West Berkshire Family Life

Summer Holidays 2022 in West Berkshire- Free and Low Cost Activities

The school summer holidays can be expensive – holiday clubs and activities don’t come cheap. If you’re on a budget, there are some free and low cost activities & events taking place in the area. Read on to find out when and where these are happening.

If you know of anything missing from the list, please Get in touch so it can be added.

View the full Summer Holidays What’s On Guide here.

You may also be interested in the What’s On calendar. This has handy daily listings of events and activities in the area.

Remember to check that all details are correct and up to date before going along to any of the events listed below. Changes and cancellations can happen. Some events will require advance booking.

Ikea Young Designer Competitionruns from 11 July-14 August 11am-5pm. A children’s design competition – show the Ikea designers how you would decorate a bedroom if it was yours. Free.

Cobbs I-spy Farm Trail, HungerfordMonday-Friday 10am-3pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm. Pick up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm and follow the I-spy trail. Once you’ve found all the clues head back to the Play Barn to collect a treat reward. Free.

Jungle Quest at Ikea Readingdaily until Sunday 14 August 10am-9pm. Find the jungle animals around the store and win a prize.

Decorate Your Dream House at Ikea Readingdaily until Sunday 14 August 10am-5pm. Children can decorate their own mini homes. Free, no booking required.

Make Your Own Kite at Ikea ReadingThursday 21 & 28 July and 4 & 11 August 11am-5pm. Children can make their own kites at this free craft workshop. No booking required.

Guess What’s in the Storage Box at Ikea ReadingSaturday 23 & 30 July & 6 & 12 August 11am-5pm. Free. Guess what’s in the mystery storage box.

Balloon Artist & Face Painting at Ikea Readingevery Saturday from 16 July-20 August 11am-5pm. Free, no need to book.

Bubble Fun at Ikea ReadingSunday 24 & 31 July and Sunday 7 & 14 August 11am-5pm. A free drop-in event where children can make their own bubble kits.

Messy Modelling at Ikea, Reading25-27 July, 1-3 August & 8-10 August 12pm-2pm. Make your own play dough models. Free, drop-in event.

Lego Club at Theale Library – every Monday during the holidays, 2pm-4pm. A free drop-in event for children aged 6-12. For more information, contact the library on 01189 303207 or thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Family Activity Morning: Fly Your Flag at Shaw House, Newbury – Wednesday 27 July 10am-12.45pm. Design a flag for a regiment from the Civil War. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Messy Museum Morning: Dino Eggs at West Berkshire MuseumFriday 29 July 10am-12.45pm. Make your own dinosaur egg using a pebble and acrylic paint. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Different time slots are available for booking. West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, RG14 5AS.

Den Building Masterclass at Basildon ParkFriday 29 July and 5, 12, 19 and 26 August 2.30pm-4pm.  A free event but places need to be booked in advance. Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NR.

Craft Club at Thatcham LibrarySaturday 30 July 10.30am-11.30am. For children aged 3-10.

Open Air Exhibition at Shaw House, NewburySaturday 30 July-Sunday 25 September 11am-4pm. An open air sculpture exhibition. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Summer Holiday Club Programme at the Waterside Centre, Newbury1-25 August (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays). 8.30am-12.30pm for school years 1-6 (£5 per day, plus £3 for breakfast) and 3.30pm-7.30pm for school years 7-11 (free). Children will enjoy a wide range of activities including climbing, sports, arts & crafts and more. Email waterside@berkshireyouth.co.uk to register your interest.

Superhero Adventure Trail Monday 1 August – Saturday 27 August in Newbury town centre. Aimed at families with aged 4-11 (but suitable for all ages), start at the Corn Exchange and enjoy a superhero trail around Newbury. £3 per child.

The Lost Words Family Trail at the Nature Discovery Centre, ThatchamTuesday 2, Wednesday 3 & Thursday 4 August 10am-12.30pm. Suitable for children aged 4-11, follow the trail around the nature reserve and join a live storytelling session at 11am or 1pm. £5 per child, accompanying adults are free.

Summer Lego Club at Thatcham LibraryTuesday 2, 9, 16 & 23 August 10.30am-12pm. A free lego club for children aged 6-12. For more information, contact the library on 01635 866049 or thatchamlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Family Activity Morning: Soldier On! at Shaw House, NewburyWednesday 3 August 10am-12.45pm. Create a musketeer from clothes pegs and other craft materials. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Free Young People’s African Drumming Lessons at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamThursday 4 & Monday 15 August 1pm-& 2pm. Free African drumming lessons organised by Thatcham Youth. Advance booking required.

Family Activity Morning: Decorating Dinos at West Berkshire MuseumFriday 5 August 10am-12.45pm. Make and colour a wooden dinosaur. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, RG14 5AS.

Holiday Craft Fun at Thatcham LibraryFriday 5, 12, 19 & Saturday 27 August 10.30am-11.30am. A free drop-in event for children aged 3-10. For more information, contact the library on 01635 866049 or thatchamlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Holiday Craft Fun at Lambourn LibraryFriday 5, 12, 19 & 26 August 10.30am-11.30am. A free drop-in event for children aged 3-10. For more information, contact the library on 01488 71350 or lambournlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Lego Club at Burghfield LibraryFriday 5 August and Friday 2 September 4.15pm-5.30pm. A Lego club that takes place on the first Friday of the month, for children aged 5+. For more information, contact the library on 01189 833632 or burghfieldlibrary@westberks.gov.uk

Lego Club at Thatcham LibrarySaturday 6 August and Saturday 3 September 10.30am-12pm. A free Lego Club for children aged 5+ that takes place on the first Saturday of the month. For more information, contact the library on 01635 866049 or thatchamlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Lego Club at Hungerford LibrarySaturday 6 August & Saturday 3 September 10.30am-12pm. A free Lego Club for children aged 5+ that takes place on the first Saturday of the month. For more information, contact the library on 01488 682660 or hungerfordlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Lego Club at Pangbourne LibrarySaturday 6 August and Saturday 3 September 10.30am-12pm. A free Lego Club for children aged 5+ that takes place on the first Saturday of the month. For more information, contact the library on 01189 844 117 or pangbournelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Holiday Activities at Lambourn LibrarySaturday 6, 13, 20 & 27 August 10.30am-11.30am. Free drop-in activities for children aged 3-10. For more information, contact the library on 01488 71350 or lambournlibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Free Young People’s Roller Skating at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamSaturday 6 August 4pm-8pm. Free roller skating for those aged up to 17. Four sessions are available for booking: 4pm, 5pm, 6pm & 7pm. The first two sessions are for children aged 7-11 and the last two sessions are for those aged 11-17. Moorside Community Centre, Urquhart Road, Thatcham, RG19 4RE.

Chalkfest in NewburyMonday 8 August 10am-4pm in Newbury Market Place. A free event organised by City Arts Newbury.

Family Activity Morning: Perfect Puppets at Shaw House, Newbury Wednesday 10 August 10am-12.45pm. Decorate a felt puppet. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Free Family Fun Day at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamThursday 11 August 10am-3pm. Arts & crafts, bouncy castle, face painting (charge applies), sports and games. Two bookable slots are available: 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Moorside Community Centre, Urquhart Road, Thatcham, RG19 4RE.

Build a Model Space Vehicle at Theale LibraryThursday 11 August 3pm-4.30pm. A free, drop-in craft activity for children aged 5-11. For more information, contact the library on 01189 303207 or thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Family Activity Morning: Dino footprints at West Berkshire MuseumFriday 12 August 10am-12.45pm. Make a clay dinosaur footprint. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, RG14 5AS.

Meet Doh Doh at the Entertainer, Parkway, Newbury Saturday 13 August from 10am.

Thatcham Youth Free Sports Morning at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamSaturday 13 August 10.30am-12pm. Free sports activities for those aged 16 and under. No need to book.

Antiques and Brocante Market at Shaw House, NewburySunday 14 August 10am-4pm. A free outdoor event, no need to book. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Family Activity Morning: Helmet at the Ready at Shaw House, Newbury – Wednesday 17 August 10am-12.45pm. Make and decorate helmet similar to those worn during the Civil War. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Free Children’s Magic Show at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamThursday 18 August 10am-12pm. A magical show from Mr Muddle’s Magical Mayhem. Suitable for those aged 11 and under (but everyone welcome). Advance booking required.

Family Activity Morning: Fantastic Fossils at West Berkshire Museum Friday 19 August 10am-12.45pm. Make an ammonite from air-drying clay. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, RG14 5AS.

Free Craft Morning at Moorside Community Centre, ThatchamSaturday 20 August 10am-11am. A range of free craft activities. Advance booking required. Moorside Community Centre, Urquhart Road, Thatcham, RG19 4RE.

Newbury Vegan MarketSunday 21 August 10am-3pm.

Family Activity Morning: Dashing Cavalier at Shaw House, NewburyWednesday 24 August 10am-12.45pm. Make a cavalier style hat for a Civil War soldier. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR.

Family Activity Morning: Fabulous Ferns at West Berkshire MuseumFriday 26 August 10am-12.45pm. Print a forest of ferns. £2 per child. Advance booking required. Slots are 10am, 11am & 12pm. West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, RG14 5AS

Other ideas for things to do

Living Rainforest

Based in Hampstead Norreys, the Living Rainforest may not be somewhere you think of as a budget day out. You do have to pay an admission fee (£9.95 per child and £12.35 per adult for a day ticket or £40 for a family of four). However, you can buy an annual ticket for £52.50 for a family of four (or £16.55 per adult and £13.05 per child) and this gives you unlimited visits for one year – so you can visit as many times as you like over the summer holidays! You do not pay anything for children under 2. All visits need to be pre-booked.

When you’re there you’ll find three glasshouses to explore with plants and animals to spot along the way. The Living Rainforest is home to over 850 species of plants and animals. livingrainforest.org

The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham

The nature reserve is free to visit and you can enjoy lovely walks around the lake. You’ll also find two playgrounds, a cafe and a shop (check opening times before visiting).

www.bbowt.org.uk/explore/visitor-centres/nature-discovery-centre

Snelsmore Common

Situated just outside Newbury, Snelsmore Common is a lovely place for a family walk and picnic (including some marked routes and an Easy Access Trail). If you’re lucky you might spot a wild pony! Parking is available and there is also a cafe – The Snugg at Snelsmore.

www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/snelsmore-common-country-park

Newbury Adventure Golf

Newly opened this year, this is a fun activity to do as a family. Located in Victoria Park in Newbury, it’s just £4.95 per person (under 3s are free). You can book in advance online or pay on the day. It’s open 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm).

Splash Park, Victoria Park, Newbury

Perfect for hot & sunny days, the splash park is free and is open 10.30am-5pm. Bear in mind that there are no changing rooms available.

Why not combine a visit to the splash park with a picnic and a play in the park?

Millets Farm

A short drive from West Berkshire, Millets Farm is free to visit and has animals to see and play areas. There are usually special activities during the school holidays (available to book at additional cost) plus a soft play centre (Sprouts Play Barn), and Pick Your Own Fruit. W: milletsfarmcentre.com.

West Berkshire Family Hubs

Providing support to families with children under five, the Family Hubs are located in Newbury, Thatcham and Calcot and run regular groups such as Messy Play, Baby Groups and Stay & Plays. The Hungerford and Area Family Centre also runs groups. The groups are low cost (around £2 per family) and usually continue throughout the holidays. They can be located in other towns and villages in the area. More information can be found on the West Berkshire Council website.

Anything to add?

Do you have a favourite low cost summer holiday activity or day out in the area? Get in touch to let us know about it!

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