10 ways to have family fun for free this half term

The Forum Norwich Gaming Festival. Picture Mariah Feria

The Forum Norwich Gaming Festival. Picture Mariah Feria - Credit: Archant

From gaming to fireworks and painting pebbles to borrowing kites - here's how to have family fun for free this half term

1 Game on

The Norwich Gaming Festival runs from Monday, May 28 to Sunday, June 3 at the Forum, 10am-4pm.

The free, family friendly celebration of video games is your chance to play games, explore the latest releases, reminisce about classic retro games, enjoy cosplay, find out about coding clubs and careers in games. There are talks, quizzes, and loads of chances to get gaming.


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2 Lowestoft grit

GritFest is a new celebration of a historic beach community. On Sunday May 27 free family activities will take over Sparrows Nest Gardens in Lowestoft. GritFest is a year-long celebration of Lowestoft's near-forgotten fishing village know as The Grit.

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The day runs from 10.30am-4pm. The grand opening by the BBC's Zeb Soanes, who comes from Lowestoft, includes his News from The Grit.

Then there is a mass dance workshop with Dance East, inspired by the fisher girls from Scotland, plus sea shanties, comedy, Pakefield ukulele band the Seagull Strummers, smokehouse demonstrations, boats, postcard printing and much more. The Lowestoft Maritime Museum will be open for free all day and there is a special scavenger hunt for GritFest goers.

3 Free fireworks

See the night skies light up over Yarmouth and Hemsby beaches this half term.

Fireworks will explode into the night at Hemsby at 10pm on Sunday May 27. Fireworks will be let off from the beach with vantage spots for viewers along the whole length of Beach Road.

And on Wednesday May 30 see a fireworks display, lit from behind the Pleasure Beach Gardens, when the park closes at 9.30pm.

4 Go to the beach in Bury

Bury St Edmunds will be transformed into a garden paradise on Sunday and Monday, May 27-28 for the Whitsun Fayre. There will be a sandy beach complete with deck chairs and buckets and spades outside Moyses's Hall, a mini farm in Abbeygate Street, free children's astronomy activities on the Cornhill and free street entertainment throughout the town centre including sense-o-matic experiments – testing your senses with a scientific but fantastical Victorian-inspired contraption.

5 Catch a crab

Learn how to catch and hold a crab, borrow some binoculars to check out the birdlife, go bug hunting, and enjoy more free wild activities at Blakeney Quay any time from 10am-4pm on Tuesday May 29. Join in the free 'Terrific Tuesday' fun at any time.

And at Brancaster, on Thursday May 31, join the National Trust for a free day of 50-things themed family fun at Brancaster Beach. Fly a kite, skim a stone, track a wild animal, build a sandcastle, hunt for bugs and collect stickers and stamps, to tick off your adventures any time between 10am and 4pm.


6 Paint a pebble and discover wildlife secrets.

Paint a pebble with a local artist at Hunstanton Heritage Gardens on Wednesday May 30. Meet by the Victorian Pavilion and play area any time between 10am and 4pm to paint a free souvenir of your day at the seaside. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

And on Thursday May 31 families can explore the Heritage Gardens with the RSPB – turn up any time between 10.30am and 3pm. Meet by the Salad Bowl Café to enjoy free nature-themed activities. Children must be accompanied by a parent or carer.


7 Float your boat

There's something very relaxing about watching miniature boats skimming across ponds. Scavenge through the toybox for your own plastic boats, or admire other people's amazing scale creations. There are charming boating ponds in Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft; North Lodge Park, Cromer; near the pier in Southwold; and Eaton Park, Norwich.

8 Steam back to the 1940s

The free Wells at War weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, includes re-enactments, vintage vehicles, stalls, music and activities at the Wells station of the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, with a Hurricane flypast on the Sunday. Free entry 10am-5.30pm


9 Fun with flags

Find out how flags can send messages and keep you safe, and design and make your own signal flag at the free Henry Blogg Museum on Cromer seafront on Thursday May 31, 10am-4pm. rnli.org/HenryBlogg

10 Capture a castle

You don't even need to trouble your purse, let alone storm the ramparts, to enjoy many of our medieval castles. The impressive ruins and earthworks at Bungay Castle, Castle Acre Castle, Eye Castle, Baconsthorpe Castle near Holt, and Burgh Castle Roman fort are all free. There are moats, mottes, ramparts, gatehouses, flinty ruins, stirring stories from history and much more.

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