Entertainment and activities to enjoy over May half-term

Published24th May 2024

Looking to keep children entertained in Ipswich this May half-term? There are plenty of activities on offer in Ipswich to keep them busy over the school holiday (27 – 31 May) at our sports centres, in the town’s award-winning parks, and at historic Christchurch Mansion.

Feeling active? From Tuesday 28 May to Friday 31 May, Gainsborough and Whitton Sports Centres will be running a mix of activities for children aged 3 – 16 years, including bouncy play, football, Junior Jumpers, Kick It, and roller skating.

Crown Pools have snorkelling on Wednesday 29 May for children aged 8 – 16 and a fun activity session for children between 8 - 12 years-old on Thursday 30 May.

All activities can be booked online at: www.ipswichfit.co.uk/may-halfterm

Need to cool off? With the weather starting to warm up, the splash pad at Holywells Park and the paddling pool at Bourne Park are now open every day, from 10am to 5pm until the end of summer.

Searching for inspiration? The Mansion in Christchurch Park plays host to ‘Animals in the Art Gallery.’ This free, family-friendly exhibition explores British wildlife and habitats in artworks from the Middle Ages to the present day. Artists featured include local legends Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and Sir Alfred Munnings.

Alongside the art, some familiar animals from Ipswich Museum’s natural history collection have found a new habitat in the Wolsey Art Gallery and, in its creative studio, young visitors have the chance to make their own artistic animals with space to play, draw and get creative.

No need to book, drop-in to see the free exhibition when the Mansion is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

Budding artists? For half-term, the Mansion hosts two special workshops as part of the ‘Art in the Heart of Ipswich’ project, celebrating the Ipswich Art Society’s 150th Anniversary in 2024. Both are suitable for ages 7-17, with all workshop materials provided.

The first is on Tuesday 28 June, 10.30am to 4pm, where we invite you to get creative by ‘Making Puppets Inspired By Paintings’. Drawing inspiration from the Mansion’s collection of painted portraits and landscapes, learn how to turn simple materials like paper and cardboard into vibrant characters.

Second is our ‘Photo-Scavengers’ workshop on Wednesday 29 May, 10.30am to 4pm, which starts with a treasure hunt to locate monochrome snapshots of architectural details and snippets of paintings from the Mansion. Participants can then bring them to life with colour to create new masterpieces.

There’s another ‘Art in the Heart of Ipswich’ event on Friday 31 May with ‘Paint in the Park’, from 10.30am to 4pm, suitable for ages 5 and upwards. Christchurch Park is brimming with sights waiting to be captured and families are encouraged to create an artwork together. No previous artistic experience is necessary and painting materials are provided, along with plenty of encouragement.

All are free and no booking is needed. Find more information at: Events | Ipswich Museums (cimuseums.org.uk)

In the mood to explore? The popular ‘Woolly’s Mystery Trail’ continues at the Mansion during half-term, finishing on Sunday 2 June. Join Woolly on a magical adventure during the Mansion opening hours, to uncover hidden treasures on an exciting quest that’s perfect for little explorers aged 3 and over. If that’s not enough, then go on to discover the Duck Trail that winds through the ground floor. Tickets cost £5.00 each (including a gift for children at the end of the Trail) and there’s no need to book.

Councillor John Cook, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Sport, says:

“If you’re looking to keep children entertained this May half-term, we have lots of different activities taking place. Whether it’s enjoying sport or art, getting creative, or going out and about making the most of our award-winning parks in Ipswich, there’s something for all ages. Let the fun commence!”