Check out these local places for half term activities for all the family…
11TH SCOTNEY CASTLE
Join the team at Scotney Castle for a series of activities and events to mark the 180th anniversary of the first stone being laid for the new house. See the original plans for the building and the architect’s model. Those inspired by the historic findings will have the chance to consider how to capture history in their own time capsule. Families can complete a spot the difference of the house then and now or follow in the footsteps of Edward Hussey III and design their dream house. This event is free, but normal admission charges apply. www.nationaltrust.org/scotney-castle
If you’ve been stuck inside this winter, February half term is the perfect time for the children to let off steam and explore the garden at Bateman’s. Follow the winter spotter trail and learn more about what’s happening this season in the garden. Some animals love winter, others hibernate, some plants flower in the winter, some rest. Discover who is out and about and who is yet to make an appearance. Open daily during half-term, 11am to 4.30pm. Normal admission charges apply, £1.50 per trail. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans
11TH HEVER CASTLE
Hever Castle & Gardens is teaming up with the RSPB to celebrate British garden birds during the February half term holiday. Visit the historic castle in Kent between 11 – 19 February to enjoy ‘Living with Birds’ a fun family event aimed at school aged children.
Coinciding with National Nest Box Week, visitors can learn how to help birds nest, survive and thrive in their gardens at home. A bird box building workshop* will provide kids with the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK by putting a nest box in their gardens, also providing the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that come to the garden (*additional fee).
Children can join a FREE bird themed craft workshop and find out more about different species of British birds on a bird spotting trail in the grounds. Visitors can also buy a bag of bird food* at the information centre (*50p) to feed the birds and ducks.
11TH KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY
Thomas the Tank Engine is pulling into the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Tenterden on February 11,12, 18 and 19.
Experience a 50 minute return steam train journey behind one of Thomas’ friends, shake hands with The Fat Controller and enjoy a whole host of activities including face painting, balloon modelling and a magic show. Each child also gets to take home a goody bag.
Tickets cost from £18 for adults and £13.50 for children. For more information, or to book, visit www.kesr.org.uk
11TH PENSHURST PLACE & GARDENS
Young artistic explorers are sought over February half term at Penshurst Place when the historic house will have a colourful outdoor trail featuring much-loved children’s book illustrations and a riddle or few.
Collect a trail sheet at the visitor centre on arrival and step through the walled gardens to discover a trail featuring some of our favourite children’s book illustrations, and hidden riddles. Follow prompts and clues, to connect the art and riddles to the book they derive from. For art & literature sleuths successfully completing the trail by deciphering all the clues, a secret message will be revealed by way or reward.
Included free within the price of a standard garden ticket admission, the trail is opens daily at 10.30am and closes at 5pm (last entry at 4pm) – running from 11 to 19 February.
For admission prices and more information visit www.penshurstplace.com.
11TH PORT LYMPNE
This February half term at Port Lympne Reserve, explore over 600 acres to discover where the wild things are, jump on board a safari truck to journey through Asian and African plains, see rare and endangered animals, plus travel back in time to see life size prehistoric creatures in Dinosaur Forest. See the terrifying T Rex, delight at the sheer size of the diplodocus and shelter from the soaring Pterodactyls!
Join the free talks, taking place at various locations around the park, to find out more about the winter loving animals including our adorable red pandas, bison, Przewalski horses, Scottish wild cats and the impressive woolly mammoth in Dinosaur Forest.
Try your hand at some crafts and make your own animal mask to wear and take home, plus take part in the winter trail to win a Port Lympne goody bag.
13TH GROOMBRIDGE PLACE
Visit Groombridge Place over February half term (Monday February 13 to Sunday February 19) and enjoy Wild Adventure Week. Between 10am and 4.30pm each day there’ll be plenty of fun to be had, with three jungle explorer shows per day. After each show children can meet the entertainers who will offer advice on where to find the treasure in the forest. All the activities are free with admission, and include the likes of den building, wildlife talks and the chance to build a bug hotel. www.groombridgeplace.com
15TH TRINITY THEATRE
From Wednesday 15 to Sunday 19 February, head to the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells and discover a completely new tale exploring the adventures of the Tin Man. In The Tin Man of Oz find out how did he became the Tin Man, what happened to him before that perky girl from Kansas flew in from the sky, and what he can do now he has been given a heart by the great Wizard of Oz.
Reunited with his good friend Scarecrow, they set out to find Nimmie, the Tin Man’s lost love, and encounter amazing adventures and characters along the way – with one or two surprises!
Brought to you by the team who created 2015’s The Princess And The Pea, this is a compelling story of how love and friendship can triumph over any obstacle.
Tickets £7. www.trinitytheatre.net
16TH THE WHEELS ON DEBUSSY
Local mums, Louise Knight and Fiona Sharp, are bringing world class classical music to children this half term at St Peter & St Paul’s Parish Church, Tonbridge. The Wheels on Debussy provides a high quality classical music experience performed by exceptionally talented world-class musicians, for parents and children in a relaxed environment.
The concerts are totally geared towards the children, and there’s colouring, craft, snacks and drinks for everyone.
Cafe and craft for the kids begins at 10am and the concert runs from 10.30am to 11.15am.
Tickets: www.billetto.co.uk/the-wheels-on-debussy £5 adult /£3 baby or child or £6/£4 on the door.
From February 17 to 19, The UK’s original pleasure park, Dreamland Margate, will be welcoming GEEK. A three-day festival of play and gaming, GEEK will entertain the whole family.
The event focuses on multiplayer interactive games and encourages visitors to participate in all genres of gaming; including board games, computer games, retro and next generation, card games and real world games. GEEK will be situated throughout the Dreamland site, including in the iconic and newly refurbished Hall By The Sea, the Roller Room, Ballroom and the arcade area. Guests will discover all the creative magic that goes into the games; there will be coding, storytelling, music composition, translation and localisation, and much more.
Packed with future technology and retro favourites, GEEK celebrates all aspects of gaming and is the ultimate fun family event for February half term.
For prices and timings, visit www.dreamland.co.uk