From Vikings to spiders...some cheap, cheerful half-term ideas

Days Out

It's day two of half term.

They're already complaining of boredom, staring wide-eyed at the television, or perhaps just chewing crayons in the corner. Outside the weather is Siberian; the bank balance is still in the post-Christmas red zone. So what to do for the next seven days?

Happily, there are events and attractions up and down the country that offer family fun – and some that are free.

Properties under the English Heritage banner (0870 333 1181; are alive with walks, trails and fairytales that come at no cost for members or a nominal fee for families. They span from a "Viking Trail" at Clifford's Tower in York (10am-4pm daily; £10.10 for four) to Audley End house and gardens in Essex, where resident cook, Mrs Crocombe, will be giving Victorian cookery classes (Weds-Sun; 11am-4pm; £22.60 for four). In Staffordshire, the Monkey Forest (01782 659 845; reopened yesterday. Children can meet 140 barbary macaques living freely in the woodland that surrounds the 11th-century Trentham Estate. Tickets cost £14.50 for adults; £11.50 for children.

Cornwall's Eden Project (01726 811911; has a Chocolate Festival with lolly-making workshops and the chance to learn about growing cocoa included in the normal admission price (adults, £11; children, £5).

In Norfolk, there are canopy walkways, boat rides and woodland dens over at the BeWILDerwood Adventure Park (01692 633033; bewilderwood., all themed around the series of children's books by Tom Blofeld (£12.50 adults; £10.50 children).

The traditional emergence of snowdrops was smothered somewhat by last week's snow. However, the Scottish Snowdrop Festival sees 50 gardens showing early signs of spring open until March, including the Cambo Estate (01333 450054; in Fife, which has illuminated walks through the woodland every night this week (£30 for four).

In the capital, the London Aquarium (0871 663 1678; sealifelondonaquarium. com) opens the new Shark Reef attraction today, with a shoal of 20 menacing residents. Normal tickets (£19.80 for adults; £14.40 for children) are reduced to £14.85 and £10.80 respectively for visits after 3pm.

Meanwhile, over at the Victoria and Albert Museum (020-7942 2000;, there's an "Imagination Station" running, based on its current textiles exhibition, Golden Spider Silk, where children can craft arachnids and weave webs during the free drop-in sessions (daily, 10.30am–5pm).

For more ideas of days out and events this week, see the Visit Britain website (

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments