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School’s out: ideas for a summer of family fun

Looking for things to do with the kids? From picnicking in areas of outstanding natural beauty to climbing rope courses, learning archery and exploring Formula One’s interactive pitstops, we’ve got plenty of ideas for a summer of family fun…

Leap of Faith

Blackhorse Hill, Bristol BS10 7TP
wildplace.org.uk; 0117 980 7175

Located in Wild Place Project is Leap of Faith, one of Bristol’s finest outdoor activity centres – ideal for all ages. The whole family can climb up to 25ft on any of the climbing routes, brave the exhilarating ‘leap of faith’ from which the centre gets its name, or take the plunge on Bristol’s only giant swing! It’s within walking distance from The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, so you can head over just to climb, or make a day of it and explore everything the park has to offer: animals from across the globe, forest trails and lots more.

Leap of Faith is open to the public at weekends as well as weekdays all through the summer holidays from 10am – 5pm. If you have some over-energetic kids (or adults!) take them down to the Leap of Faith course for some fun. All bookings are to be made online via the Wild Place website. Please note, if you wish to explore Wild Place, an additional entry fee will be charged.

We The Curious

1 Millennium Square, Anchor Road, Bristol BS1 5DB
wethecurious.org; 0117 915 1000

Have you ever wondered why rainbows make you happy? Why time flies when you’re having fun? Whether there’s another you out there in the universe? Step inside We The Curious this summer and explore what it means to be human with their superb new Project What If experience.

Inspired by seven intriguing questions, the science centre’s transformed ground floor features 68 new exhibits and 25 art pieces. Marvel at the beauty of our brains, see what you look like in slow motion, turn invisible. Then head upstairs for mythical eagles and meteor showers in the UK’s only 3D planetarium. Open 10am to 5pm every day of the school holidays. Booking in advance essential. Visit the website for tickets!

Detail of As Above, So Below by Frank Bowling.
As Above So Below, Frank Bowling, 2020, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Sir Frank Bowling Kt OBE RA and Hauser & Wirth (c) Sir Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020

Arnolfini | We Are Family

16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA
arnolfini.org.uk; @arnolfiniarts; 0117 917 2300

To celebrate this summer’s Frank Bowling exhibition, Arnolfini have invited their friends at Let’s Make Art to create a special ‘colour lab’ space over the holidays, where families can experiment with colour, mark-making techniques and essentially get messy. It’s completely free and everyone’s welcome. Booking in advance will be required in accordance with current government guidelines around Covid. Running every Wednesday from 28 July – 1 September, 1pm – 4pm for kids aged five and over. Let’s Make Art have also created Arnolfini’s Art Cart, packed full of colouring-in materials and exhibition-based activities, free for families visiting Arnolfini. Available daily, Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm each week.

Wimbleball Lake

Brompton Regis, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9NU
swlakestrust.org.uk/activities; 01398 371460

Prepare for a summer of fun and adventure at Wimbleball Lake. Less than a two-hour drive from Bristol and Bath, Wimbleball is the perfect location for your next family escape. Try your hand at watersports, have a go at archery, swing from the high ropes or enjoy a tasty treat from the café. You can also extend your stay and camp on site. Whether it’s a day trip or a longer camping break, the lake offers the ideal escape for friends, family and couples. For more information or to book activities and camping, visit Wimbleball Lake’s website.

Soccer Shooters

Redland Green School, Bristol BS6 7EH; Sir Bernard Lovell Sports Centre, Bristol BS30 8TS; soccershooters.com/holiday-clubs

Football engagement and enjoyment specialist Soccer Shooters is delighted to be hosted by Redland Green School and Sir Bernard Lovell Sports Centre during this summer holiday. Football Fundays are a really popular and fun way for children (Reception to Year 7) to learn football skills and social skills, building confidence and self-esteem. The Fundays are a mixture of fun games, football matches and mini tournaments. Soccer Shooters combines top quality coaching with a relaxed and inclusive environment, enabling children of all backgrounds and abilities to sharpen their football skills while also learning life skills that will serve them well, no matter what they want to do in the future. Book soon to avoid disappointment.

Bristol Zoo Gardens

College Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA
bristolzoo.org.uk; 0117 4285300

Bristol Zoo Gardens is the perfect fresh-air destination for summer with over 12 acres of outdoor space and the chance to see animals from all over the globe, including many endangered species. Spot adorable youngsters including two western lowland gorillas, a sloth and a tiny mouse deer, among 400 other incredible species. There’s fun to be had for all the family; kids can run wild in the adventure playground and big and little adventurers alike can climb, clamber and swing through the air in the thrilling aerial ropes course ZooRopia.
Fancy a bite to eat? The Hide restaurant is open for eating
in or takeaway. Visit the website to book online.

Haynes International Motor Museum

Sparkford, Yeovil BA22 7LH
himm.co.uk; 01963 440804

The multi award-winning Haynes International Motor Museum is truly a must-see attraction for West Country families, with brand new exhibitions to explore this year including ‘Williams F1: The Drivers and The Driven’.

At the home of the UK’s largest collection of cars and motorbikes you can get up close to some of the very first cars invented in ‘The Dawn of Motoring’; learn how a car works with the working cutaway; explore reds around the world in the Red Room and feed your need for speed with some of the most iconic Formula One cars in Williams’ history. There is plenty to keep the whole family entertained with interactive pitstops, an on-site café and a fantastic outside playground. If you are feeling competitive, the on-site Karting at Haynes track (booked separately) is also open for a fun family race. To book your day out this summer, visit the website or call the museum directly.

Photo by Chris Lacey

Hestercombe Gardens & Gallery

Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton TA2 8LG
hestercombe.com; 01823 413923

Nestled at the foot of the beautiful Quantock Hills, Hestercombe Gardens features a stunning collection of historic gardens, steeped in history and bursting with wildlife. A visit should include a meander through the splendid Georgian landscape garden, followed by the vibrant colours of the formal gardens, designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lose yourself along cool rills, or under the picturesque pergola, adorned with fragrant roses and lavender. The whole family will enjoy Hestercombe, with 50 acres of gardens to explore, two play areas, a café and restaurant, gift shop, and plant centre, plus art exhibitions at Hestercombe Gallery. During school holidays there are fun-packed activity days for children too. See the website for more information and tickets.