Summer hols saviours!
Desperately seeking summer holiday activities for your little darlings? Happy to help!
Still not sorted your summer hols childcare? Pack ’em off on one of these brilliant jaunts..
Camp Wilderness, Cornbury Park, Oxon, various dates in July & August
Are your kids happy campers? Camp Wilderness have a range of stays from 2-5 days, hunkered down in the woodlands of Cornbury Park. Activities include fire-lighting, wild swimming and, but of course, marshmallows and hot chocolate around the camp fire. They’re also running camps in Herts, Cheshire and Kent this year if you fancy venturing further afield. Suitable for children aged 6 to 15.
Here’s a way to get ’em off the iPad and into the great outdoors – a three-day course learning bushcraft skills at Waddesdon Manor. They’ll come home knowing how to build shelters, tracks animals and make primitive weapons (here’s hoping we don’t get threatened with a spear next time the Frosties run out). Suitable for children aged 8-12.
David Lloyd Oxford multisport camps, Oxford, various dates in July & August
First bit of good news: you don’t have to be a gym member to book the kids’ courses here. Good news, part 2: you can drop them off at 8.30 for a 9am start and not pick up at 6pm, making this a good option if you work trad office hours. And finally, the courses look fantastic – as you’d expect their tennis facilities are brilliant, there’s a 25m swimming pool, and nippers can also try football, rugby, cricket, playground games – and even arts and crafts. It’s not as pricey as you’d fear: a half day for non-members is £35, or a full day is £42 (£28 or £19.20 for members). Or it’s £168 for the week for non-members (£140 for members). Suitable for children aged 5-11.
Willen Lake Holiday courses, Milton Keynes, various dates in July & August
Waterbabies can try out sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, raft building and archery at Willen Lake this summer. The courses either run for a day or a week, and if they fall in love with a particular discipline – say, sailing, paddleboarding or windsurfing – they can do a further dedicated week. They’ll certainly sleep well after that lot.
Longridge Activity Centre courses, Marlow, various dates in July & August
Similar to the above but this time it’s on the river rather than a lake, Longridge also offers one day and one week watersports fun sessions for children aged 8+. Their more esoteric activities include dragon boating and water zorbing, and they also do various sleepovers during August for 10-14 year olds. My youngest two absolutely love it here – big thumbs up from the mini Mudlets.
Queen’s Park Arts Centre workshops, Aylesbury, 24 July – 11 Aug
Got an arts and crafts obsessive in your household? They will find something to suit among the array of daily courses at Queen’s Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury. Children aged 7+ can create puppets, pottery, collages and cartoons among other delights.
Halton Tennis Camps, Bucks, various dates in July & August
Mini Murrays or Johanna juniors should whizz down to this national specialist tennis centre’s 4-day camps for age groups 7-10 yrs, 10-14 yrs and 14-17 yrs. Little ones (aged 4-7) can do shorter sessions. Looking for variety? There’s also multi-activity sessions which include table tennis, football, quick cricket, uni hock, basketball, badminton and volleyball; all played on site.
Creation Theatre drama workshops, Oxford locations, 24 July through August
From putting on a Shakespeare play in a week to circus skills to improv skills, there’s something for every mini Thesp at the always-ace Creation Theatre this summer. They’re running six weeks of workshops, and span a wide age range – 6-19 years.
Creative Art Courses, Lisa Jayne Art Studios, Bletchingdon, Oxon, throughout Aug
With 2 hour sessions for little ‘uns and full-day ones for older children, these arts sessions allow children to create work with a variety of materials and technique. Their expert guide is the former head of art of Rye St Anthony School.
Lisa Jayne Art Studio, Greenhill Farm, Station Road, Bletchingdon, Oxon, lisajayneuk.com
Ultimate Survival camps, Oxfordshire, 17 July – 24 Aug
Bear Grylls eat your heart out (actually, he probably would literally do this if he got hungry, he’s so hardcore), this camp is designed to teach kids aged 8-14 useful survival skills while fully immersed in the natural environment. Hill End has extensive wild woodland, designated bushcraft areas and a survival training forest and you can book in for the day or the week.
Drama/Musical Theatre Week, Chipping Norton Theatre, Mon 31 Jul- Fri 4 Aug
Working with pro theatre practitioners, children aged 5-12 create a musical theatre show from scratch, which they then perform for parents on the Friday evening. Jazz hands in the air like you just don’t care.
Cornerstone Arts courses, Didcot, July & August
There’s something for everyone at Cornerstone this summer, including creative science sessions, puppet making, print making and clay sculpting. Plus your little princesses and tiny monsters may like to perform in Beauty & The Beast, which involves a week long course of singing, dancing and acting which leads up to an end-of-week performance.
Oxford Playhouse holiday workshops, from Mon 7 Aug
Musical theatre, physical theatre, storytelling, puppetry are among the disciplines on offer for children aged 8-11, who’ll stage their own performances for family and friends at the end of their workshop. Got teenagers who think they’re hilarious? Book ’em onto the week-long Clowning and Improv course.
Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com
Young Film Academy Summer Courses, London, throughout August
Budding movie mavens (actors and film-makers) can pick from various options which span making a film in a day to a fully immersive two week residential course (better get saving though – it’s £2388). Just make them promise now that you’ll be their Oscars +1 in 2027.
Wasps Summer Rugby Courses, Loughborough, Leics, 15 Aug
Aspiring rugby players (aged 13-18) can spend a week training like a pro player on this 5 day residential course, which also includes various Wasps merch to take home, the chance to meet the team’s players and two tickets to a Wasps game at the Ricoh Arena.