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Half-term fun at city's parks and museums

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

LEICESTER’S parks and museums are the place to go for a fun day out this half-term.

There’s a chance to learn how to make beautiful tissue paper flowers at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday and Sunday (15-16 October). Drop in to the event any time between 11am and 3pm and create a decorative wall hanging – called a ‘toran’ – for Diwali. Admission is free.

On Sunday (16), visitors will be able to live like a Roman at the Jewry Wall Museum. Join the Friends of Jewry Wall for ‘Fun at the Baths’ and enjoy a day of Roman games, crafts and activities. The event runs from 11.30am-3.30pm and admission is free.

Also on Sunday (16), New Walk Museum will host its popular ‘Feed the Bugs’ session. Learn about the insects, handle them, and help feed them between 2pm and 3pm. Then, at 3pm, Dr Mark Evans will give a free talk that will take a fresh look at the museum’s star fossil – the Barrow Kipper plesiosaur.

Later that night, Leicester’s famous Diwali lights will be switched on, with a packed programme of entertainment and the return of the giant ‘Wheel of Light’. Activities get under way on Cossington Street recreation ground and Belgrave Road from 3pm on Sunday (16).

Diwali also provides the theme for a special colour trail at New Walk Museum from Monday (17). Pick up your free trail sheet every day until 30 October and explore light and colour through objects in the museum.

On Tuesday (18), there’s a chance for the super-organised to start their preparations for Christmas. Children will be able to make Christmas decorations and cards at the special event at Abbey Pumping Station from 11am until 3pm. Activities cost £2.50.

Also on Tuesday (18), Diwali comes to Newarke Houses Museum, with a day of Indian dancing, silk painting, wood block printing and children’s crafts. Youngsters are invited to dress up in their best Indian outfit, with a prize for the best dressed visitor. ‘Delightful Diwali’ runs from 11am to 3.30pm. Admission is free, with a small charge for Indian snacks and refreshments. 

New Walk Museum is the place to go on Wednesday (19) for a ‘Meet the beasts’ handling session with Dr Stuart Wood. Get up close to exotic reptiles and mini beasts in a friendly and safe environment at three ticketed sessions. Call 0116 225 4920 to book a place at 10.30am, 11.30am or 12.30pm. Tickets are £3.

Witches and ghouls will be welcome at the education centre at Abbey Park on Wednesday (19) from 11am to 1pm as the Friends of Abbey Park get ready for Halloween.  Youngsters are invited to dress up in Halloween costumes and spend a couple of hours designing and creating Halloween decorations. Admission is free.

There will be more witches and wizards spreading mischief at the Guildhall’s ‘Half-Term Horror at the Hall’ event on Thursday (20). Join them for a frightening family day at the reputedly haunted Guildhall from 11am until 3pm. Activities include face-painting and quizzes, with an admission charge of £2.50.

Anyone who’s ever wanted to learn how to do decorative handwriting and beautiful lettering can sign up for an introduction to calligraphy at Newarke Houses Museum on Saturday (22). Book your place on one of two sessions: from 10am-1pm or from 1.30pm-4.30pm. Pen, nib and style sheet are included in the £25 charge.

Also on Saturday (22), the Friends of Jewry Wall will be giving free guided tours of the museum. Meet at Jewry Wall Museum for ‘What Happened at the Baths?’ at 2pm.

There’s a final chance to enjoy New Walk Museum’s tribute to the ‘Fearless Foxes’ during half-term. The exhibition that tells the story of Leicester City’s title-winning 2015-16 season has attracted around 90,000 visitors since opening in May – including City manager Claudio Ranieri, who popped in to see it for himself yesterday (Monday). The free exhibition closes on 23 October.

And children can also follow Leicester’s new ‘i-spy’ trail around the city centre, looking for the unicorns, kangaroos and owls that are hidden in the city’s architecture. Download the ‘Look at Leicester’ activity trail from or pick up a copy for £1 at the Visit Leicester centre.

Half-term comes to an end with a special Storytelling Sunday at New Walk Museum. Pop in between 2pm-2.30pm, or from 3pm-3.30pm, to hear tales from faraway lands on Sunday (23 October).

Admission to all museums is free of charge, but a small charge is generally made for activities.

For more information about events at Leicester’s museums, go to

Half-term at a glance:

• Fearless Foxes
All week. Free admission.
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
0116 225 4900
• Toran flower making
Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 October: 11am - 3pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery 0116 225 4900
• Fun at the baths
Sunday 16 October: 11.30am – 3.30pm
Jewry Wall Museum 0116 225 4971

• Feed the bugs

Sunday 16 October: 2pm - 3pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
0116 225 4920
News from the Jurassic: A fresh look at the Barrow Kipper plesiosaur

Sunday 16 October: 3pm-4pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
0116 225 4900
• Diwali lights switch-on and firework display

Sunday 16 October: 3pm-9pm (switch-on at 7.30pm)

Cossington Street recreation ground and Belgrave Road.

Diwali colour trail

Monday 17 - Sunday 30 October: 11am - 4pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery 0116 225 4920

• ‘Getting ready for Christmas’ children’s day

Tuesday 18 October: 11am - 3pm. Activities £2.50

Abbey Pumping Station 0116 299 5111

• Delightful Diwali
Tuesday 18 October: 11am - 3.30pm
Newarke Houses Museum
0116 225 4980
• Meet the beasts: Handling session
Wednesday 19 October: 10.30am, 11.30am & 12.30pm
New Walk Museum (Ticketed event – £3. Call 0116 225 4920 to book your place)

• Get ready for Halloween
Wednesday 19 October: 11am-1pm
Education Centre, Abbey Park 0116 454 3761 or 0116 454 1003

• Half-term horror at the hall

Thursday 20 October: 11am - 3pm. £2.50 admission.

The Guildhall
0116 253 2569
Modern calligraphy workshop

Saturday 22 October: 10am-1pm or 1.30pm-4.30pm

Newarke Houses Museum 0116 225 4980 (Please book in advance - £25)

What happened at the baths?

Saturday 22 October; 2pm

Jewry Wall Museum 0116 225 4971

Distant Lands: Storytelling Sunday

Sunday 23 October: 2pm-2.30pm & 3pm-3.30pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery 0116 225 4900

• Look at Leicester – Children’s Activity Trail

Any time. Download your free booklet at or buy one for £1 at the Visit Leicester centre.