Where: Brixham, South Devon, Brixhampiratefestival.co.uk
When: 6 May
Join in the swashbuckling pirate festival around the harbour and town. There’s live music, games, re-enactments and if you dress up as a pirate, you can join in an attempt to break the World Record for the most pirates in one gathering. Dig out a pirate style hat or bandana, eye patch, sword, an eye patch (and wear your nastiest snarl, too, of course).
Where: Delamere Forest, Cheshire, Spellboundforest.org.uk
When: 19 & 20 May
Wild Rumpus & the Forestry Commission invite you and your family to step into The Spellbound Forest. Three twisting paths through the forest tell English Fairy Tales through theatrical performance, music, visual art and dance. Lose yourself in the enchanted world and meet characters and challenges along the path.
Cost: Adult: £12.50, Child: £7.50
Where: Theatres in Plymouth, Blackpool, Cardiff, Swallowsamazons.co.uk
When: Until May 19
Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to wildcat island on an adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies. Tom Morris, who co-directed smash hit War Horse, directs this action packed musical based on Arthur Ransome’s classic book. With music by Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy.
Cost: See website for venue ticket costs
Where: Five Sisters Zoo, West Lothian, Fivesisterszoo.co.uk
When: May onwards
Three very special new inhabitants arrived at the zoo last month. Peggy, Suzy and Carmen are former circus bears, rescued from Belgium where they were living in cages not much bigger than themselves. The zoo has been busily saving money to rehome them in a beautiful purpose built woodland area and now they’ve happily settled into their new home. Visitors to the zoo can also get close to a range of creatures including meerkats, pythons and tarantulas, plus there’s a soft play area, outdoor castle and pirate ship.
Cost: Adult: £7.95, Child: £5.95. Family tickets available
Where: La Tasca restaurants nationwide, Latascakitchen.co.uk
When: May onwards
Now kids get their own loyalty card! Pick up a kids’ passport from your nearest Spanish tapas bar La Tasca and get it stamped each time you visit. Three stamps gets your tot a free drink and six stamps = a free t-shirt. The kids’ new tapas menu includes three mini tapas (choose from chicken croquettes, meatballs, pork ribs, paella and more), a dessert, drink, plus crunchy vegetable sticks on the side.
Cost: Passports are free, kids’ tapas meal: £5.95
Where: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Blenheimpalace.com
When: 5-7 May
Join the ‘Knights of Royal England’ on Blenheim Palace’s South Lawn to watch a spectacular jousting tournament. The weekend will be packed with knights charging on horseback, falconry displays and the chance to have a go at archery.
Cost: Admission to Park & Gardens (including the jousting tournament) Adults: £11.50, Children: £6 Small extra charge for archery.
WIN AN ANNUAL FAMILY TICKET TO BELNHEIM PALACE WITH PARENTDISH
Where: Earl’s Court Two, London, Londonpetshow.co.uk
When: 12-13 May
Wondering what pet to get? Or just love all things animal? Then enter a world of all creatures great and small in the UK’s largest pet show. The event has four zones - dogs, cats, small furries and exotics & qquatics - each with its own live, interactive feature areas, talks and activities focused on pet care and what breed is right for different lifestyles. There are also exciting animal displays such as duck herding, rabbit show-jumping (yes, you heard right) and dog heelwork to music. Bless!
Cost: Adults: £13, Children over five: £9
Where: Nationwide, including Northampton, Swansea, Inverness, Stevebackshall.com
When: From 31 May, through June & July
Fearless wildlife expert and popular kids’ TV presenter Steve Backshall (Deadly 60, Live and Deadly, Deadly 360) is touring theatres from the end of this month in his show ‘A Wild Life’. The illustrated talk will include tales from his worldwide expeditions, encounters with wild wonders such as boxing mantis shrimp and charging tigers and film clips of the animals that have inspired him, plus an opportunity for audience Q&As. The tour also marks the publication of his first children’s novel, Tiger Wars, published by Orion Books, £9.99.
Cost: See website for nearest venue and ticket costs
Where: Norwich and Norfolk Festival, Nnfestival.org.uk
When: 12-20 May, various times, see website
Catch the UK premiere of Australian company Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo. It’s your child’s first chance in 65 million years to get up close and personal with a dinosaur - helping to feed, water and care-for prehistoric marvels. Prepare to be growled at and caught off guard too!
Where: NEC, Birmingham, Grassrootsfootball.co.uk
When: 25-27 May
The biggest football event of its kind in Europe, this is one for all budding Rooneys and Ronaldos. An action packed weekend of football with sessions from elite coaches, theatre, interactive entertainment, Q & A sessions, kickabout areas plus exhibition and shopping opps too.
Cost: Adults: £10, Children: £5
Where: Peterborough Arena, Trebleaceevents.co.uk
When: 12-13 May
A two day event for fans of Sci-Fi, Cult film and TV, featuring Torchwood stars including John Barrowman, Philip Glenister from Ashes to Ashes, costumed starts from Star Trek, Star Wars, Predator and more. There’ll be stage shows, talks, interviews and the chance to get papped with your favourites.
Cost: Ticket prices vary from free entry for children under 14 and £11 for adults. See website for full details
Where: Braunton, north Devon, Museumofbritishsurfing.org.uk
When: Through May
Check out the history of surfing, surfboards, wetsuits and more at the newly opened museum paying homage to all things surf-dude, man.
Cost: Adults: £3.75, Children: £2.75
Where: The O2, London, then touring the country afterwards, Facebook.com/ColgateKeepingBritainSmiling
When: 2-27 May
Step into the unique world of your mouth and learn all about the history of dental hygiene. Did you know that the ancient Egyptians used toothpaste made of vinegar and powdered pumice stone or that goats’ feet helped keep the Ancient Greeks gums healthy? Or that - wait for it - the Romans rinsed with human urine to keep their teeth white. Figure out “Clever Mouth Myth Busters,” and discover the “Ingenious Innovations” that are currently being researched for exciting advances in the future of dentistry.
Where: Sarehole Mill, Birmingham, Middleearthweekend.org.uk
When: 19-20 May
Calling all elves, orcs and goblins. It’s The Hobbit’s 75th anniversary and to celebrate, there’s free admission to Sarehole Mill. As well as archery, drama, battle re-enactments, medieval craft displays and dragon shows there’s an exhibition which includes copies of Tolkien's own illustrations, displays on how the wider Birmingham area influenced his work and a specially commissioned short film about Tolkien's life in the city. Highlights also include a barefoot walk and climbing wall. Visitors are invited to come along in Lord of the Rings and Hobbit inspired costume. For ideas on dress, visit the website.
Cost: Entry is free, though some events will incur a cost
Where: Various Theatres including London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Sheffield, Breakinconvention.com
When: 5 May - 2 June
The international festival of hip hop dance theatre is back on tour with a line-up of jaw dropping performances by international and local dance crews. Go to be inspired. Arrive early to enjoy demos in the foyer.
Cost: Ticket prices vary from venue to venue, see website
Where: Luton Hoo Walled Garden, Luton, Beds, Lutonhoo-walledgarden.co.uk
When: 20 May
The first Luton Hoo Children’s Book Festival is themed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Frances Hodgson Burnett's book The Secret Garden. Meet authors Justin Stomper (Vampirates) Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon) and more plus be inspired by illustrators, listen to stories, create your own masterpiece and hunt for mystical golden armour.
Cost: Entry is £5 (under 5s free) and author talks and other events are £2 each, booked in advance.
Where: New Art Exchange, Nottingham, Nae.org.uk
When: 19 May
Dress up as your favourite superhero, tuck into superhero themed goodies in the café, get your action-photo taken against a fabulous set, explore your own super powers through dance, animation and poetry workshops and watch a special screening of Spider-Man 2 - those in costume get a free cinema goodie bag.
Cost: Free (Prior booking is required)
Where: Isle of Wight, Isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk
When: 5-20 May
Join in the UK’s largest walking festival – even the kids won’t moan at the idea of a Fossil Hunt Walk, Troll Trail Family Quest or a Wild Wood Walk & Scavenger Hunt. There’s a Story walk (dress up as a prince or princess) or Pram & Toddler walk too.
Cost: Some walk are free, others incur charges
Where: The Big Welsh Coastal Walk, Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Flint, Ramblers.org.uk
When: 5 May
Join in one of a series of Ramblers Cymru walks to coincide with the opening of the Wales Coast Path (a continuous walking path around the country). Even if you don’t want to join in the walks, you’ll enjoy the community events arranged to celebrate the opening of the path, with lots of children’s entertainment such as magic workshops and story-telling.
Cost: Walks are free but online registration with the guides is essential.
Where: Bath, Kempton Park, Salisbury and more, Lovetheraces.com
When: Various dates in May
Place your bets at a special Family Day at various racecourses through the UK. As well as the usual excitement of the chase, the events can include anything from meeting horses up-close-and-personal, to puppet shows and fairground rides.
Cost: Various prices, but children go free