Fairies, steam engines and nature - great half term things to do

Magical fun at the Fairy Fair, just some of the events this half term

Magical fun at the Fairy Fair, just some of the events this half term - Credit: Archant

It's May Bank Holiday and the schools are out again, but feat not, there is something to appeal to everyone and keep the kids happy this half-term. SIMON PARKIN highlights some events and fun for all the family.

Fairy Fair

Sennowe Park, Guist, May 29-30, £10 per person, under-3s free, www.fairylandtrust.org

Now in its 15th year, the award winning Fairyland Trust returns with the magical Fairy Fair, this time taking place amid the stunning grounds and ancient woodlands of Sennowe Park. The fair won the Festival Kidz Gold Award for Best Day Festival last year and is always hugely popular with families. It will once again be packed with magical activities to delight children and entertain all the family such as pre-book workshops including Elf Sticks, Fairy Gardens, Magic Animal Shield and Magic Wings. Drop in activities including The Pixie Post, Wildlife Hospital and fairy flower making (based upon British wildflowers). A team of Wildflower Fairies will be on hand to help children make their own wearable Fairy Wildflower. It's not just flowers. Pirates are running games and there are Secret Dens to create in the woods, you might also spot a dragon. The King and Queen will be residing in the woods, telling children about trees and all their magic. Budding Fairies and Elves can take part in Elf and/or Fairy Training which covers all the important elements of how to be a proper Fairy or Elf. Performers include Sir Randolph and his Dragon, Captain Barnacle and his Pirate Pantomime, Anchors Aweigh, Stilt-walkers and Maypole Dancing, Storytelling plus, great live music from Penny Les, Swanton Movers and The Hal Wrayzers. Mum and Dad may enjoy live music and performances, plus quench their thirst in the Trusts own onsite pub, The Good Elf.


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Rock n Roll at Gressenhall

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, May 30, 10am-5pm, £11.50 (£11 cons), £9.80 under-18s, under-4s free, £38.50-£29 family, 01362 860563, gressenhall.museum@norfolk.gov.uk

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Nostalgic sounds and vintage fashions as Gressenhall step back in time to the 1950s and 1960s – when rock n roll was king! Discover how to get the vintage look as you experience the glamour of the era at Flamingo Amy's Pop-up Salon. Hear tunes of the age and learn the latest dance steps. Fifties fun and games - learn how to hula hoop and enjoy a performance from Joanne Jordan of Dirty Feet Productions. Get into the swing with Rockin' Roland the Rockabilly DJ spinning his records for our 1950's tea dance. Live music from the B-Sides, a rock n roll band. If classic cars are more your thing, admire a range of period vehicles, from a 1956 Chevrolet to an American Ford Pick-up Truck. There will also be lots of period treasures on sale at the Vintage Market. Sit back and enjoy period fashion shows and 'shop the show' with stalls selling the fabulous products featured on the catwalk. Make some 1950s arts and crafts with Teddy Girl Sian or experience a 1950s school lesson.

Steam Engine Rally

Strumpshaw Steam Museum, May 28-30, 9am-5pm, £8, under-16s free, 07788 426729, www.strumpshawsteammuseum.co.uk

The glorious age of steam will be recreated when around 1,000 exhibitors take part in the 24th Strumpshaw Steam Engine Rally. The museum, at Strumpshaw near Norwich, will also host a huge display of vintage cars, tractors and agricultural machinery as well as train rides, craft stalls and grand ring events. Pride of place will go to Santa Maria, the museum's own 1931 Foden D Type Steam Wagon and Wanda, a 1924 Wallis & Steevens Agricultural Engine owned by Kiki Anglerath, daughter of the museum's founder, Wesley Key. And the newly restored 1930s fairground ride, the Noah's Ark Speedway, will be open to the public once again after five years of painstaking rebuilding and repainting. Working demonstrations will include an early 20th century stone-crushing machine and a threshing drum - both of which are steam driven. In total, there will be 42 full sized and 40 miniature steam engines, with around 22 tonnes of coal being consumed to keep the engines in steam.

AND MORE…

Houghton International Horse Trials

Houghton Hall & Gardens, Houghton, King's Lynn, May 26-29, ticket details at 01485 210070, www.musketeer.co.uk

Houghton Horse Trials offer exhilarating sporting action, a spectacular setting, entertainment for young and old, plus shopping at over 70 trade stands in the magnificent grounds of Houghton Hall. The event welcomes over 700 horses each year, including more than 350 international competitors. It hosts the only British leg of the FEI Nations Cup, a series where teams from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. Children's entertainment comes from Razz and Pearl's Circus Workshops, plus a traditional vintage fair and much more.

Everything Goes!

Bure Valley Railway, May 28-30, 10am-6.10pm, £13 adult return, £6.50 child return, under-5s free, £35 family return, 01263 733858, www.bvrw.co.uk

Norfolk's longest narrow gauge steam railway sees all available locomotives, coaches and rolling stock in action for this Bank Holiday weekend special event. There will be a special intensive timetable in operation to allow visitors to see as many different locos as over the nine miles between Aylsham and Wroxham. Young passengers will be entertained there will a competition on the journey, with a prize for every correct entry. The workshop at Aylsham will also be open.

Wing it Week

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, May 28-June 5, 10am-5pm, £6.50 (£5.90 cons), £3.75 children, under-5s free, 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

Half term family events at Fairhaven. Use the spotter sheet to find all things fluttery in the garden to win a small prize. Then on June 1, take part in the Green Man Tree Faces day (11am-3pm). Create a Green Man tree face with clay and natural materials. Activities included in garden admission.

Fun and Games

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, May 28-29, 10am-5pm, included in museum admission, 01362 860563, gressenhall.museum@norfolk.gov.uk

Discover toys from the past and challenge your family to a whole host of games at Gressenhall this half term. Find out about the toys children used to play with and have a go yourself. Challenge your family to some traditional games. For some additional fun, join us on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to help create life size models of our Workhouse dolls which will feature in the opening celebrations of the Voices from the Workhouse project.

Busking Day

Town Centre, Wymondham, May 28, 11am-2pm, admission free, www.wymfest.org.uk

Wymondham Music Festival's annual Town Busking Day returns with musicians performing all over the town centre creating a wonderful atmosphere. Performers of all musical types come from near and far. Take a musical wander around the town and listen out for the best. If you have never busked before join in the fun, register in the Market Place from 11am.

Uncle Sam's American Circus

Racecourse Car Park, Great Yarmouth, until May 30, various times, details on 07586 832935, www.americancircus.co.uk

Roll up…Amazing acrobatics, daredevil motorcyclists, breathtaking highwire stunts and a touch of magic can only mean one thing – the circus is in town. Uncle Sam's American Circus, with its star-spangled lorries, is in Great Yarmouth until Bank Holiday Monday. Comedy capers come from Nikolino the clown and there is spellbinding magic from the duo Lumei, plus knife-throwing, aerial silk rope artist, several acrobatic displays and not forgetting the musicians and the glittering ringmaster.

Half Term Who-Dunnit?

Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, May 28-June 5, full details at 07939 683322, www.wellswalsinghamrailway.co.uk

A crime has been committed on the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, the longest 10¼' narrow gauge steam railway in the world. Solve clues down the line to identify the culprit who has stolen the Station Master's cash box! Standard fares apply, under-4s free.

Bloody Mary Returns/Kings & Queens

Framlingham Castle, May 28-30/May 31-June 3, 11am-5pm, £8.40 (£7.60 cons), £5 children, £21.80 family, 01728 724189, www.english-heritage.org.uk

Travel back to Tudor England (May 28-20) and meet one of the most gruesome monarchs of all - and 2016 is the 500th anniversary of her birth. Hear tales of Queen Mary and how she got her treacherous nickname. Watch out for your head as you meet our terrifying executioner! Then uncover the ultimate curtsey, bow like a pro, and entertain without being a fool at the special Kings & Queens event (May 31-June 1).

North Norfolk Country Fair

George Weston Community Field, Weybourne, May 29, 10am-4pm, £3.50, under-15s free, 07775 741752, email karen.wr@hotmail.co.uk

Traditional country fair with main ring entertainment during the day including lurcher racing, falconry, ferret racing, hunt hounds, a jazz band and shanty and folk music. There will also be a military display with Second World War battle re-enactment, plus classic cars, gun dog scurry, rides, attractions, car boot and more. Arts and craft stalls and food and drink marquee.

Dad's Army Live

North Norfolk Railway, Weybourne Station, May 29-30, standard fares, 01263 820800, www.nnrailway.co.uk

The famous 'Royal Train' episode of Dad's Army was filmed at Weybourne Station some 42 years ago. Now Corporal Jones' much loved Butchers van brings the Walmington-on-Sea stars to life again as the station is taken over by the Home Guard courtesy of Thetford Dad's Army Museum. Timescape will be entertaining one and all with songs of the era and the NAAFI will be open selling supplies.

Country Fair

Hoveton Hall Estate, May 29-30, 10.30am-5pm, £7 (£6.50 cons), £3.50 children, under-4s free, £19 family, 01603 784297, hovetonhallestate.co.uk

Half term Hoveton fair that includes colourful displays from the East Norfolk Militia, Napoleonic era re-enactment group, as well as exciting falconry displays, craft and produce stalls, old fashioned garden games, maypole dancing and clay pigeon shooting. For those of you with four legged friends why not enter them into our fun dog show which will take place in the afternoon on both days.

Whitsum Fireworks

Hemsby, May 29, 10pm, admission free, 01493 846346/Central Beach, Seafront, Great Yarmouth, May 27, from 7.30pm, admission free, 01493 846346

Ohh and ahhh at a fantastic free aerial firework display on Hemsby beach on Whitsun Sunday. Firework displays than take place on Tuesday nights during the school summer holidays throughout the summer.

Country Day

Bircham Windmill, Snettisham Road, Great Bircham, May 30, from 10am, £3.50, children free, 01485 578393, www.birchamwindmill.co.uk

Another great line up for the Bank Holiday Country Day at Bircham Windmill with Morris dancing, sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstrations, horse dressage demonstration by event rider Lucy Price and children's show jumping (no ponies - just children!). Also craft stalls and demos, dog show (£1.50 per class) and pony rides (£2.50).

Miraculous Minibeasts/Dyke Dipping

NWT Hickling Broad, May 31, 10.30am-12pm/1.30pm-3pm, each event £3.50, pre-book 01603 625540, norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Forage among the foliage at Hickling Broad and search between the sedge for any minibeast which may be waiting. Then in the afternoon learn about the wonderful wildlife that can be found in the dykes.

Woodland and Wildlife Bike Ride

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, June 1 and 3, event free, more details on 01603 715191, email strumpshaw@rspb.org.uk

A family cycle ride around the landscape of the Norfolk Broads starting at Strumpshaw Fen via Buckenham Marshes before exploring the quiet lanes and gentle hills towards the River Yare. It's the perfect time to catch a glimpse of hobbies, swallowtail butterflies or a Norfolk hawker dragonfly.

Kids Club

intu Chapelfield, Norwich, June 1-3, 10am-4pm, admission free, www.intu.co.uk/chapelfield

Half term free activities for young visitors at Chapelfield including 'make something amazing' 'bug biscuit decorating' (June 1), make vibrant 'cress caterpillars' with egg boxes, bright paint and googly eyes (June 2), while cast members from the Disney Store will host Captain America workshops (June 3).

Robots/Amazing Animals

Norwich Puppet Theatre, June 1/2, 11am-12.30pm, £8.50, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

Get creative at these two kids half term workshops at the Puppet Theatre. Robots are the theme of the first, with clanking limbs and twisting aerials, make a space-age friend from the future. Or make your favourite animal on the second from lions, tigers and monkeys to those closer to home. Take a wonderful working puppet home. Ages: 5+

Holkham Trail Tours

Holkham Estate, June 1, £4, £2 children, more information/booking on 01328 713111, www.holkham.co.uk

Hop on board the trailer for a half term guided tour of the farmland at Holkham. Explore behind the scenes and travel back in time to the Great Barn. Tours last for around 45 minutes, but beware the ride can be bumpy.

June Bugs and Beasts

Lakenheath Fen, Station Road Lakenheath, Brandon, June 1, 11am-12.30pm, £3 per child, 01842 863400, email lakenheath@rspb.org.uk

Half term wildlife related family activities at Lakenheath Fen, both indoor and outdoor. No need to book. Meanwhile if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can camp out on the reserve on June 3 (4pm onwards, £18, £9 children). The price includes guided dusk and dawn walks.

Half Term Family Fun

Museum of Norwich, Bridewell Alley, Norwich, June 1, 10am-4.30pm, £5.50 (£5.20 cons), £4.40 children, £18.70-£14 family, 01603 493625, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Find out more about the city's rich textile heritage at this half term event. Take the textiles trail around the museum and then have a go at weaving on a mini loom, our colour in your own design of Norwich shawl. A packed day of family activities.

Exciting Exploration/Dyke Dipping

NWT Ranworth Broad, June 1, 10.30am-12pm/1.30pm-3pm, each event: £3.50, pre-book 01603 625540, norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Day of wildlife fun at Ranworth. In the morning explore the reserve in search of wildlife. In the afternoon learn about the wonderful wildlife that can be found in the dykes. The experts will be on hand to help you tell your boatmen from your beetle larvae.

Beasts of Battle

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, June 4-5, 10.30am-5pm, event free, normal admission charges, 01394 389714, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Eagles, falcons and owls at flying demonstrations at Sutton Hoo. Learn more about the role that birds of prey and other creatures played in the Anglo Saxon world. Discover the beasts that appear in the famous Sutton Hoo treasures.

The Bishop's Garden

Bishop's Garden, off St Martin at Palace Plain/Bishopsgate, Norwich, June 5, 1pm-5pm, £10 entry, show and workshop/£3 garden entry only, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

Norwich Puppet Theatre hosts a special day in the beautiful setting of the Bishop's Garden in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral. This is a rare opportunity to visit the gardens, explore the grass labyrinth, the rose garden and bamboo glade. Enjoy bugs and flower puppet making workshops, plus music, face painting, cakes and refreshments. At 2pm and 4pm there will be performances of Pied Piper (£5 available).

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