Free and cheap fun in Leicester this half-term

This week is half-term in Leicester and parents around the city will be looking for fun ways to keep their children entertained. Leicester City Council has produced a handy guide to let families know what's going on around the city.

Events are taking place at the city's tourist attractions, museums, libraries and elsewhere. The fun kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday) when the Newarke Houses Museum will be inviting visitors to bring a picnic to enjoy in its beautiful garden.

There’ll be games, butterfly-themed crafts and a children’s garden trail, with a £4 charge for activities when booked in advance, or £5 on the door.

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Also on Tuesday (May 28), Abbey Pumping Station will its doors for one of its popular Railway Days. Hop on the train on the narrow-gauge railway, have light refreshments from the café, or simply take a picnic and enjoy the museum’s grounds. The Railway Day runs from 11.30am to 4pm, with a 50p charge for train rides.

Belgrave Hall will be hosting an Arty Party from 11am to 3pm on Wednesday (May 29), when youngsters can take along a plain t-shirt or a glass jar and use a range of decorative materials to make them unique for £5 - cash only - while the whole family can enjoy the hall’s gardens.

Also on Wednesday, families are invited to walk, scoot or cycle to the Oval at Abbey Park to join celebrations marking the end of National Walking Month. Funky Feet and Wacky Wheels runs will take place from 11am to 2pm.

There’s lots going on on Thursday (May 30), with a day of learning, crafting and eco-conscious fun at Leicester Museum in New Walk, Clay-Time at the Guildhall, crafts at Leicester Cathedral from 10am to noon, and Commotion in the Ocean – a free seaside-themed event at the Haymarket Shopping Centre.

Throughout the week, Leicester’s libraries will be welcoming young visitors with some special half-term activities. Children at Highfields Library will be making beaded creatures on Tuesday from 1pm to 4pm, Fosse Library will be creating farmyard animal puppets on Wednesday from noon to 2pm, St Matthews Library will be running nature-themed craft activities on Thursday from 2pm to 4pm and Beaumont Leys Library will be offering drop-in activities all week, including the chance to colour in a creature and add it to the library’s giant woodland mural.

Ensuring that the May half-term break ends on a high is Leicester’s 25th Riverside Festival on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2. Promising to be bigger and better than ever, the two-day festival will offer lots of family fun, both on and off the water, at sites including Bede Park, Castle Gardens, Western Boulevard and – for the first time – the De Montfort University (DMU) campus. Look out for outdoor cinema on the big screen at DMU, boat trips and kayaking on the river, live music on the main stage, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

There are lots more activities taking place at the city’s libraries this half-term. Babies and younger children will be catered for too, with ‘stay and play’ sessions taking place at the city’s children, young people and families’ centres.

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