Healthy half-term activities that won’t break the bank

13th February

Christmas celebrations seem like only yesterday and for many parents half-term has arrived incredibly quickly.

Right now you are probably wondering how to keep the children occupied and off their gadgets without spending too much or travelling very far. Fortunately the weather forecast looks promising, so the kids can get outside in the fresh air.

Herstmonceux Castle

We have a few ideas for you that we think are reasonably priced, fun and educational.

Herstmonceux Castle Gardens & Grounds will open daily from Saturday 15th February with a range of activities for the half-term holiday.

Have a go Archery

On the opening Saturday let friendly, local experts show you how to handle a bow and arrow as part of our ‘Have a go Archery’ drop-in activity. This is included with your admission.

Archery is also of offer in Heathfield in the beautiful surroundings of Heathfield Park. Children and adults can test their skills on a course of 3D targets with a practice range. There are sessions every two hours from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

A two-hour event run by ACA Archery will include all equipment, target ranges, 3D competition course, instruction, insurance and refreshments. Cost per person is £10, minimum age 9 years – booking by email or phone (07814 986341) essential in advance. 5 people per session; daily from Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd. Read more about archery here.

Bird of prey

On Monday 17th, Wednesday 19th and Friday 21st February between 12.30 and 1.30pm you can meet the falconer at Herstmonceux Castle. This is your chance to get up close to owls, hawks, falcons or kites and gain an insight into these wonderful birds of prey. On each of the above days, the falconer will bring along a different bird for you to see. This is included with your admission. PLEASE NOTE: this activity is weather dependent.

Herstmonceux Castle is also holding a Scavenger Hunt. Participants can search for local nature items that often go unnoticed in and around the gardens and grounds. Pick up a scavenger hunt activity sheet from the Visitor Centre and see if you can find them all. Return your completed sheet to castle reception to claim your Scavenger sticker.

Sir Roger’s Rummage is a new activity for children during castle tours. Poor Sir Roger is getting a bit forgetful (well he is over 600 years old!). As such, he keeps losing his belongings in various places around the Castle. Can you help him find them? Pick up an activity sheet from Castle reception and tick off each item you find in the various rooms you enter during the tour. Return your completed form to castle reception to claim your prize. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

During February all castle tours will be offered at the special reduced rate of just £1.50 per person. Please check the website for dates and times.

In addition to the above activities, there is a rope maze or and a giant tree swing for children to try.

The newly refurbished Chestnuts Tea Room will be open daily for light lunches and afternoon teas, including homemade cakes and daily specials. Children’s lunch boxes will also be available. The Castle Arts Gallery will once again offer affordable items from local artists along with a range of Castle souvenirs.

Up the road at the Observatory Science Centre there are some fantastic educational events including Fun with Chemistry on Tuesday 18th February. This half-day workshop for 6 to 8 year olds is exciting, fascinating and above all great fun. Children will be experimenting with solids, liquids and gases and while the workshop is designed so the children can carry out the experiments themselves, there will be demonstrations too. It’s just £12.75 per child.

test tubes

Discover Chemistry on Wednesday 19th February 2020 is half day workshop for 9-11 year olds. With exciting experiments, these fun-filled workshops will help children discover just how cool chemistry can be. They will be experimenting with solids, liquids and gases and finding out what happens when you mix different things together.

Explore the Moon Twilight on Thursday 20th February 2020 is a twilight workshop for 9-11 year olds. The Moon is a very interesting and mysterious object. Come and find out all about it. Children will make a model of the Moon, create some craters, learn some fascinating facts and design and build their own Moon lander. On twilight workshops there will also be a visit one of the huge telescopes.

Tennis club
Cross in Hand Tennis CLub has an excellent club house

Tennis is on offer at Cross in Hand Tennis Club with a choice of camps for different ages and levels. These include the Mini-Masters on Thursday, 20 Feb 2020 from 10am – 3pm. The cost is £30 for the day . Recommended for ages 8 to 10. On the same day is the Mini-Red One Day Camp. It is also £30 for the day and recommended for ages 5 to 8. For experienced and older players (ages 10 to 16) there is a Pro camp. All the camps are £30 per child with Member and sibling discounts available. To book go to Elevate Tennis.