Katy Holland: Just when you thought it was safe to put your feet up ... it's Whitsun

Are we there yet? There's more bad news: it's too late to book that spring break on the Mediterranean

While you may be still retrieving mangled pieces of Easter egg from down the back of the sofa, schools across the country have moved on to Whitsun. That means they've locked their gates and left it up to parents to entertain our own kids.

There's more bad news: it's too late to book that spring break on the Mediterranean, the one with the spa and the 24-hour kids' club. So, unless you own a private jet, you're stuck here for the week, like it or not.

To help to soften the blow, may I suggest some short trips with your little treasures? This week, a multitude of child friendly events are taking place across the UK.

The fifth annual Festival of Fools is a good example. This celebration, held in Muncaster Castle in the Lake District (01229 717614; muncaster .co.uk), promises five days of "complete madness, mayhem and merriment" with plenty of opportunities for kids to play the fool (as if they need encouragement). It opens today and continues until Thursday, and offers circus workshops, street entertainers and stand-up comedy, as well as essential tips from experts on how to become a jester.

More alternative frolics can be found at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, where there are knight schools, falconry displays and even a Victorian beach complete with traditional Punch and Judy shows. For details of this and other fun educational events around the country during the coming week, English Heritage (0870 333 1181; english-heritage.org.uk) has extensive listings.

Even the Royal Horticultural Society (0845 260 9000; rhs.org.uk) is doing its bit for the kids this half term. As part of its campaign, in conjunction with The Independent on Sunday, to inspire children to get their hands dirty in the garden, the RHS has organised an abundance of fragrant events in Wisley, Surrey, including mini garden-design workshops where your green-fingered offspring can create their own miniature plots, as well as enter a budding gardeners' competition.

With all this going on, there's really no excuse not to have fun this week. Even the traditional bank holiday traffic needn't scupper your plans, because I've got that sorted for you, too.

My Way, a new initiative from the RAC, (rac.co.uk/myway), is a wonderful resource for travellers which gives alternative routes to the notoriously clogged motorways, so that you don't spend your entire day fuming in the car.

It's designed to help to make the journey part of the adventure, and you'll find suggestions for scenic routes (which have been recommended by the experts as well as other families) and some exciting things to see along the way, too.

That's half term sewn up, then. At this point I would tell you how many weeks there are until the summer holidays, but I think you've had enough shocking news for one day.

k.holland@independent.co.uk

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