What’s on in West Essex this bank holiday weekend: Friday 28 – Monday 31 August

ALL WEEKEND

BEACH EAST, OLYMPIC PARK STRATFORD

Beach East at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford near Westfield shopping centre

It’s your final chance to visit the UK’s largest urban beach if you haven’t done so already, as Beach East closes on Monday. The kids will love the sand, paddling pool and fairground rides all within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford and close to Westfield. Read my full review of Beach East here and my advice is to get there early and bring you own picnic to avoid the expensive food on site.

Price: Entrance is free and rides are £2-£4
Opening times: 10am – 10pm
Address: Stratford Waterfront, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, next to Westfield E15 2DU
More information: West Essexs Mums review or Beach East website.

OLIVER JEFFERS EXHIBITION, DISCOVER CHILDREN’S STORY CENTRE STRATFORD

Oliver Jeffers real life rocket at Discover Centre Stratford

If the weather is true to bank holiday form, there may be some rain to contend with this weekend. If so, it’s the final few weeks of the current interactive exhibition at the Discover Centre in Stratford featuring the work of the brilliant children’s author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers. My son loves his ‘How To Catch a Star’ book so I’m feeling bad I haven’t taken him yet so I’m keen to get down there before it closes on the 6th September as friends have told me it’s great. The magical worlds of his books are brought to life and you can take a trip to the seaside, row a boat and make friends with an alien and a penguin. There are also activities for children aged 0-11 years old.

Price: Free for under 2s, £5 for adults and children, £18 for a family of 4
Opening Times: 11am – 5pm
Address: 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ
More information: Discover Children’s Story Centre website

SUNDAY 30 AUGUST & MONDAY 31 AUGUST

MINIATURE STEAM & ELECTRIC TRAIN RIDES, RIDEGWAY PARK CHINGFORD

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 15.26.15All aboard! On Sunday and Monday afternoons you’ll be able to take a miniature steam train ride at the back of Ridgeway Park. A friend of mine takes her little boy quite regularly but we’ve yet to give it a go so this could be  good option for Monday. It’s run by the Chingford & District Model Engineering Club and prices are pretty reasonable with free parking in the park and on local streets.

Price: Kids under 3 are free with a fare paying adult, costs depend on the track in use but are 60p or £1.50.
Opening times: From 2pm – 5.30pm
Address: back of Ridgeway Park, Chingford. E4 6XU. (Near the Green Man pub near the top of Chingford Mount)
More information: Chingford & District Model Engineering Club website

SUNDAY 30 AUGUST

FUN DAY SUNDAY FEATURING MINI BEASTS, VALENTINE’S MANSION AND GARDENS

ladybirdAs part of their regular Fun Day Sunday, this weekend the family-friendly drop in session will focus on mini beasts. You’ll be able to make bee finger puppets, rocking snails, butterfly masks and ladybird crowns. You’ll also be able to explore the Valentine’s gardens to see how many mini beasts you can find living there.

Price: free entry, no need to book you can just turn up
Opening Times: 11am-3pm
Address: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA,UK
More Information: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens website

MONDAY 31 AUGUST

THEYDON BOIS FAMILY FUN DAY, ST MARY’S CHURCH

Part of the flower festival that is on all weekend at the church, the family fun day will involve children’s games, a bouncy castle, a BBQ and other refreshments as well as stalls.

Opening Times: 10.30am-4.30am
Address: Between Coppice Row and Piercing Hill, Theydon Bois, CM16 7DN.
More information: St Mary’s Church website

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What’s on in West Essex this weekend: Saturday 8 – 9 August 2015

It looks like a warm and sunny weekend ahead, so here are a few ideas for fun family-friendly activities to enjoy in the open air in the local area.

SATURDAY 8 & 9 AUGUST: GO EAST FEST, QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK STRATFORD
Not content with hosting the UK’s largest urban beach this summer (you can read my review of Beach East here) the Olympic park is going all out with a whole weekend of free kids activities suitable for a wide range of ages. There’ll be music and aerial and acrobatic circus performances from NoFit State’s Open House, the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company. They’ll also be hosting introductory workshops and performing impromptu stunts so catch them at 4pm on Saturday, 11am and 2.45pm on Sunday at the South Park Lawn.

Folk Dance Remixed

Folk Dance Remixed

If your kids are more into dance, then they’ll love the Folk Dance Remixed Festival, a mash up of popular dances to live music. It is promising to be a high energy and unique mash up of maypole, clogging, ceilidh, street, house and breakdance with a hint of African and Bollywood, to a live soundtrack of fiddle & beat boxing. There’ll also be a special native Māori performance as well as dance workshops on both Saturday and Sunday between 1pm-5pm at the Fountain Room, South of the Park.

As part of Taste The Music, across both days there will also be a whole host of performances and free music taster workshops rom samba style drumming to reggae vocal sessions. And if that’s not enough, the Arcola Theatre will be performing Bella Bartok’s famous Opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, in the scenic parklands using puppets as well as professional opera singers.

And I love the sound of the Giant Storytelling Snail, home of two eccentric storytellers Sheldon and Shelby, who travel the lands and gather stories as they go. They will actually be at the Olympic Park for the whole of August with daily storytelling trails at 12pm and 3pm but they will also open their home for reading, colouring and drawing all day. This weekend it will be open from 10am-6pm and the Snail will be opposite the Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground in the north of the Park.
Further information: Go East Fest website

SUNDAY 9 AUGUST – KIDS FEST, MARSH FARM CHELMSFORD
Although Marsh Farm is a bit further away in Chelmsford, there is loads going on at their Kids Fest it looks worth the trip. They are billing it as Glastonbury for kids with lots of favourite characters and children’s TV personalities on stage. Your children will no doubt recognise Mr Bloom from CBeebies and apparently quite a few mums admit to a little crush (I hear he’s also starring in Hollyoaks too, anyway I digress). There will also be Lloyd from Disney’s Art Attack, Mad Science, Shaun the Sheep, Happy’s Circus, Hupsilly Hill and all the Partymen. There will also be bubbles, the biggest inflatable village in the South East, dinosaurs, Punch and Judy, Horse World, robots and lots more. The ticket price also includes entrance to the farm and if you’re quick you can currently buy tickets for 20% off (making them £19.99) via the Little Bird website.
Further information: Marsh Farm website

SUNDAY 9 AUGUST: BUSHCRAFT, RUSHEY PLAIN EPPING FOREST
Rescheduled from 21 June, between 1pm – 4pm children can learn Learn bushcraft skills such as fire lighting, den building and the responsible use of knives. Suitable for ages 5-15 the event is free but you do need to book in advance so hopefully there are still places – call 020 7332 1911
Further information: Epping Forest website

BONUS EVENT – WEDNESDAY 12 AUGUST, KIDS OPEN AIR THEATRE WANSTEAD PARK

Sorcerers apprentice poster

And although this isn’t strictly on this weekend, I thought it was worth pointing out that an open air play suitable for children is on this Wednesday at the The Temple Enclosure in Wanstead Park. We went last year to see George’s Marvellous Medicine by the same theatre company and even though th little one was a bit small he enjoyed it and I loved it. It’s a great event to go to, just pack a picnic and an umbrella (we got rained on a bit last year but it was still great). This year the play is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the traditional tale of a lazy wizard’s apprentice and his runaway ensorcelled broom. A play promising more water than you’ve ever seen on stage before! Gates open at 2pm and the performance starts at 3pm.
More information: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice booking website

As ever I’d love to hear what you think if you visit any of the events listed, so feel free to add a comment below or tweet me @westessexmums.