February Half Term 2020
February half-term in Kent (Monday 17 - Friday 21 February FYI) has plenty to tempt you and your little ones. From some exciting exhibitions and hands-on history to up-close animal encounters and adventures in the great outdoors, we've got all the ingredients needed for a stress-free week off with the kids in the Garden of England.
So what are you waiting for? Your recipe for the perfect February Half Term awaits...
Several drops of imagination
If your patience is wearing thin with your own real life Dennis The Menace, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge has just the thing for you! Immerse yourself in an eclectic mix of original, iconic comic art alongside work by current children’s comic creators. And, if you really can't get them to put down the gaming remote, head straight to PLAY Expo Margate at Margate Winter Gardens. This celebration of gaming will be packed with playable arcades, consoles and computers along with a whole host of other related features, and more gaming mayhem than Margate has seen before! Game on...
A heap of heroic history
Who says you need to watch re-runs of Horrible Histories on the telly when you and your little historians can get up close with some of the most memorable moments from Kent’s past? At Dover Castle get Hands On With History as you sharpen your detective skills as part of this iconic castle's secrets and spies event from 15th-23rd February. Meanwhile, this year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and where better to learn all about Kent’s military past than at the remarkable Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne? While younger members of the family are enjoying the hands-on attractions of The Scramble Experience, parents and grandparents alike will be fascinated by the detailed information on offer at this truly important museum.
A dash of something out of this world
Got yourself a budding astrologer in your midst? Take ‘one small step’ inside historic Rochester Cathedral this February and you’ll be transported into space with their spectacular Museum of the Moon inspired series of family activities and events. And, once they’ve had a taste for what’s up above in the night's sky, you’ll have a hard job getting them to look back down. If so, where better to head for a night under the stars than Canterbury’s Camping & Caravanning Club? Pitch up and get those telescopes at the ready!
A generous serving of terrific trails
Code crackers and problem solvers will be spoilt for choice this half term with a whole host of terrific trails to sink inquisitive teeth into! Learn all about the origins of some of the items we use as part of every day life when you take part in Penshurst Place's Amazing Inventions trail, or explore the gardens at Chartwell through the eyes of Sir Winston Churchill and his paintbrush when you take on the art-inspired family trail at the Prime Minister's former home. Meanwhile, become a plant pursuer at Emmetts Garden and see what you can discover as you adventure around the gardens as part of their Plant Explorers Trail.
x2 measures of the great outdoors
Endured more than your fair share of CBBC? It's time to switch off the screens, grab your wellies and head outside for your very own adventure in the great outdoors. Royal Tunbridge Wells has a generous dose of picturesque open spaces, just waiting to be explored. Why not head to Calverley Grounds where you'll enjoy pretty landscaping, winding paths, glorious gardens, and even an adventure playground? Alternatively, you and your family are invited to visit historic Hever Castle between 15th and 23rd February where you'll learn all about wonderful wildlife and the fantastic work of a range of local wildlife charities as part of their Living With Nature event.
A few sprinkles of superb storytelling
Got a promising young writer in the family? Children aged 5 to 13 years are, once again, being invited to take part in the Leeds Castle BIG Story Writing Challenge. Little authors can get creative with this year’s theme of ‘One Golden Day’, as they put on their royal thinking crowns and use this golden theme as inspiration to write about anything at all, with a unique title – the more imaginative the better! 20 talented finalists will then be invited to an exciting Grand Awards Ceremony on 29th May 2020, hosted by Clare Balding at the Castle. But hurry, entries must be in by 6th March, so it’s time to get picking up those pens!
x2 ladels of riveting reads
If your little bookworm would much rather be getting lost in someone else's story than writing their own, there's a few exciting events this half term that you'll be wanting to bookmark. From 17th to 20th February, families are invited to enjoy Story Time with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, taking place every day from 10am-6pm at Bluewater. Meanwhile, it's all aboard at Kent & East Sussex Railway, where author of the hugely-popular ‘Peter’s Railway’ children’s books, Chris Vine, will be getting railway’s holiday programme off to an exciting start.
A light dusting of animal antics
If wild things make your heart sing, you’ll want to head straight to one of Kent’s wild animal parks or family farmyards where you’re guaranteed a wide array of animal antics. At Wildwood near Canterbury you'll come nose-to-nose with British Wildlife past and present including bears, wolves, otters and wild cats to name a few. Over in West Kent, the Rare Breeds Centre have hordes of friendly farm animals to pet and learn about within 100 acres of beautiful countryside! And, for something a little different, at the Powell-Cotton Museum explore how other animals see the world as part of their Eye Spy with My Animal Eyes event!
x2 spoonfuls of art & culture
Artists big and small will want to head to marvellous Margate this half term for a spot of creativity by the coast. Aardman Animations will be at Dreamland Margate on 15th and 16th February, hosting three model making workshops each day and teaching guests a few tricks of the trade. Definitely a date for the diary! And for those looking for even more chances to get crafty, it’s next stop Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre and all aboard for their ‘Make & Paint’ workshops, also running 15th and 16th February between 11am and 2pm.
A pinch of secrets & spies
Pssst! The Historic Dockyard Chatham has uncovered some important secret intelligence and they're looking for a new recruit of spies to help this February half term (from 15th - 23rd). Young spies should report to HQ on arrival to be briefed on their mission. Navigate the Dockyard and uncover the mysterious world of spies and secret agents. Get hands on with spy craft sessions and, the highlight of any mission, climb aboard HMS Ocelot, a real-life spy submarine. With an indoor and an outdoor trail, the weather will never foil your mission! Don't fancy driving? With easy bus links from Chatham station when you travel with Arriva, this half term favourite is a breeze to get to without the car.