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What’s on locally this Feb half term? We know!

Looking for things to do with the young'uns this half term? Look no further. For teens and tots alike we've Moomins, beach cleans, skateboarding and art exhibitions and more on in Cornwall.

Spring is just around the corner and the days are getting lighter – no need to get bored. Here’s a whole host of things to get stuck into this half term with our pick of the activities across Cornwall.

ONE-OFF EVENTS

THEATRE: Vinland, A family friendly Viking adventure with storytelling, animation, live drawing and music by Jack Dean, 20 Feb (Falmouth), 26 Feb (St Endellion), 27 Feb (Callington)

Inspired by the Viking sagas of Erik the Red and his family, Vinland retells the incredible little-known historical tale of the Vikings last journey to North America, where they lived for a short time in the early 11th century, nearly 500 years before any other Europeans. With the only evidence of this being in sagas, historians didn’t believe this to be true until the settlement described was dug up in Newfoundland just a few years ago. Using lyrical storytelling, animation and live music, the family show, suitable for ages 8+, brings the audience into a world where myth and history collide with ghosts, monsters and wild gooseberries.

THEATRE: Avalon’s Youth Theatre’s The Addams Family, Wadebridge Secondary School, Wadebridge, 23 – 26 Feb

Avalon Youth Theatre is a volunteer-run musical theatre company in Wadebridge for children and teenagers and their annual show is back for 2022 with THE ADDAMS FAMILY, a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, features an original story and it’s every father’s nightmare…

WORKSHOP: Terra Mater Degrees, Royal Cornwall Museum, 24 Feb

Free half term kids workshop making plant walls, flood pictures and found jewellery, part of the Terra Mater climate change focused art exhibition.

THEATRE: The Kiss that Missed, The Minack, 21-25 Feb

The Little Prince’s goodnight kiss has gone missing.  It’s escaped into the forest where it has no business to be, so the brave and fearless knight is sent on a mission to bring it back… But is he brave and fearless enough?

David Melling’s delightful series of Knightly Tales is brought to life with all the charm and humour of the original stories, plus some new songs and, of course, plenty of kisses bouncing around.  

Science of the Sea, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, 21- 25 Feb

Science of the Sea – family fun with a BANG! Bristol Explorer Dome are back with more science shows, join the hunt for creatures that use bubbles to survive on the Museum Trail and in Make & Take use science to create colourful artworks.

WORKSHOP: Silk Printing, PK Porthcurno, 22 and 24 Feb

Inspired by the communication maps in the PK collection, learn how to paint onto silk fabric. Choose from a variety of vibrant colours to design your own map. Free, drop in.

WORKSHOP: Squishy Circuits, PK Porthcurno, 26 Feb

Did you know that you can make electricity travel through dough? Come along, find out how, design and build a squishy circuit – or invent a bug-eyed monster with light up eyes! Meet at the Clore Learning Space, at PK. FREE to attend, no booking – just turn up – designed for 7 -12 year olds

ON ALL WEEK (19-27 FEB)

Trelissick Bird Trail, Trelissik, Nr Truro, 19 – 27 Feb

Follow the children’s trail around the garden to find seven birds and get your singing voices ready to copy their birdsong – free with admission, NT members free.

Half-term Explorer Quest, Pendennis Castle, 19-27 Feb

Find games and activities inspired by soldiers. Find out quirky facts, tackle playful puzzles see if you’ve got what it takes to get moving like people from the past. Once you’re schooled in the way of daily life in the castle, there’s the keep itself to explore.

Love Heligan, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, 19-27 Feb

This Feb half term the team at Heligan are celebrating everything that they love about Heligan along with ideas from the public, who over the past thirty years of the garden being open have had plenty to fall in love with. Especially for children will be the ‘Love Heligan’ tent on East Lawn, home to a collaborative art piece inspired by your love of Heligan and will be created by all half term visitors. Love and nature inspired crafts will be available to enjoy whilst visiting the ‘Love Heligan’ tent. Booking essential to visit, all activities included.

Moomins at Eden, The Eden Project, 19- 27 Feb

This colourful and eye-catching 3D exhibition at Eden will be made up of three displays that invite visitors to walk through Moomin creator, Tove Jansson’s, illustrations. Each display will depict a scene from one of the books and capture a feeling that is explained in the accompanying text, encouraging visitors to engage with their own emotions and feelings.

Audio and visual elements will also be imbedded into the exhibition. Visitors can engage with the stories with sensor triggered sounds, gemstone lights and video projections or they can open a peephole to discover some expressive Moomin characters. Eden will also have a ‘Meet the Moomins Trail’ where visitors can try to spot many of the different characters located across the site, as well as craft activities for children. Settle in to see a mischievous puppet show over both weekends (19-20 and 26-27 February).

Most activities are included in the price of admission, apart from the puppet show which should be pre-booked below for an additional cost. Craft activities will run from Monday 21 – Friday 25 February, with drop-in sessions from 11am until 3.30pm. Please note pre-booking remains essential.

Bodmin Keep, Bodmin, various all week

Lots of interesting, mainly free, exhibitions on at Bodmin Keep, including a photo exhibition of Cornwall during the Second World War.

Ice skating at The Eden Project, until 27 Feb 2022

It’s your last chance to skate at Cornwall’s biggest outdoor ice-rink in the grounds of the Eden Project – and due to Covid restrictions you’ll have even more space on the ice-rink itself this year, so plenty of space to practice your axels and spins. The cafe is serving up sweet treats too, just don’t forget your face covering to wear rink side. Pre-booking online is essential, and you’ll need a locals pass or to pay to access Eden itself too.

Bude Feb Fest, Bude, 18-27 Feb

A 10-day celebration of Bude’s food, community, coast and arts, including craft workshops, free live music, free comedy with Patrick Monahan and so much more.

Star Count 2022, 26 Feb – 6 March

stars sky cornwall beach

A fun family activity that is free, outside and gently educational too. Bonus if you live near any of Cornwall’s top star gazing sites, but any view of the sky will work.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES /EXHIBITIONS

EXHIBITION: Reimagining Reality, Narisa Hall, Priory Park, Bodmin

Reimagining Reality is an innovative exhibition for Cornwall that will turn your world upside down! Explore the weird and wonderful peculiarities of science with interactive exhibits. Be prepared to be left wondering what you really know. If you think science really isn’t your thing, come for the art! Experience an immersive journey along surreal passageways leading to quirky exhibits that are an artwork in their own right. This exhibition is about as environmentally friendly as they come. Everything has been carefully crafted with waste or reclaimed materials. Follow the stories that are entwined in each exhibit; where it’s components came from and how it was transformed.

Thao Nguyen Phan, The Tate St Ives

Thao Nguyen Phan’s most extensive UK exhibition to date opens at The Tate St Ives. Internationally renowned for her poetic, multi-layered artworks Phan explores the historical and ecological issues facing her homeland Vietnam, while speaking to broader ideas around tradition, ideology, ritual and environmental change. Through storytelling, and the mixing of official and unofficial histories, her work often amplifies narratives that are less well documented, or in some cases obscured. This exhibition will bring together a selection of Phan’s videos, paintings and sculptures from the past five years, alongside new work exhibited for the first time. This includes First Rain, Brise Soleil, a major new multi-channel film commission, and an accompanying series of paintings.

CLIMBING: Tide Climbing Centre, New Trevibban Farm, St Issey, Wadebridge

Inspired by the Sport Climbing at the last Olympic games? Have a go yourself at the Tide Indoor Climbing Centre between Wadebridge and Padstow. They cater for all sorts of climbing and are in the unique position to offer both bouldering and rope climbing under one roof. With over 100 bouldering problems for you to try, as well as 22 lines and 4 auto belay points, there’s plenty for everyone.

 One Story, Many Voices, Bodmin Keep, Bodmin,

The touring sound exhibit from Imperial War Museum London is coming to Bodmin Keep. The unique sound installation exhibit tells stories based on the Second World War and Holocaust from across the United Kingdom. The stories have been written by well-known writers from across the UK. Cornwall’s story has been written by Mercedes Kemp of Wildworks, and is narrated by Ed Rowe, Kernow King.

SEGWAY: Bude Segway & Outdoor Pursuits, Bude

Something slightly different on two wheels here – glide around the woodland track on your very own Segway (once you’ve completed an intro course to make sure you can ride one ok – you must be over 5 stone and 4 foot tall, aged 7+ to ride). Other activities on offer include the 24ft Climbing wall and a caving experience.

MOUNTAIN BIKING: Old Hill Bike Park near Wadebridge

Not so much a trail as a maze of wheeled obstacle courses! You’ll need to have got all the kit in advance (helmets with face protection are mandatory, body armour recommended) – book in for a half or full day’s riding and try out jumps, ramps and drops along miles of graded tracks in what looks like off-road biking heaven. Top tip – walk the black route first!

ZIP WIRE: Hangloose, Eden Project, Bodelva

If you’ve been to Eden, you’ve probably noticed people speeding over the biomes on a giant zip wire – ‘there goes another one!’ It’sEngland’s longest and fastest. What you might not have realised, is that along with the famous SkyWire, there’s a catalogue of other nail-biting experiences to choose from at Hangloose at the Eden Project: a 20-metre giant cliff swing, free falls, airbags drops, 360 swing and climbing challenges. Wanna try the lot? Discounts are available on multi-activity tickets. 8+ years. From £38.

GIANT SWING & AXE THROWING: Adrenalin Quarry, Liskeard

Making use of an old quarry in South East Cornwall, these adventure sports specialists have been chucking people off cliffs since 2009. There are loads of activities to choose – all guaranteed to give you a rush –  including a fast and furious zip wire, giant swing and coasteering but the one I’m most tempted by is axe throwing (just me?). Kind of like archery for maniacs, hurl your whirling weapon at the tree stump targets and listen out for the satisfying thud.

SKATEBOARDING: Mount Hawke Skate Park, Mount Hawke, Truro

While a lot of towns have a dedicated outdoor skate park (including St Ives’ new beauty) Mount Hawke Skatepark is one of the longest-running indoor parks in the UK. Built originally in 1986 to meet the needs of young people living in rural Cornish communities, Mount Hawke started as an outdoor facility but was developed inside in 1996, becoming the South West’s largest indoor skatepark. Another one for your list if your teens were inspired by Tokyo 2020 and Team GB’s awesome skaters, it is split into different sections; street and transition, the ‘black pool’, the bowl, the rhythm section, the vert ramp, mini ramp alongside a new outdoor plaza and pump track, making us an all-weather facility. 

HIGH WIRE: Via Ferrata Cornwall, Penryn

Penryn’s Adrenaline centre, Via Ferrata, launched a range of new activities for the 2021 season following a successful first season in 2020. The 60-acre site hosts a high-wire and climbing route around a disused granite quarry. This year it has added kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding as well as coasteering and archery. Via Ferrata is also operating an adventure holiday club during the hols with activities for 6–13-year-olds. Options include courses in climbing, zip-lining, kayaking, canoeing and archery as well as half, full and wraparound day care.

SPEED BOAT SAFARI: Wavehunters, Rock and Padstow

Exhilarating and magical Cornwall wildlife spotting and sightseeing trips and charters from Padstow, Rock and Port Isaac can be booked with Wavehunters, who know all the secret places and where the dolphins are likely to be. Sit at the front of the boat for the fastest seat, and if you choose private hire, you can swim off the boat too when conditions are right.

Tintagel Castle

Photo credit: Hufton & Crow Photography

Immerse yourself in history, myths and stunning scenery at Tintagel Castle set high on Cornwall’s rugged north coast. Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur, for centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists and even the brother of a king. Now it’s your turn to be inspired – complete with a trip across the new bridge. Note that there is currently a one-way system in place which means leaving via 140 steep steps.

Caerhays Castle Gardens, Gorran, St Austell

Caerhays Castle Cornwall © Emily Whitfield Wicks

On the south coast near St Austell you’ll find the magnificent gardens and Grade II listed 140 acre woodland at Caerhays, often described as a spring-time wonderland for visitors. Home to a National Magnolia Collection, the collection even houses a 100 year old Magnolia tree. The gardens also feature many rhododendrons, camellias and trees which are nationally classed as Champion Trees by the Tree Register.

Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel

Restormel is said to be one of the most remarkable castles in Britain – and certainly sits among some beautiful countryside near Lostwithiel, with far reaching views across the valley to the river Fowey. The present circular structure, built in the late 13th century, was a luxurious retreat for its medieval owners and was twice visited by Edward, the Black Prince. Now looked after by the English Heritage, don’t miss the new walking trail between the castle and Muddy fave Duchy of Cornwall Nursery where you can pick up a takeaway coffee, or even some plants.

Launceston Castle, Launceston

Launceston Castle is an imposing sight in the town itself, the ancient capital of Cornwall. Building of the castle started soon after the Norman Conquest – it is an unusual keep consisting of a 13th-century round tower built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, inside an earlier circular shell-keep. The castles main function used to be a prison before Bodmin Jail was constructed. After you’ve walked up to the keep and round the town you can also head out on to the moor to see the Hurlers which are three fine late Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone circles arranged in a line, a grouping unique in England. Parking is free, but you’ll need to keep dogs on leads due to grazing lambs.

Camel Creek Adventure Park, Tredinnick, Wadebridge

With exhilarating rides, a gigantic indoor play centre, outdoor fun, water flumes and the UK’s most hi-tech 5D Super Sim Theatre (look out for the new time-travel film coming this summer!), Camel Creek is great fun for the kids, rain or shine. Look out on social media for their character days.

Bike Riding

Check out our piece on bike trails here which includes the Camel trailBissoe trail, through Cardinham Woods or around the woodland paths at Lanhydrock (you’ll need to book first) – all pretty kid-friendly, even for those with no gears!

The Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

On the river at Gweek, which is beautiful, find the seals – so full of Cornish character. Pre-booking essential.

Monsters of the Deep, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

Explore the centuries-old myths and legends, when chance sightings and odd appearances led to tall tales of deep sea creatures. Learn how, even today, these stories continue to capture imaginations, fuelled by fake news and conspiracy theories.

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Head to Plymouth’s harbour for the UK’s largest aquarium, with sharks, rays, octopus feeding-time and fascinating jellyfish. They’ve made some changes to their pricing so all tickets now come with a year’s free pass, and locals with a PL postcode always pay the cheaper Saver price, regardless of what time you visit. All 3-15 child tickets are HALF the price of an adult and under 3s go free. Booking essential.

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, The Box, Plymouth, until 27 Feb

Wishing you were in sunnier climes? Head to The Box in Plymouth for the European premier of Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters (remember Bruce Chatwin?) You can almost feel the Antipodean heat coming through the films, paintings and sculptures of this exhibition which tell Australia’s indigenous people’s creation myth of the Seven Sisters flight across the continent with the lustful magician Yurla in hot pursuit. I really enjoyed it, especially the bit where you get to lie down in the outdoor dome and look at the stars and ancient cave paintings. Interestingly, this aboriginal myth is very similar to the Greek myth of Orion and Pleiades but predates it by tens of thousands of years and FYI songlines are not just stories but maps to navigate, find watering holes and sacred places. A feast for the eyes and mind!

IDEAS FOR YOUNGER KIDS

Cornwall has some of the most scenic railways in Britain – soak up the views of glorious beaches, estuaries and wooded valleys – we like the The St Ives Bay Line (from St Erth to St Ives) and the The Atlantic Coast Line crosses some of the finest countryside traversing the county from Par on the south coast to Newquay on the north. Fancy a more old-fashioned kinda trip – hitch a ride on the steam railways at Bodmin (above) or the Lappa Valley.

Playgrounds – the best have a cafe nearby for that essential coffee fix whilst you watch them, so head for Cardinham Woods, Lanhydrock, Callestick farm (above), Tanglewood wild garden near Penzance, Roskilly’sHeartlands at Redruth – or choose a sea view and pack your own tea. My personal faves are Polruan and Port Isaac, both handily next to the car park.

Bodminton, The Old Library, Bodmin, Sundays and Mondays from January 23rd until April 4th

Bodminton is an imaginative tiny town for young children. With scaled down shops and services to engage with, it provides a unique role play experience.

Great play is a powerful learning tool and we hope that while being heaps of fun, Bodminton helps children to develop their core communication, social, emotional and physical skills.

Bodminton includes a veterinary surgery, supermarket, construction site, post office and ice cream stand. All downsized, to be enjoyed by little ones.​

THE BIG SMOKE

Fancy a day-trip to London this half term? You could book discerning teens (and yourself, crucially!) in for a bit of excellent theatre: try Cyrano de Bergerac at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End, starring the multi-talented (and, er, rather dashing for a Bergerac…) James McAvoy, 3 Feb – 12 March, or Shakespeare’s Henry V delivered with aplomb by Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington in Covent Garden at the Donmar Warehouse, 12 Feb – 9 April. There’s also a much-lauded production of Small Island at the South Bank‘s National Theatre, from 24 Feb – 30 April.

Or, there’s a cool and immersive Bob Marley Experience running 2 Feb – 18 April at the Saatchi Gallery in West London. Using photographs, memorabilia, artworks and interactive rooms, this remembers the artist’s life like nothing before. Should appeal to a too-cool-for-school teen or two.

Younger kids will love — at least, they will if we can help it — the Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature exhibition at the V&A in Kensington, running from 12 Feb.

Especially exciting is the South Bank‘s Imagine Children’s Festival, running 9-20 Feb, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year. There’s a whole host of children’s theatre, comedy, music, literature, dance and full-on fun scheduled, with plenty of free events too, so definitely worth checking out.

Need more ideas? Check out our 2022 London culture planner.

TOO LATE!

FOR THOSE ON HALF TERM *EARLY*!

I’ve had loadsa emails & messages saying half term is a week earlier for those ‘up country’ – and the weather is, shall we say, not on side, so I’ve had a dig around to find out what is on this week… (whatever you do, best stay out of the sea – there’s a huge swell, spring tides and an amber weather warning out).

THEATRE: Gangsta Granny, Hall for Cornwall, 16-19 Feb

David Walliam’s Gangsta Granny is live on stage in Truro… There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake and Ben knows one thing for sure – it’s going to be sooooooooo boring! But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny!

THEATRE: Bugsy Malone, Fowey River Academy, 16 Feb

Part of local secondary school, Fowey River Academy presents… series of youth theatre.

CINEMA: Matilda, Sterts Theatre, 19 Feb

This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood, a gifted girl forced to put up with a crude, distant father and mother. Fun activities start at 5.00pm but you won’t have to go into Trunchbull’s Chokey!

EVENT: Longya, Cobweb Tours, Bude, 19 Feb

 Delve into the rich social history of Cornwall.  They have a talent for winkling out the forgotten stories of the people and traditions that have formed the unique characteristics of our Cornish villages and towns. In their latest project Longya, Cobweb Tours bring their original blend of theatre and storytelling to Bude. Will and Hetty will lead people through the town weaving together tales of Cornwall and the events that have taken place in a bespoke tour, delivered in a witty manner by itinerant miner Will and his long suffering cousin Hetty – a Methodist Bal Maiden. Tickets are free but please RSVP here.

Rockpool Ramble, Hannafore Beach, Looe, Sun 20 Feb 1.30pm

Join Looe Marine Conservation Group for their first rock-pooling session of the year. Explore the fascinating rocky shore and learn about the interesting flora and fauna at this event for all of the family. Bring an adult if you’re under 18 and you must wear suitable footwear is worn. No booking is required, meet below the coastguard station on Hannafore beach to join in the fun.

Find more ideas here

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