Spring is almost upon us! After the wettest winter on record I think we deserve some sunny days so we can get out and enjoy March. Hopefully the list below will inspire you; if you have any more suggestions for readers feel free to leave a comment. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a suitably spring like picture.
1. Sport Relief run, swim and cycle
This year there are over 1000 Sport Relief events, mostly organised for the weekend of 21-23 March. These include family cycle rides in London, Manchester and Glasgow, swimathons at 600 pools and plenty of 1 mile running events. Entry fees start from £3 and are used to cover the cost of running the event. By raising additional sponsorship you can contribute to the Sport Relief charity which funds projects in the UK and abroad.
2. The Big Bang science fair
I’ve heard great things about the Big Bang science fair from a couple of teachers. Held this year at the NEC in Birmingham it’s open to the public on 15-16 March (and to school groups only on 13-14 March). The event is aimed at 7-19 year olds and includes theatre shows, workshops and science activities. The Big Bang stage is advertising rockets, edible insects and extreme flatulence so perfect for my kids! There is no entrance charge but you need to register in advance here.
Think of spring, and you’ll often think of lambs. Farms, agricultural colleges and animal parks across the country will open their doors for lambing events throughout March. Thanks to Countryfile, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is probably the most famous farm in Britain and they’ll be running lambing demonstrations up until 21 April. A quick Google search will probably throw up options local to you.
4. Belfast children’s festival
Running from 7-14 March the Belfast children’s festival offers a variety of free and ticketed shows. These include a Bollywood rave for 0-4 year olds (the mind boggles), an instant orchestra and a dance group consisting of 4 women and 4 bags of flour! On Sunday 9 March there is a free ‘festival in a day’ with activities such as origami, circus skills and magic on offer. More information and online booking here.
5. World book day
World Book Day takes place in the UK on Thursday 6 March. Most children will receive a voucher to swap for one of this years £1 books (see the list here) and many libraries and book shops run local events to tie in with the day. For example, Torquay library are running stories, crafts and activities for 4-11 year olds and Waterstones in Chelmsford are offering games, prizes and goody bags. Remember to check out your local independent bookstore too, if you’re lucky enough to have one!
6. Viking exhibition at the British museum, London
This exhibition opens on 6 March and runs until 22 June. The central exhibit is the surviving timber of a 37 metre long Viking war ship, and this is accompanied by jewellery, looted treasure and weapons. There will also be Viking skeletons from a recently excavated grave in Dorset. At £16.50 per adult this isn’t a cheap exhibition but children are free. Check availability and book your tickets in advance on the British Museum website here.
7. Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday, which now seems to be known as Pancake Day, is on Tuesday 4 March this year. Pancake races are held around the country, often for charity, with teams of 4 flipping pancakes as they run. A couple worth mentioning are the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race in London and the Olney Pancake Race in Bucks. Personally I prefer just to eat mine (with lemon and sugar please).
8. National science and engineering week
This is a national 10 day event taking place from 14-23 March to promote science, technology and engineering across the UK. It might sound a little on the dry side but the website has a searchable database covering lots of fun events. Some of the ones I liked the sound of include a slime workshop at Gosport Discovery Centre, an Explore the Future family day at the University of Bradford and Pyromania! at Plymouth University.
9. St David’s Day parade, Cardiff
The St David’s Day parade takes place from 12.30pm on Saturday 1 March. The route leads through Cardiff finishing up at the Castle, where further entertainment will be available throughout the afternoon. Celebrations are also being held at St Fagan’s National History Museum and National Museum Cardiff. These include the well known Welsh pastime of leek tossing and a bara brith eating competition!
10. Mother’s day
Mothering Sunday is on Sunday 30 March and lots of attractions are offering free entry to mothers, when accompanied by a paying child. These include the Big Sheep in Devon, Roves Farm near Swindon, Mother Shipton’s cave near Knaresborough and Painshill Park in Surrey.
MAD blog awards
If you’ve read this far, I’m hoping it means you enjoy my blog! If so, I’d really appreciate it if you could vote for A family day out (www.afamilydayout.co.uk) in the MAD blog awards. These are awards for parent bloggers, and I’d love a vote in the “Travel” category (you also need to vote in the ‘Blog of the year’ category). To vote, pop along to the nomination page here before 14 March.It should only take a couple of minutes and I’ll be very grateful. Thanks!