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Great Things to Do With the Grandkids This Weekend: UK 

Half term’s in full swing up and down the country – and come the weekend there’ll be a lot of grandkids looking for one last hurrah before they have to go back to school. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of stuff to do. This week’s pick of the best includes a genuine Amazon Adventure (don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe!) and some real live piracy (well, almost) thanks to a fun educational workshop on a real live ship…

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is running its amazing Amazon Adventure for most of the year – and it all starts this week. The Adventure takes place on the good ship Victoria Amazonica, where grandkids and grandparents alike will learn about the history and incredible variety of life in the world’s most fertile ecosystem.

Not shy to get amongst it, the Amazon Adventure includes encounters with real fish – including a stingray and a tank of tetras – plus a number of simulated meetings. Feel the shock of an electric eel (safely reproduced), and look inside the belly of a huge catfish to see what she’s been eating!

The water-borne theme continues on the HMS Belfast, where the brilliant Slang at Sea workshop introduces the life and times of an able bodied seaman (or woman). Grandkids will learn the meaning of popular maritime slang, find out how to sort their port from their starboard, and even get a chance to explore the ship to see all the cool stuff hiding below decks. The HMS Belfast is part of the Imperial War Museum, and may be visited separately or with a visit to the War Rooms.

If it rains, as well it might (this is the UK after all!), there are a few films to keep an eye on. Older grandkids will love Warm Bodies, a zombie retelling of Romeo and Juliet. There’s enough blood and brains to make this a 12A, so don’t send them out on their own – and check you won’t be scared yourself!


Beautiful Creatures is another 12A, suited to the older grandchild – and if they liked Twilight they’ll love this. A Southern Gothic romance full of surprising humour and some pretty incredible cinematography, this is perfect follow-on fodder for the grandchild who lapped up the vampires-and-werewolves themes of Edward and Bella’s story. This time around, it’s witches and mint juleps: and a strong female lead from the start.

The Imperial War Museum North (up in Manchester) has plenty of exhibits and events to keep the grandkids fascinated this weekend. Its “Walkabout Character” installation is designed to bring the exhibits to life, as he silently wanders around the main halls, sketching and exploring the history of the World Wars. War Horse inspired “Animals and War” gives a fascinating look into the bravery of animals during times of conflict.