Free or cheap summer holiday activities in Berkshire (and at home!)

mnberks

How many of you struggle to come up with ideas to entertain the children over the summer holidays? Whether your kids are constant balls of energy or lethargic teenagers who need to be dragged away from a computer there will be something here for you!

Summer holidays can be expensive. As its the one time of year when we are (usually) guaranteed some nice weather, we all like to make the most of it. Days out, breaks away, meals out and more. So I thought I’d compile a list with my ideas and the ideas of many Berkshire Mumsnetters of activities you can do and places you can visit that are relatively inexpensive or free.

I will be updating this regularly throughout the summer and you can of course see Mumsnet Berkshire for other listings

Explore Nature

Go on a nature exploration looking for bugs and insects galore. Pack up a magnifying glass and a few clear plastic pots to (temporarily) capture your finds and examine. See how many you can find! Berkshire has a great variety of nature reserves. Here are just a few:

1) Hoselake Theale http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/233454-good-for-a-relaxing-stroll

A beautiful lake you can walk around with lots to explore. Free parking near by and you can always pack some snacks or a picnic.

2) Inkpen Common Newbury http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/233460-flower-filled-woodland

This flower filled common will be teaming with wildlife such as butterflies, bees & dragonflies!

3) Bray Pit Maidenhead http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/233432-teaming-with-nature

With a little lake and beautiful scenary you are bound to spot some great wildlife here! Definitely take your camera. It’s very pretty!

4) Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/229962-thatcham-nature-discovery-centre

5) Englemere Pond Winkfield http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/230555-nature-reserve

Have a stroll around the pond, take some bread and enjoy the simple task of feeding the ducks

For more nature reserves to visit across Berkshire visit Mumsnet Berkshire http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds

Activity & Discovery Centres

1) Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/229962-thatcham-nature-discovery-centre

With family friendly walks, a visitors centre packed with interactive wildlife and a natural history display, there is lots to see and do here

2) The Lookout Discovery Centre Bracknell http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/235515-the-lookout-discovery-centre-park-woodland

Don’t forget your car park gives you a discount into the Discovery centre! Fun for the whole family inside, as well as three parks with play equipment designed that it can be used by children and families with special needs, equipment designed for older children and lots of things for the little ones to do too. There are loads of walks, you can hire bikes and a lovely café for something to eat if you don’t take a picnic.

3) Horse Shoe Lake Sandhurst http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/parks-playgrounds/230567-walking-watersports-more

Popular with those who enjoy walks, dinghy sailing, birdwatching and other water sports.

Toddler Groups

1) Wokingham Salvation Army Toddler Group is on during the school holidays. http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/baby-toddler-groups/165318-salvation-army-parent-toddlers

A lovely little toddler group on Monday & Friday mornings where you’ll get a warm welcome

2) Not a toddler group as such but Toddler Sense have a number of classes on for only £5.50 per class covering Winnersh, Bracknell & Twyford. It’s worth contacting your local Toddler Sense to see what’s on.

http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/preschool-sport-active-classes/236020-toddler-sense-summer-specials

3) Diddi Dance Classes have a few summer specials on too in the Reading area

http://local.mumsnet.com/berkshire/summer-holidays/235747-diddi-dance

Libraries

Never underestimate how awesome your local library is for activities for children of all ages. Not only do they have books to read, they also offer crafts, singing and much more! Please note not all rhymetime and storytimes are mentioned here. Please assume you need to book places on activities, especially those with a charge.

1) Under 5’s at the libraries in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

Library Time Day Activity Dates
Ascot 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 30 Apr, 14 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul
Boyn Grove 2pm Tuesday Story & Rhymetime Fortnightly: 17 Jun, 1 Jul, 15 Jul
Cookham 2pm Thursday Storytime & colouring Fortnightly: 17 Apr, 1 May, 15 May, 29 May *
Cox Green 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul
Cox Green 11.30am Sunday Storytime 18 May, 15 Jun, 20 Jul, 17 Aug, 21 Sep, 19 Oct, 16 Nov, 21 Dec
Datchet 10am Wednesday Story &
Rhymetime
30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May *
Dedworth 9.30am Thursday Storytime 24 Apr, 8 May, 22 May, 5 Jun, 19 Jun, 3 Jul, 17 Jul
Eton 2.30pm Friday Storytime 25 Apr, 23 May, 20 Jun
Eton Wick 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 23 Apr, 7 May, 4 Jun, 18 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul
Maidenhead 10.30am Tuesday (term time only) Storytime & colouring Every Tuesday during term time
Maidenhead 10.30am Saturday Story & Rhymetime 26 Apr, 24 May, 21 Jun, 19 Jul
Maidenhead 12.30pm Sunday Storytime Fortnightly: 3 August, 17 August, 31 August, 14 September, 28 September, 12 October, 26 October
Windsor 10am Friday Storytime & colouring Every Friday (including holidays)
Windsor 10.30am Saturday Story & Rhymetime 10 May, 14 Jun, 12 Jul
Windsor 11.30am Sunday Storytime 27 Apr, 25 May, 29 Jun

2) Newbury Library

Tuesdays & Wednesdays throughout August -11am Rhymetime for under 3s

Fridays 11am & 2pm – Story time for under 5’s

Tuesday 26 August, 2pm & 3.30pm- ZooLab workshop for 8-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

3) Hungerford Library

Thursday 21st August – 12pm ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

4) Lamborne Library

Thursday 21st August 10am – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

Wednesday 27th August 10:30am – Rhyme time for under 5’s

5) Pangbourne Library

Monday 4th August -2pm, Tuesday 5th August 1030am & Thursday 7th August 930am – Pangbourne Heritage Group WW1 exhibition

Thursday 21st August 230pm – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

6) Thatcham Library

Mondays throughout August 215pm – Storytime for under 5’s

Tuesday 12th August 11am – Rhymetime for under 3’s

Tuesday 26th August 11am – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

7) Theale Library

Fridays in August 11am – Storytime for under 5’s

8) Aborfield Library

Monday 4th August-  215pm Mythical Maze Stories & Crafts, ages 4-12 £1.50

Monday 4th August – 3pm Elmer Parade – listen to Elmer and make your own Elmer mask, age 5 & under

9) Finchampstead Library

Get Creative Tuesday August 5, 12, 19, and 26. Session 1: 2pm to 2.45pm Session2: 3pm to 3.45pm For children aged 12 and under, £1 charge Please book at the FBC Centre, (0118) 908 8155

Beading Workshop for children Create different creatures with tutor Caroline Marriot. Wednesday August 6 Session 1: 9.45am to 10.45am Session2: 11am to 12noon For children aged 8-12 years old £4 charge, places must be booked at the Library.

Mythical Story Morning Friday August 8, 15, 22, and 29 10am to 10.50am For children aged 4 to 12 years, Free, just drop in.

Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21 1pm to 2pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked at the Library.

10) Lower Early Library

Thursday 7th August – 245pm Fizzlebert Stump, age 6 and over £3, meet the author and hear stories and poems

Thursday 14th August 2pm – Circus Workshop, age 4-12 £3.50

Thursday 21st August 11am – Rainforest Discovery & Quirks Animal Roadshow, age 4-12, £3.50

Tuesday 26th August 1pm – Alice In Wonderland, free explore learning ages 6-9.

Tuesday Augyst 26th 1pm – Tracey Beaker, free explore learning, ages 8-11

11) Maiden Erlegh

Monday 11th August 2pm – Mythical Maze story & craft session, age 4-12 £1.50

Thursday 14th August 1pm – Mythical Puppet Workshop, age 4-12 £3.50

12) Spencers Wood

Mythical Maze Story and Craft Session Monday August 11 2.30pm to 3.30pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old £1.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Puppet Workshop Thursday August 14 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

13) Twyford Library

Mythical Maze Story and Craft Session Tuesday August 12 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old £1.50 charge, places must be booked.
Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21 9am to 10am For children ages 4-12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked

14) Wargrave Library

Fridays throughout August 230pm – Get Arty, £1.50 ages 4-12

Wednesday 6th August 1030am –  Circus Skills, £3.50, age 4-12

Wednesday 13th August 1030am – Mythical Puppet Workshop £3.50 age 4-12

14) Winnersh Library

Circus Workshop Come along and learn some circus skills. Wednesday August 6 2pm to 3pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Puppet workshop Wednesday August 13 1pm to 2pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Maze Stories and Crafts Listen to tales of dragons, with mythical craft. Thursday August 28 2pm to 3pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in!

Children’s Games Club A selection of Chess, Draught, Connect Four or bring your favourite game. Every Wednesday 2pm to 4pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old, just drop in!

15) Wokingham Library

Heritage Walk around Wokingham Find out about the story of James ‘Sooty’ Seaward, from child chimney sweep to town councillor and probable inspiration for Tom in The Water Babies Monday July 28, 11am For children aged 7 years old and over. Free to attend, places must be booked.

“I’m a Little Alien” Poetry Workshop with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 1pm to 1.30pm and 1.45pm to 2.15pm For children aged 6 and under, £2 charge, places must be booked.

“Journey to the Centre of my Brain” Poetry Show with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 2.30pm to 3.30pm For children aged 6 to 12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

World War 1 Vehicle Session Friday August 1, 10am to 11am For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £1.50 charge, places must be booked.

Fizzlebert Stump and Poems Galore with Author A.F. Harrold Thursday August 7, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 6-12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

Get Arty Thursday August 21, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £1.50 charge, just drop in

Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21, 3pm to 4pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

16) Woodley Library

“I’m a Little Alien” Poetry Workshop with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 9.45am to 10.15am For children aged 6 and under, £2 charge, places must be booked.

“Journey to the Centre of my Brain” Poetry Show with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 10.45am to 11.45am For children aged 6 to 12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

Fizzlebert Stump Come and meet author AF Harrold, hear about Fizzlebert Stump and his adventures. Thursday August 7, 1pm to 2pm For children aged 6 and over. £3 charge, places must be booked.

Circus Workshop Come along and learn some circus skills. Thursday August 14, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Get Arty Thursday August 21, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in!

The Famous Five  Create a picnic collage and try out our Famous Five treasure hunt. Tuesday August 12, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 7 to 11 years old. £2 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Maze event with Author Margaret Bateson-Hill Thursday August 21, 2pm to 3.30pm For children aged 7 to 12 years old.

Free session courtesy of local Federation of Children’s Book Group – ‘Getting Reading Reading’, places must be booked.

17) Bracknell Forest Council Libraries

As part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge we have some puppetry workshops arranged with ‘Arm Chair Puppets’. These workshops last for approximately 2 hours and cost £3.50 per person. Places are limited and so booking is essential.

  • Binfield Library – Tuesday 5 August at 10.30am
  • Crowthorne Library – Tuesday 5 August at 2.30pm
  • Bracknell Library – Wednesday 6 August at 10.30am
  • Sandhurst Library – Wednesday 6 August at 2.30pm
  • Birch Hill Library – Thursday 7 August at 10.30am
  • Harmanswater Library – Thursday 7 August at 2.30pm
  • Great Hollands Library – Friday 8 August at 10.30am
  • Whitegrove Library – Friday 8 August at 2.30pm

Mondays’ Harmans Water Library – Bounce and rhyme – 10am to 10.30am (weekly – beginning on 2 June 2014)

Tuesdays – Birch Hill Library Bounce and rhyme – 2.30pm fortnightly – please check with the library for dates

Tuesdays Bracknell Library – Children’s Tuesday Club with stories, bounce and rhyme, and crafts. Takes place fortnightly from 10am to 11am. All welcome.

Thursdays Binfield Library – Drop-in – the library opens at 9am for refreshments and the activities start at 9.30am – stories, rhymes and craft

Thursday – Binfield Library Crafts – first Thursday of the month – 10am to 10.30am

Thursdays in August Bracknell Library – Children’s story time and music – 9.30am – this session is run by Willows and Maples Children’s Centre.

Thursdays in August, Sandhurt Library – Storytime – 2.15pm for under 5s Free.

Fridays, Great Hollands Library, Storytime – 3.40pm for under 5s free.

Fridays Great Hollands Library, Bounce and rhyme – 11am under 3s free.

Fridays, Sandhurst Library, Bounce and rhyme – 9.30am – 2nd and 4th Friday of the month

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