THERE’S lots going on in Leicester during the half-term break – with many activities free of charge.
From Saturday (28 May), young children will be able to join the magical world of Peter Rabbit at Newarke Houses Museum.
Little ones will be able to crawl under Mr McGregor’s garden gate and hide in a watering can, just like the famous bunny in the book.
Admission to The World of Peter Rabbit™ Storytime Trail – which will be open every day until 24 July – is free of charge.
Places are still available on a clay-modelling fun day, also at Newarke Houses Museum, where children aged five and over can have a go at making clay animals. Rabbits Galore takes place on Saturday (28 May) but places must be booked in advance at leicestermuseums.org/RabbitsGalore. A £3 charge applies.
International street art festival Bring the Paint provides lots of ideas for the weekend, with an augmented reality Whizwall at the LCB Depot on Saturday (28 May) and the RedBull Skate Park at Graffwerk’s HQ on Frog Island, also on Saturday (28 May). Details and further ideas are available at bringthepaint.co.uk
All the fantastic Bring the Paint murals can be enjoyed on a bike, with a free, family-friendly led ride at 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday (28-29 May). Booking is essential and places can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org The guided rides start at the Town Hall Bike Park.
The cycling theme continues on Saturday (28 May) at the Leicester Cycle Circuit at New Colllege, where Bike Fest will give people of all ages and abilities the chance to have a spin on the track free of charge. Pack up a picnic and borrow one of the free bikes for a fun afternoon, or bring along your own bike. No booking required – just drop in between 1pm and 4pm. Access to the circuit is via the St Oswald’s Road entrance.
Open Streets returns to Leicester city centre on Sunday (29 May), with guided walks, an extreme mountain biking display and rickshaw rides. Activities will take place in Town Hall Square and Green Dragon Square, where families will also be able to have a go on the climbing wall. The fun runs from 1pm-4pm.
Other ideas for half-term include a trip to Leicester Museum & Art Gallery on New Walk, where a new interactive feature in the Dinosaur Gallery helps bring fossils from the museum’s collection to life – while ‘I Grew Up 80s’ offers a nostalgic look back that children of all ages will enjoy. Admission is free.
Also happening all week at Leicester’s King Richard III Visitor Centre is the chance to have ‘An Appointment with the Apothecary’, who has a cure for everything – although the weird and wonderful ingredients that went into medieval medicines won’t be to everyone’s taste...
The apothecary will be offering his wisdom at the visitor centre from Saturday 28 May until Sunday 5 June. Admission to the visitor centre is £25 for a family ticket (two adults, two children), but the ticket allows you to visit as many times as you like for a whole year.
Also taking place during half-term are dozens of events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Newarke Houses Museum hosts some Jubilee Fun from 11am to 3pm on Monday (30 May), with a day of drop-in activities for young children. A £3 charge, payable on the door, applies for craft activities.
On Tuesday (31 May), the Abbey Pumping Station marks the occasion with a Jubilee Railway Day.
Leonard the Locomotive and Peter the Diesel will be in action, with trips on the narrow gauge railway costing 50p (cash only), and youngsters can enjoy playing ‘Pin the Jewel on the Crown’ or pretend to be royalty and take a selfie on the museum’s ‘throne’!
Bring a Jubilee picnic and drop in any time between 12 noon to 4pm.
Belgrave Hall’s beautiful garden is the venue for a family-friendly Jubilee Garden Party on Wednesday (1 June). Children will be able to make a decoration for the Jubilee, create their own crown, and search for nature’s reds, whites and blues in Belgrave Hall’s gardens. Activities cost £3 per child (cash only). Bring a picnic and drop in from 11am to 3pm.
Getting the extended bank holiday weekend off to a flying start is a special event in Jubilee Square, celebrating The Queen’s 70-year reign.
From 6.30pm on Wednesday (1 June), a live show will bring some of Leicestershire’s finest performers together for a Jubilee party.
At 19:52 – the time chosen to mirror the year The Queen came to the throne – local dance troupes will take to the stage to showcase the dance styles of the last 70 years. A contemporary routine will bring the dancing to a close at 20:22, with a big finale promising to get everyone singing and dancing in Jubilee Square.
Dance for The Queen is free of charge and everyone is welcome.
The following day (Thursday 2 June), there’s a chance to see a special Jubilee film at Abbey Pumping Station.
Cinematographer Rob Foxton has edited footage from The Queen’s coronation in 1953 and the Royal Tour of the Commonwealth to create a 40-minute film that will be shown in the pumping station’s small cinema.
The Jubilee Moving Picture Show will be shown at 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
A very limited number of seats are available so please reserve your place, free of charge, by calling 0116 299 5111 or by emailing email@example.com
There are also lots more Jubilee events taking place in local libraries and neighbourhood centres, including a Jubilee afternoon tea at the St Matthew’s Centre on Monday (30 May), a Big Jubilee Party with The Spark Arts at the Pork Pie Library & Community Centre on Tuesday (31 May), which will be repeated at St Barnabas Library on Wednesday (1 June), and an afternoon of Jubilee fun at the African Caribbean Centre – featuring 1950s fancy dress – on Saturday 4 June.
There will also be a Jubilee Treasure Hunt at Beaumont Leys Library at 11am each morning from 28 May to 4 June.
Details of all these special events, and many more, can be found at leicester.gov.uk/PlatinumJubilee
There’s an air of celebration in Leicester’s parks too, with free Jubilee concerts in three parks on Sunday 5 June at 3pm .
Enjoy the big brass sound of the Enderby Concert Brass Band on Western Park, the Ratby Co-operative Band on Abbey Park, and the New Orleans Hotshot Jazz Band on Victoria Park. All three run from 3pm-4pm.
Jubilee celebrations and the half-term break come to an end on a high, with the return of Leicester’s popular Riverside Festival. Live music, boat trips, arts and crafts, and food & drink stalls will provide everything for a great family day out. The fun starts at midday and continues until 7pm on Saturday (4 June), and until 5pm on Sunday (5 June).