It genuinely feels like the kids have only just gone back to school and now they’re off again. As covid restrictions continue to be relaxed, more and more places are open. Some of our favourites are not holding specific events this year. For some places just the fact that they’re open after such a long time is novelty enough!! Here’s my guide to all the best things kids activities in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire & Hertfordshire during the May half term.
No matter where you are, there’s bound to be a Treasure Map Trail near you! These are beautiful maps that you can do at any time of day! You can save 10% on your map using the code FREETIMEWITHTHEKIDS and this affiliate link
Always one of our favourite activities, most splash parks have reopened in time for the May half term across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. You can read my full guide (updated for 2021) here.
Buckinghamshire half term activities
Waddesdon Manor is re-opening all of their normal rooms for the first time since covid hit. They’ve also just replaxed their massive tube slide! During Easter they didn’t announce their trail until quite late so I’m hoping there will be a half-term activities at Waddesdon Manor again this year! For bookings have a look at their website (affiliate link)
Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire (reviewed here) is open for half term activities with kids going free! Don’t forget that people living within 10 miles of Bletchley save 50% on admission and all tickets are valid for 12 months!
The manor house at Hughenden Manor will be reopening in time for the May half term. There’s also the new playground that opened in late 2020 and wonderful woodland walks to make the most of your day. Any specific half term activities for the kids haven’t been announced yet.
There is a Tremendous Trees trail taking place at Stowe Gardens from the 22nd May – 13 June. £1.50 per child. You can read my review of Stowe here. Admission to all National Trust properties is free for members. Pre-booking is strongly recommended during half term to guarantee admission.
Another National Trust Buckinghamshire favourite, Cliveden, also hasn’t announced any specific half term activities yet. It is however definitely worth a visit. I’d recommend maybe skipping the often busy water garden and playground area though by exploring the wider estate and quieter walks. The woodland has got a great play trail and is significantly quieter. Read more about it in my review. If they do announce a trail I’ll update this listing.
The Gruffalo Spotters 2 trail is still taking place at Wendover Woods, as is the Gruffalo Orienteering trail. It might be quite busy up there if the weather is nice, so try to go early or late in the day if you can. A much quieter local woodland as an alternative is Penn Woods (which has the added bonus of a couple of pubs near the start).
The spring steam gala at Bucks Railway Centre is on the 30th and 31st May. On the Monday there will also be a vintage bus rally. Locals get a significant discount on annual passes. Read my full review here.
There’s a Meet The Romans living history event at Chiltern Open Air Museum (reviewed here) on the 30th and 31st May. £12.50 per adult, £7.50 per child. There’s also their Terrific Tuesday event on the 1st June and a Wellington’s army weekend on the 5th/6th June.
Bedfordshire Days Out
Rushmere Country Park have not got a trail going on this half term but it’s still a great place for a family walk. If you want to avoid the crowds to exploring some of the quieter parts of the park. You can find more details here.
Wrest Park in Bedfordshire are letting the kids rule this half term with lots of different activities going on. There will be storytelling and performances, all included with admission. English Heritage members go free.
Why not fly a kite up at Dunstable Downs, blow the cobwebs away with a family walk or wander down to the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. Again, they haven’t announced any specific half term activities yet, but I’ll update this guide when they do.
Whipsnade Zoo (read my review here) have just opened their new playground and it looks AMAZING! The good news is that they still have tickets available for half term! You can check the latest availability here (affiliate link)
There’s a half term habitat trail at the Forest of Marston Vale (Millennium Country Park). £3 per trail, pre-booking is required.
There are various activities taking place at Houghton Hall Park in Bedfordshire throughout half term. There’s a dinosaur detective trail, workshops and even a show. Some events are free, some have an additional charge.
Ascott House between Wing and Leighton Buzzard is a relatively small National Trust property. It doesn’t have a playground, but it does have some really interesting gardens that the kids enjoy exploring. On the 31st May they’re participating in the National Gardens scheme which means that all tickets (including NT members) are £6 for adults and £3 for children. Something to bear in mind if you don’t want to pay.
Oxfordshire days out
Didcot Railway Centre have got steam days on the 29th May – 6th June. There will be the opportunity to ride the steam trains as well as have a look around them.
The half term activities haven’t been announced yet for Grey’s Court in South Oxfordshire. Even if there’s no specific events it’s a good time to visit the gardens as their incredible wisteria is in full bloom. It’s massive and you can walk around underneath it. You might even catch the very last of the bluebells in the woodland.
Blenheim Palace have got a spring spectacular planned.There’s their new stables exhibition, chance to meet ponies and their amazing jousting tournament. All events are included with annual passes. The great news is that the maze and butterfly house have both reopened. Younger kids can also help Lavender track down her 12 lost sheep in the walled garden.
Tickets for Cotswold Wildlife park are only released at 10:00 the day before you want to visit. That means no having to second-guess the weather week’s in advance!
Oxford’s free museums have all reopened now. There’s so many to choose from including the Natural History museum, Ashmolean and History of Science museum. We actually did a little tour of various museums as part of a free day out in Oxford.
Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway has got steam days on the 31st May, 3rd & 6th June. If you live in Chinnor or Princes Risborough then train tickets are half price!
Hertfordshire half term activities
St Albans Museum are hosting some street theatre on the 1st June at 1:00 in the street outside the museum. Afterwards you can explore the cathedral and Verulamium Park, including their amazing new playground that opened last year. .
Tring Natural History Museum is already fully booked this half term, but there’s plenty of local alternatives. If it’s a nice day you can pop over the road and have a wander in Tring Park. Fancy a waterside walk? There’s a circular route around Wilstone Reservoir or around the Tring reservoirs and along the canal.
The Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans, Hertfordshire is running from the 28th May – 11th July and has lots of different activities taking place over half term.
Knebworth House has now fully reopened their playground, including the drop slides. The maze and house are now open again too!
Splashlands at Stanborough Park in Welwyn Garden City is a free splash park that has pre-bookable slots. There is also the wider park to explore which includes two lakes and a nature reserve. There are limited one-the-day tickets available but when it’s hot the queues can be massive.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch email@example.com or get in touch via Facebook