Kids’ summer courses to book now
Stuck on what to do with your kids this summer hols? Get organised and book then onto one of these cool courses across Bucks & Oxon.
Leadbetters kids summer golf camps, Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
It doesn’t get much swisher than this if you’re a mini golfer. Stoke Park is one of the top golf courses in the world so where better for your little Justin Rose or Georgia Hall to hack the course to death with a chipping iron? I’ve had a lesson or two here and the coaches are soooo patient. This kids summer golf camp runs for kids 5-14 years from 9am – 4pm with lunch provided during the day and you can put your kids in for one day at £65 or for all five at £280. That’s cheaper than childcare! It runs weekly, from 22 July – 2 Aug, then again from 12 – 30 August. And, you know, do the right thing and book yourself a spa day while the children are hard at work – well, why bloody not?!
Bisham Abbey Sailing Courses, National Sports Centre, Marlow, Bucks
We’re a while away from the sea but sailing is still a popular pastime in our neck of the woods. Give your kids a great introduction by enrolling them on one of Bisham Abbey‘s four day sailing courses this summer. The ‘Optimist’ course is for children 8 – 12, or there’s the ‘Topper’ course for 12+, both run 9.30am to 4.30pm. Full course schedule here.
Oxford Junior Rowing, Oxford
Oxford Junior Rowing Courses aren’t just about rowing – they aim to get your child away from their phones (hurray!), communicating confidently with other children and adults, and nailing a great set of life skills – leadership, team building, goal setting, resilience, conflict resolution, determination and more. There are two summer courses this year, for 9 – 16 year olds, all abilities welcomee (29 Jul – 2 Aug & 5 – 9 Aug). Younger course members will row in the morning and take part in other water based activities in the afternoon. £450.
MK Dons Football Course, Woughton on the Green
Fun football activities lead by qualified FA licensed coaches where your little Harry Kane or Steph Houghton can improve his/her technique, improve decision making and gain new skills. There are different courses for different ages (4 – 14) running from 22 Jul – 27 Aug, with prices starting from £4o. Don’t forget shin pads.
Snowzone at Xscape, Milton Keynes
iFly, Milton Keynes
My teen son tried iFly this time last year and said it was ‘sick’ (anyone with children will know that this translates as ‘amazing’). The centre runs kids summer courses (for 4 – 16 year olds) which include 5 fully coached flights for only £29.99 on selected weekdays between 22 Jul – 30 Aug. iflyworld.co.uk
Activate Camps, Bloxham School, Banbury
Activate Camps run summer courses all over the Muddy counties- in our neck of the woods, there are camps at Bloxham School, nr Banbury, Moulsford Prep, Oxon and Merchant Taylors’ School, Middlesex. Courses include an Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy for kids 5 – 16, Netball Fever for ages 7 – 16, Hockey Masterclass for ages 7 – 14, Tennis Camps for ages 7 – 4 or Multi Activity Camps for ages 5 – 12 wich are more craft based. Courses start from £45 for the day, £125 for three and £175 for the week.
Ultimate Activity Camps, various locations and dates
Based at schools, Ultimate Activity Camps provide great childcare options Monday to Fridays during the school holidays with plenty of fun and stimulation for the kids aged 4 to 14 with activities like basketball, fencing, art, zorbing, yoga, football and, new for 2019, combat archery with is a mix between dodgeball, Laser Quest, and archery (eh?). They start at 9:30am and finish at 4:30pm but extended collection is available and children can sign up for any amount of time throughout the camps (a day, a week, weeks). Prices are £46 for one day, £189 for a week. Loads of locations to pick from across Abingdon, Oxford, High Wycombe, Gerrards Cross, Wallingford, Newbury, Ascot, Brackley and Reading.
Camp Wilderness, Blenheim Palace & Cornbury Park
A cross between Swallows & Amazons and a Bear Grylls show, this sounds ideal for adventurous types, with wilderness cookery, fire-lighting, wilderness first aid, wild swimming, shelter-building, cricket and rounders, bushtucker BBQs, scavenger hunts and fireside stories. The prices have been reduced considerably from last year too with the three day camp at £175 and five day camp at £300. Loads of dates available.
Kew Little Pigs, Amersham, Bucks
Kew Little Pigs offer unique experience days with micro pigs where kids (or adults) can play with the little oinkers and learn how to groom, feed and take care of them – so cute!
Design Academy, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
Design Academy, a brand new five-day summer school, for teens aged 15 – 17, is the only of its kind in the UK and is perfect if your child is thinking about choosing a creative course at university but is unsure of what path they want to take. I think it’s a brilliant idea, as teens can make an informed decision before they (or, most probably, you!) spend an obscene amount on uni fees. Informative and interesting, each day covers a different creative subject with the last day dedicated to UCAS portfolio development (super important stuff). The course is hosted in Oxford Brookes University, so top notch facilities (5 – 9 Aug, £299).
If you have an Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz in your midst, this 3 day course by Sharp Shots Photo Club for children ages 9-15 will teach them how a camera works, what exposure means, how to use depth of field, shutter speed, and the fundamentals of composing an amazing photograph. At the end of day 3, parents can come and view their portfolio of work. The grounds of Waddesdon are stunning so great results guaranteed. £180.
Viking Myths workshop, The Story Museum, Oxford
For kids 8 – 12 years, this five day course explores the world of Viking mythology with story telling, myth making, a talk from a professional prop maker and a workshop on comic books. Kids taking part in the whole course will work on a portfolio and will receive a Discover Arts Award at the end of the week (£170). Tues, Wed and Thurs can be booked for just the day (£37.50). Chris Hemsworth dressed as Thor will be on hand to help out (I wish).
Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury, Bucks
As always, there are loads of crafty workshops lined up at Queens Park Centre for summer including carving, pottery and sewing workshops. They book up fast so get a move on. 7+
Mini Monets, Beaconsfield, Bucks
For children who love their art, these 5 or 10 day art camps sound really inspiring. Camps are hosted by Debra Frances – the Head of Art at Chalfont Independent Grammar School no less – and feature pottery, sculpture, graffiti, screen paining, T-shirt design, painting and animation. Courses are £55 per day or you can book discounted week at £250.25 or two weeks at £480.50 (5 – 16 Aug).
If you really want to push the boat out, then £4,995 (!) will give your teen (16 -18) a 2 week intensive course in directing, producing, camera operating and editing. Filmed in beautiful Oxford city locations, students will shoot on industry standard equipment and edit their work on professional editing software, taught by Steven Spielberg and Danny Boyle. OK, I may be lying about the last bit, but for that price they flippin should! Accommodation and dining in Oxford Colleges is included so at least that’s something. They may be spenny, but the courses are super popular, with the early Jul slot fully booked- there are, however, spaces left for 21 Jul – 3 Aug.
Rock and Pop School, Chung Music School, Stowe, Bucks
Have a little rocker or pop princess on your hands? This five day course will give young musicians (10 – 18 years) access to Chung Music School’s recording studios and music rooms to experiment with song writing, music and playing techniques. Pro music producers at the school teach the course that finishes with a concert in the auditorium (5 – 9 Aug, £320).
The Inspired Gourmet Cookery School, Milton Keynes
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Milton Common
Ooh la la! Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons is running its Young Chef’s Academy on 7 Aug this summer (a morning class for 10 – 12 year olds, an afternoon class for 13 – 16 year olds) where your kids can be taught by some of the best in the biz. The cookery school kitchen is actually very relaxed – not starchy or superposh – so your mini Raymond Blancs will be well looked after, £185pp.
Daylesford Farm, Cotswolds
For kids 5 – 8, Daylesford Farm’s Budding Chef courses involve a tour of the 25 acre market garden where kids will harvest artisan ingredients that you’ve probably never heard of (feel the shame!) before heading into the teaching kitchen to whip them up into some delish dishes (10 Jul, Aug 28, £55). Or, if you’re worried about your teen living off takeaway at uni, send them to Flying the Nest, where they’ll learn essential skills to make simple, healthy recipes (14, 29 Aug, £135). Daylesford Farm also runs cooking classes for the whole family with a tour of the gardens, cooking lesson and meal at the end served with juice for kids and vino for the grown ups (21 Jul, 25 Aug, £95).
Sticky Fingers, various locations
Sticky Fingers runs three day courses across Bucks and teaches kids how to recognise different foods, use sharp knives safely (no throwing until the sous chef is safely attached to the wheel), follow instructions, measure accurately and to experiment with new foods and cuisines. Summer dates are: 24 – 26 Jul at Beaconsfield High School, 31 Jul – 2 Aug at Waddesdon School, 14 – 16 Aug at Amersham School and 19 – 21 Aug at John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe.
Oxford Playhouse, Oxford
A Play in a Week courses come to Oxford Playhouse this summer which involve, you guessed it, a week long workshop with the children putting on a short performance at the end of the week for friends and family. Kids 8 – 11 will learn Beauty and the Beast (19 Aug), whilst older kids, 11 – 14, to explore seven stories, from Shakespeare to The Lion King and come up with their own adaptation (19 Aug). £125.
A Play in a Week, Roxburgh Hall, Stowe, Bucks
During the week tweens and teens (8 – 15 years) will explore the theme Temples of Time and Space, with visits to Stowe Gardens and the Temples to find inspo for their own sci-fi inspired performance at the end of the week (29 Jul – 2 Aug, £150).
New Theatre, Oxford
For kids who love theatre but don’t fancy getting up on stage, Muddy Award winning New Theatre hosts a Technical Theatre Workshop, for ages 12 – 16, where teens will learn about lighting, rigging, sound and more in theses fun and informative sessions (1 Jul & 1 Aug, £25). There’s also a Special Effects Taster (gore, bruises, cuts- the lot!) and Musical Theatre Workshop which ends in a short performance. Dates are 1 Aug and 2 Aug respectively, both £25.