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Summer holidays? Sorted!

Six whole weeks of summer can stretch on forever – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a bumper summer holiday guide for kids of all ages. Notts and Derbyshire, let’s do this!

Summer hols Slidemenu


Got kids who are truly animal mad? Chatsworth Estate is hosting young farmers over the summer to help out the farmyard team. From collecting eggs to grooming, this is a super hands-on experience for 7 to 16-year-olds. Places are booking fast so grab a ticket for £25.

Over in Nottinghamshire, White Post Farm Park has meerkat feeding, pony rides, sheep racing and baby animal holding sessions (sob) every day. Get a ticket on 15 August for Superhero Day! Full permission for your gang to get dressed for the occasion.


Image credit: Derby Theatre / Eartha Johnson

On to theatre, and there’s loads for your kids to get stuck into. First, there are three musical theatre summer schools for your budding actors and actresses.

In early August, kids aged 9-16 can sign up to Platform 3’s first ever summer school at Buxton Opera House. Also in Derbyshire, Derby Theatre is hosting a years 7-10 summer school towards the end of the month – your gang will ​​create a brand new performance over the course of the week. If you’re Nottinghamshire based, kids aged 8-14 can sign up to Nottingham Playhouse’s summer school from 1-6 August. The production this year is The Addams Family Musical. *click click*

Teens need to move quickly for this one as last year was a sell out. Nottingham Playhouse is also hosting its brilliant TV & Film Acting and Directing Summer School for 13-19-year-olds. This year, it’s run by award-winning director Tim Bryn Smith.

Back to performances. On 19 August, head to The Palace Gardens at Southwell Minster for an en plein air performance of The Railway Children. Make sure you pack a picnic for this one.

Image credit: Dinosaur World Live

If your kids are dinosaur mad, Dinosaur World Live is at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall from 22 August. This interactive show gives little ones the chance to meet their favourite flesh-eating crew: Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus.

And to finish off the summer, gather the whole family and head to Newstead Abbey on 26 August for a spectacular recreation of Jane Eyre. This performance has an incredible carnival twist with acrobats, jugglers and fire escapees. Family tickets are £50.


Image credit: Architects of Air

On to art now. Head back to Lakeside again from 6-14 August for something extra special. The renowned international touring company Architects of Air is premiering its new installation, Luminarium: Dodecalis. With labyrinthine shapes and three neon domes to explore, this one is bound to be magical.


From 1 August, Lakeside Arts kicks off its Arts and Nature Summer School for 8-12-year-olds. And over in Derbyshire on the 7, 14 and 21 August, there are some brilliant family sessions at the Eco Centre. Learn how to create a den, get stuck in to bushcraft and build a fire. 


Teens obsessed with Stranger Things? Derby Museum is bringing back its popular Retro Arcade event from 19-21 August. Classic games, consoles and pinball machines all set to 80s and 90s bangers. You’ll have to drag them away.  

Wollaton Hall has two great events over the summer. On 17 August, gather your fam for a Stone Age survival class in the walled garden – build shelters, learn about foraged food, and create cave art. And for your future palaeontologists, go on a fossil dig with Wollaton’s science officer Sue Mallender on 24 August.


In Derbyshire from 26 July, kids and teens up 15 can discover some of the more quirky aspects of Haddon Hall’s history on a guided walk. Pre-warning, expect a lot of dinner table chatter about spitboys and sword fighting… 

Image credit: Chatsworth House Estate

And finally, we’ll have our fingers crossed for good weather in August as Chatsworth has an incredible cinema under the stars experience. Go for the day, then extend your trip with food stalls, a lush bar and seating upgrades if picnic blankets aren’t your thing. Choose from Moulin Rouge!, No Time To Die, West Side Story or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.


These events have already been and gone. Make sure they’re in your calendar for next year.


Kick off the summer in the most bonkers of ways. Head to Elvaston Showground over the weekend of 9 July for Bubbleicious Festival – the UK’s biggest free bubble festival. Catch dinosaurs, heaps of bubbles, live music… and wrestling(!).

From 6-24 July, the colourful Buxton Fringe Festival returns, bringing with it loads of free things to do, see and take part in (there are over 500 performers involved this year!). One of our top picks for little ones is on 10 July, get crafty in a teeny way with a workshop about making things no bigger than your hand. Cute.

Running alongside the Fringe, Buxton International Festival has two performances of its specially commissioned oratorio, Our Future In Your Hands. Not just for opera fans, this piece is about the global youth movement against climate change, giving a voice to the hopes and fears of young people. Book for the 10 and 17 July performances.  

Also on 17 July, get your tweed at the ready. It’s the annual Bakewell Country Festival. There are alpacas, tethered hot air balloon rides, music lessons, bushcraft, unicorns and loads more. Plus you can extend your stay with three days of camping in the glorious Peak District. Under 14s get free entry, and it’s £12 in advance for adults. 

Now on to the big ones. Splendour returns to the stunning Wollaton Hall grounds this summer, and it’s expanded to a weekend of fun. From 23 July, catch big names like Anne Marie, The Human League and Supergrass. For locals, Nottingham resident tickets are available, and kids under 11 go free. Fab!

Wellies at the ready! The second of our major summer festivals is Y Not which pops up in Pikehall, Derbyshire from 29-31 July. Catch this year’s festival favourites Blossoms, along with Stereophonics, Pale Waves, Sleaford Mods, Laura Mvula and loads more. Perfect for teens who’d like a bit of independence, Y Not has Family Youth and Youth Weekend Tickets for 13-17-year-olds (15s and under must be accompanied by someone 21 or older). Kids under 12 go free. 


Muddy Award winner Bluebell Dairy is hosting a summer of Fun on the Farm until 15 July. Little ones can pet the small furry critters and take the sheep and goats for a walk, while bigger kids can tire themselves out with water bomb battles and pedal kart racing. 

Matlock Farm Park has heaps to do over the summer but if you nip on 24 July, you’ll also catch the Big Bubbleman and his incredible show. Kids can make their own monster bubbles too so this is bound to be one they’re talking about for the rest of the summer. Free with farm park entry. 


For your little bookworms, Newark Book Festival runs from 7-10 July with loads of family fun. And over in Derbyshire, Repton Literary Festival is on from 8-10 July. This year, teens can get an intro to the world of animation from Jon Doyle – director, designer and producer of two BAFTA-winning animated series.

Head to High Peak Bookstore (another Muddy Award winner, don’t you know!) on 17 or 24 July for a reading from author Christine Palmer. She creates beautifully illustrated books that feature both French and English so it’s perfect if your kids are learning the language. We’ve heard a rumour that she’s bringing her two bearded collies along too!


First, we haven’t met a child who doesn’t love Horrible Histories so nip to the Winding Wheel Theatre in Chesterfield on 16 July and catch the Terrible Tudors LIVE


Nip to Southwell Library on 2 July for a fun family concert all about brass. Inspire Music’s Brass Quintet will take you through the classics and let your little ones try out some of the instruments too. 

Music lovers assemble! Lakeside Arts and academics from Nottingham Biomedical Researcher Centre need your help. Join the Soundscape Summer School (catchy) on 28 or 29 July and get techy with how sound works. Your kids’ work will feature on the Lakeside website and around the park on the new listening posts.

So many teens LOVE anime so this summer Derby QUAD is hosting Japan Fest on 16 July. There are performances and films plus loads of workshops, Japanese arts and crafts, and authentic food and drinks – actually, sign us up too! 

For little tots, Derby Museum has a super cute crafts, games and stories session on 22 July inspired by the museum’s fabulous collections. This month, it’s dinosaurs!


This year’s epic Robin Hood Festival in Sherwood Forest has been extended over seven weekends throughout the summer, kicking off on 16 July. Expect jousting, vikings, storytelling and outdoor movies galore! 

Also across every weekend in July, you can pick up an Adventure Day Pass for Holme Pierrepont Country Park. Ideal for active kids and teens (or those ones you need to tire out), there’s kayaking and paddleboarding, a trip round the Sky Trail, mini golf and more. 


Got any little history buffs? See the Knights at the Round Table, meet King Arthur and swap spells with Wizard Merlin at Nottingham Castle from 2-3 July. And from 14 July, The Workhouse and Infirmary in Southwell has costumed workhouse characters every Thursday and Saturday. 

Find more ideas here

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