10 things to do with the kids this summer holiday

School’s out and there’s six weeks of fun ahead with the kids. Fill up the diary with these exciting activities happening in and around Staffordshire

**Fun for all the family**

1. Celebrate 10 years of Thomas Land at Drayton Manor 

Staffordshire based Drayton Manor Park is celebrating a milestone during its 2018 season. The park’s popular Thomas Land is now in its 10th year of operation.


We sent a LIVING reviewer along to the official 10th anniversary celebrations in July. Read what they thought of the park. 


The attraction features many Thomas & Friends character rides for both the young and the young at heart to enjoy, including Thomas himself, Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy, Harold’s Helicopter Tours, Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster, Terence’s Driving School and many more, not forgetting the newly refurbished Emily’s Play Adventure which offers everyone the chance to continue the fun indoors if the British weather takes a turn.

The park is also home to other rides such as the drop tower Apocalypse and the stomach-churning Maelstrom. And a 15-acre zoo that has a wide collection of creatures great and small, including cute baby tamarins and a tiger! The park’s 152 seat 4D Cinema, over 50 rides and attractions are sure to entertain for the day.

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit Drayton Manor Park or call 0844 472 1950.

**Ages 3 and up**

2. Take them to see Tiddler and other Terrific Tales at the Regent Theatre 

Running at Stoke-on-Trent’s Regent Theatre from Monday 27th to Wednesday 29th August, Tiddler and other Terrific Tales has been adapted from the best selling books by Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo) and Axel Scheffler for the stage.

Recommended for three years and above, kids will be taken into an enchanting world under the sea, out on the farmyard and into the jungle as four terrific tales are bought to life with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters from the best-loved titles: Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze. Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed.

Tickets for Tiddler and other Terrific Tales are on general sale now and available from the Regent Theatre Box Office counter, by calling 0844 871 7649 or online.


3. Book them on a fun and educational workshop at Canalside Farm 

Canalside Farm, near Stafford, will be holding a series of Summer Workshops during the school holidays. The workshops, entitled ‘Eat the Colours of the Rainbow’, are mainly aimed at primary school children, with the objective of trying to help them understand where their food comes from and the benefits of eating a variety of different coloured fruit and veg.  It starts with fun exercises in the Café, followed by a tour of the farm and each child will receive a mini pot of strawberries to takeaway with them.

Imogen & Lola Ridgway. Credit: Chloe Ridgway

Owner, Chris Barton said: “I think it’s important that children learn about where their food comes from and that whole ‘field to plate’ journey.”

After the workshops, you can enjoy a walk along the canal, bring your bikes to ride down the cycle towpaths or visit the nearby Stately Home, Shugborough, which is just a 10 minute walk away. You can also enjoy homemade food and ice cream at the farm’s cafe.

Workshops will take place on Wednesday 25th July, Thursday 9th and Monday 13th August from 10am. Tickets are £6 per child and must be pre-booked by telephone 01889 881747 or by e-mail: anna@canalsidefarm.co.uk. Visit Canalside Farm for more information.

**Out of this world**

4. Experience the future at Weston Park

Weston Park has launched an enchanted augmented reality experience for families this summer. The Enchanted Glen area is inspired by the rich history of the 17th century stately home, including the original fairy stories, art and poetry of Lady Diana Bridgeman who lived at Weston Park 100 years ago. The developers included Stoke-on-Trent based video and production company Inspired Film and Video and app developers ohh-AR.

L-R Michael McDonald, Inspired Film & Video; Deian Wilkin, Volunteer Guide, Weston Park and Richard Kirby, Park Operations, Weston Park – pictured with Larkin, Bernard and Aurelia

Andrea Webster, Marketing Manager at Weston Park comments: “We’ve been getting amazing feedback from visitors who are delighting in this as a way to explore our grounds, and to discover our fairy friends.”

Mike McDonald, Business Development Director at Inspired Film and Video comments: “As well as meeting the characters, children can create their very own adventure and pose for photographs alongside them. It’s great that we’ve been able to use something from Weston’s fascinating history and bring it bang up to date using new technology.”

The Enchanted Glen experience is included within the admission price to Weston’s park and gardens until Sunday 2 September.  Tickets are priced at adults £7, children (4-14 years) £4, seniors £6.50. For more information visit Weston Park.

5. Enjoy the Snail and the Whale at Stafford Gatehouse 

A stage adaptation of the hugely popular children’s story, The Snail and the Whale, is set to be performed at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre next month.

Julia Donaldson is making the rounds this summer!

Join a tiny snail on her trip round the world in Tall Stories’ magical, musical production inspired by the fantastic bestselling picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Storytelling, live music and lots of laughs for everyone aged 4 and up, from the Olivier Award-nominated company that brought you ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Room on the Broom’ live on stage.

The Snail and the Whale will be performed at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Friday 17th August at 1pm and 3pm and Saturday 18th August at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Tickets are £13.50 and are available from the Box Office on 01785 619080 or Stafford Gatehouse.

6. Find your way out of the ‘maize’ at the National Forest Adventure Farm

A spy-themed escape maze has opened at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton-upon-Trent. The idea is to venture through miles of maize completing tasks as you come across them to help break the code and find your way back out of the maze.

The spy-themed maize maze at the National Adventure Farm

The intricate paths of the maze have been used to create a James Bond style secret agent as well as other spy inspired design features that include Morse code and a safe lock. Visitors can take on the challenge of the escape maize maze by solving 10 interactive puzzles hidden within three miles of pathways to find the code and unlock the exit door.

Ivor Robinson, one of the two brothers who own the farm, travelled to America to explore the idea of merging an outdoor style escape room puzzle with the traditional maize maze. “The escape room concept within a maize maze has never been done before,” said Ivor. “Each year when we look at a theme for the maze we always want to make something that is a bit different and goes beyond just a normal maize maze.”

There is also a ‘mini’ maze for younger adventurers. Agent Academy: Escape Maze opens on Saturday 14th July and will run through to 3rd September. Tickets to enter the farm cost £12.50 (online discounts available) and include entrance to the unique maize maze activities. More information can be found at the National Forest Adventure Farm.

**Older kids**

7. Rock out at Solihull Summer Fest 2018

Take the kids and enjoy the festivities of Solihull’s Summer Fest 2018 taking place over bank holiday weekend in August on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August.

Taking place at the Tudor Grange Park in Solihull, enjoy the likes of Busted (performing their only confirmed gig of 2018), Sister Sledge, Rak-Su, Alesha Dixon and Razorlight, as well as well-known tribute acts, The Ed Sheeran Experience and Robert Lamberti as George Michael. With more than 10 hours of live music each day, the line-up also features Lightning Seeds, SKA bands, The Beat feat Ranking Roger and The Dualers.

In addition to the music there will be fun fair rides, a food village full of street vendors and a huge variety of bars, including Real Ale and Prosecco. Gates open from 11am until 10pm. For more information on tickets and to see a full line-up visit Solihul Summer Fest.

**Free family fun**

8. Make shopping fun at Intu Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent 

Expect your shopping trip to the potteries to go a little easier than expected this summer. The shopping centre is hosting a flurry of free kid-friendly activities over the school holidays from space hoppers to colouring fun and special roaming characters every Thursday, including buzzing bee characters, entertainers, pirate treasure hunters and yoga.

Space hopping fun with the kids this summer

There is also a family club you can join which offers parents and their children a number of fun experiences to enjoy together, with the chance to challenge their family to a game of Guess Who, Chess, Connect 4, Snakes & Ladders and Noughts & Crosses over the school holidays. As well as special offers and free gifts. Visit the Family Club website for more information.

**Aged 9-12**

9. Could they audition for Nativity! The Musical?

Nativity! The Musical is on the look-out for children across the UK to audition for the 2018 UK tour. If you have a bright, young star at home, you may wish to take them along to the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 28th July to have the chance to try out for the popular festive show.

All children auditioning must be available to perform at the Regent Theatre from Wednesday 5 – Saturday 8 December 2018, be aged between 9 and 12 years old by 1st September 2018, be no taller than 4ft 7 inches and live within a 45 mile commute to the venue.

To audition, children must be pre-registered with Keston and Keston the Children’s Regional Casting Directors via the iOS App ‘Keston Casting- downloadable’ which can be downloaded for free via the app store or registration can be via the website.



10. Visit the Wedgwood museum

The kids will love to explore the World of Wedgwood in Barlaston this summer. From learning about the ceramic heritage of the county to touring the home of an iconic British brand. The attraction is gearing up for a packed summer of activities with a wealth of special weekend events too and it’s now offering free museum entry and under 12s go free on the factory tour. Plus you can even design and create your own pottery and walk through the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust managed, Hem Heath Woods. Find out more at World of Wedgwood.

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