Skip to content
Archived news

Select a month and year to view archived news stories.

City council offers lots of free and low-cost half-term fun

Published on Tuesday, February 13, 2024

4 minute read

Train ride at Abbey Pumping Station

LEICESTER’S libraries, museums and children’s centres are among the council venues offering families lots of days out that won’t break the bank this half-term.

During their week off school, children and young people will be able to meet a famous polar bear, delve into a cabinet of curiosity, try their hand at stand-up comedy, take a ride on a steam locomotive, and even join a group cycle ride that includes a stop for pancakes.

Details of all the activities can be found at

One highlight of the programme is The Famous Pancake Ride – a five-mile bike ride suitable for all ages that starts at the Arch of Remembrance in Victoria Park and heads south to Oadby. Sign up for the ride on Saturday 17 February here and bring £3 for a well-earned pancake and drink.

Leicester’s museums will be taking some fascinating items from their collections to the BRITE Centre during half term. Visitors will have the chance to meet Peppy the Polar Bear – the famous Fox’s Glacier Mints’ mascot – and discover objects and artefacts from the natural world in a Cabinet of Curiosities. There’ll also be storytelling, craft activities and a walkabout by Inka, the animatronic polar bear. The Doorstep Museum will be at the BRITE Centre between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 18 February and Monday 19 February. 

Also providing free half-term activities is the Leicester Adult Education College, whose Family Learning Roadshows will encourage parents and children to have fun while learning together. Join the activities – including making playdough and creating a storyboard – in the Old Library Café at the college (entrance on Belvoir Street) on Monday 19 February from 12.30pm-3.30pm. The sessions will also take place at the Pork Pie Library on Wednesday 21 February (2pm-3.30pm) and at New Parks Library on Thursday 22 February (10.30am-1pm).   

On Tuesday 20 February, Ancient Egypt provides the theme for a craft day at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (11am-3pm), while those looking for outdoor activities should head for the Abbey Pumping Station, where Leonard the Steam Locomotive will be in action on the narrow gauge railway. The pumping station’s Railway Day runs from 11.30am-4pm, with train rides costing 50p.

Children and young people can get involved in the UK Kids’ Comedy Festival by telling their favourite jokes at Evington Library on Wednesday 21 February. The Joke Spot takes place from 1pm-4pm and will give youngsters a taste of life as a stand-up comedian. Joke Spots will be bringing laughter to other libraries too, with sessions taking place across the city between Saturday 17 February and Saturday 24 February. See website for details.

On Thursday 22 February, there’s a very special ‘Kids Go Free’ offer for families at the King Richard III Visitor Centre. Up to three children, aged 15 and under, can discover the story of the king who was found under a Leicester car park free of charge, when accompanied by a fee-paying adult.

Also taking place on Thursday 22 February is the Guildhall’s annual ‘snowball’ fight – part of the museum’s Frosty Fun Day. Whatever the weather, there’ll be wintry-themed arts and crafts between 11am-3pm. £3 charge applies.

The snowy theme continues on Thursday 22 February, when the Haymarket Shopping Centre celebrates International Polar Bear Day with a visit from Big Pip – a beautiful eight-foot bear. There’ll be comedy from some hapless Arctic explorers and some cheeky Emperor penguins, as well as free craft activities. Drop in between 11am and 3pm.

Taking place at the same time – at the Highcross shopping centre – is a pop-up museum, featuring games, artefacts, an interactive dinosaur display and performances of ‘Dinotopia’ at 12 noon, 1.30pm and 3pm.

All week, there’ll be lots going on at Leicester’s libraries. Activities include plant pot decorating at Highfields Library (1pm-4pm on Monday 19 February), painting with a spin bike at Fosse Library (11am-3pm on Tuesday 20 February), finger-puppet making at St Matthews Library (2pm-4pm on Wednesday 21 February), outer space-themed crafts at Beaumont Leys Library (2pm-3.30pm on Wednesday 21 February), a family fun afternoon at the Pork Pie Library (2pm-3.30pm on Wednesday 21 February) and half-term crafts at Aylestone Library (10am-6pm on Thursday 22 February).

Any child who lacks confidence in the water can sign up for some intensive swimming coaching this half term. Courses are available at Spence Street sports centre, Aylestone leisure centre and Evington leisure centre, with five 30-minute group sessions costing £31.20. One-to-one lessons are also available at an additional cost. Contact the centres directly to find out more.

Babies and very young children will be catered for during half term too, with Stay and Play sessions taking place at Leicester’s children’s centres. Some sessions – including one at Netherhall children’s centre on Thursday 22 February – will include activities for older children too. See website for details.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “Keeping children busy over the half-term break doesn’t have to cost the earth, as there are plenty of free and low-cost activities taking place in the city that families can enjoy together.

“We’ve tried to make it easy for people to find affordable things to do by pulling the details together and listing them on our dedicated families’ website.

“I hope families will find the webpage a useful guide to some of the many free educational, creative and activity-based events taking place in Leicester this half term.”

Details of activities taking place in Leicester this half term can be found at