The aftertaste of turkey, cranberries and Christmas pudding have barely left us, but for all the parents out there the first school holiday of the new year is already round the corner.
For most of us, money is tight at the best of times, with January and February being especially difficult for many families. It can be quite daunting trying to think of activities to keep the little ones entertained, especially when trying to save money.
We hear of many people taking unpaid leave from work to care for their children during school holidays stretching finances even further.
With this in mind, we scoured the internet to try to find some activities and days out in your local area, that are free or may cost very little.
Click the links below for more information.
The Belfast Telegraph has put together a great list of activities for kids of all ages, ranging from woodland walks to music concerts.
- North Down Museum is opening its doors for their “Toddlers Take Over” event as part of the “Playful Museums Month”. With puppet shows, arts and crafts and storytelling it’s aimed at 3 -5 year olds and is a great fun place for young children to learn through play.
Bangor, Saturday 16 February
- Tollymore Forest Park is raising funds for Cancer Fund for Children by having a wonderful Winter Woolly Walk. Wrap up warm and get out in the fresh air and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery with refreshments and fun family activates at the end of the trails.
Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle, Sunday February 17
- NI Science Festival brings together scientists from all around NI – with over 180 events spread over 50 venues you won’t have to travel far to find something to interest you and the family. With a wide range of workshops and fun interactive activities for children and young people to learn about the wonders of science.
Events across NI, Friday 15 – Monday 25 February
- TQ Giants Trail is a family friendly treasure hunt – follow the map and decipher the clues to find out about Belfast’s maritime and industrial heritage – but can you solve the clues to find out the thing that links them all?
Titanic Quarter, Saturday 17 February
- O Duo are performing one of their spectacular children’s concerts at Bangor Castle – take the children to enjoy a mix of classical music as well as modern classics the whole family will recognise from TV and film.
Bangor Castle, Sunday 17 February
For more ideas for days out and activities, go to What’s On In Northern Ireland website.
- The J Rock Tour returns to Eden Court for the 24th time – the annual tour involves over 300 schools and more than 20,000 young people and aims to get young people involved in all aspects of theatre and theatre production – right down to the scenery, lighting and engineering as well as performing arts.
Empire Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, Monday 18 February
- Planetarium Shows at Mills Observatory in Dundee is a great fun educational evening – take a tour round the night sky and learn about the stars, constellations asteroids and galaxies. Aimed at 5 and overs it’s just 50p for kids and £1 for adults.
Mills Observatory, Balgay Park, Dundee, Monday 18 February
- Scottish Country Dance Classes for children is a great fun way of teaching children about musical heritage as well as keeping fit and building confidence dancing with new people.
St Joseph’s Primary School, Dundee, Thursday 21 February
- Play Sessions for Disabled Children at The Yard offers creative and adventurous play sessions, indoor and outdoor, for disabled children, young people as well as siblings and families. Sessions run every weekend, not just in school holidays and your first visit is free.
The Yard, Drumlanrig Place, Dundee, Every Saturday and Sunday
- Strathmartine Junior Park Run is a weekly fun run for 4 – 14 year olds. It runs during school time too and is a great way of keeping fit, meeting new friends and generally having a good time – and what’s more, it is free. Registration is required before your first run, then after this, you are free to take part as many times as you like.
St Leonards Place, Dundee, Every Saturday
- You Are What You Eat are daily fun workshops where children are actually encouraged to pay with their food! Explore how our body works and investigate how food can keep our bodies and minds healthy and happy in a series of fun hands on workshops, activities and interactive shows.
Aberdeen Science Centre, Daily throughout Half Term
- Teen Book Club is aimed at avid readers aged 14+ and their very first meeting at Café W in Waterstones will focus on the release of King Of Scars. There will be snacks and refreshments and it’s absolutely free to join – plus, you will get 10% off next month’s book too.
Waterstones, Bon Accord Centre, Aberdeen Thursday 21 February
- Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s Crime Writing Festival are a series of interactive events for children and teenagers – ranging from illustration workshops for 5 – 7 year olds (FREE!), a detective “whodunit” for older children and teenagers in an eerie atmospheric library setting – crack the clues and solve the mystery – but just don’t get caught. Fleur Hitchcock, author of two new books, Murder at Twilight and The Boy Who Flew, will complete the programme and will be there to talk about her books as well as offering top tip for young budding writers.
Aberdeen Central Library, Friday 22 – Sunday 24 February
- Arts Across Leaning Festival aims to spark imagination and enthusiasm for learning about the arts to nursery and primary pupils – and is FREE! Download a brochure to find out more.
Rosemount Community Centre, Aberdeen, Monday 18 – Thursday 21 February
- National Museum of Scotland are holding a week of activities inspired by the new East Asia and Ancient Egypt galleries and Robots exhibition. A fun day out for children and adults.
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Old Town, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February
- The First Tingles of Spring is a fun interactive event for children to learn about the beauty of nature and how to spot the first signs of spring. After the outdoor workshop, head indoors to the warmth of the museum to continue the tour.
Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston, Saturday 16 – Tuesday 19 February
- The Road to Bannockburn is an event that teaches the whole family about medieval Scottish life, weapons and tactics of a soldier told through the eyes of one of Robert the Bruce’s men in the 1300s.
Edinburgh Castle, Monday 25 February 2019 – Thursday 28 February
- Dippy on Tour comes to Glasgow as part of its national tour – the iconic diplodocus dinosaur skeleton is leaving its home in the Natural History Museum in London for the first time in over 115 years and is designed to “encourage families to explore the incredible natural history right on your doorstep in Glasgow!” and is FREE!
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Daily throughout Half Term
- Weekly Store Hunters Family Programme allows families to get involved in a fun workshop for everyone to enjoy – with various events throughout the year keep an eye on their website for more ideas – February Half Terms event is “Snowflake Fun” and lets children have fun making snowy creatures and snowflakes.
Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, Woodhead Road, Saturday 23 February
With some great activities and days out throughout half term Manchester and Liverpool there are just too money to list. We put together just a small selection of some of the best below but for more ideas, see these great websites;
Creative Tourist – unmissable things to do in Manchester – Discover acclaimed music and stand-out exhibitions, ground-breaking theatre, family, cinema and literary events.
Liverpool Echo has put together a list of fun family events for February Half Term.
RMS Titanic Hotel has also put a list of activities in and around Liverpool.
- Quentin Blake and John Yeoman: 50 Years of Children’s is and exhibition celebrating the artistic partnership between Quentin Blake and John Yeoman. With original works and illustrations from the nations most loved children’s book illustrator, this free event will keep both children, parent and grandparents entertained.
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight Village, Liverpool, Daily throughout Half Term
- A World Inside a Book: Gruffalo, Dragons and Other Creatures brings to life the world of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler who bought us some of the most popular children’s bedtime stories. This is the UKs first interactive exhibition and includes favourites such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Charlie Cooks Favourite Book – an absolute must for children up to 8 years old.
Z-arts, Stretford Road, Manchester, daily throughout Half Term
- Science and Industry Museum in Castlefield is throwing its doors open in Half Term with a range of events and workshops for the whole family. Click the link above for more information – events include Stephenson’s Rocket, Science Showdowns, Electricity exhibition the Victorian Fairground. And it’s FREE!
Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, daily throughout Half Term
- There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly is a heart-warming, fun sing song family fun day at Waterside Arts – relive the “delights” of this charming children’s tale with a “FEAST” of sing-along songs and colourful animal characters.
Waterside Arts, Waterside Plaza, Sale Sunday 17 February
- Greater Manchester Police Museum is having special open days throughout half term. Best behaviour only for this special 2 day event where you can meet special guests from the Police, learn about the history of policing and how things have changed. Braver children can even look inside cells and stand in the dock – not your normal day out but looks to be a very interesting and interactive day out.
Greater Manchester Police Museum, Newton Street, Tuesday 19 AND Thursday 21 February
- Morgan and West, time travelling magicians present an amazing family magic show – “jaw dropping, heart stopping, brain busting, opinion adjusting, death defying, mind frying, spirit lifting, paradigm shifting, outlook changing, furniture rearranging magic extravaganza.” Morgan and West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids (and Childish Grown-ups!).
The Met, Bury, Wednesday 20 February
- Family Half Term Activities down at The Whitworth are running family workshops throughout Half Term with a range of activities from new-borns upwards. Click the link above for more information on the specific events.
The Whitworth, University of Manchester, Oxford Road Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February
- City of Light is an illuminated wonderland of imaginary cityscapes, buildings and homes – created entirely out of paper lanterns. Take a stroll through the exhibition complete with soundtracks, stories and poetry. Visitors can check out the floating city or explore the habitats of wild animals.
The Palm House, Sefton Park Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February
This selection of events were taken from the Newcastle Chronicle.
- Norman Cornish, the late artist famous for his depictions of miners from the North East is the inspiration behind an exhibition of works that have acted as a social commentary of life for miners and a way of life now long gone. You can also take a spin on the open air ice rink!
Beamish Museum, County Durham Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February
- Mini Mornings is a half term special event from Vue Cinemas offering cheap tickets for the family to enjoy a film together during the school holidays. With tickets from £3.24 per person, it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality family time.
Vue Cimena, Trinity Square, Gateshead, daily throughout Half Term.
- Fire and Ice Festival brings together a spectacular trail of sculptures created by Game of Thrones ice carvers and is throughout Durham city centre over the Half Term. Take a walk through the exhibition and spot some celebrity faces carved in ice. And it’s FREE!
Durham City Centre Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February
- Witches & Wizards workshop is a magical special event for children in one of Newcastle’s newest venues. Children will be sorted into their wizarding families and given the chance to create all manner of wonderful potions and spells – children are invited to venture through ice rooms to discover a frozen potion at the end of the trail. A truly magical event, this is not to be missed.
Lone Wolf Ice Bar, Pilgrim Street, Thursday 21 February
This selection of Half Term fun is taken from Yorkshire Tots website. With so many events throughout the country we’ve selected some of the best looking weird and wonderful events.
- Ice Cube is a great family friendly ice rink that is running throughout Half Term in the heart of the city. There are even penguin stabilisers for the littlest skaters – and some parents too! There a 40-meter long snowslide and some great fun fair rides for the braver ones out there.
Millennium Square, Leeds, Daily throughout Half Term
- Operation Ouch, the hit CBBC show helps children explore the wonderful world of medicine. Inspire the young aspiring doctors in your family with action-packed activities, awesome experiments, behind-the-scenes footage, sneak peeks and challenges for all the family, it’s science with the gross bits left in! And it FREE
National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, February 16 – 24
- Lambing Festival during February Half Term is a great way of introducing children to the beauty of nature – as well as the hard work of farming! With over 300 ewes lambing over the 2 week period there’s bottle feeding sessions, talks from shepherds as well as interactive animal workshops with meerkats, ferret racing and a soft play area.
Cannon Hall Farm, Cawthorne, Barnsley, Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February
- Paw Patrol characters Chase and Marshall are making an appearance during the February Half Term – the heroic pups will be there for photos, face painting, balloon making and more.
Haworth Station, Keighley, Thursday 21 0 Friday 22 February
- Half Term Trail at Oakwell Hall Country Park is running throughout the Half Term Holiday -0 enjoy a winter walk around the park. Grab your activity pack for £1.50 from the visitors centre shop.
Oakwell Hall Country Park, Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February
- Tetley’s February Family Festival is a FREE family fun workshop with music, dancing, arts and crafts – try your hand at Bollywood dance moves, bhangra drumming and more.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, Monday 18 – Saturday 23 February
- Fesitval of Food, Drink and Rhubarb makes a welcome return to the city centre this February half term, offering plenty of foodie-themed fun and entertainment for all to enjoy! The city centre will be home to a large festival market featuring many products with a rhubarb twist – fun for children and adults too! Rhubarb gin anyone?
Wakefield City Centre, Friday 22 – Sunday 24 February
With spring flowers appearing and deer roaming the estate, February half term is a lovely time to visit Brockhampton. Children can explore with the help of a strange fruit trail sheet to learn interesting facts about odd fruit. There’s a prize for every child who completes the trail.
Brockhampoton Estate, Herefordshire, Daily throughout Half Term
- Cadbury World is bringing Caramel Bunny and Freddo Frog to life celebrating his birthday on stage at Cadbury World this half term. Sing, dance and watch Caramel bring her favourite fairytale to life. Meet and greet the charactors between shows too.
Cadbury World, Birmingham, daily throughout Half Term.
- Croome Family Day Out lets families follow a landscape trail through Croome’s beautiful gardens. The trail allows children to take in the views created by Capability Brown and use their imagination to add in other sights and attractions.
National Trust Croome, Upton upon Severn, Daily throughout Half Term
- Kids Club at Crowngate Shopping Centre is running throughout half term and is for 3 – 9 year olds. Children will be able to decorate and keep a ladybird house on Thursday and a bird house on Friday.
Crowngate Shopping Centre, Worcester, Thursday 21 – Friday 22 February
- Drayton Manor reopens for the Half Term! Thomas Land and the smaller family rides and the zoo are all opening for a child friendly few days during Half Term. See the Fat Controller and his friends put on live musical shows every day at Knapford Station within Thomas Land.
Drayton Manor Park and Zoo, Staffordshire, daily throughout Half Term
- Knights and Princesses abound at Kenilworth Castle this half term. Go back to Tudor times, when Kenilworth was a palace, learn sword skills, and investigate the best bits about life as royalty in Tudor times.
Kenilworth Castle, Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February.