5 unusual things to do this May Day Bank Holiday

Come rain or shine, don’t spend the May Day bank holiday catching up on boxsets or doing DIY. We’ve found five intriguing things to do over the long weekend…

Learn how to forage

Our woods, fields and hedgerows are a full-on tasting menu ready to be eaten! This one-day foraging course in Denbighshire, North Wales (plenty of others around the UK too) is run by professional foragers who will help you identify wild food including plants and fungi that you can (and can’t) eat, where to find tasty morsels in surprising places, prepping your finds and cooking up some inventive dishes. Fish and game preparation is also covered, with an alternative option for vegetarians/vegans.

When: Saturday 2nd May 2015

Cost: £60 per person

Booking/info: Visit www.originaloutdoors.co.uk/foraging-course-north-wales

Watch an archeological dig

At Birdling Gap and the Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, East Sussex, archeologists are exploring the site of the Crowlink coastguard station, established in the nineteenth century. The area was a favourite with smugglers and this dig is attempting to determine how the site was previously used. It’s a National Trust site so visitors (including dogs on leads and children) are welcome to come down for free and take a look.

When: 2-4pm 2nd, 3rd, 4th May 2015

Booking/info: No booking required but visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/whats-on/find-an-event (search for Crowlink Coastguard Cottages) for more info.

Canalway Cavalcade (c) The Inland Waterways Association
Canalway Cavalcade (c) The Inland Waterways Association

Join the Canalway Cavalcade in Little Venice

Little Venice in London will be awash with bunting and boats this bank holiday for the annual Canalway Cavalcade organised by the Inland Waterways Association. Enjoy the festival’s spectacle of pretty narrowboats along the canal, plus the real ale bar, morris dancing (it is May Day afterall!), little shops and tasty food stalls. We also love the sound of the illuminated night-time boat procession from 9.30pm to 10pm. The event is totally free.

When: 2nd – 4th May 2015

Booking/info: No booking required but visit the festival website for full details or follow on Twitter and Instagram @canalcavalcade

Improve your photography skills

This one-day workshop on Landscape and Wildlife Photography is ideal for beginners and those looking to improve their basic skills. Run by expert Mike Allen of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the course will take you through the technical aspects of your camera, through to composition and editing. You’ll be out and about doing practical work and enjoying the beautiful Twyford water meadows.

When: 10am – 2pm, Saturday 2nd May 2015

Booking/info: Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/events/2015/05/02/landscape-and-wildlife-photography for full course details and booking information

Visit a quirky museum

The UK is pretty good at museums! From the world famous attractions in London, to some of the smallest (and oddest) museums you’ve never heard of – think of a topic and there’s probably a museum dedicated to it somewhere on these isles! We like the Shell Museum in Glandford, North Norfolk, a genuinely intriguing and cute museum housed in a converted chapel full of curiosities and amazing artefacts. But there’s also the Pencil Museum in the Lake District, the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, and museums dedicated to prams, locks and even dog collars (thanks to this Telegraph picture gallery!).

When: Smaller museums are often run only by volunteers so have limited opening times. Always check their website for full details (and don’t forget to support them by supplementing your entry fee with a donation!).

Enjoy the long weekend!

7 of the best…Eco-friendly family days out

Make the most of the summer holidays we have left with some of the UK’s best eco-friendly family days out

Eden Project, CornwallEden Project, Cornwall – Did you know that the huge biomes of the Eden Project house the largest ‘captive’ rainforest? This ever-popular attraction, which aims to run its operations as greenly as possible, is also a hot-house of conservation research. Enjoy the view from the treetops on the new Aerial Walkway, and spot butterflies fluttering amongst the plant life. This summer join some the special family activities including den building, ‘Be the Bee’ interactive trails, art workshops, musical evenings and England’s longest (and fastest) zipwire. Remember to book your tickets online before you visit to save 15% on the entry price. Visit www.edenproject.com.

National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool Five miles from Liverpool city centre is this wildflower haven founded by environmental charity Landlife. This tranquil, family-friendly venue promotes the benefits of planting and maintaining wildflower habitats. There are various free family activities taking place over summer including ‘Mini Beasts and Crafts’ sessions and ‘Wear Your Wellies’ walks. Visit www.nwc.org for more.

The Wildlife TrustsThe Wildlife Trusts’ nature reserves, UK-wide Ancient woodland, coast and beaches, mountains,meadows or marshes, from Southwest England to northern Scotland, there are around 2,300 nature reserves across the UK managed by conservation charity The Wildlife Trusts. Not only do these reserves offer a ‘back to basics’ day out for families (exploring nature doesn’t need to be forced!), but the 47 (mainly) county-based Wildlife Trusts run children’s events throughout the holidays. Join butterfly and bug workshops, nature trails, bat walks or practical conservation sessions. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org to find your local reserve or visitor centre.

 

The Llama Park, East SussexNew owners Bobby and Susan are dedicated to ensuring their 50 llamas, 20 alpacas, and two reindeer live a stress-free, happy and peaceful life in the 32 acres of beautiful parkland near the Ashdown Forest. There’s no commercialism here, just a lovely chance to meet and learn about these gentle creatures. The park is run with minimal impact on the environment with recycling and low energy use in operation. The cafe serves local produce and some organic options. Visit www.llamapark.co.uk for summer opening times.

 Stockley Farm Park, Cheshire This organic farm is well-equipped for little visitors. The day starts with a tractor ride into the farm, followed by a stop-off at the animal sheds to see pigs, cows, goats and more. Get involved with bottle-feeding lambs and baby goats (kids Рjust not those kids), visit pets corner, watch bird of prey displays, and witness milking time. Take a woodland nature walk, then finish the day sampling the local and organic produce in Willow Barn Tearoom. Visit www.stockleyfarm.co.uk for more details. There are plenty of farms open to visitors around the country Рvisit the National Farm Attractions Network to find one near you.

BeWILDerwood, NorfolkBeWILDerwood, Norfolk – Down by the Norfolk Broads is an award-winning forest of adventure – treehouses, zipwires, jungle bridges, boat trips, storytelling…it’s all here along with some special characters, the real-life setting for children’s book ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood’. The adventure park recycles 70% of its waste, has planted 14,000 trees and sells locally-sourced food on site. Recommended for children aged 2-12 years and their family/carers. Visit www.bewilderwood.co.uk for more details.

Cycling in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Take the Family Cycle Trail through the Forest of Dean for fresh air, exercise and wonderful scenery. This 11-mile circular route mainly follows an old railway line with connecting routes to villages and picnic sites. It has been especially surfaced making it suitable for all ages and abilities. Start at the Cannop Cycle Centre – bikes can be hired from Pedalabikeaway. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk for more details.

That’s just a few to get you started! There are hundreds (if not thousands) of fantastic eco-friendly days-out for all the family across the UK. If you have a good recommendation, or review of one we’ve mentioned, let us know…