and all under 18’s must be accompanied by a responsible paying adult.

Time: 9am-4.30pm. Tickets: £20. Visit www.weststow.org for details on what to bring.

The Storymakers

The New Wolsey Theatre, July 29

The Storymakers are going on an awesome adventure and you’ve been invited. Join the fun for some magical myths, silly stories, and tremendous tales where anything can happen - and you could become a storymaker too! Members of the acclaimed New Wolsey Young Company will devise an interactive performance for children ages 3+ and their families. The performance will last for 25 minutes, and will involve moving around the space from one location to the next.

Performances throughout the day. You only need to book tickets for children - £5. Visit www.wolseytheatre.co.uk for more information and to book tickets.

Activities are being run at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve during the summer holidays Activities are being run at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve during the summer holidays

Summer Fun at Pensthorpe Natural Park

Pensthorpe, July 22 to September 5

Fill your day with adventure at Pensthorpe Natural Park this summer, with 700 acres of wildlife, gardens and indoor play. The special summer fun features trails, pond dipping and the chance to meet and greet some fluffy friends. New to enjoy is ‘Compare & Compete’ - an interactive family explorers trail where you can discover who you are most like in terms of height, food, travel, how high you can jump and what your wingspan may be. You’ll be comparing yourself against the likes of a dragonfly, a frog, a hedgehog, a Peregrine Falcon, a hare, a cane and a flamingo.

Entry: Adults £10.75, children £9.85, when booked online at www.pensthorpe.com (the extra activities for this event are included in the standard admission price).

Shark and Turtle Feed

Sea Life Hunstanton, July & August

Come face to fin with some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth as you feed resident sharks and Ernie the Green Sea Turtle above the ocean tank. This is a 30 minute feeding experience with expert insights from one of the animal care team. Other premium experiences are also available.

Available only Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 4.25pm to 4.55pm. £45 person plus general entry fees to the centre. Visit www.visitsealife.com/hunstanton for mroe information.

Don't miss the Circus and Water Spectacular at Gt Yarmouth Hippodrome.

 Picture: JAMES BASS Don't miss the Circus and Water Spectacular at Gt Yarmouth Hippodrome. Picture: JAMES BASS

Summer Circus and Water Spectacular

Gt Yarmouth Hippodrome, until September 17

This spectacular family show features amazing circus acts from all around the world. Performances include comedy from Jack Jay and Johnny Mac, daring flying trapeze artists, trampoline acrobats and the exhilarating Globe of Death Bikers. The show culminates in a unique water show with swimmers, fountains and fireworks.

Daily performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm (Sundays 2.30pm & 6.30pm, Fridays 7.30pm only). Tickets: adults from £18.50, children from £10, family ticket £8 off. (Ringside £66). Visit www.hippodromecircus.co.uk to book.

See the Seals

Blakeney Point, throughout summer

Take a boat trip to see the Common and Grey seals in their natural environment on Blakeney Point. Common seals arrive in the area in the summer months to have their pups so this is the perfect time to visit. Children will love the inquisitive seals swimming around the boat and the views are stunning. Ferry trips depart from Blakeney or Morston Quay and last approximately one hour with landing on Blakeney Point, tide permitting, lasting for an additional 30 – 60 minutes.

Operators are Beans Boat Trips, Bishop’s Boats and Temples Seal Trips. All charge £12 for adults and £6 for children (14 and under) and booking in advance is advised. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blakeney-national-nature-reserve for more information.

Jack Goodacre taking a bow after performing in Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock. Picture: Twenty Twenty Artists Ltd Jack Goodacre taking a bow after performing in Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock. Picture: Twenty Twenty Artists Ltd

Also worth a look if you have always wanted to take your child to a West End show but have been put off by ticket prices...

Kids Week at London Theatres

London Theatres, throughout August

Organised to encourage young people to get involved in theatre, this is a great time to treat your children to a show like Annie (Picadilly Theatre), Around the World in 80 days (Cadogan Hall), Gangsta Granny (Garrick Theatre), School of Rock - The Musical (New London Theatre) or Disney’s Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre). A child aged 16 or under can go free to any participating show when accompanied by an adult paying full price. Adults can also purchase up to two extra children’s tickets at half price and there are no booking fees to pay. Lots of shows are taking part and booking early is advised to avoid disappointment.

Visit www.kidsweek.co.uk for full listings and booking information.

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