Half-term and Halloween fun across Suffolk and Essex

Marty MacDonald's Toy Machine. Photo: Mark Holliday

Marty MacDonald's Toy Machine. Photo: Mark Holliday - Credit: Archant

Looking for something to do this half-term and Halloween? We have some ideas.

Birds of prey at Framlingham Castle

Birds of prey at Framlingham Castle - Credit: Archant

Fill a gap in your diary this half-term by helping St Edmundsbury Cathedral reach its major milestone of 10,000 Lego bricks.

The project to build a Lego model of it started in May, with more than 9,500 bricks laid.

By donating as little as £1 per brick you’ll help the cathedral raise £200,000 to fund an essential Youth Outreach Project.

As a thank you, one random lucky visitor who places one during half-term or takes part in the special treasure hunt will win a limited edition mini Lego set of St Edmundsbury Cathedral itself.

Enchanted Heath

Enchanted Heath - Credit: Archant


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Tony Kimber, cathedral administrator and director of commerce, said: “This half-term there’s going to be a selection of fun Lego-themed activities and everyone’s welcome, no matter what faith, if any.”

A touch of theatre will bring the Brecks alive this weekend as storytellers, artists, a re-enactment group and lighting engineers stage Enchanted Heath and Enchanted Heath At Night tomorrow at West Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park.

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Part of an ongoing project called Breaking New Ground, the first runs 11am-4pm. There will be Brecks crafts, a storytelling trail, face-painting and archery.

Spooky fun at Wyevale Garden Centres. Photo: Alan Bennett/Media Imaging Solutions

Spooky fun at Wyevale Garden Centres. Photo: Alan Bennett/Media Imaging Solutions - Credit: Alan Bennett / Media Imaging Sol

The second starts at 4.30pm, with those who have booked able to experience the Brecks through a series of guided 1.5km walks, lit up with the help of St Edmundsbury Theatre Services.

It will also give people a first-look at a new sculpture trail being specially developed at West Stow-Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park dedicated to the ancient story of Beowulf and Grendel and ending with the sleeping Heathland Dragon.

“I was delighted to be asked to lead the storytelling at Enchanted Heath as it is such an inspiring location.The more you learn about this unique landscape, the more fascinating it becomes,” said Lynn Whitehead, former professional actress, lecturer in acting and voice at West Suffolk College and who trained in storytelling with the National Theatre.

“Stories of enchanted lands appear in the oldest folklore to modern works of fantasy. They can be a place of danger, refuge, adventure or magic. Strange things might occur, and strange people might live there - the home of fairies and monsters.

Albee Vector. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Albee Vector. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge - Credit: Archant

“I will be telling folktales and stories at different locations along a nature trail which we hope will not only help conjure up some of the magic of the Brecks but also help people connect with this incredible landscape.”

Expect frightening ghosts, ghouls and goings on at Framlingham Castle this Shock-tober courtesy of English Heritage.

Running 11am-4pm, October 22–28, youngsters can follow two ghost hunters on a spooky tour of the castle, who will summon forth the spirits and uncover their long lost secrets.

There will be creepy crafts activities throughout the day and your little horrors can show off their spooktacular costumes as they try to frighten English Heritage’s fearless staff in the daily costume competition with a prize for the most spine-tingling outfit.

The weekend ends with Gothic Falconry from 11am-4pm, October 29-30.

Rebecca Hornby, events manager for English Heritage, said: “The nights may be drawing in, but this October half-term there will be plenty of fun at Framlingham Castle to tempt families out of the house. With the castle walls steeped in their own share of horrible history, there’s no better place to discover some spooky stories, watch expert falconers and dress up in your scariest outfit.”

Chelmsford Museum has a range of half-term activities.

First is the Over and Underground Museum Trail on October 22, a fun and interesting way to explore the collections.

On October 23 Sandford Mill throws open its doors for a Science Discovery Day from 10am-4pm with lots of hands-on activities.

These include, Science in a Suitcase which has fun family experiments plus take-home DIY science projects children will love. The show takes place at 10.45am, 11.45am, 1.45pm and 2.45pm in The Barn.

During the Filter House Trail you can solve water challenges, look inside the Filter House and learn about Chelmsford’s water supply. The trail starts at noon and 3pm from the Barn.

The Marconi Story shows how radio changed the world. Build switches, use an electric telegraph to send Morse code and read the Sandford Mill News on screen. The tours start at 11am and 2pm in the Engine House.

On October 27, budding geologists after four plus can enjoy a Fossil Fun Craft Workshop at the museum at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

Take a trip down to the farm - well, Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion, at 2pm, October 22 - with Marty MacDonald’s Toy Machine.

The show features the voices of CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher and Nicole Davis as Pongo the Pig and Molly-Moo the Cow.

Everyone at the farm is delighted with their new toy machine which makes all of the toys in the world. The trouble is Crafty the Crow has been up to mischief and it shouldn’t really be there. Worse still, the machine has stopped working and needs to be fixed before the Toymaker comes to get it.

It’s a fun, interactive, song-filled adventure for two–seven year olds set on a colourful farmyard and featuring a host of lovable puppet characters. There’s a special cast meet and greet after the performance.

It’s also at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, October 23.

Wyevale Garden Centres in Braintree, Bressingham, Woodbridge invite your little monsters to get crafty with a series of spook-tacular special events.

Aimed at ages three-eight years old, they can create a spooky spider, carve their own pumpkin and decorate a terracotta pot to plant a haunted heather. There will also be Fangtastic Parties with a fancy dress monster mash.

Chelmsford City Council has half-term sorted for parents and children as Don’t Dribble on the Dragon stops by The Civic Theatre on October 27-28.

Based on the book by Steven Lee, Tom and his older brother Jack’s friendship falls apart due to Tom’s dribbling. Could Jack’s magical dragon help them put it back together?

A musical adventure exploring growing up and the importance of family, the magic in the show was designed by the late Paul Daniels.

Performances are 2.30pm Thursday and 11.30am and 2.30pm on Friday. Author Lee will be available to sign copies of his book.

The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, stages several family shows catering for different age ranges.

Albee Vector the Sound Collector is for ages four plus. Join the intrepid adventurer and his love Andromeda on October 27 as they search for the most beautiful sound in the world. They battle kings, curses and cruelty on their quest but Albee needs the audience to make all of the popping, fizzing, hissing, clopping, whizzing, whooshing, banging, crashing, and probably a fart a noise or two.

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur runs October 28-29. It’s an epic tale of magic, heroism, love and betrayal ideal for ages seven plus.

There’s plenty of fun at Stowmarket’s Museum of East Anglian Life from October 25-30.

On October 25 five-year-olds and up can try their hand at painting with watercolours with Colour Washes, Paints and Brushes from 11am to 3pm. Museum staff will be on hand to give you some hints and tips to create your own masterpiece in Abbot’s Hall conservatory, take inspiration from the wonderful walled garden, the Suffolk landscape or free exhibition Life Through the Eyes of East Anglian Artists.

October 26 is Wild Wednesday. It kicks off at 10.30am with the monthly Toddler Time Welly Walk, a led nature filled walk for under fives and their adults. It’s followed at 1pm by a Wild Play session by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as part of its Growing Up Wild campaign.

On October 27 The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (U) is the Big Film, Big Draw pop-up cinema in Abbot’s Hall Barn. These family friendly 25 minute shows feature the famous tales written by Beatrix Potter.

Visitors can also have a go at some rabbit crafts in the Museum Activity Room and listen to the new book, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, published to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth. The World of Peter Rabbit shows from 11am to 2pm with rabbit crafts 10am-3pm.

The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, has a couple of family shows.

The Emperor’s New Clothes, October 26, is a new romp through the classic, eccentric tale about the story of an emperor who loves clothes more than anything. Despite a wardrobe the size of Paris he hasn’t got a stitch to wear. When two tailors promise to create him an outfit that’s “never been seen before”, he doesn’t quite realise the spectacle he is about to make. It’s populated with puppets, music and song ideal for ages three plus.

Underneath A Magical Moon, October 25, is a re-imagining of Peter Pan as told by Wendy Darling for ages three plus.

Toy Story meets the Brothers Grimm in The Musicians of Bremen at HaverhillArts Centre on October 27.

What happens to old toys when nobody loves them any more? A worn out toy donkey, a pull-along dog, a one-eyed cat and a mechanical cockerel find out.

Rather than accepting their fate, they run off to Bremen Town to try their luck as musicians. So begins the greatest adven-ture of their lives in this classic

fairy tale of friendship and courage told with puppets and music.

For the latest entertainment and event news follow @WhatsonWayne on Twitter and check out our regular Event guide in the paper every Friday.

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