FOR THE VERY YOUNG

Pevensey Castle, Eastbourne (01323 762604) hosts a teddy bears' picnic. Families with small children invited to bring along both Mr Ted and a picnic on Sunday and Monday between noon and 5pm to join in the festivities. Punch and Judy are planning to put in an appearance and for the more artistically adventurous tot there will be face painting. Adults pounds 3, concessions pounds 2.25 and children (under 15) pounds 1.50.

Hall Hill Farms, County Durham (01388 730300), also plays host to the stuffed ones - more teddy bears abound. Other attractions include a children's entertainer and treasure hunt. Children will be able to get to know the animals on the interactive working farm. On both Sunday 24 and Monday 25, a family ticket for two adults and two children will costs pounds 8.

The Lead Mining Museum, Sanquar (01299 250416) is also dining alfresco with the grizzlies. Patrick the Clown will entertain and the children will have the opportunity to learn circus skills. Entry is free, but does not include entry to the museum.

Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine. The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (01756 794727) will be letting off steam from Saturday though to Monday. Thomas and Percy will be there and the last train leaves at 4pm. Admission is pounds 3.50 per person and children get a present from the Fat Controller as a memento of the day.

Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Wales (01225 754026) follows the medieval theme with juggling, jesters and jousting games, specifically designed to be safe for children. At pounds 2.50 for adults and pounds 1.25 for children, this is well worth a look in on Sunday and Monday (10am-6pm).

ALL DRESSED UP

Warwick Castle, Warwick (01926 406600). This weekend the castle entertains the "Knights Errant". A medieval tale is told throughout the castle over the holiday period. At 1pm and 3.45pm the Magic perform to enchant young minds. Around the castle, various period characters appear - strolling minstrels and medieval craftsmen. Open 10am-6pm. Adults pounds 9.95, children pounds 5.95, family ticket pounds 27 (two adults and two children).

Dover Castle and Second World War Tunnels, Dover (01304 201628) hosts the Lion Rampant for their medieval weekend. Here a re-enactment group is accompanied by music, drama, pageantry and dancing. Open 10am-6pm. Adults pounds 6, concessions pounds 4.50 and children (under) 16 pounds 3.

The North of England Balloon Show, Ripley Castle, North Yorkshire (01423 770152) takes place this weekend. On Sunday and Monday there will be a re-enactment of the siege of the castle followed at 6pm by the balloon ascent. Every night there will be a laser and light show over the lake with glowing tethered balloons and fireworks to finish. Adults pounds 6, children pounds 4 for one evening performance and one day time entry.

FOR A PIECE OF THE ACTION

Ultimate Fast Car '97, Santa Pod Raceway, Bedforshire (01483 418798). This will appeal to the older more frenetic child. Run in conjunction with Fast Car Magazine, car drivers battle to prove they are niftier shifters. Lads are encouraged to behave badly with The Sound Challenge Association - you try to make the loudest sound with your in-car stereo. (And if your children aren't deafened by this, you may at least hope that they will never wish to jack up the volume again.) Adults pounds 15 for the three day weekend, children pounds 8.

Cadwell Park Circuit, Lincolnshire (01507 343248) hosts MCN British Super Bike Championships. Practice and qualifiers are over the weekend (free entry for children) and the races are on Monday. The Ulster Grand Prix (01846 648460) on Saturday is the place to see international motorcyclists. Entry to the circuit is pounds 7 for adults, but is free for children.

Michelle Ovens

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