Family days out this August 2015
Nifa McLaughlin compiles the best fun family days out to do this August
Summer in the city
Head to the Royal Academy in London for masses of fun family activities where kids can enjoy the gallery for free! Join in with its various workshops, as well as free activity art trays within the exhibitions so little ones can get creative in the galleries. And at 2pm every Sunday from June to August, special guides will lead family tours around the Summer Exhibition – which houses more than 1,000 works of art – to explain to kids about contemporary art.
Until 16 August.
Chuffed to bits
The Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of E Nesbit's novel The Railway Children returns to York at The National Railway Museum. Kids from around five plus can experience the Great Western Pannier Tank 5775 – the steam locomotive used in the classic film, which rolls to a majestic halt in front of Bobby as she saves the day.
31 July-5 Sept.
Children will love exploring the interactive worlds of Once There Was... The Wonderful World of Oliver Jeffers exhibition at the Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford, East London. Here you can witness Oliver's picture books How to Catch a Star, Up and Down, Lost and Found and The Way Back Home come to life as the kids play within their favourite pages, in this special tenth birthday celebration of How to... Whether it's a trip to the beach, rowing a boat or making friends with a penguin, there's plenty to keep kids aged three
to six entertained. Entry is £5 for a child; free for under-twos.
Until 6 September.
What a find!
Make a mess, use your imagination, tinker with technology and poke your nose into nature at Eureka! The National Children's Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire, during the summer holidays. They've got something different happening every day to keep wee ones entertained.
18 July-31 August.
Something in the air
If you happen to be in Cornwall during the summer, head to the world-famous open-air Minack Theatre in Porthcurno. For tiny tots there are family shows and storytelling sessions three mornings a week from 10.30am throughout the whole of August, and for older kids (aged seven years upwards) don't miss the Next Stage Theatre Company's production of the classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in this beautiful and majestic setting. Early booking is advised.
You can expect lots of clowning around and the chance for a few singalongs in Puppets Go Wild at Oxford's Pegasus Theatre, where puppetry company Wild Boor Ideas is dedicated to sparking kids' imaginations. And there's even the opportunity to meet the stars of the show afterwards...
Floating an idea
Catch a double bill featuring not only The Three Little Pigs, but also Captain Grimey, the sea captain who pollutes the sea, but learns the error of his ways. All this happens on the magical and imaginative Puppet Barge, which will be moored in Richmond, London, this summer.
25 July-9 August.
Gruffa-lots more fun
Tall Stories' production of The Gruffalo roars back into London's West End this summer, then it's off to Hertfordshire and Somerset. But there's more to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler than The Gruffalo. If your tots are fans of Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze, they'll love the new play, Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, in which all the stories are woven together with music, puppetry and cool moves! Perfect for three and up.
Gruffalo: 1 July-6 September, The Lyric Theatre, London
Tiddler: 11 July-31 Aug, Leicester Square Theatre
It's Playday on 5 August, when communities all across the country can celebrate children's right to play with hundreds of events. There'll be mini festivals on village greens, adventures in woodlands, fields and on the beach, and street parties, as well as thousands of little ones taking over Trafalgar Square for this special day.
Get back to nature at Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. Over the August Bank Holiday weekend families can take part in a range of hands-on activities including woodland crafts, fun family workshops and demonstrations from expert carvers. There are also falconry shows and axe racing (yes, that's a real thing) as well as delicious food and live music. Oh and the best thing? Kids get in for free...
Get the scoop
As part of London's free open-air theatre season comes Gods and Monsters Theatre's Captain Show-Off! adapted from an ancient Roman comedy. If self-proclaimed Roman war hero Captain Show-Off thinks everyone will join his fan club he's in for a shock, and his arrogance leads to all kind of mayhem. And what's more, there's no need to book, just turn up and take a seat!