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Family What’s On Guide

ISSUE 91, 12 July - 11 October 2021


Welcome Back!

Looking forward to seeing you this summer



News Round

Information for Teachers, Parents and Carers

Tech TIMEOUT CAN you imagine going 24 hours without your phone, tablet, personal computer or gaming devices? This is the tough sponsored challenge set by Young Lives vs Cancer (formerly CLIC Sargent) to support children and young people with cancer this September which is also known as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Liz Blunt, a Senior Fundraising Engagement Manager said: “The first 24 hours after a young person receives a cancer diagnosis are really hard. It’s impossible to imagine how difficult it is for the young person, family and friends and we really would love it if as many young people could show their support by giving up something they love just for 24 hours. This is a really hard challenge and

Forest School flourishes ASHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL in Ilminster has a Forest School that is going from strength to strength and there are plans to develop it. It is led by Kelly Napper and Pamela Mount who are both training to be fully qualified forest school leaders and are well on their way to achieving this goal. The forest school site has been significantly improved and developed. Full day sessions were offered over the Easter holidays and forest school is now offered as a regular part of the school day with a really good uptake. Kelly and Pam were thrilled with the success of the sessions. Pam said: “All the children and adults had a fabulous time learning new skills and creating items from natural resources.We have been amazed by the wonderful behaviour of all of the children and their enthusiasm and friendship.The children enjoyed getting mucky, the muddier the better for some”. The forest school also allows the children to cover a wide range of other activities such as using tools and hammers, building bug hotels, making weaving frames from scratch, learning how to tie knots, nail art and clay printing hedgehogs. Due to its continued success Pam and Kelly will be offering sessions over the summer holidays.


12 July - 11 October 2021

hopefully one that is great for our mental health too, not being distracted by our phones (guilty!), spending the time chatting in person to someone, or going for a walk, whilst raising vitally needed funds to support young lives with cancer.” Your fundraising will mean their social workers will be there to take the weight off family’s shoulders so they can breathe again. The charity are looking for schools, colleges, universities and youth organisations, to take on the 24 hour sponsored challenge. However, the challenge is open for all. If you think you are tough enough to take on the challenge, go to the charity website YoungLivesvsCancer. and search Tech Timeout.

Adam Stansfield Foundation

PLYMOUTH footballer, Adam Stansfield was dedicated to the game. He played professional football at Yeovil Town, Hereford United and Exeter City and was an excellent role model on and off the pitch. Sadly he died of bowel cancer in 2010 aged just 31. The unprecedented support that followed his death led to the creation of the Adam Stansfield Foundation. The foundation promotes community participation in healthy recreation for the benefit of children and young people up to the age of 18 living in Somerset, Devon and Herefordshire, the three counties he played in, by the provision of grants and facilities for playing football. The foundation is committed to providing charitable funds for young people, school and youth football teams who would benefit from the assistance, so they can achieve their goals of ‘Living the Dream’. During the last 11 years they have provided over 300 grants to individuals, school and football teams in those counties. They have also provided sports equipment to over 100 Primary Schools and helped individuals supplying boots, trainers or after school club fees. Their other, equally important, aim is to raise awareness of bowel cancer. Go to their website at to find out more or if you know of a school, club or individual who could benefit from their help.

18 In Somerset Chinadale, Churchinford, Taunton, TA3 7PW Tel: 01823 601188 email: primarytimes.


Publisher/Editor: Debbie Williams Design: Alan Williams Advertising: Alan Williams

Primary Times is independently published, distributed free throughout primary schools in Hampshire, and on sale via subscriptions at £10 per year. Its aims are to inform families and children of current educational issues, forthcoming events, courses, attractions etc. and to give teachers, pupils and parents the opportunity to participate in the contents of the magazine. It is NOT our intention to publish any racist, sexist or political matter what-so-ever, nor to carry any advertising considered to be offensive to families. Primary Times would like to thank all the schools for their assistance in distributing the magazine and for their contributions to its contents. We would like to thank the advertisers who have supported this publication and made it possible. Please support them where you can. The copyright on all written material, logos and advertising artwork produced by our studio remains with Primary Times Hampshire or the relevant contributor. DISCLAIMER: All reasonable efforts have been taken to give accurate information and ensure any facts given are true to the best of our knowledge. However, you should rely wholly on your own enquiries and take advice where appropriate.


Delive rin 33,50 g 0 copie s to local famil ies


Dear Readers

In this issue

WE are back, at last, as things start to (hopefully) return to something like normal. I must say we weren’t expecting to have such a long break between issues. We’ve listed as many events as we can to keep you entertained over the summer and beyond, but you don’t need me to tell you things are still up in the air and many places aren’t sure what they are doing. That means things could change at short notice, some could be cancelled, others added. Most things still need to be booked in advance and where spaces are limited it is best to book as early as possible but don’t go anywhere without checking it is still going to happen. Don’t forget to keep an eye open for new events. We’d like to wish everyone who is going up to ‘big school’ in September good luck. Schools would you please let us know if your numbers are changing for the new school year. All being well, we will see you again in early October. Hope you have a relaxing summer, perhaps rediscovering the many delights this country has to offer (despite the weather).



Primary Times is currently publishing over 2,550,000 copies per issue under franchise license throughout 61 counties.

Fam ily Wh

We say welcome back to: Castle Museum, Rural Life Museum, Hestercombe House and Gardens, Brewhouse Theatre, SS Great Britain, Bath and West Country Show.


at’s On Gui



12 July -

11 Octobe


r 2021

Some tips on dealing with a few of the nasties lurking in nature.

05-11 ROUNDABOUT Your day by day family what’s on.

12-13 EYE ON NATURE The RSPCA is encouraging compassionate families.



Check out what’s going on over the holiday with these summer activities.

19-21 THEATRE Children’s and family shows at a theatre near you.

22-23 BOOKSTORE Two pages of great new reads.

Welcome Ba


Looking forw ard to see

ing you this







12 July - 11 October 2021


Tackling bites and Stings The British countryside has been a great source of comfort for everyone lucky enough to be able to access it throughout the various lockdowns over the past year. It is a place of beauty and can provide a much-needed boost to our physical and mental health. As restrictions ease more people are likely to be venturing out so it is a good time to remind everyone to be prepared when they do. It is hardly a jungle out there, but it pays to be aware of elements of nature that can cause pain. Here are some to look out for this summer.

Bees, hornets and wasps wasps Sadly, an estimated two to nine people die every year in the UK after being stung by a bee or its similar fliers the hornet and the wasp. However, this isn’t usually down to the sting itself, which is a sharp sensation like a pinprick, it is linked to anaphylactic shock in people with certain allergies. If symtoms occur, such as difficulty breathing, swollen face, mouth or throat; dizziness or feeling faint dial 999 immediately. In most cases, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent harm. If you have been stung while out and about or even just in your garden move away calmly in case there are other insects around. Honeybees and wasps produce a pheromone (a chemical “smell”) that attracts others of the same species to join in. Check that the stinger isn’t in your skin. If it is, gently remove it by scraping with a credit card or something similar. Don’t pinch it or you may spread the venom. Wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress to any swelling for at least 10 minutes. Raise or elevate the affected area if possible to help reduce swelling. If in pain take painkillers such as paracetomol or ibruprofen. Ask your pharmacist for creams and antihistamine tablets to relieve any itching.

However, the bite isn’t the problem. Ticks are one of the most common insect transmitters of Lyme Disease, a potentially debilitating condition that can cause skin rashes, joint swelling and even heart issues. Luckily, not all ticks carry Lyme. However, it’s good to be vigilant, so try to cover legs and ankles if you know you’ll be walking in long grass and carry a pair of tweezers or tick removal tool to get any ticks off fast (for dogs and humans alike).

Mosquitoes and horseflies Mosquito and horsefly bites are a little different, but both can be unbearably itchy. Bites from mosquitoes can cause small red lumps on your skin and some people may develop fluid-filled blisters. Horsefly bites are similar where the bitten area will usually be red and raised, they are often considered more painful than mosquito bites – but neither are very nice. Similar to stings, you should try to keep the area clean with soap and water or an antibacterial wipe if you’re out exploring.

Stinging nettles and poisonous plants Most people have been stung by nettles at some point. The small hairs on the leaves of the nettles penetrate the skin causing an immediate burning sensation as well as itching and a rash, which is often very uncomfortable.

soap, milk or a dilute solution of baking soda. However, if you don’t have any of these to hand while exploring you can always try the trusted dock leaf, which usually grow near to nettles. There are also some poisonous plants in Britain and foxgloves are among the most common. Although they may look pretty, foxgloves are potentially deadly. Naturally occurring toxins and pollen distributed by foxgloves can have a negative effect on breathing if you get too close. If inhaled, symptoms can include dilated pupils, vomiting, abnormal heart rate and tremors. Seek medical attention immediately if any symptoms occur.

Weever fish Small but often painful, the weever fish can be so annoying for the British seaside holidaymaker. These small, very well camouflaged fish spend their time in the shallows of beaches. With long, needle-like spines all down their back, they can inflict a severe pain often to people’s feet when paddling in the sea. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so one way to reduce the risk of weaver fish stings is to wear proper foot protection when in the sea. However, if you do get stung the best thing to do is submerge the wound in hot water as the high temperature is thought to break down the components in the venom. Lifeguards are often well-equipped to deal with these nasty stings so it’s a good idea to consult them if you can.

To treat a stinging nettle sting, use

Ticks These tiny terrors are barely larger than a pinprick with eight legs and a small head that contain needle-like biters. They lurk in the long grass of fields and meadows waiting


for unsuspecting, warm-blooded prey to latch on to.

12 July - 11 October 2021

Most bites will improve within a few hours. If things don’t start to improve within a few days, or get worse, contact your doctor or call 111 for advice. Remember we are lucky in this country, other continents have far more deadly beasties to worry about!

We take great care to ensure all this information is correct at the time of going to press. However at this time things can change at short notice so it is important you check details before gong anywhere.

Continuing Until 25 July

Landscape Portrait: Now and Then Show in all seven galleries at Hestercombe House explores the links between landscape painting and portraiture at Hestercombe since the eighteenth century, juxtaposing this history with contemporary works from the past sixty years.

Until 4 September

Monuments, Empire and Slavery Exhibitiion in Bath Abbey revealing its links to colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade through the history of its monuments and ledgerstones. It focuses on a number of the Abbey’s memorials that reveal the relationships between those commemorated in the Abbey, the city of Bath, the British Empire, and the slave trade in the 1700 and 1800s. It will also explore the presence of the Abolitionist movement in Bath and aims to encourage visitors to reflect on past injustice and the need for racial equality now and in the future.

Until 12 September

Tales of the Garden Go on a quest at Longleat to discover and celebrate Longleat’s

Until 1 September There’s lots to discover and explore at We the Curious in Bristol. Project What If Have you ever wished you could slow time down or wondered if there is such a thing as the soul? Escape into a mysterious world of possibilities in the ground floor experience. Art and Science collide with 68 new exhibits and 25 art pieces clustered around seven questions on very different themes: Rainbows, Sand, Universe, Time, Invisibility, Illness and Soul. Discover Levels 0 and 1 Level 0 is home to the hands-on Kitchen and Greenhouse, where you can mess about with the science of food. Go and chat recipes with a robot, grind flour, see what’s growing in the greenhouse and take part in foody experiments. There are talks, drop-in activities and facilitated workshops throughout the day in the different

heritage. There are a selection of unique stories which are brought to life by stunning sculptures. Longleat’s archives have been delved into to find snippets of times gone by that celebrate those who’ve helped shape Longleat’s grounds and gardens from the late 16th century through to the present day. Also: Under the Moon Discover the wonderful creatures of the dark who have inhabited The Longhouse under the light of the Moon. Then explore Longleat’s nocturnal wildlife with dramatically enlarged straw sculptures in the open air.

Until 18 September

Wild Hares and Hummingbirds Exhibition in Weston Museum, Weston-super-Mare based on the book, ‘Wild Hares and Hummingbirds: The Natural History of an English Village’, by the naturalist Stephen Moss. It tells the story of wildlife through the seasons in his home village of Mark, on the edge of the Somerset Levels.

Until 30 September

An Adorably Curious Adventure Trail Explore the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth with the new family activity trail. Find the A-Z of fun donkey facts around the sanctuary spaces, including cooking activities in the Kitchen. Level 1 is full of light, sound, creating and sensory experiences. You can make giant bubbles, have fun with illusions, mould the tactile sand and even walk through a tornado. You can also film and draw your own animations in the Aardman Aminations inspired exhibits, test stuff out in the Tinkering Space and get a glimpse of life as an astronaut in the Space Gallery. Robot Revolution Does spending time with robots change how we think and feel about them? Head over to the new Open City Lab space, where there will be imagining a futuristic football stadium complete with robot players. You’ll get to personalise your hand-held robot and have a practise game before entering the final competition. Will you and your robot team mates win the cup? For 5 year olds and above at 11am and 2.15pm, places limited.

The Weston-Super-Mare Sand Festival, runs until 30 September

and complete the trail activities as you go to claim a prize and sticker on completion. There will also be daily talks, scenic walks, engaging exhibits, award-winning gardens and hundreds of adorable donkeys to meet. The Weston Sand Sculpture Festival See over 30 sand sculptures on the beach at Weston-super-Mare and vote for your favourite. There will also be photo opportunities, cinema experiences, workshops, play areas and seaside café.

enjoying the exhibition; each room of the Palace will explore a different century, from the 1200’s through to the current day. Open from 10am to 4pm.

Until 31 December Giant Top Trumps

Until 22 October

Miniature Railway Every Wednesday the miniature railway will be running on East Somerset Railway.

Until 31 October

The Artist’s Apprentice Trail Take part in this arty trail at Hestercombe Gardens where young artists will colour in a masterpiece of their own as they follow in the footsteps of the great Coplestone Warre Bampfylde, designer of Hestercombe’s landscape gardens. When their masterpiece is complete, they will graduate as a Master Artist and have a certificate to prove it. Later in the year all of the drawings will be used to recreate one huge version of Coplestone’s painting and display it at Hestercombe. There will be a new trail every school holiday. When you go take your Artist’s Apprentice Trail booklet to the Ticket Office to receive a stamp - Collect all the stamps to win a special prize. Trail is £2.50 per child plus normal gardens admission, book online. Palace 800 - The Story of a Palace and a Home Go on a journey through the 800 years of history introducing you to the people and events that have shaped this special place. Discover how the Bishops Palace’s residents have connected the building to major events throughout history, from Magna Carta to the Second World War, and see how the site has evolved over its 800 years. Transport yourself back in time as you wander from room to room

Giant Cards feature Noah’s Ark’s own animals creating an exciting trail for you to follow around the zoo to find out who is the fastest, who is the rarest and who is the smelliest. Pick up a limited-edition Top Trumps Card and a trail sheet when you visit. There are 6 limited edition cards to be collected which will be released throughout the year. Shoephoria!

A new exhibition in the Fashion Museum Bath showcasing 350 pairs of boots and shoes, drawn from the museum’s collection alongside ‘star’ shoes borrowed for the exhibition. It includes shoes worn by iconic figures from British cultural life, including actors Noel Coward and Margaret Lockwood, music hall star Fred Kitchen,

Continued on page 6

12 July - 11 October 2021


with an immersive basement experience. Guests can also come face to face with a 8ft monster, recreated as Mary imagined in her novel for the very first time. Tickets start from £12.50 per person, go to for details.

Wednesday 21 - Oct 27

Miniature Railway Running If the weather is good the Miniature Railway on the East Somerset Railway will be running every Wednesday. £1 per person, details online.

Saturday 24 Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein opens in Bath, 19 July.

ballerinas Margot Fonteyn and Alicia Markova, and Nicola Adams in Strictly Come Dancing 2020. From the oldest shoes in the collection – a pair of red velvet mules from the 1690s – to sneakers and trainers from the 2000s.


dancers and outstanding musicians and will include the work of some of the most celebrated choreographers. At 3pm in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden overlooking the picturesque Blagdon Lake. Gates open at 12pm for food and drink from local producers and a chance to explore the garden, Adults £85, children £50.

Saturday 10 - Sept 4

Sunday 18

The Bath and West: A Celebration ‘Living Exhibition’ in Somerset Rural Life Museum in partnership with the Royal Bath and West Society. Enjoy a vibrant programme of family events and activities that capture the spirit of the Bath and West Show, alongside an opportunity to discover more about the society’s wide-ranging history.

Friday 16 & Saturday 17

The Godney Gathering Micro festival at Garslade Farm celebrating its 10th anniversary. Consists of 7 stages comprising Main and Second; the GFM Stage, Acoustic Stage, Silent Disco, The Playground Stage, and Comedy & Cabaret Stage. From 6pm to 12am Friday; 12pm to 12am Saturday, go to www.thegodneygathering. com for details and booking.

Friday 16 - Sunday 18

Bath Food Festival Stalls selling produce, street food, entertainment and activities for all the family including demos, talk and tastings. At Bath Recreation Ground, Bathwick.

Saturday 17

Giant Flea Market Over 250 stalls inside and out selling a plethora of items at the Royal Bath and West Showground. Doors open at 9am, adults £5, accompanied children free. Open Cockpit Day Visitors to The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare have a rare opportunity to access the cockpits of selected helicopters and have the controls explained by an experienced guide. Fun for all the family, book online.

Monday 19

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein Uncover the true story behind the iconic monster as this new attraction opens in Gay Street, Bath. Extending over four atmospheric floors bursting with unusual artefacts and vintage items, interactive multi-sensory environments, and assorted body parts. It will contain ominous audio and visual effects, darkened environments, and some scenes of a disturbing nature. There will be a floor dedicated to revealing Mary Shelley’s tragic past, another exploring the monster in popular culture, partnered

Summer Fete St Margaret’s Hospice Care in Taunton’s fete from 11am to 3pm. Fun for all the family with a variety of stalls including a raffle, tombolas, face painting, a BBQ, a tearoom, and musical entertainment. All activities will be taking place outside around the hospice grounds, so join in a joyous day whilst supporting your local hospice. Adults £2, children under 14s free. The Festival of Archaeology Explore the archaeology of your local area through maps and family friendly activities at Weston Museum, Weston-super-Mare. The theme is ‘Exploring Local Places’ and the museum will be hosting a special event day, where you can drop in for some free activities. Pop your memorable places on the huge map, explore the online map site ‘Know Your Place’ and chat to experts and volunteers. There will also be a variety of digital activities and resources, including activity packs and spotter trails running across the whole CBA Festival (17 July - 1 August).

Saturday 24 - October 31

The World of Martin Brown Discover an array of cartoons and art by the Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown in the Museum of Somerset in Taunton. See the original covers for some of the Horrible Histories and discover more of Martin’s work from his beginnings as a humorous graphic artist and fan of cartoons.

Sunday 25

Open Cockpit Day As July 18. Garden Open Day Visit the lovely gardens that surround St Margaret’s Hospice buildings in Yeovil and help to raise

Summer Handmade Market Free family day out at Yandles Hurst Works Martock. With special discounts in the tools centre and art and crafts centre. From 10am to 4pm, free entry.

Summer Sundays

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18

July 18, August 8 & 15 Jamma de Samba

The Royal Ballet in Somerset Guest Artists of The Royal Ballet, will travel to Yeo Valley Organic, Holt Farm, Bath Road, Blagdon, for two special open-air performances. The performances will feature an impressive lineup of world-class


Bath is well known for its abundance of buskers across the city and there will be pop-up performers around the city centre to enjoy. Includes:

July 25, August 22 Jane Austen Dancers of Bath. 11.30am and

2.30pm on Bath Street.

August 1 & 22- Free face painting from 10 to 4pm. August 1 & 15- Free Balloon Modelling from 10 to 4pm.

12 July - 11 October 2021

much needed funds for both hospice and home care. From 2 to 5pm, £3.

Wednesday 28 Open Cockpit Day As July 18.

Friday 30 & Saturday 31

Farmfest See over 100 acts at Gilcombe Farm, Bruton and enjoy early morning workouts for children; workshops which blend with lively beats, riotous jumbles of jazz and brass-based bonanzas alongside comedy and poetry. Adult weekend tickets £99, teen £60, 12 year olds and under free. Go to for bookings and details.

Friday 30 - August 1

Valley Fest Festival for families at Chew Valley Lake. With music, food,workshops, talks and tours. Children’s entertainment includes plenty of nonsense, games and running around. There is the crafty tent, Aardman model making, games up at The Yard, not to mention farm tours, films, and foodie-based fun. Go to for details.

Saturday 31

Fish & Chips and Cream Tea Rides Take the West Somerset Railway’s steam service from Bishops Lydeard from 12.35 and meander through the Quantock Hills and along the coast behind a heritage steam locomotive taking in the breath taking scenery whilst enjoying your fish and chips. There will be a bus transfer from Dunster into Minehead. Your return trip back to Bishops Lydeard will depart Minehead Station by bus transfer at 4.10m, arriving in Dunster in plenty of time for your train service which will depart at 4.40pm where your Cream Tea will be served. Book oline. Heritage Diesel Service and Steam Enjoy a ride on the Heritage Diesel Service on the East Somerset Railway. Service runs at 11.45am and 2.45pm. Details online. Yeovil Summer Fete A family friendly fete in aid of St Margaret’s hospice care. Go and boost Hospice funds and have a fun day in the beautiful grounds at Little Tarrat Lane. There will be entertainment, face painting, a raffle, plant stall, craft stalls, children’s area and much more. From 11am to 4pm, £2 on the gate.

Saturday 31 - August 1

Weston-super-Mare Dairy Festival A celebration of livestock, agriculture and local producers of food and crafts from all over the South West. With a combination of live entertainment and an array of stalls featuring local produce on the Beach Lawns, Marine Parade.

August Sunday 1

Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight Visitors to The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare have a rare opportunity to access the cockpits of selected helicopters and have the controls explained by an experienced guide. They can also learn how a helicopter works as a pilot explains the controls whilst they look down on Weston-super-Mare from a thousand feet in the air. Book online. Porlock Village Fete A scaled-down, more local alternative to the Annual Country Fair. Go and enjoy a day of traditional games, children’s races, family dog show, tombola, craft stalls, community group displays, and more. Stay for refreshments and lunch, with food stalls, a hog roast, tea and cakes, and a bar. From 12 to 5pm in Porlock Recreation Ground. Free entry on foot, £2 per car parking.

held at Ashton Court Estate. Instead, organisers are planning ‘Fiesta Fortnight’ with flypasts and ballooning spectaculars for the city. There will be a number of launches across the city and region. Go to for details.

Wednesday 4 Open Cockpit Day As July 18.

Wednesday 4 - Friday 6

Inflatable Theme Park Yeovil’s first inflatable theme park is being held at Yeovil Sports and Social Club Johnson Park boasting some of the south west’s best bouncy castles and slides. With unlimited access to loads of inflatables, a visit from Micky and Minnie Mouse, hook a duck, trampoline and food. There will also be an under 5’s inflatable area, with a smaller bouncy castle and soft play so that all ages can join in. Sessions at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm. Adults £1, children £6.

Thursday 5

Historic Helicopters Open Day Open day and flying display from 10.20am at Historic Helicopters, Chard Equestrian, Chard.

Sunday 1 - Sunday 15

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta This year the Fiesta will not be

Continued on page 8

Bath & West Country Festival celebrates country life Friday 27 - Sunday 29 July One off festival replacing the Royal Bath & West Show with action packed events for all the family, and a haven for all enthusiasts of rural life at the Royal Bath and West Showground. It retains the Main Ring, Main Lawn, Woodland and Countryside Arena whilst introducing some new features to enjoy. New this year is Lakeside Farm full of hands-on exhibits and demonstrations to get involved in. It includes the Sheep Show, where visitors can learn about breeds of sheep and watch a sheep shearing demonstration; and the Dog and Duck Show, where a Collie Dog will put a group of Ducks through a course of tunnels and slides. Also new is Canine Corner for all dog lovers with Pawsability and a fun dog show. Tractor Ted will be making an appearance and there will be a Vintage Fairground to enjoy and Bath & West Railway will allow everyone to enjoy a leisurely ride around the Showground lake. Tickets are available at www. and 2 children are admitted free with each advance adult ticket purchased.

12 July - 11 October 2021


Wednesday 11 Open Cockpit Day As July 18.

Wed 11 - Monday 30 Thursday 5 - Sunday 8

Film & Food Fest Four days of outdoor cinema at Clifton Downs in Bristol with classic movies and recent releases, stand up comedy from some of the UK’s best-loved comedians, local street food and specially curated short films from regional film makers. Adult tickets start at £16.50, children under 12 go half price for afternoon showings. Go to www. for details. Continental Street Market Expect to find a mix of traders selling food and craft items from around the world in Princess Royal Square, Weston-super-Mare. From hot food treats to fresh goodies to take away, all rounded off with some quirky and unusual craft items. From 10am to 6pm.

Friday 6 - Sunday 8

Sea Shanty and Folk Festival 60 bands spread over a multitude of venues, across Weston-super-Mare. Entry to all venues is free although donations into the charity buckets will be appreciated. Both the RNLI and The Lions Club will benefit from donations. There will be pirate crews invading Weston-super-Mare, dress as your favourite pirate and join in the fun. Go to for details.

Saturday 7 & Sunday 8

The Bath Festival Finale Weekend Finale weekend of the family friendly musical extravaganza on the Recreation Ground in the heart of Bath. Acts include McFly, UB40 ft Ali Campbell & Astro, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Billy Ocean. Tickets must be bought in advance.

Museum of the Moon Installation in the crossing of Bristol Cathedral, a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning Bristol-based composer Dan Jones. There will be a programme of events including concerts, recitals and children’s craft events. (See holiday pages for details.) Go to for details and booking.

Saturday 14

Heritage Diesel Service and Steam As July 31. North Petherton Flower Show From 2 to 4pm in North Petherton Community Centre, Fore Street.

Sunday 15

Helicopter Air Experience Flight Visitors to The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare have the opportunity to learn how a helicopter works as a pilot explains the controls whilst you look down on Weston-super-Mare from a thousand feet in the air. Mid Somerset Show A traditional one day agricultural show with new breed specific livestock classes and equestrian classes. You can also see poultry, arts and crafts, flower show, floral art, classic cars, vintage vehicles as well as the South West Cheese Awards and the Somerset Cider Championship. Fro 8am to 5pm in Cannards Well, Cannard’s Grave Road, Shepton Mallet. Free entry.

Wednesday 18 Open Cockpit Day As July 18.

Saturday 21 & Sunday 22

Sunday 8

Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight As August 1. Greyhound Trust Dog Show From 11am to 3pm in Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall, Village Road, Taunton.

Trucks at the Beach Truck show on the beach lawns in Weston-super-Mare. Free entry, but donations are accepted to help Alfie beat neuroblastoma. Alfie’s Convoy and Truckshow is run to support this young man who is fighting this form of cancer for the

Open Air Theatre Productions Take a picnic, blanket or seat and enjoy an al fresco production.

July Zenith’s ‘Not the Edinburgh Fringe’

Thursday 15

Little Shop of Horrors Comic horror classic show at 7.30pm.

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18

The Wind in the Willows Follow the story of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mr Toad as they embark on adventure in the idyllic countryside. At 2.30pm on Saturday, 11.30am on Sunday. Both presented by Zenith Youth Theatre on the back terrace and lawns of Barrow Castle , Rush Hill, Bath. Tickets £15, family £45.

Saturday 17

Open Air Summer Concert Classical and popular music from the Pleasure Dome Theatre Company and friends in Harmony on the theme of ‘Unity and Healing’. From 6.30 to 8.30pm in Porlock Recreation Ground, Parsons Street, Porlock. Tickets £12.50 available from Porlock Visitors Centre.

4th time now and can’t get the treatment he needs on the NHS. From 10am to 5pm.

Sunday 22

Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight As August 1.

Wednesday 25

Heritage Diesel Service and Steam As July 31. Open Cockpit Day As July 18.

Friday 27

Night at the Abbey Performances across three stages at Glastonbury Abbey. From 4.30pm

Saturday 28 & Sunday 29

The Way We Were Celebrate rural life surrounding a country station in the 1930’s to 1950s on East Somerset Railway. Don a period costume and join in the atmosphere of yesteryear with costumed promenaders. Attractions include Punch & Judy, Land Girls At Large, wartime re-enactments, vintage military and civilian vehicles and traditional children’s games. Trains run at 11am, 12, 1, 2 & 3.30pm. Details and booking online. Find out about ‘The Way We Were’ at East Somerset Railway, 28 & 29 August.


12 July - 11 October 2021

Saturday 28 - Monday 30 Medieval Weekend Visitors will be able to immerse

Tuesday 27

The Tempest Shakespeare’s comedy features a major act of betrayal, ill treatment, the development of magic arts and a plot of revenge. Presented by Folksy Theatre at Forde Abbey with live music, colourful characters, enchantment and a little touch of magic. Gates open at 6pm, performance starts at 7pm. Tickets from www.folksytheatre. .

Tuesday 27 - August 7

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Pleasure Dome Theatre Company is grooving on down to Exmoor’s Valley of Rocks, Lynton to bring you Shakespeare’s classic packed full of magic, madness, and mayhem. Join the festivities and celebrate the sensational swirling patterns and far-out vibes of the seventies. Go and experience “theatre in the wild”. For 8 year olds and above at 7.30pm, Sunday matinee at 3pm, no shows on Mondays. Go to for details and bookings. Adults £15, children £10, family £45.

Wednesday 28

The Tempest As July 27 but In ECOS at Merlin Theatre, Frome. Adults £15.50, concs £12.50, must be booked in advance. themselves in 800 years of history and get into the medieval spirit at the Bishops Palace in Wells as they discover the historical re-enactment and medieval weapons experts, Bowlore encamped amongst the ruins of the Great Hall. There will be displays, demonstrations and choreographed combat throughout the day. From 10am to 5pm.

Sunday 29

Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight As August 1.

Sunday 29 & Monday 30

Stars Of The Time & Comic And Con The Comic Con by the sea will be back with a vengeance from 10am to 5pm at The Tropicana, Marine Parade, Weston-super-Mare. Adults £8.50, children £4.50, family £20, £22, under 4s free.

September Saturday 4

Sheppyfest Music and cider festival at Sheppy’s House of Cider, Three Bridges, Bradford-on-Tone. With live performances from local bands as well as more established artists and plenty of food and drink for all the family. Plus children’s entertainment until 6pm.

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Friday 30

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf

Little Red sets off through the forest to visit Grandma but the journey won’t be easy, not with all these distractions. The three pigs are building their new homes, Goldilocks is having problems with some bears and to top it all off, the Big Bad Wolf is out on the hunt for his dinner. Can Little Red help her friends and still outsmart the hungry Wolf? Folksy Theatre presentation for 2 year olds and above with live music, colourful characters and puppetry. At Forde Abbey, at 5.30pm. Tickets from .

The Garden Theatre Fest A new theatre festival taking place in the gardens of the Holburne Museum in Bath. All start at 7pm, doors open at 5.50pm for picnics. Tickets £6 - £16, family £45. July 16 & 17

Robin Hood Five actors, with all manner of musical instruments, struggle to remember Britain’s best-known folktale. Prepare for a riotous summer adventure fit for all the family as The Three Inch Fools battle to tell their own version of the legendary tale.

August Thursday 5

Saturday 31

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf As July 30 but In ECOS at Merlin Theatre, Frome. Adults £12.50, concs £10.50, must be booked in advance. The Tempest As July 27, but in the Walled Gardens of Cannington. Starts at 7pm, tickets must be booked in advance. Adults £15, children £12, family £48, under 3s free.

Much Ado About Nothing Claudia and Hero love each other as much as Benedick and Beatrice hate each other. That is until a trick is played on both pairs with life changing results. Shakespeare’s comedy presented by Illyria in ECOS at Merlin Theatre, Frome at 7pm. Adults £15, children £11, must be booked in advance. A Midsummer Night’s Dream As July 27 - August 7 but at

August 10

Romeo and Juliet Prepare for a carnival of passion and imagination, as The Three Inch Fools present this romantic epic with live music -making, deft physicality and vibrant storytelling.

August 11

The Merry Wives of Windsor Prepare for an evening of mischief and hilarity as The Three Inch Fools present this rip-roaring Shakespearean comedy.

August 12

Pygmalion Tethered Wits present the story of flower girl Eliza Doolittle and Knackershole Garden Theatre, Dulverton at 2.30pm. Adults £15, children £10, family £45.

eccentric Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins, as he tries to teach her to pass for a duchess in society after making a bet.

August 21

The Wind in the Willows Summer afternoon in Wild Wood, as the animals sat, ate picnics, and played with their friends, a mischievous poop poop echoed in the trees.Join Mole, Ratty and Badger in a floor stomping, live music, hilarious recount of this woodland adventure as they save Toad and his shiny new motorcar from deep trouble. Kenneth Grahame’s story is retold by Calf2Cow.

style production to Knackershole Garden Theatre, West Knowle, Dulverton. Gates open at 5.30pm, performance at 7pm. Tickets £10.

Saturday 7

Beauty and the Beast IKP present a ‘delightfully daft’ retelling of the classic story at Glastonbury Abbey. Doors open at 6.30pm, performance starts at 7pm.

Sunday 8

The War of the Worlds A Live Radio Play on Stage. Up Close Theatre bring the classic story by HG Wells, in a vintage

Romeo and Juliet Prepare for a carnival of passion and imagination, as The Three Inch

The Tempest As July 27 but at Hestercombe Gardens. At 6pm, adults £15, children £12, family £48, must be booked.

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12 July - 11 October 2021


Saturday 11 - October 31

Alice Kettle: Thread Bearing Witness Exhibition of the works of the highly-regarded textile artist whose large-scale narrative embroideries are inspired by contemporary issues and ideas. The works on display in Somerset Rural Life Museum will explore the theme of migration, including cultural heritage, journeys and displacement.

Sunday 5

Dulverton Village Fair Family event celebrating the 1940s and 1950s from 12 to 4pm on the Exmoor Lawns beside the River Barle. With an array of vintage stalls, singing, dancing and classic vehicles including rare and Second World War military vehicles and tractors. Everyone is encouraged to go in period costume and there might be a 1940s hair and make up stall. Admission free. Coaches to the Seaside A day of transport nostalgia takes place at The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare with an on-site Vintage Bus Rally and Open Cockpit Day. Plus tours of the local coastline on a series of classic buses. Book online.

Friday 10 - Sunday 12

The Southwest Motorhome Show A weekend of camping and rock-themed entertainment at the Royal Bath and West Showground. Adults from £5, camping from £57. Foodies Festival The big food festival returns to Durdham Downs, Bristol with a live music, workshops, masterclasses and Top Chefs. Learn how to make show stopping cakes in The Cake & Bake Theatre; sample new wines, champagnes and cocktails in The Drinks Theatre, eat delicious street food from around the world, taste new flavours, meet artisan

Sunday 12 Step back in time at Bishops Palace Medieval Weekend, 28-30 August. producers, have fun all day with chilli eating competitions and food challenges plus brand new extended Kids Zone with Kids Cookery theatre. From 12 to 7pm on Friday; 11am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday. Weekend £29, day tickets: adults £17, £19, young adults £5, under 12s free; VIP £38. Sky Safari Marvel as an array of hot air balloons take to the skies at Longleat as the Estate comes to life, full of all the vibrant colours of the rainbow with over 150 hot air balloons take taking to the air in an astounding procession of finesse. Followed in the evenings by a stunning night glow set to music.

Friday 10 - Sunday 19

The Jane Austen Festival Annual celebration dedicated to Jane Austen in Bath. Opening with the world-famous Grand Regency Costumed Promenade it has over 80 events including walks, talks,

concerts, workshops, tours, theatricals, and the Regency costumed Masked Ball, with its unique reception by the Roman Baths. Details at or 01225 443000 Ext.5.

Saturday 11 - Sunday 19

The 10 Parishes Festival Festival of Visual and Performing arts, a celebration of creativity and community in Wiveliscombe and surrounding parishes just to the west of Taunton. Visitors can see and meet artists in their own studios and buy work, whether paintings, illustrations, prints, ceramics, glass, sculptures, jewellery, crafts, textiles, furniture or photography. This year’s theme is New Leaf. Market Day occurs on Sunday 12th September in Wiveliscombe, where a street fair and carnival unites the community with market stalls and performances. Go to for details.

Fools present this romantic epic with live music -making, deft physicality and vibrant storytelling. Free from 4.30pm in Somerset Square in Taunton.

Wed 11 & Thursday 12

Saturday 21

Saturday 28

Thursday 12 The Jungle Book

Build Your Own...Improvised Story Pinch Punch need your ideas to help make a story. For 5 year olds and above on th South Lawn of Bishops Palace. At 11am and 2pm.

Wednesday 25

Immersion Theatre present a swingin’ musical adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling family favourite. Filled with original music, audience interaction, and the chance to meet the characters after the show, you are invited to join Mowgli and his friends on a madcap


The Tempest Join open-air Shakespeare specialists The Pantaloons on a voyage to an enchanted island full of adventure, romance, magic and… monsters! Expect music and mayhem, poetry and puppetry in the Bard’s brilliant tale of shipwrecks, sorcerers and silly servants. From 7pm at Montacute House.

Wed 25 & Thurs 26

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens Fly away for 60 minutes with Betwixt-and-Between’s magical stage adaptation of J.M.Barrie’s prequel to Peter Pan. Meet Mary

12 July - 11 October 2021

Heritage Diesel Service and Steam As July 31.

Thursday 16

Fish & Chips and Cream Tea Rides As July 31. Diesel Day On the East Somerset Railway. Ride the diesel train as many times as you like and look around the Engine Shed and Workshop. Trains run at 11am, 12.30, 2 and 3.30pm.

Saturday 18

Free Taster Session Razzamataz Yeovil has a free taster session at Westfield Academy, Yeovil where 4 to 18 year olds can have a go at dance, drama and singing. Contact Claire on 07856 273166 / 01935 411128 or email for more information or to reserve a place.

Somerset Open Studios and her father, George as they explore the origins of ‘the boy who wouldn’t grow up’. Introducing a host of new characters- from regal fairies to talking birds - with tons of imagination. At 4pm in Knackershole Garden Theatre, Dulverton. Tickets £10, family £30.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream As July 27 - August 7 but in Castle Gardens, Taunton at 6pm. Adults from £15, children £10, family £45.

Wednesday 15

Saturday 18 - October 3

jungle adventure as they meet and attempt to outwit a slithering snake, some cheeky monkeys, and the fierce tiger, Shere Khan. For 4 year olds and above at 6.30pm at Tyntesfield. Gates open at 5.45pm, adults £19.80, children £11, family £38.88.

Outdoor Performances (cont.)

Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight As August 1.

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf As July 31, but in the Walled Gardens of Cannington. Starts at 3pm, tickets must be booked in advance. Adults £15, children £12, family £48, under 3s free. Beware of Pirates

At 11am and 12.30pm in Somerset Square in Taunton.

Sunday 29

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen’s witty and romantic masterpiece presented by Pantaloons at Montacute House. Will Mrs Bennett manage to offload her numerous daughters in record time? Will Lizzy and Darcy actually get together? Will creepy Mr Collins just go away please? At 7pm

Sunday 29- Monday 30

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat The Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will be at Glastonbury Abbey. Gates open at 6.30pm, performance starts 7.45pm with a matinee on Sunday at 3.45, gates open 3pm. Book online.

September Taunton has been invaded by Pirates. This lovable crew of nautical ragamuffins are seeking a new crew for plundering and adventure on the rough waters of the River Tone. These energetic performers bring you a selection of rowdy adventures, popular sea shanties and questionable accents that will keep the whole family entertained.

Thursday 2

The Canterbury Tales Green Matthews presetn a riotous and rollicking retelling of the medieval masterpiece in the courtyard of the Museum of Somerset. For 10 year olds and above at 7pm. Tickets £14.50.

Exmoor Dark Skies Festival 22 October - 7 November

Sunday 10

Heritage Diesel Service and Steam As July 31. Toy & Train Collectors Fair Over 300 stalls at the Royal Bath and West Showground. From 10.30am to 2.30pm, £4 per person. Open Cockpit Day/ Helicopter Air Experience Flight As August 1.

Friday 22 - November 7

Exmoor Dark Skies Festival Families can enjoy a variety of events taking place all over Exmoor. It includes Dark Skies Owls Showcases the work of Somerset Art Works members in a range of private and pop-up workspaces across the county celebrating the source of art, making, design and craft. Over 300 established and emerging artists will demonstrate how they make their work; their process, practice and inspiration. The event allows a rare opportunity for visitors to engage with artists in person and to see inside their studios, temporary working spaces and other locations to find out what goes on behind the scenes. Go to for details. Inch by IN:CH Artist led project curated by the Bath based artist group IN:CH brings a travelling contemporary art exhibition to Somerset Open Studios. Artworks include painting, assemblage, projections and sculputural installations. Artists will engage with the audience with workshops, talks and performances. Free admission, go to www. for details.

Sunday 19

Mud Master OCR Day out full of mud, water, family fun and 20 different obstacles with three course options at Puxton Park. Go to to register your interest.

Thursday 23 - Sunday 26

The Luna Cinema The Luna Cinema is taking the big screen to Longleat with some classic cinema family favourites. Join them outdoors under the stars for an unforgettable big-screen experience. Shows include Star Wars, Dirty Dancing, The Greatest Showman and The Lion King. Gates open at 6pm, film starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £11 to £16, details online.

Friday 24 - Sunday 26

The Great Bath Feast Festival celebrating the best food and drink in the South West as well as taste-sensations from further afield. It kicks off with a buzzing

Experience with Exmoor Owl and Wildlife Sanctuary and Dusk Safaris with Exmoor Barle Valley Wildlife Safaris departing from Exford both taking place on most days. There will also be exhibitions, talks, stargazing, planetarium sessions, astronomy talks. Go to stargazing/dark-skies-festival for details.

For a free listing of your event — let us know the details by 24 September.

market on Milsom Street in Bath with chef demos, pop-ups, gourmet street food, foodie talks and a Food and Drink trail. With a number of curated and fringe events across the city throughout October, there will be something to suit every taste. Go to www.greatbathfeast. for details.

Saturday 25

Fish & Chips and Cream Tea Rides As July 31. Eat Weston Free to attend food and drink market showcasing over 70 local producers in Weston High Street and the Italian Gardens, Weston-super-Mare. With street entertainers and fun for all the family.

October Saturday 2 - 31

Pumpkin Patch Visit the Pumpkin Patch at Avon Valley Wildlife Park, Pixash Lane, Bath Road, Keynsham and enjoy seasonal fun for all ages. Pick your perfect pumpkin and enjoy entertainment including theatrical performers, fire show, fair rides, Pumpkin Paintball, Bottle Smash, Pumpkin Slingshot and the new Massive Pumpkin Canons and Scarecrow Shoot’em. Meet the Spooky Farm Family and find the Golden Pumpkin. From 10am to 4pm, details on 0117 986 4929.

Wednesday 6

The Dairy Show From 8.30am to 5pm at the Royal Bath and West Showground. Adults £17, £15 in advance. Details on 01749 822 200.

Friday 8 - 27

Pumpkin Patch Nights An evening of fab-boo-lous fun at Avon Valley Wildlife Park, Pixash Lane, Bath Road, Keynsham. From 5 to 9.40pm, details on 0117 986 4929.

Saturday 9

Fish & Chips and Cream Tea Rides As July 31.

12 July - 11 October 2021


Eye on Nature Compassionate Families

THE RSPCA has launched a new education programme for parents to teach their children about animal welfare at home. Compassionate Families focuses on the welfare of dogs, cats and rabbits and provides parents with information and activities they can do with their children. During the pandemic there has been a huge surge in pet ownership and these activities can help prepare families who are thinking about getting a pet, or help those who have recently bought or adopted a pet, to learn more about their animal’s needs and behaviour. David Allen, Head of Education and Prevention at the RSPCA, said: “With the huge surge in pet ownership over the last 12 months, many children may be getting a pet for the very first time so we saw this as an ideal opportunity for children to learn about their pets’ needs and behaviour, such as how to understand and read their body language, and inspire children to do something good for animals.” The programme begins by introducing the concept of compassion and outlining the animal’s needs, there are then a range of discovery activities focusing on dogs, cats and rabbits for parents and children to complete together, and the final section is advocacy which brings together their learning and encourages the family to champion animal welfare in a creative and imaginative way. The RSPCA has concerns that some people may be buying a pet on impulse rather than considering whether they have the

time, money and resources to care for a pet for the rest of their lives. By planning and preparing to bring a pet home, this will mean that owners have done their research and are fully prepared for the commitment having a pet entails and it can also make a nice family project. Dave added: “Whilst adults should always be ultimately responsible for pets, caring for them can involve the whole family. Children can help with things like cleaning small animal enclosures, preparing a pet’s food and enjoying going out for walks with the dog - all as part of regular supervised family activities. Helping to care for pets can encourage children to become more responsible and increase their empathy and compassion to others.” The Compassionate Family activities include: • Making a kindness list for pets • Creating a weekly calendar for your pet’s needs • Spot the difference and colouring sheets for dogs, cats and bunnies • How to become an animal protector • Building a hedgehog shack for your garden Go to to get involved.

Look out for Mammals As part of their annual ‘Living With Mammals’ survey, wildlife charity, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is asking people to look out for, and record, any sightings or signs of wild mammals they spot in their gardens or local green spaces online. PTES saw record-breaking numbers of volunteers taking part last year, thanks to more people being at home and having the time to watch wildlife in their gardens and/ or nearby green spaces. The result was a huge increase in the number of mammal sightings, from hazel dormice on birdfeeders to hedgehogs snuffling in gardens after dark. Participation sparked a newfound appreciation, love and interest in nature for many. PTES is keen to build on this positive relationship with nature, which not only benefits wildlife, but can also have a positive impact


12 July - 11 October 2021

on the mental health and wellbeing of those taking part. Now, PTES is asking people to look out for and record sightings and signs of wild mammals (such as footprints and droppings) in their gardens or local green spaces throughout this year. Anyone can take part so whether you have hedgehogs under your hedge or even a pine marten on your patio, all sightings are valuable. Visit: to take part and find out how to identify different mammals.

Free trees to plant THE Woodland Trust’s free tree pack scheme is open for applications. Schools and community groups can apply for the first 1 million trees via free tree packs which will be despatched in November during the planting season. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The packs are available in a range of themes; year-long colour, a wild harvest, or a haven for wildlife. Another contains hardy species which tolerate exposed sites and dry areas or where water collects easily, there is even a working wood mix which could provide wood fuel or willow for weaving. The packs also come in a range of sizes. It is asked that trees are planted on publicly accessible land where possible, with the landowner’s permission, and that groups commit to caring for those trees as they establish and grow. To order free trees visit freetrees before August 25 for delivery in November.

Map your log pile PEOPLE’S Trust for Endangered Species is also asking for help with another garden survey to help save endangered stag beetles and other wildlife. They would like anyone with a garden or access to a local green space — including school playgrounds, church yards, parks, allotments and traditional orchards — to create a log pile (or pyramid) for invertebrates, and record their location online. This will enable PTES to see where these important deadwood habitats exist, where more need to be created, and hopefully inspire others. Creating a log pile is easy; simply keep any logs, wood chips, old firewood or fallen branches and place them in a corner of your garden or green space.The log pile can be neat or untidy (insects don’t mind!) and can be made using a variety of different sized pieces of dead wood and leaves. Different locations will attract different species — logpiles in shade will stay damp which is good for fungi, mosses and some invertebrates. In full sun, the wood will dry out and be good for solitary bees.Tree stumps or hedges that have either died naturally or have been cut down can also be retained and added. Go to for building details and to record the location of your log pile, pyramid and/or tree stumps when they are in place.

Nell’s News Round-up : Nell’s News Round-up : Nell’s News Round-up Here I am again - long time no see! Where have you all been? I have been trying to gather news for you but everywhere was closed what was that all about? Thank goodness things are better now and I’ve tracked down some new arrivals you can go and see. I must say some are cuter than others! More next time,

Welcome a Giant!

A giant Pacific octopus, the world’s largest species of octopus, has made Bristol Aquarium its new permanent home. The female is settling into her new tank extremely well; playing with staff and showing off to visitors. Bristol Aquarium’s aquarist, Rachel Farquhar said: “She is an incredibly playful octopus, getting so excited that she has been squirting water at us! They are such intelligent animals and because she

has settled in so well we have started training her already. She is a quick learner so we can’t wait to find out just how clever this pretty lady really is!” Giant Pacific octopus are the world’s largest species of octopus and are found from Japan to Southern California. The biggest recorded specimen had an arm span of 10 meters and weighed 270kgs. Despite the fact that they belong to the same family as slugs and snails, octopus can perform highly complex tasks. As well as unscrewing jars, they can open boxes, distinguish between different shapes and complete mazes. The newly-arrived cephalopod lives in a specially-themed habitat and aquarists are devising a training plan to ensure each

octopus is kept both physically and mentally fit. Visitors can see her in the Harbourside area of Bristol Aquarium.

A Mate for Shifumi

the top of trees in their enclosure. So visitors are encouraged to look into the branches to find them.

Patter of Tiny Hooves

Shifumi, Bristol Zoo Garden’s Red Panda, has a new friend with the arrival of Pan from Birmingham Conservation Wildlife Park. At 10 months old Pan is the right age to leave his family group and hopefully start one of his own with 2 year olds Shifumi. It is hoped the new pair will help the European breeding programme for red pandas which are an Endangered species. This is due to logging and he spread of agriculture reducing their natural habitat in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China. The pair are getting on well and are sharing an enclosure planted to resemble their natural habitat a short walk from the Zoo’s entrance. Red pandas are excellent climbers, using their strong claws to grasp hold of branches and can often be found at

A female Hartmann zebra foal was born at Paignton Zoo on Friday 18th June to parents Taru and Jabili. This is great news not only for the zoo but the species as a whole which is classed as vulnerable because its population is decreasing in their native Namibia. Hunting and habitat destruction are to blame for this along with droughts and other extreme weather conditions, loss of genetic diversity caused by inbreeding due to a small subpopulation, and competition with livestock for food. No such worries for this little cutie who has a very close bond with her mum and will be fully weaned by 10 months of age.

12 July - 11 October 2021


Down to Earth July 10 - September 4 A summer of family fun at Somerset Rural Life Museum inspired by the Royal Bath and West Show. There will be a programme of family events and activities that capture the spirit of the Royal Bath and West Show. The Museum will come alive with craft demonstrations, ‘create and make’ activities and visiting animals. Special events include a craft fair, visiting shire horses, birds of prey and donkeys, and demonstrations in pottery, pole lathing and felt making. In the Museum’s Mapstone Gallery visitors can enjoy specially-commissioned contemporary film and photography. Go to uk or call 01458 831197 for details.

Things to do during the holidays. Please mention Primary Times Hampshire when booking activities. REMEMBER, things may change at short notice so make sure you check before you go.

Super Summer of fun planned at Hestercombe

July 24 - September 5 There are so many ways for all the family to have fun at Hestercombe Gardens. Enjoy music and wildlife from the melodic tones of travelling ‘Popera House’, The Bluebirds, who will be performing The Empress and the Nightingale. Then have spidery fun with Creepy Crawlies with Exmoor Zoo and Wild Bug Hunts with Somerset Wildlife Trust. For the first time some feathered friends will be visiting the gardens with Somerset Birds of Prey Centre - go and get up close and personal with a range of cute (but deadly!) predators. To keep fit you can try some child-friendly yoga outside in the gardens and there are three garden trails to follow and explore the gardens in a new light: Mushroom Magic Trail, Story Stones, and Charcoal Creations. During the Mushroom Magic Trail there will also be the chance to win your own specially painted mushroom from amongst the beautifully designed toadstools decorating Rook Wood. Step back in time and meet Miss Warre who will be strolling around the gardens in her Regency costume, taking in the Georgian garden design and regaling visitors with stories from her past. There will also be a day of Archery on the Orangery Lawn and model boats can be captained on the Mill Pond on selected dates. All must be booked.


12 July - 12 October 2021

Family FUN

Photos: Chris Lacey


July 24 - September 5 Cool down in the summer sun at Crealy Adventure Park, Sidmouth Road, Exeter with a splash in the family water rides and attractions. Hurtle down the Tidal Wave log flume and three Vortex waterslides. Make a splash with your family and friends in the family Aqua Blaster bumper boats and don’t forget to take a trip to the Soak Zone water playground. As well as water attractions, cool off on all the outdoor rides and attractions. Young explorers can tackle the many obstacles in Crealy Wilderness. There will also be live shows to enjoy including the new ‘Pirates, The Curse of Mermaids Cove’ in the arena and entertainment from Buddy and Blossom on the Piazza stage. Details and bookings online.

Big Summer Scavenger Hunt July 24 - August 7 Get outdoors, roam across Bath and the surrounding countryside get searching and find the secret riddles to unlock the treasure with ‘Super Spies’, a trail for children of all ages. Along the way they will be tasked with fun, imaginative games and activities to help them learn about and explore the historic city. Code Breaker Trail is for adults and older teenagers (though younger children will enjoy the hunt), it’s the perfect opportunity to have fun for a good cause: Julian House in Bath. If you crack the code you will be entered into a prize draw. Go to for details and booking.

Magic at the Museum August 4 - 25 Wednesdays Go to the Helicopter Museum in Westonsuper-Mare for a fun packed family day with different activities each Wednesday. Watch a live magic show, witness incredible balloon modelling, marvel at the slight of hand illusions. Climb into the pilots seat of some helicopters and try on a pilot’s helmet Details on 01934 635227.

The Bishop’s Code July 27 Escape Room family fun at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. It is 1953 and Bishop Bradfield is getting ready to leave for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. He has locked something very important in the Palace safe and cannot remember the code. Can your family crack the code? Drop in between 10.30am and 12.30pm or 1.30 and 3.30pm to have a go.

Our Green Heritage August 18 & 25 Nature and Archaeology join together for a day of family fun exploring the things we throw into or dig out of the ground and whether today’s trash is tomorrow’s treasure (or not!). Join the team from Weston Museum (and other local organisations) for some hands on activities around sustainability,

archaeological finds and the natural environment. Drop in between 10am and 3pm in the open at Ellenborough Park West, the section closest to the seafront, which is now a wellbeing park. Free to enter but some activities may have a small charge.

Dinosaur Mad July 24 - September 5 Go to Wookey Hole and meet the animatronic dinosaurs. Walk among these giants and see how many you can name. The 4D cinema will be playing Return to the Lost World. Then tour the famous caves, meet the Witch of Wookey Hole and watch circus shows. There are over 20 attractions included in your ticket, both inside and outdoors for a fun day whatever the weather.

Race Towards Family Fun July 24 - September 5 Go and join in the fun at Haynes International Motor Museum. With help from the museum team, you can uncover the fascinating stories, facts, and quirky characters behind the very first cars through to Formula 1. There will also be special activity days as part of the brand-new Williams F1 exhibition. If you are feeling competitive the onsite Karting at Haynes track (booked separately) is also open for a fun family race. Check the website for details.

Discover Exotic Animals Go along to the Wild Place Project to discover exotic animals from around the world from the mischievous lemurs of Madagascar to magnificent European brown bears with seasonal themed trails. Unleash your own wild side with beautiful woodlands and natural play areas to explore in 50 acres. Wild Place Project is just off junction 17 of the M5, near Cribbs Causeway, or a 20 minute drive from Bristol city centre. Go to wildplace. to book.

12 July - 11 October 2021


Experience the sights, smells and sounds of a working Victorian shipyard

Visitors to Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol are promised more smells and sounds than ever before as they explore the historic ocean liner and two family-friendly museums. The Dockyard Museum brings Victorian engineering to life with the interactive propeller lifting frame. While the Being Brunel museum brings the bumpy railway lines to life with the shaking broad gauge carriage that visitors can step aboard. Families can also see behind-the-scenes of a working shipyard for the first time with a new viewing area offering fascinating views of the harbour and the city’s historic dry dock. Visitors can try out the bunks and cabins for size, wander among the sounds and smells imagining what a 60-day voyage would have been like, and spot rats scurrying about in the galley. Mr Brunel is welcoming visitors every day, along with a cast of Victorian characters. And they might even spot Izzy the ship’s cat in the dockyard. Be sure to stop and talk to Mr Brunel and challenge him with your questions about the SS Great Britain or simply pose for a selfie with the great Victorian engineer. Tickets include free unlimited returns for one year.


12 July - 11 October 2021

Summer of Play August 4 This year’s National Play Day theme is the Summer of Play. Due to current circumstances organisers are being asked to keep events small and local. Frome Town Council are inviting young and old to join their free Playday activities at Victoria Park and the Mary Baily Playing fields from 12 to 4pm. It promises to be an afternoon of fun and games for all to take part in. The day will include competitions and prizes with activities such as storytelling and playful poetry to slacklining, skateboarding, graffiti boards and creative crafts, not to mention an array of sports including basketball, Rubgytots, tennis, martial arts and much more.

Children’s Entertainment Meet Peppa Pig Saturday 7 Peppa and George will be making appearances on the platform at Cranmore Station at quarter past the hour from 11.15am to 3.15pm. There will also be a Peppa Pig trail and Punch and Judy to entertain you when Peppa takes a rest. You can ride the steam train on East Somerset Railway, as many times as you like and look around the Engine Shed and workshop. Adults £16, children £14, family £38, £50. Book online or on 01749 880417.

Andy and the Oddsocks August 15 Stars of the TV show Andy & The Band with their live band promoting individuality and fun led by Andy Day from CBeebies. Sing, dance and play all say at Avon Valley Wildlife Park. From 10am to 4pm.

Kids fight climate change Fancy saving the planet? Everyone can make a difference and it only needs two minutes of your time to help. Confused? Want to help? This new book by Martin Dorey published by Walker books will show you how with over 60 missions for you to carry out. From turning off lights to recycling, checking ingredients on the food you buy to taking up cycling. Each mission you undertake earns a certain amount of points which you add up as you go along and check to see what kind of ‘#2minutesuperhero’ you are. You can also go to to find out more.

August 1 - 31 Kids Week is all about encouraging young people and their families experience the magic of live theatre in London. Over 30 shows are participating from hit musicals and plays to comedies and family favourites. A child aged 17 or under can go free to any participating show when accompanied by an adult paying full price and half price tickets for two additional children in the same group.They are unable to offer show linked activities this year, but will be running a special programme of free theatre-themed activities in partnership with the Mayor of London. Go to to book.

12 July - 11 October 2021


GET Creative

August 13, 18 & 25 - Crafty Cathedral Friday Under 11s can enjoy a morning of craft activities with a moon theme. Go to for details and bookings. Castaway Summer School

The World of Martin Brown

August 9 - 13

July 24 - October 31 See cartoons and art by Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown in the exhibition at the Museum of Somerset then follow the trail and join in workshops. Plus: July 24 - Meet and draw with Martin Brown. Every Wednesday there will be a chance to meet re-enactors from different eras of history. There is also a series of creative workshops, led by well-known children’s authors and illustrators including Steve Anthony (Mr Panda series) and Kristina Stephenson (Sir Charlie Stinky Socks series.) Go to for details.

Museum of the Moon Fun activities to go with the installation in Bristol Cathedral include: August 12, 19 & 26 - A Grand Day Out Make your own model of Aardman Animation’s Gromit, followed by a screening of the classic Wallace & Gromit film A Grand Day Out. At 10am and 3pm, tickets £10.

July 3 - September 18 Join the Wild World Heroes online and in your local library for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and discover how you can make a difference to the environment as well. It is teamed up with WWF for a very special nature-themed Challenge that will inspire you to stand up for the planet. Pack your bags and head for Wilderville! It’s a pretty cool place, but there are lots of things that the Wild World Heroes can do to make their town even better for the people and animals that live there. Through taking part in the Challenge, with free packs from public libraries or online, you will be able to join six fictional characters - ‘wild heroes’ - to help solve some of these threats, learning about the importance of the environment while helping to restore nature levels in the neighbourhood of ‘Wilderville’. The challenge will feature amazing books, awesome rewards, and plenty of ideas for taking care of our environment. Go to and check out your local library for details.


12 July - 11 October 2021

Go to Westlands Entertainment in Yeovil and join Aladdin on his journey to find his fortune. Rehearse a pantomime, learn lines, sing songs and perfect dance routines from 10am to 3pm. On the Friday there will be an opportunity to perform the show, Aladdin’s Quest, onstage for family and friends at 6pm. £125 includes 2 complimentary tickets to the performance. Must be booked. Plus: Creative Performance Academy August 16 - 19 Exploring the theme of Around The World, 7 to 11 year olds will learn different cultural dances, produce and record music, take part in origami and mosaic workshops and create their own piece of theatre as well as explore different national foods. From 10am to 2.30pm, £74.

THERE are other ways to enjoy reading this summer as well as joining the Wild World Heroes challenge. The Reading Agency has brought together over 20 organisations across the reading, literacy and cultural sectors to inspire families to share the love of reading for pleasure to build skills, increase confidence, support educational attainment and improve wellbeing. It has organised a range of exciting events, resources and reading activities for families to enjoy. Check out for details.

Ultimate Fun Ultimate Activity Camps provide Ofsted-registered and Covid-Safe activity day camps for 4 to 14 year olds at Queens College, Taunton and Prior Park College, Bath. Every weekday during the holidays children will enjoy a mix of staff led sports, games and art activities in the fresh air. Drop off from 8am, collections until 6pm, book by the day or week. Details on www. or 0330 111 7077.

Your Guide to Family & Children’s Shows We have tried to give as up to date picture as we can, but in the current circumstances things can change at short notice. We advise you to book in advance and then check again before you go.

Princess Theatre Box Office 01278 784464 Burnham-on-Sea

LDN Wrestling Friday July 30 Expect to see edge of your seat, death defying moves as the stars of Wrestling take part in action packed matches for the whole family to enjoy. At 7.30pm, Tickets £15, concs £12, family £45.

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Thursday August 5 Run away to the circus and help Goldilocks and her mum, Dame Dolly Donut, save their circus and rescue the three bears from the evil ringmaster. It’s the big top family panto extravaganza featuring pop songs, magic and puppets. At 2pm, all tickets £11.

Sarah and Duck at The Brewhouse, 3 & 4 August.

Puss in Boots Thursday August 12

The Adventures of Bo Peep Saturday August 28 Watch the adventures of Bo Peep unravel as she tries to rescue her woolly friends. She needs you and your family’s help to save her little lambkins from danger in time for bed! For 2 to 6 year olds at 11am and 2pm, all tickets £10.

Bristol Hippodrome Box Office 0844 871 3012

When Felix, the miller’s youngest son, strikes out to earn his fortune accompanied by his cat, he surely didn’t expect to fall into a whirlwind adventure full of kings and their courts, beautiful princesses and ogres in their castles and yet, that’s exactly where they find themselves. For 4 year olds and above at 11.30pm, tickets from £9.50.

St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast August 25 - Sept 18 Disney invites you to ‘Be Our Guest’ in the enchanted musical brought to life on stage. Times vary, tickets from £20.

Brewhouse Box Office 01823 283244

The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show Friday August 13 Join the gang in this interactive show where the worlds of comedy and beatboxing collide with electrifying results. For 4 year olds and above.At 2.30pm, tickets from £7.50, family from £26.

What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree? Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. For 3 year olds and above at 1.30am and 4.30pm. Adults from £14.50, children from 312.50.

What the Ladybird Heard October 7 - 10 Two crafty robbers, one tiny ladybird, and a whole farmyard of fun. Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But they reckon without the tiniest, quietest creature of all: the Ladybird has a scheme of her own. For 3 year olds and above, times vary, tickets from £14.

Octagon Theatre Box Office 01935 422884 Hendford, Yeovil

Coal Orchard, Taunton

Sarah and Duck August 3 & 4 New stage show, featuring wonderful characters from the CBeebies show. Join Sarah and Duck and a host of your favourite friends including the Ribbon Sisters, The Shallots, Flamingo & John, and Umbrella, as they plan a birthday party for Scarf Lady in their garden. Times vary, tickets from £14.

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain

Igglepiggle’s Busy Day!

Sunday September 19 Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare and move to the groove with party Queen Victoria. It’s the horrible history of Britain live on stage, with the nasty bits left in. At 2 and 4.30pm, adults from £16, children from £13, family from £50.

August 25 & 26 In the Night Garden Live. Join Igglepiggle as he looks for his friends in the Night Garden by following their funny sounds until he finds them all. Times vary, tickets £17.50, £19.50, children £15.50, £17.50.

Stick Man Monday September 27

The Three Musketeers Continued on page 20

12 July - 11 October 2021



September 7 & 8 Armed with only a baguette and his questionable steed, join hot-headed D’Artagnan as he travels to Paris to become a Musketeer. Will things go to plan? It’s unlikely. Comedy adventure featuring hilarious heroics, raucous romances and some bonkers fun with BMX bikes. At 7.30pm, tickets £20, concs £18.50.

Stick Man September 25 & 26 As the Brewhouse. Times vary, tickets £15.50, children £13.50.

The Best Of That’ll Be The Day October 1 & 2 This very special edition of the show presents the most popularly requested songs, impressions and comic sketches from over 33 years of touring. Featuring smash hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s at 7.30pm. Tickets £26, £28.

Milkshake Monkey’s Musical Saturday October 9 A spectacular show featuring Monkey’s favourite friends. Be part of this production as you learn the songs and dances with your Milkshake friends, and watch as the music, the lights, the costumes and stage come together. At 12 & 3.30pm, tickets £16.50 - £18.

The Three Musketeers at The Octagon Theatre, 7 & 8 September.

The McMillan Theatre Box Office 01278 556677 Lower Bath Road, Bridgwater

Stages Saturday September 4 Classic ballads and toe topping favourites performed by local young talent together with West End artists whose roots are in the South West. This is an evening dedicated to raising funds for the NSPCC and Alzheimer’s Society. At 7pm, tickets £15.

ReAct: The Addams Family Young@Part September 9 - 11 New musical, the tale begins with every father’s worst nightmare: Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart, young man from a respectable family. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. At 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 2.30, tickets £14.50, children £13.50.

The Animal Guyz Saturday September 18

Fireman Sam Saves The Circus at: The Playhouse (25 July;The Forum (29 July); Redgrave Theatre (19 September).


12 July - 11 October 2021

A show packed with animal effects, music and laughter, designed to both entertain and educate using no live animals, stunning puppetry and special effects to bring incredible life-like and size animals and dinosaurs to the stage right before your eyes. At 3pm, tickets £16, children £14.

The Forum Box Office 0844 888 9991 1a Forum Buildings, St James Parade, Bath

Fireman Sam Saves the Circus Thursday July 29 When all of his friends go away, Norman Price decides to find adventure in Pontypandy and become the star of a visiting circus. But with a tiger on the loose and faulty lights, the adventure soon turns to danger. Can Fireman Sam come to the rescue and save the circus? At 10.30am and 1pm, tickets from £14.50.

MissRed Family Musical Saturday August 7 Set in 1930s England, Fran Ethel Red, born and then fostered many times in Bristol, is about to go on a journey…. Not on her imaginary ship with its crew of friends as she regularly does but, she is literally off to explore new horizons. New family musical with a cast of over 50 young performers and adults. At 2.40 and 7.30pm, tickets £10, £20. Under 18s must be accompanied.

Gorgeous Georgians and Vile

Saturday September 4 Horrible Histories live on stage with the nasty bits of history left in. Swing with a Georgian king; see eye to eye with Admiral Nelson; dance with the Tyburn jig and groove with party Queen Victoria. At 3 and 5.30pm, tickets £16, £18. Under 18s must be accompanied.

Theatre Royal

Box Office 01225 448844 Sawclose, Bath

The Play That Goes Wrong August 3 - 7 The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does. As the accident prone thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue. For 8 year olds and above at 7.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

The Museum of Marvellous Things Saturday September 25 Make stars in jars, catch moons like balloons, dance with Doo-Dahs in cages, sing with Noo-Nahs on stages and marvel at the many wonders on display inside this amazing museum like no other. It’s made from the magic of your imagination and you get to bring it alive. For 3 year olds and above at 11am and 3pm, tickets £8.

The Dong With A Luminous Nose October 1 & 2 Edward is a shy and troubled boy, he is always watching the horizon, waiting for something to happen. Then one day “the Jumblies” arrive, and his life is turned upside down… then shaken about a bit… and then a bit more. For 7 year olds and above, times vary.

The Island’s Mine Saturday October 9 Ariel, Caliban and stephano all claim ‘this island’s mine’, but do any of them have the right? And what happens if they can’t agree? Set in the extraordinary world of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, filled with magic, music and mayhem for 7 year olds and above. At 11am and 3pm.

Westlands Box Office 01935 422884

too hard. He bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet…a duel with knight, Sir Gadabout the Great. Times vary, tickets from £13.

Be The Day

Fireman Sam Live: Saves The Circus

The Playhouse

Tuesday August 31

Sunday September 19 As the Forum. At 10.30am, tickets £17.60, concs £16.50.


Stick Man

Sunday July 25 As the Forum. At 11.30am & 2.30pm, tickets £19, children £18, family £65.

tickets £16.50 - £26.50, children £11.50, family £46. There is a Meet and Greet opportunity after the show. Tickets £10, children £5.

Redgrave Theatre Box Office 0117 315 7800 Percival Road, Clifton

Westbourne Close, Yeovil

Ultimate Pro Wrestling Sunday October 10 An evening of live family friendly wrestling entertainment. Featuring the current UPW Heavyweight Champion defending his title and the UPW Champion, Tag-Team Champions and Women’s Champion all defend their newly won championships. At 5pm,

October 17 - 19 As the Brewhouse. At 10.30am, tickets £15.50, concs £13.50.

Bristol Old Vic Box Office 0117 987 7877 King Street, Bristol

Zog July 24 - 31 Zog tries hard, to win a golden star at school, perhaps

August 27 & October 12 As the Octagon. At 7.30pm, adults £29.50, children £18.50.

Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians

Box Office 01934 645544

Fireman Sam Live: Saves The Circus

Milkshake Monkey’s Musical Friday August 6 As the Octagon. At 1.30 and 4.30pm, adults £19, children £18, family £70.

As the Forum. At 2.30 & 6pm, tickets £17.

The Best of That’ll

12 July - 11 October 2021



Star Read

I have read so many great books so far this year it has been really hard to decide which ones to feature and worse still, which to leave out of this selection. To include them all would have filled most of the magazine , so here are some of the best.


Reading Beauty -Deborah Underwood/ MegD Hunt (Chronicle, £6.99)

Usher (Welbeck Hb, £12.99)

They say she shares their ability and should join them to help defeat a brainwashing plot. As she comes to terms with this news her hopes are dashed - she can’t read people’s minds at all, but she can read the minds of animals, what use could that be? Actually, very useful as she is about to discover in this first book of a new series. It is a clever mix of exciting adventure written in a very funny style that will have you laughing aloud. Fair size print, some pictures encourage readers onto full length novels.

The story of a tree’s long life told in its own words. Starting as an acorn it starts to grow in a huge park full of other fully grown trees. As it grows changes happen around it. Land is cleared for farms, trees are chopped down to make ships and their space taken by more houses as a village develops into a town. Over time the town grows and grows and new inventions appear as hedges and meadows disappear and animals leave. The tree grows older standing alone, but children still play around it and it grows acorns that would complete the circle and grow into a tree to witness whatever the future holds. This is a lovely story that is both entertaining and informative and surprisingly touching considering the narrator is a tree! The wonderfully expressive pictures show details of what is happening as times change and there is an historical timeline and life cycle of a tree at the end giving more information. Again, it is told in rhyme making it easier to read.

Arctic Star - Tom Palmer (Conkers, £6.99)

Text © D J Williams 2021

An Alien in the Jam Factory - Chrissie Sains (Walker, £6.99)


12 July - 11 October 2021

The Summer I Robbed a Bank David O’Doherty (Puffin, £6.99)

Walker and the Mystery of the Missing Millions


Shoo Rayner (Firefly, £6.99) His mother’s allergy stops Walker keeping a dog but he uses his amazing ability to be able to talk to them by walking his neighbour’s dog and making friends with as many others as he can. With the aid of his dog friends, this gift allows him to send millionaire to prison for setting up a puppy farm. This leaves the man’s wife penniless, desperate to find where his money went and too distracted to look after her dogs. Stepping in to look after the dogs, Wallace’s help is also needed to solve the clues to the missing money, but unscrupulous men are also after it. This puts him in real danger, could canine help be at hand? This is an amusing story full of excitement and-loveable doggy characters. Fair size print and some pictures help developing readers.

Sequins and Secrets - Lucy Ivison


(Usborne, £6.99) Sylvia loves to draw designs for clothes, but can’t make them. Myrtle is an accomplished seamstress who can make up any design she sees, but can’t design them herself. If only the two could get together.... They do meet , but-in awkward circumstances - Sylvia is a duke’s daughter, Myrtle a maid and in 1920’s society the two shouldn’t mix. They come together to save Sylvia’s sister from a disastrous dress for her débutante ball. The dress is a huge success and both girls hope it will be the first step in their ambitions in the fashion industry, but discovery of their involvement could have terrible consequences for both. Their next project to help a friend escape her débutante life is exciting but even more risky and things definitely do not go according to plan. See what happens in this unputdownable first book in the new series ‘The House of Serendipity’. It is full of atmospheric details of the time that makes the period come to life, not to mention lots of fashion illustrations. Medium length novel.

Loving the sea, it isn’t surprising friends Frank, Joseph and Stephen enlist in the Royal Navy as World War One begins. Nothing could have prepared them for the hardships they have to face as their ship is part of an Arctic convoy protecting supplies to Russia. Not only are the arctic conditions really treacherous, scraping ice from the ship knowing a fall into the freezing water could mean instant death; but they are constantly aware of likely German attacks by air and sea. When disaster strikes, it is unlikely they will all make it home. This is a tense, atmospheric story drawing the reader in by putting them at the heart of the action and emotions of the characters. We experience the hardships they face and their sense of loss as well as the comfort their friendships bring. A gripping story, I couldn’t put it down. Fair size print and some pictures encourage readers onto medium length novels. The Elephant

Scooter may have limited agility due to his cerebral palsy but his brain is full of brilliant ideas which he puts to good use inventing recipes and equipment for the family’s award winning jam factory. He loves doing it, but it makes him lonely; he can’t have a pet as it would be unclean and visiting friends would find out the secrets of the factory. It is important these are kept, especially from their neighbour, Daffy Dodgy who runs a doughnut shop and would do anything to discover their secrets. Scooter’s life changes when a tiny alien called Fizzbee literally crashes into the factory causing a lot of damage. Scooter thinks she is going to be a nuisance, but soon discovers things aren’t what they seem and Fizzbee turns out to be very handy, especially dealing with Daffy. An entertaining story full of laughs showing the importance of friendship. With fairsize print and lots of pictures to encourage new readers.

Indicates a book is part of a series

Rex isn’t the bravest person around, not least of all due to his mother who mollycoddles him. A summer holiday spent with his uncle Derm on a remote Irish island is going to be a bigger challenge than he could imagine changing his life forever. He loves his rather madcap uncle whose approach to Rex is very different from his mothers’. When Rex befriends Kitty her adventurous nature starts to rub off on him, pushing him to try new things. But the discovery of his uncle’s really audacious scheme to rob a bank is a step too far... or is it? Derm is full of good intentions, but not very good at planning. In fact the plan, or lack of one, can only lead to him being caught, so Rex steps in. But even the best laid plans can be ruined by unforeseen problems, and it is safe to say everything that could go wrong does. Will Rex and his uncle end up in prison or will they find a way to save themselves and Derm’s future? Find out in this exciting story with endearing characters, a clever mix of high adventure and almost slapstick fun. It will have you laughing out loud and unable to put it down. Just when you think things can’t get any worse — they do! Fair size print encourages readers onto medium length novels.

Princess Lex loved reading all day and night, not surprising as she lived in a place full of book lovers. Imagine her horror waking up on her fifteenth birthday to find all her books had gone. Worse still, it was her parents who had taken them. Their reason was even more shocking - it was to keep Lex safe. Apparently her christening had been interrupted by a fairy furious at not being invited (even though the King and Queen insisted she had been). Her revenge was to curse Lex to get a paper cut on her fifteenth birthday putting her into a death like sleep. Without books the whole world grew bleak, Lex knew she had to get the fairy to withdraw the Opi Jones Talks to Animals curse, but she needed help. Managing to find and Nat Luurtsema (Egmont, £6.99) read some books without holding them she set S Despite her actor parents, Opie likes off to the fairy’s lair. Using the knowledge gained order and routine considering herself from the books, Lex overcome all the obstacles to be ordinary. Being shy she doesn’t put in her way and met the fairy who wouldn’t remove the curse. Until Lex made not one, but two really have any friends. Lately strange things have been happening with surprise discoveries, which changed everything. a lot of fights breaking out at her This a charming story aided by detailed, colourful usually well behaved school and many illustrations and told in rhyme which helps newly children are being excluded. Stranger still, Opie meets developing readers. members of the ‘resistance’ who can all read minds.

What Did the Tree See? - Charlotte Guillan/ Sam


in the Room

Holly Goldberg Sloan (Piccadilly, £6.99) Sila is missing her mum who has been away in Turkey for over a year trying to sort out her immigrations papers. It wasn’t supposed to take long but nothing seems to be happening. The sadness is affecting every aspect of her life, including school work. Things are made worse when she is made to ‘pair’ with autistic Mateo supposedly to bring each other out. This doesn’t go well at first, but Sila’s life is changed by a chance meeting with Gilo who was married to Slila’s much loved ex teacher. He has just won the lottery and owns a big stretch of land. This comes in handy when he decides to buy Veda, a circus elephant Sila admires. Suddenly Sila’s life has new purpose with new friends which bring about a surprisingly happy consequence. This is an uplifting story showing what can be achieved when friends work together. It is a clever mix of moving and happy moments which will keep you gripped to the end. Medium length novel.

Don’t Mess With Duck

Twitch - M. G. Leonard

Becky Davies/ Emma Levey (Little Tiger, £7.99)

Twitch doesn’t find it easy to make friends with people, but birds are easy to befriend. He is obsessed with them and has chickens, pigeons and swallows nesting in his bedroom. He is happy to spend the summer with his birds in the woods, training the pigeons to carry messages. But the woods are full of police looking for an escaped prisoner. An unexpected encounter leads to a string of surprises. Has he misjudged people, can they change and can he trust his own instincts? Using his observational skills, Twitch sets out to catch the prisoner, but who can he rely on to help? There are plenty of unexpected turns in this mystery leading to a pacey, exciting climax that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Full length novel, first in a new series.

Duck wants a quiet, peaceful, private life and is very grumpy if he is disturbed, which he often is. After several moves to escape noisy neighbours he finds the perfect pond.... but so has frog. Neither of them is willing to back down so they agree to keep out of each others way. This worked very well until they were interrupted - with strange results. A really funny laugh aloud picture book with detailed illustrations adding more humorous details to the story.

Lionel the Lonely Monster Fred Blunt ( Oxford £6.99) Poor kind Lionel was sad and very lonely. Children were scared of him and grown ups were too busy to notice him so he found it hard to make friends. Then one day as he was sitting crying a dog came up and licked him and brought him a stick. Soon they were playing all kinds of games and Lionel had never been happier – until he saw a lost dog poster for a Milo and realised it was the same dog. He didn’t want to lose Milo, but knew someone was missing him so took him home. Is he going back to his lonely life? See what happens in this really lovely picture book full of the ‘ahh’ factor!

The Incredible Record Smashers

The Runaway Girls

Jenny Pearson (Usborne £6.99)

Jacqueline Wilson (Puffin Hb, £12.99)

Liking to fix things, Lucy wishes she could fix her mum, who is very unhappy and needs to go away for a while. Finding a photo of her mum looking happy with a celebrity convinces Lucy she could be happy again if she was reunited with the celebrity. Luckily he is due to host a record breakers TV show so Lucy just has to find record she can break to get onto the show. Simple... well, not really. Luckily she has a real friend called Sandesh who is willing to do all it takes to help her achieve her goal whilst fulfilling an ambition of his own. This is an endearing story of friendship and caring for others with many highly amusing moments and some surprising revelations. Full length novel with fair sized print.

Lucy runs away for a break from feeling restricted by the harsh regime of her governess and step-mother and being unloved by her father. Unused to being alone on the streets of London she is robbed of her clothes. Luckily she runs into Kitty who is used to living rough on the streets and takes her in hand. They become friends and start to build a life together performing on the streets for money. They manage quite well, but this kind of life is far from safe with the threat of thieves and, worse of all, the workhouse hanging over them. This is an atmospheric story vividly bringing Victorian England to life. It is full of adventure and shows the importance of trust. Full length novel with fair sized print.

Tansy dreads Aunt Emma’s visits. She takes Tansy’s room, never brings a present and is rude and boring. Things are worse this time - Tansy is left alone with her aunt. When her dad bribes her to be nice to her aunt she finds an added bonus in that this politeness really annoys Aunt Emma (win, win!). But all is not as it seems and this change of behaviour means Tansy is in for a big surprise. A charming and funny story showing you shouldn’t always jump to conclusions about people. Short novel with large print and some pictures to encourage reluctant readers, but fun for all.

If you think turning into a monster whenever you burp makes you unusual, then Max is unusual. He rather enjoys being able to do this, but needs to learn to control his sneezing as that turns him back into a boy, which can be awkward if he doesn’t mean to turn back. After praise for doing a good deed, Max makes it his mission to protect and do good stuff. He doesn’t expect to meet Peregrine who becomes his nemesis, aiming to catch and imprison the monster. At first Max enjoys tricking him, but when something else starts creating chaos an alliance is needed. This is a really funny story full of laugh aloud moments and plot twists. Large print, medium length novel.


Being a member of COBRA, a secret band of animal spies, Mickey isn’t surprised to be woken in the middle of the night. A band of moles have broken into a bank and another case is underway. Getting the moles out is just the start - why were they there and what are they up to? Events take a serious turn when Rupert, one of the team, goes missing. The moles will harm him if their demands aren’t met. Do COBRA have to break the law to save him? It is a race against time in this exciting sequel to ‘Mickey and the Animal Spies’ with plenty of laughs and codes to be cracked. Medium length novel with some pictures.

Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths - Maisie Chan (Piccadilly, £6.99)

Danny can’t wait to see the big surprise his parents have planned, the new bunk beds in his room were just the start, what else could be coming? Nothing prepares him for the arrival of his gran from China (Nai Nai) he’d never met before. Surprise? more like a shock. Sharing his room with her was bad enough, but she wouldn’t stop fussing over him, in-front of people too. Danny is expected to look after her which is hard as she doesn’t speak English. Things get even worse when his tormentor at school finds out about her, leading him to fall out with his friend, and then Nai Nai goes missing. Danny discovers Nai Nai has hidden depths as she manages to turn a potential disaster into a positive. An entertaining, thought provoking full length novel with touching moments. It shows not to prejudge people.

Rowley Jefferson (Puffin Hb, £12.99)

Anne Fine (Barrington Stoke, £6.99)

(Firefly, £5.99)

Mickey and the Trouble with Moles - Anne Miller (Oxford, £6.99)


Awfully Spooky Stories -

Be Nice to Aunt Emma

Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting - Robin Bennett

(Walker, £7.99)

The creator of ‘Diary of a Wimpey Kid’ tells some spooky short stories for those who like to be only slightly scared! There are ghosts, zombies, werewolves, skeletons, mummies and aliens a plenty. All the stories are told in a humorous, friendly way making them enjoyable for even the most squeamish readers. Large print with lots of pictures

Albert Upside Down - Ian Brown/ Eoin Clarke (Graffeg £7.99) Albert the tortoise woke up to a strange world he had never seen before. He couldn’t move, his legs just wiggled in the air. His last memory of climbing a rock makes him realise he must have fallen off onto his back getting stuck. Help from a nearby worm was halted by an argument with a spider over who was the best worker. Interrupting them, Albert suggested they work together and a military style rescue plan involving all manner of creatures ensued, with more arguing and little success. A butterfly’s offer of help was snootily rejected - how could one so delicate be of use? The answer lies in this lovely story that draws you in from the wonderfully disorientating first page to the explosive ending. It is enhanced by really vivid pictures adding hilarious details to the words. 12 July - 11 October 2021


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