- To visit the Gardens, Gallery and House, you no longer need to pre-book a timed admission slot online (simply purchase gardens admission on arrival).
- Our opening hours for our restaurant and cafè have now changed for the autumn season. The Stables restaurant will be open Monday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm and Caffè + Gelato will be open Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 5:30pm.
19 Half Term Activities for Children
Whilst it feels like Christmas has only just been and gone, it’s time to start planning ahead for February half term activities, which in 2019 comes relatively early (16th February). By then, those new computer games and apps, and winter telly, may well be starting to take their toll – as well as all the sugary leftovers from Christmas.
To stave off winter boredom, and avoid the onset of cabin fever, we’ve put together some fun family-friendly half term activities to get your children (and you) out and about, into nature and the fresh air this February.
Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune to find things to do with kids, as our top picks prove.
1. Get into nature and make some Wild Art!
Get your welly boots muddy as you explore Hestercombe's free February half-term family trail and fill up your own natural art box! Forage for berries, leaves, moss and more to add to your box to take home and create wild art with. Find out more about the Muddy Boots Wild Art Children's Trail from 16th - 24th February 2019.
2. Pedal power: get on your bike
Saddle up this half term for fresh air and an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. Hit the cycle paths, or get off-road with some woodland trails. Whatever the weather, cycling is even better when wet! You can even stop into Hestercombe's Stables Cafe for a rewarding hot drink and home-made cake to break your ride.
3. Make your own tent or hidden den
Grab those tatty and unused curtains, clothes and sheets over a clothes horse and secure them with pegs for an instant tent - who needs Glastonbury?
4. Plan a trip
Nothing will warm your family up quicker than planning for a special getaway together. Easter holidays are several weeks away, so now's the perfect time to spend some time brainstorming with your family about where they would like to go and what things to do with kids when the weather gets warmer. Make holiday planning a family activity, look at all of the fun attractions you can visit online, and take advantage of early bird deals by booking now.
5. Have a tree party
If the idea of woodland fun sounds tree-mendous but you live in the middle of a city or otherwise away from wooded areas, you can still 'invite a tree to tea' with the Woodland Trust's free tea party pack. You’ll be sent stickers, pencils and free activities to enjoy a tea party with your children under a tree. You can send off for it by going online to the Woodland Trust to receive it in the post, or download it instead if you'd like to get started sooner.
6. Make a friend!
Celebrate International Friendship Month by helping kids show their appreciation for their friends. Kids can write thank you cards or draw pictures for their pals, or you can help them make new friends by venturing out of the house to the park or sports club near you.
7. Feed the birds
Here's a fun hobby to enjoy with your children. Get to grips with birding during National Wild Bird Feeding Month. Follow a few simple bird watching tips for beginners to get the most out of your family's new hobby, make your own simple birdfeeder with a toilet roll, some peanut butter and some nuts and seeds, and watch your new feathered friends flock to your garden.
8. Pick your own fruit and veg
Are your kids picky eaters? Why not visit a pick your own fruit or veg farm to encourage them to eat what they pick and see where their food comes from. See Pick Your Own farms for their own half term activities and opening hours.
9. Visit the park
Kids never tire of a visit to the park, and as long as you’re wrapped up warm it can be fun for the grown-ups too! See Green Flag awards to find your nearest park and pack a picnic lunch and a flask of something hot.
10. Put on an outdoor show
Script your own play together and then perform it in the comfort of your back garden. Get all the family out to spectate and the kids will love participating in their very own open air performance - and it harks back to the Georgian gardens of the 18th century (including our very own Landscape Garden), which were often used for outdoor theatre!
11. Put on a Garden Treasure hunt
With a few packs of sweets, little toys or another clue, you can bury them round the garden, hang them off tree branches or stick them to the fence for your children to find. Hide them well enough and you’ve got a game that lasts hours – at least until it’s time for lunch!
12. Camp out and star gaze
If the weather isn’t too inclement, and you have a safe and secure garden, then you could give your tent an early outing and star gaze – there’s a really handy app called ‘Sky Guide’ which overlays information about planets, constellations which will help you explain everything if you’re not a natural Patrick Moore. Unfortunately your main obstacle will be cloud cover and general light pollution if you live in a built up city area.
13. Get green fingers
Kids will enjoy helping out in the garden or planting things of their own, or for indoors, try starting off by growing cress on the windowsills. Even if you have zero gardening experience, this is one thing you should be able to grow without too much difficulty!
14. Go pond dipping
Whether the water’s frozen over or not, there’s plenty of activity going on in the ponds and rivers near you. Put on your waterproof and wellies, grab a jam jar and see how many water-dwellers you can catch and observe.
15. Build an outdoor obstacle course
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to complete your own garden or woodland challenge. Create jumps from sticks or twigs, obstacles with garden play equipment or tree stumps, and enjoy getting muddy!
16. Make your own fairy or pixie garden
Things are magical when they’re in miniature and making a fairy garden is perfect for getting the kids occupied this half term. Use moss, twigs, and winter flowers to create a whole world for magical people.
17. Visit a Nature Reserve
Check out your nearest nature reserve with Wildlife Trusts and get closer to wildlife, with some bird watching, deer spotting, or pond splashing fun. For more information visit your local Wildlife Trust website.
18. Take a beach day
Winter is a stunning time to visit a beach. Go beach-combing, rock-pooling and play dare with the waves. If you’re feeling really brave, you might even have a winter ice-cream!
19. Enjoy a snow day
With colder winters, snow isn’t such a rare occurrence in the UK, and you might not have to be in the Highlands to enjoy some opportunities for winter activities. Sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, or simply building snow forts and snow sculptures make a snow day a day to remember.
We hope you're enjoyed our 19 half term activities for children - we have great discounts on family memberships for one or two adults, and up to three children. Find our prices for entry and family membership.