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Framlingham Castle

Things to do with the kids this may half-term

If you're looking for somewhere to spend quality time with the kids this May half-term, but also need to take it easy, then Suffolk might be the place for you. From exploring the Suffolk countryside and coast, discovering treasure and boat trips on the River Orwell to bats, pigs, fairy tale topiary and Peter Rabbit - here's just a selection of what's on offer. 
Children play at RSPB Minsmere (c) Eleanor BentallRSPB Minsmere on the Suffolk coast

1. Suffolk Walking Festival

With over 60 child-friendly walks to choose from, join one of the largest walking festivals in the country through a jaunt around Suffolk’s coast, countryside, wildlife and historic towns. On the 29th May, head on a digital treasure hunt with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Carlton Marshes on the Suffolk coast, or, if you’re young ones are a little more daring, the Horrible History of Ipswich walk is full of ghouls and tales of old. Find your walk here.

Carlton MarshesDiscovering at Carlton Marshes

2. Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

Stretching for almost a mile along Felixstowe’s seafront, the Seafront Gardens are grade II listed and are perfect for an amble with the family. Get the kids to complete a tick list of things to find, from butterflies to bees, before heading for a well-deserved treat.
Felixstowe Seafront GardensGet exploring at Felixstowe's Seafront Gardens

3. Beachcombing on the Suffolk coast

Let’s go on a beach hunt! Whether you join in or watch from afar, we are talking endless fun with a good checklist of items to find. Suggestions: pebbles, seaweed, birds, boats, shells…the list is endless! And with the variety of Suffolk beaches to choose from, you may find more than you bargained for.
Giant chair at the Aldeburgh Beach LookoutAldeburgh beachfront and the Lookout

4. Castle on the Hill!


At Framlingham Castle witness ghastly gallows, horrific hangmen and terrifying torture - travel back in time and discover the painful punishments your history teacher’s too timid to tell you! From the A-Z of torture to who's top of the chops, get gruesome at Framlingham this half term. (28th May - 1st June)

Halt term at Framlingham CastleFramlingham Castle

5. All aboard Lady Orwell River Cruises

Get your sea legs on and head to Suffolk’s waterfront town for a spot of sailing with Lady Orwell Cruises. There are 3 options, each focusing on a different theme but all offering amazing views of Shotley Peninsula and the River Orwell. For an hour, get to spot Peregrine Falcons and the historic Freston Tower, built by a wealthy Ipswich merchant in 1578. (You can even hire it!). Extend your trip to 3 hours and learn about the Pilgrim Fathers departure point on the Mayflower and Samuel Pepy’s parliamentary seat, as you head towards HMS Ganges and the UK’s largest container port at Felixstowe.

Lady Orwell CruisesLady Orwell River Cruises

6. The Suffolk Show

For a full day of activities and fun you can’t go far wrong with Suffolk’s county show on the 30th and 31st May. Expect full-on outdoors fun and action with livestock displays, equestrian displays and trials to Pig Olympics, as well as a good selection of artisan food and drink from Adnams. This year the spectacular motorbike stunts by Bolddog Lings returns to wow the crowds.

The Suffolk ShowThe Suffolk Show

7. 'Through the Ages' at Kentwell

Kentwell Hall and Gardens hold many special events throughout the year, but simply being here is a treat. Visit the 15th century moat house and majestic gardens, which are fun to explore with a number sculptures and fairy tale topiary dotted throughout. Don’t miss ‘Through the Ages’ this May half-term (26th – 28th May) covering the Neolithic to the twentieth century, and everything in between! Join the Kentwellies on a journey through time!

Kentwell Hall at half termKentwell Hall 'Through the Ages'

8. Storytelling at Melford Hall

Join the National Trust’s Melford Hall on Saturday 2nd June and get carried away by the magical adventures with the original Peter Rabbit and friends, narrated by one of their great story tellers. Author Beatrix Potter was the cousin of Lady Hyde Parker and visited the house many times. You can see remnants of her visits through a series of watercolours of the house, and several of the soft toys which served as models for her illustrations.
Melford HallMelford Hall at Long Melford

9. Batwalk and Talk at Ickworth House

Keen for your child to attempt the National Trust’s ’50 things do before you’re 11 3/4s’? Then Ickworth House is the place to be this May half-term. Select your date (31st May or 1st June) and join a bat specialist for an exploration around the neoclassical estate, near Bury St Edmunds. Discover the difference between a Pipistrelle and a Daubenton’s and end the evening with a hot chocolate in hand, learning a bit more about these mystical creatures from the experts.
The Ickworth Hotel, SuffolkSpring at Ickworth House

10. Learn to ride like a jockey!

The National Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House is a fun-filled day out for the family. Learn about 350 years of horseracing history, visit the Packard Galleries for three floors of sporting masterpieces on loan from the national galleries and get up close to the racehorses in the Rothschild Yard, who are super friendly! Children can dress up like a jockey and experience the thrill of riding like one in the King’s Yard Galleries. (opens daily, 10am-5pm and costs £12 adults, £7 children. Under 5s go free)

National centre for horseracing and sporting artKing's Yard Galleries at the National Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art

What are you doing this May half-term?

If you're heading to Suffolk, why not share your family adventures with us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?