It won’t be long before the schools break up for the February half term holiday (Monday 21 to Friday 25 February 2022) – so we’ve compiled a list of attractions and activities to visit and do to keep the kids amused.
Marwell Zoo is a great place for families and groups to go to get out and about together. With giraffe, meerkat, rhino, ostrich and many more animals stretched over a 140-acre park, your little’ens are bound to find a favourite. Plus, there’s a Tropical house with waterfall, free-flying birds, forest floor and aquarium; Explorers Trail; and five adventure playgrounds to have a run around in. Please book a time slot for your visit and click here for information to help plan your trip. Why not stop by Bishop’s Waltham after a day at the zoo and enjoy dinner in one of the local pubs or restaurants?
Winchester Science Centre celebrates 20 years inside its iconic pyramid building this year, and from Saturday 22 January to Sunday 13 March (including the half term break) Science Chefs will explore the chemical reactions that go on during cooking. Expect fire-filled demos and their explosive sugar flame-thrower. Plus, go on a magical adventure in the Planetarium; experience hands-on exhibits; and get up close to nature with Bio:Space. All visits to the centre must be booked in advance.
If your little’en is adventurous, I’m an Explorer, Get Me Out of Here, at Gilbert White’s House in Selborne, might be one for them. On 22 and 24 February, 7 – 12 year olds will discover if they could be an Antarctic explorer when they learn about the food, clothing and equipment used by explorers. Or, if they enjoy getting lost in the forest, check out the ranger activities available at Blackwood Forest – survive in the forest by building dens and foraging; following trails; and learning about the wildlife.
Have you and your family got a head for heights? If so, children aged 12 and up (and accompanied by an adult) can climb the tower at Winchester Cathedral to enjoy views across the city centre and county. Tours are bookable for Wednesdays and Saturdays.
On Sunday 20 February, Chawton House hosts another Snowdrop Sunday – a chance to explore the gardens carpeted with hundreds of snowdrops: a symbol of hope and a signal that spring is on its way. Special tours will run throughout the day and a snowdrop themed kids trail will be available.
Teenagers might have friends or family starring in Encore Youth Theatre’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, at Theatre Royal Winchester from 24 – 26 February. Set during the Roaring Twenties, the ‘Moderns’ are raising their skirts, bobbing their hair, getting jobs and rewriting the rules of love – and daring Millie Dillmount is the most thoroughly modern of them all.
Winchester Discovery Centre, on Jewry Street, has had a revamp and – now called The Arc – will open again next month (Feb). Hosting live music, comedy and family shows; art exhibitions and classes; it will still house Winchester Library and an upgraded café. There will also be a new digital lab with state-of-the-art iMacs, digital classes and a shop. So take the family and see what The Arc has in store for you. Babies and little ones will enjoy the rhyme and story time and sensory play sessions; while this half term break, older children can ‘build a terrarium’ or join Construction Club; and for teenagers a stop-motion animation class.
For other arts and crafts events, seek out BellaCrafts, in King’s Walk. Daily activities include pottery and glass painting; or book on to a crafternoon session (complete a project before enjoying a scone or cupcake). Or if you can’t make it to the centre or a session, they sell crafty kits and project packs online.
If you’re staying in with the kids, why not have them choose one of the quick and easy recipes from the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets website to make a delicious meal or treat. From peanut butter cookies to oat and berry muffins (with frozen fruit); let them help marinate chicken for healthy fajitas or mix potato with flakes of steamed fish for trout and watercress fish cakes for dinner. Plus look out for caramelised banana or apple pancakes for half term morning breakfasts.