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Unmissable things to do outdoors this half-term

14:45 16 February 2016

Sheringham Scira Viking Festival.

Photo by Mark Bullimore

Sheringham Scira Viking Festival. Photo by Mark Bullimore

Archant Norfolk 2015

What is it really half-term already? Yes, it seems like only yesterday they went back after Christmas but the schools are out again. Fear not though, SIMON PARKIN has plenty of ideas for events and activities to keep the kids happy.

Sheringham Viking Festival

Various locations Sheringham, February 13-14, full details at www.sheringhamcarnival.com

Sheringham’s Viking Festival maraudes back this weekend. The event, which is now in its third year, will include children’s shield and sword making and painting workshops at Oddfellows Hall on Saturday. Events on Sunday include an all-day Viking village at the Lobster Pub Gardens starting at 11am. In the town during the afternoon there will also be Viking battles, storytelling and more. Then at 5.30pm the town will be set for the Viking parade and burning of the Viking ship starting from the Station Approach and finishing at the West Prom beach.

Bee a Nature Explorer

Pensthorpe Nature Park, near Fakenham, February 13-21, 10am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01328 851465, www.pensthorpe.com

Half term offers the chance to ‘beecome’ nature explorers at Pensthorpe on a trail, which is themed around shelters and keeping warm through the winter, to find out more about the fascinating species at the nature park. To celebrate National Nest Box Week, you can make your own bird feeder to help your feathered friends and build a den. Sally North and Rose present will be presenting Short’nin’ Bread & the Sparrows, a magical, musical puppet show on Monday (1.30pm/2.30pm). Pre booking required

Puddle Jumping Championships

WWT Welney Wetland Centre, February 13-21, 10am-2.30pm, event free, normal admission prices, www.wwt.org.uk

Making a big splash this half-term as WWT Welney Wetland Centre plays host to the East Anglian Puddle Jumping Championships. Practice pools available from 10am, competition from 1pm with prize giving at the end. Dress up warm, get your wellies on and jump. Jumps will be judged on enthusiasm, creativity of the jump and most importantly the height of the splash. Competition is open to all.

Ring Quest

West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, near Lackford, Suffolk, February 13-14, 10am-5pm, £5 (£3 cons), £3 children, under-5s free, £15 family, 01284 728718, www.weststow.org

Explore the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village & Country Park in this JRR Tolkien themed family adventure. Find the clues, solve the riddles and help hold back the forces of evil from the lands of Mordor. This opening weekend of 2016’s RingQuest you can also meet Gutrott the Orc and also enjoy ‘Defence of the Realm’ with re-enactment group Ormsgard. There is a themed tour of the stories of JRR Tolkien and their links to the Anglo-Saxons.

Woodland Experience Day

Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, near Swaffham, February 13, 10am-2.30pm, £8.50 per child, 08442 491895, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Rangers at the National Trust property will be leading this experience for families with children aged between 6 and 12 (must be accompanied by an adult which there is not a charge for). Discover how and why we coppice our trees, enjoy your own picnic lunch in the woods, followed by some bush-craft activities. Price includes a drink and marshmallows for toasting.

Star Night

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, February 13, 7pm, £3.50, £2 children, 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

Telescopes, talks and teas all evening at this special event in partnership with Norwich Astronomical Society that will have eyes cast skywards into the heavens. Mark Thompson, from BBC Stargazing Live and The One Show will be giving talks during the evening. Visitors are welcome to bring your own telescope if you have one. Wrap up warm. No torches though - it destroys your night vision. Hot snacks, teas and coffees will be available in the tearoom from 7pm. No need to book.

Signs of Spring Week

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, February 13-21, 10am-5pm, garden entry £6.50 (£5.90 cons) £3.75 children, under-5s free, 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

Explore the Fairhaven garden, look out for signs of spring and win a prize on the special half-term trail. Design a den in our woodland garden, photograph your creation and post it on the Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning a family membership. Look out for photographs of the finished result online. Both activities are free with garden entry.

It’s A Love Shack

Titchwell Marsh, February 15, 10am-3pm, £1 per child, 01485 210779, email titchwell@rspb.org.uk

Learn how to build a nestbox for birds or insects during this mini workshop. Children can make and decorate nestboxes and bird feeders using recycled materials. Activities £1 per child, nestbox kit £6 (if required).

Heroes & Villains

Framlingham Castle, February 15-19, 11am-4pm, £7.20 (£6.50 cons), £4.30 children, under-5s free, £18.70 family, 0870 333118, www.english-heritage.org.uk

Don your armour, take up your favourite sword and prepare to experience the wonder of a medieval baronial fortress! Choose your side, learn about the Magna Carta whilst you discover the bloody history of Framlingham Castle. Pick up your sword and advance in the drill, hear astonishing tales of your favourite rogues and plot your ambush.

Wild Animal Tracking

Sheringham Park, February 16-17, 10.30am-12.30pm, £4.75 children, £2.75 accompanying adult, 01263 820550, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Foxes, badgers and deer live in Sheringham Park but are seldom seen. Learn how to follow their trails and spot the tell-tale signs they leave behind. Take a walk off the beaten track to look for animal signs - footprints, feeding signs and poo! Check our camera trap to see animal activity from the night before and make a plastic cast track print.

Wild Wednesday

Brancaster Beach, February 17, 10am-4pm, admission free, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Family fun on the Norfolk Coast at Brancaster Beach. Fly kites, try stone skimming, track a wild animal, build an epic sandcastle, or sit back and watch the birdlife or hunt for bugs. Collect scrapbook stickers and stamps. Stay for as little or as long as you like and start ticking off your adventures. Meet at Brancaster Beach, look out for flags & staff.

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