OMG, where has May gone?! It doesn’t feel like 8 weeks since we demolished all those Easter eggs!
Weather-wise it’s looking a bit, er, um… well, exactly. All over the place. So I’ve put together our Top 6 What do Do in and around Oxfordshire this May half term.
1. Summertown, Oxfordshire, OX2 & Unique Pottery Creations
I’m not suggesting you trek around a whole district, but Summertown is quite artisan with its Turkish cafés and vegetarian eateries, as well as a descent Costa Coffee you can duck into if the showers start.
Unique Creations is a handy place to know in Summertown. We’ve whiled away a wet afternoon here painting pottery, everything from a leaping Dolphin to a troll on an eggcup! Paint it, have it glazed and then collect it seven days later. It has a small café inside serving coffee, juice and a small selection of sandwiches and lots of chocolate. But this is a nice group activity for a rainy day which even keeps Little Mister occupied.
Unique Creations, 263 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7HN
2. The Book House, Summertown
Another rainy stop off point is The Book House. It’s a huge bookshop dedicating over half of its floorspace to children’s books. There are various cubby holes for the kids to crawl in to with a book & areas with big beanbags where you can sit and read. So you can spend a decent amount of time here whilst the rain passes!
We enjoy the café for a snack, although it does get busy during the weekend & peak periods. But worth a stop over and a coffee, if you can get a seat.
The Book House, Summertown, 267 Banbury Road, Summertown
3. Black Park Country Park, Uxbridge, SL3
No half term break would be complete without a trip to a Woods. Black Park Country Park is on the Bucks border and has over 500 acres of woodland with a massive lake at its centre. Approx 45 mins from Oxford it’s a beautiful, free, fun getaway for everyone. It also has pathways which go around the lake, which are suitable for bikes and scooters, as well as the usual woods to explore, build dens and generally get muddy stuff you expect from any forrest!
It also houses GoApe Junior – an adventure playground situated high up in the trees, with zip-wires & rope ladders and the like. Here you have to be just 1m tall, able (and willing!) to give it a go. We often see the adult Go Ape in our favourite Wendover Woods and Mademoiselle keeps asking about having a go. We haven’t experienced GoApe Junior as yet…if the weather’s good that’s where me & mademoiselle probably end up!
4. Pony Days @ Horsewyse, Long Crendon
Mademoiselle is immersed in the Pony Detective books by Belinda Rapley so this is perfect!
Horsewyse is a non for profit riding school, based in Long Crendon. It has big, spacious stables, opposite some beautiful countryside for hacking, or there’s an indoor training paddock for lessons. It’s run by trained instructors & tries to keep its classes small to help children get the most out of their lessons.
It’s hosting two Pony Fun Days – Tuesday 26 and Thursday 28th May. Children need to be 5y+ and will spend the day having lessons, hacking, learning something called Polocrosse (?!) and general pony care duties.
Pony care days at Horsewyse or facebook.com/horsewyse
5. Peterley Manor Farm, Nr Gt, Missenden
It’s so nice to discover a decent café for adults in any children’s activity area, one that serves more than Jacket Potatoes and paninis, and this one is it.
It’s an operational fruit & veg farm with PYO starting in Summer; it has a bountiful farm shop and its Wild Strawberry Café offers a gourmet feast! As you’d expect the food is seasonal & locally sourced with the much from its own grounds – it even presses its own apple juice! And, if that wasn’t enough it’s situated in a Mongolian Yurt in the middle of a field!
The menu is varied. How about Homemade banana bread with vanilla cream cheese & roasted rhubarb (£4.95) ?or Slow roasted local ‘Stockings Farm’ Moroccan spiced spring Lamb with mint youghurt & pomegranate, servied in a brioche bun with lemon & almost couscous (£10.95)? Pretty grow up stuff, huh?!
Peterley Manor Farm, Peterley Lane, Great Missenden
6. The ChickenShed Theatre, Southgate – Tales from the Shed
Because it’s so different this is my favourite children’s theatre, EVER!
The show itself is situated around the audience. Everyone sits on the floor (only downside, but it is worth it!) as this really informal, totally zany show performs in your same space! Children are encouraged to join in, sing along and get involved. The Tales from the Shed is a 50(ish) minute show which loosely follows a fairytale, but it has different characters, is modernised and generally very noisy. And The Tales performance is different every time because there’s a huge amount of improvisation – but it works! Perfect for 0 – 7yrs
From Oxfordshire its just over an hour to get there but it’s worth the trip. Another plus is its café area which opens onto a courtyard when the weather’s good. You can sit in either space with your own picnic or with food from its café, they really don’t mind. They just understand that children need to be fed!
During half term Tales from the Shed are running on Thursday 28 & Fri 29th May
The ChickenShed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, EN1
That’s me! I’m off to get my diary out! Enjoy half term!
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