FAMILIES looking for a low-cost day out this half-term should make a beeline for Leicester’s libraries and museums.
The chance to decorate a pumpkin, create a felt elephant or join an Elves and the Shoemaker themed-day are just some of the activities taking place at sites across the city.
On Monday (16 October), between 12 noon and 3pm, youngsters can get ready for Halloween by making party decorations, masks, skeletons and witch’s hats at the Brite Centre’s Halloween workshop.
Also on Monday (16 October), there’s a family fun day at Newarke Houses Museum, inspired by its current exhibition that celebrates 400 years of shoes.
The Elves and the Shoemaker day runs from 11am–3pm, with a £3 charge for activities, including storytelling, trails and crafts.
Tuesday (17 October) sees the return of Abbey Pumping Station’s popular Railway Day, when visitors can enjoy a trip on the narrow gauge railway for just 50p (cash only please). The Railway Day runs from 11.30am-4pm and will be repeated the following Tuesday (24 October).
Witches, wizards, cats and bats are welcome to Belgrave Hall on Wednesday (18 October, 11am-3pm), when the hall hosts its Cats and Bats Family Fun Day.
Youngsters are invited to come in their favourite Halloween costumes to enjoy themed crafts and a magical cats and bats trail around the gardens. Booking is recommended and a £3 charge applies for crafts.
Leicester’s ancient Guildhall is the place to be for young witches and wizards on Thursday (19 October).
The haunted hall will host a Witches and Wizards day, where youngsters will be able to make a witch’s hat, a flying wizard or their own book of spells. There’s a £3 charge for activities, which will run between 11am and 3pm.
The city’s Central Library on Bishop Street will celebrate Black History Month on Friday (20 October) with an afternoon of free crafts (2pm-4pm), while the Brite Centre will host its Halloween arts, craft and party between 12 noon and 3pm.
Also taking place this half-term are some free activities for young families at some of the city's children's centres.
The centres at Thurnby Lodge, Eyres Monsell, Beaumont Leys, Belgrave, Highfields and Braunstone have all got activities planned, including face-painting, storytelling and a dough disco. Details are available here
As well as events at libraries, museums and children's centres, there’s plenty of free fun to be had in Leicester city centre this half term too.
Families can enjoy a free game-playing session of The Wayfinder at the Phoenix cinema and arts centre on Saturday (14 October), while the LCB Depot on Rutland Street is inviting youngsters to help them make a city of dens. Both events run from 12 noon–4pm on Saturday.
And from Monday (16 October), families can have fun tracking down nine giant glow-in-the-dark monsters that will loom over the city centre from elevated vantage points.
Featuring the terrifying-sounding Slime Minister, Tentacle Terry and Grim Fingers, the spectacular monsters will make Leicester their home until 31 October.
Bringing half-term week to a fruitful end on Saturday (21 October) is National Apple Day, which will be celebrated at the Education Centre in Abbey Park.
Visitors can drop in between 11am-1pm for free fruit-themed activities and games, guided walks, and a demonstration of a new online map, showing where fresh fruit and nuts can be picked for free in the city’s community orchards.
More details of these events, and ideas for many more free or low-cost half-term activities in Leicester, can be found here
Photo caption: One of nine inflatable monsters that will loom over Leicester from 16-31 October. Photo copyright: Alex Hannam/BID Leicester