What’s on in Suffolk, Essex and beyond over the next few days?

The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Photo: David Tett

The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Photo: David Tett - Credit: David Tett

From half-term fun and open gardens to the Suffolk Show and air displays, there’s plenty to see and do in Suffolk during the school holidays.

Lings Bold Dogs. Photo: Tracy Whittington

Lings Bold Dogs. Photo: Tracy Whittington - Credit: Archant

Half-term family fun at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

The Galliard Ensemble celebrates the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth with The Three Little Pigs Family Concert from 11am Saturday.

Packed with plenty of audience participation, it’s aimed at five-10-year-olds. The ensemble introduce the instruments as they go along before ending in Paul Patterson’s popular musical setting of Dahl’s Three Little Pigs which has been adapted by the composer for wind quintet.

The Rattler, from 3pm on Sunday, is a new interactive retelling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin for children aged seven plus and their families.

King Arthur and the Inglewood

King Arthur and the Inglewood - Credit: Archant


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The Mahogany Opera Group production, developed with Anvil Arts and Rosehill, starts with a music and craft workshop and a colourful pageant before the tale begins. Featuring folk-infused music and puppetry you take on the role of the villagers, singing choruses, cheering on the cast and taking on various roles as the story unfolds.

Activities at Stowmarket’s Museum of East Anglian Life

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From 11am-3pm May 31, you can try your hand at painting with watercolours at the Colour Washes, Paints and Brushes activity; suitable for ages five plus.

Archers demonstrate their craft during the Bloody Mary event at Framlingham Castle. Photo: Richard M

Archers demonstrate their craft during the Bloody Mary event at Framlingham Castle. Photo: Richard Marsham - Credit: Archant

Staff will be on hand to give you some hints and tips to create your own masterpiece in Abbot’s Hall conservatory, taking inspiration from the walled garden, the landscape or the museum’s new exhibition Life Through the Eyes of East Anglian Artists which features paintings, drawings and watercolours by well-known 19th and 20th Century artists from our region; many of which have never been publicly displayed before.

On the first Wednesday of every month there’s the Toddler Time Tadpole Tunes in the museum’s activity room. Sing some songs, try dancing and play some instruments with your under-five. As it’s half-term, older siblings are welcome to join in from 10am on June 1.

From 11am-3pm on June 2, it’s Victorian Fun and Games with the Prentices where you can have a go at traditional games, crafts and find out what children did before

the invention of computer games.

The Galliard Ensemble perform The Three Little Pigs Family Concert

The Galliard Ensemble perform The Three Little Pigs Family Concert - Credit: Archant

You can find out more about the family who lived in Abbot’s Hall in the 1860s; meet museum staff in Victorian costume, make East Anglian paper dolls and discover the ladylike art of decoupage.

Bloody Mary returns to Framlingham Castle

The soon-to-be Queen Mary I gathered her forces at Framlingham Castle in 1553, ready to march on London to depose Lady Jane Grey and kickstart a terrifying five-year reign that earned the gruesome monarch her nickname.

Bad Guys

Bad Guys - Credit: Archant

On the 500th anniversary of her birth, visitors from 11am-5pm, May 28-30, can find out more about the bloody and intriguing tales of the Tudors from costumed characters visiting the castle - including the fearsome Queen herself.

Wander through the camps and visit Mary’s executioner or the surgeon who may be needed following firepower displays from archers competing against guns and combat displays from Mary’s mighty army. Inspired youngsters can ensure they give her a right royal welcome by learning the ultimate curtsy and learn to entertain without being a fool at the kings and queens event which runs May 31-June 3.

Children’s fun at Haverhill Arts Centre

IWM Duxford. Head back in time at the vintage village. Photo: David Mackey

IWM Duxford. Head back in time at the vintage village. Photo: David Mackey - Credit: Archant

Blunderbus Theatre presents a new version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at 11am and 1.30pm June 2

Little Charlie Hubble isn’t afraid to dream a little bigger. He wants to be a world-class magician so saves up his pocket money to buy The Big Book of Magic from Mr Zacoor’s shop. Zacoor is no ordinary shop keeper, he’s a real-life sorcerer and has a very special job for Charlie. Fusing music, puppetry and storytelling it’s aimed at three- to seven-year-olds.

Lego St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Vintage and makers market at Snape

Vintage and makers market at Snape - Credit: Archant

Saturday sees the first brick laid around noon, with fun activities kicking off at 10.30am. These will include decorating cupcakes on the Lego theme, making your own mini me in Lego, a Lego trail around the cathedral and grounds, sculpture workshop and a barbecue. Children can also pose as Lego figures with cut-out pictures and costumes and post photos on social media.

Bad Guys

Hadleigh Library Friends Group has organised a show for five-11 year-olds at 2pm on May 31. Bad Guys is a slapstick misadventure about Derek, Dick and Ernie who think it must be more fun to be baddies. Tickets are available from Hadleigh Library in advance or from the show venue, Hadleigh United Reformed Church, on the day and after the show there are refreshments and craft activities in Hadleigh Library.

Snare Hill Pool Garden

Snare Hill Pool Garden - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk Show

This year’s show, at Trinity Park, Ipswich is June 1-2. Gates open at 7am, all tradestands are open from 8.30am until 6pm both days.

There’s the bouncy castle, giant jigsaw puzzles and welly wanging with farm favourite Tractor Ted in the farm discovery zone. Tractor Ted will be joined by farmer Bob Wilden, who will share his knowledge about different sheep breeds.

Visitors to the zone can also take the digger challenge with JCB, meet little chicks and learn about eggs with Easton Farm Park plus enjoy cooking with Ladies in Pigs and Cook with me Kids.

New to the show this year are the vintage fete games where all the family can challenge each other and test their skills. There are also lots of chances to get close to the different animals at the children’s farm as well as enjoy traditional donkey rides.

Over at the wildlife area, Suffolk Wildlife Trust will help children try pond dipping and den building as well as how to spot butterflies, birds and hedgehogs. In the countryside area, visitors can watch falconry and gun dog displays and see traditional craftsman at work including a blacksmith, basket weaver and chainsaw carver.

The sports village is always popular, with more than 35 different sports to try for free. You can also find out more about Suffolk Sport’s every minute counts campaign to get everyone moving.

The military zone features a range of vehicles and interactive areas including a climbing wall, parachute flight swing, Red Arrows simulator and laser combat area.

Throughout both days there will be more attractions like the Bolddog Lings motorcycle stunt team, mascot race, Titan the Robot and equine displays and livestock competitions.

Bill Baker, show director, says: “The Suffolk Show is a fantastic family time out with so much variety, there really is something for everyone and with free entry for children aged 15 and under it’s great value too. The show offers everyone the chance to learn more about Suffolk’s agricultural heritage, get close to some amazing animals and rare breeds as well as tasting some of the county’s local produce.”

Imperial War Museum Duxford’s American Air Show

Tickets are now available for the event, taking place tomorrow and Sunday. They must be booked in advance as no on the day tickets are available.

Commemorating the reopening of the newly-transformed American air museum, The American Air Show is the story of American and British collaboration in war.

Dynamic flying displays combine with living history and veterans’ voices to show the impact of the American forces on Duxford and the eastern region in the First and Second World Wars; a relationship which developed into the Cold War and the present day. On the ground, visitors can enjoy the authentic 1940s atmosphere throughout the museum and the vintage village.

The Woodbridge Spring Musical Festival

The three-day event kicks off from 6pm tonight. Featuring a mix of genres and events from chilled Ibiza tunes to a silent disco, it’s being held at The Tea Hut, Honey and Harvey, The Angel and The Table.

Annual Spring Plant Fair

Organised by Suffolk Plant Heritage in partnership with Helmingham Hall, it takes place from 10am-4pm, Sunday. Renewed and expanded, the garden zone features nurseries with lots of unusual and popular plants for sale. Local National Plant Collections and the Suffolk Plant Heritage propagation group is also be selling rare items.

Over in the conservation zone, garden societies and charities will offer specialist advice about plants, gardens and wildlife. The garden marquee has a range of workshops, including one by garden designer Lady Tollemache. She’ll also be giving tours of the gardens. Plant doctors can help with any gardening topic.

The artisan zone boats a wide range of exhibitors offering everything from artisan foods and handmade soap to vintage French collectables and pottery.

There’s plenty for youngsters too, with activities, free goodie bags, music, dancing and more.

Snape Maltings Vintage and Makers Market

Running 10am-4pm this Sunday, there will be some 50 local vintage traders, artisans and craftspeople selling vintage furniture, fashion and homewares alongside locally made artworks, craft, jewellery, fabrics and food and drink.

Open gardens

The NGS has six very different gardens opening for charity in Mid and North Essex. Daws Hall, Henny Road, Lamarsh, Bures, opens 1pm-5pm Sunday, offering eight acres of rare, unusual trees, shrubs and a huge collection of old-fashioned roses with interlinking ponds containing a collection of waterfowl. Mill Lane, Pebmarsh, Halstead, open noon-4pm Monday, is opening for the very first time under the NGS. It has a series of formal and informal “rooms” with mixture of herbaceous and shrub beds and trees.

Miraflores, Rowan Way, Witham, open 2pm-5pm Sunday, is a medium-sized garden a blaze with roses, clematis, pergola rose arch, triple fountain with box hedging, deep herbaceous borders and hanging baskets.

Rookwoods, Yeldham Road, Sible Hedingham, open noon-5pm Monday, has a mix of mature and young trees and shrubs, herbaceous borders with roses, pleached hornbeam rooms lead to a young wild flowerbed.

Snare Hill Cottage, Duck End, Stebbing, is open 10.30am-4pm Sunday.

The quirky one-and-a-half acre garden has flower beds, a herb garden and Victorian folly. A bog garden borders woods and leads to silver birch copse, beach garden and Roman temple.

Sir Jeffery and Lady Bowman open the garden of their Elizabethan house The Old Rectory, Boreham 2pm-5pm Sunday. Two-and-a-half acres, it has ponds, a stream with bridges, a small wildflower meadow and a wood with trees and shrubs. There are also wide herbaceous borders.

Andy’s Fun Hour

Perfect for half-term no matter what age you are. Join Andy for juggling, magic, songs, rhymes and balloon sculpture at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft, 11am, June 1.

Busy Bee week

Enjoy a week of family events and activities where you can learn about the magic of bees at Wyevale Garden Centre, Woodbridge, May 27-June 3.

Aimed at ages three to eight, there’s a busy bee hunt, the opportunity to build a bee hotel, cook bee-themed treats and provide the perfect plants for them in their garden.

King Arthur and the Inglewood

Moon On A Stick Productions fuse puppetry and live action to reinvent the ancient tale of King Arthur’s quest in an enchanted forest where supernatural beings abound and the realm of the dead crosses that of the living.

The original show is suitable for ages five plus and visits Beccles Public Hall at 11am and 2pm, June 1.

Surviving Stone

Head to Colchester Castle at 10am-2pm, May 28, to handle objects and join in with Stone Age arts and craft at the first of a series of half-term events.

King John returns from 10am-4pm on May 30, with a range of medieval activities. Hollytrees Museum hosts the Faces of Colchester artist-led under-fives workshops from 10.30am on June 1

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