The school holidays are upon us. They’ll be a little different this year but there are still plenty of things you can do. Read on for some suggestions of local activities.
Go for a picnic
Go nature watching
Why not see how many butterflies you can spot? The Big Butterfly count takes place from Friday 17 July-Sunday 9 August. Alternatively, I created a printable spotter sheet for the wildflowers you’re likely to see in Mowbray Nature Reserve and along the railway embankment. BBOWT have a number of local reserves suitable for family visits; my favourite is Dry Sandford Pit near Abingdon.
Go for a walk
One of my favourite short walks is around Sutton Courtenay pools. Park at Culham bridge car park, watch the boats go through the lock and keep an eye out for kingfishers flitting along the Thames.
Wittenham Clumps is always popular. The route between Wittenham and Dorchester is another great walk suitable for families.
Go for a cycle ride
Popular off-road routes include the railway embankment between Didcot and Upton and the cycle track between Didcot and Long Wittenham. If you’ve got older children who are confident cyclists you might like this trip from Didcot out to Shillingford, or this route along the Ridgeway (includes some steep ascents/descents).
Go for a swim
Didcot Wave opens on 25 July. You’ll need to book in advance and follow social distancing guidelines; further details on the Better website. Sadly neither the outdoor pool at Wallingford and Abingdon are opening this year.
Paint a stone
If you haven’t already contributed to one of the Didcot stone snakes why not paint a stone and add it?
Visit a different playground
Now that most playgrounds have reopened you’re spoilt for choice. The Free Parks website lists loads of local playgrounds, along with their facilities, age range and other useful information.
Play a game of tennis
The tennis courts in Ladygrove and Edmonds Park are open. They’re busy though so you’ll need to time your visit well.
Take part in online activities
Some good things have come out of this year, one being the number and variety of online resources. The Royal Society is running its summer science programme online this week with recordings available on YouTube; it’s suitable for 12+ years.
Alternatively, Mrs Bun the Baker offers a free weekly Friday baking session plus an online summer cookery school for older children (fee applies).
Summer reading challenge
Didcot library has re-opened so you could sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge. Suitable for ages 4-11, this free challenge encourages children to read books over the summer. Sign up here.
See the knitted characters in East Hendred
East Hendred is a lovely village to walk round, even more so when there are lots of knitted characters to spot.
Visit an attraction
Whilst some local attractions are closed many are open and desperate for you to visit. These include family favourites Cotswold Wildlife Park, Didcot Railway Centre, Beale Wildlife Park, Millets Falconry and Crocodiles of the World. Do check booking requirements before turning up.
Do you have any other suggestions? If so, do leave a comment below.