If you’re dealing with wiggly tots, inquisitive young minds or ‘too-cool-for-school’ teenagers, Suffolk is a wonderfully curious and magical county that will spark imagination, inspire creativity and unearth endless quirky and fun-filled days.
Plus, it has an abundance of special events, packages and days out aimed directly at ‘mini tourists’; from a rock school for teenagers, an art school for budding Van Gogh’s and beauty treatments targeting troublesome teenage skin.
Fun-filled Teenage Adventures
Teens can be a tough audience to entertain. Keep them busy by booking them on an activity or let them relax and get some ‘me-time’ on one of these experiences:-
- Let their inner rock-star out by enrolling them at Punch Rock School in Ipswich. With two five-day courses from 5th-9th August and 19th-23rd August 2013, teenagers will form a band, write music, attend workshops, record in a professional studio and play a gig at the end of the week. £150 for five days.
- Enjoy some teenage thrill on a Coastal Voyageur Sea Blast adventure high speed trip out to sea from Southwold. The 400hp speed boat is put through its formidable paces in a 30-minute tour of Solebay. Spot harbour porpoises, all kinds of sea birds, the occasional seal and maybe even a dolphin! £24 per person.
- Ickworth Hotel Spa offers treatments designed especially for teenagers. The Active Pureness Jump Start is a 30-minute deep cleansing treatment ideal for combating that annoying spot or oily or combination skins and will leave your skin feeling fresh and clear by using deep-cleansing products. Treatment £30 and teenagers must be accompanied by an adult.
- As part of PULSE Fringe Festival at Ipswich, there is a family day on Sunday 2nd June 2013. Children and teenagers aged 12 plus, can take part in the Six O’Clock News event at 6pm at the New Wolsey Studio. Join Daniel Bye for an evening about the big issues and news of the day. Tickets £7 and booking essential.
- Anglia Indoor Karting in Ipswich offers a full-sized racing circuit for the budding Button or Hamilton in your family. Whether they’re keen to practice their pose on the podium or just want a taste of life in the fast lane, indoor karting is the ideal activity for teenagers. Enjoy the Happy Hour Monday to Friday from 10am to 11am in school holidays and buy 12 laps and get 12 free for £16.50 per person.
- Kesgrave Hall offers a special Family Fun package in conjunction with Coopers Country in Coddenham. Enjoy two nights in the boutique 4-star hotel with breakfast and choose from 2.5 hours of clay pigeon shooting for beginners or fly fishing with lunch. £540 for two adults and up to three children.
- Assington Mill offers short one to three-day courses on over 50 different topics. There is a ‘Back to Basics – cookery and nature for children’ course emphasising the link between nature and food running on 6th and 27th August from 10am to 4pm for 8 to 15 year olds. Booking is essential and the day costs £85 including a home-made lunch, snacks and food to take home. Plus, walk around the beautiful grounds, get a lesson on foraging and seasonal food, plus plenty of tasting, eating and cooking!
- For a really fun, action packed riding experience try a Valley Farm Summer Pony Camp or Activity Day. Have a go at side saddle riding, western riding, vaulting, show-jumping and learn about horse care. Suitable for all abilities, children are split into groups based on age and ability. Come along for a day from 9am to 4pm or a whole week. Price £60 per day, which includes a buffet lunch.
- Let out their competitive side at High Lodge at Saxmundham and challenge them to catch the biggest fish, such as a 20lb Carp! There’s also Clay Pigeon Shooting for beginners and the lodge is sat in 100 acres of woodland.
Adventures for 12’s & Under
Tiny tots and preschoolers can be hard to please so plan ahead and book some educational experiences and days out that entertain them, while remaining low-effort for parents!
- Calling all Under 5’s! Lovers of wellies and splashing in puddles should head to the Welly Walk Wednesday at the Museum of East Anglian Life. Explore the museum, meet the animals and count the puddles! 26th June, 24th July, 28th August and 25th September 2013. Entry included in normal admission price.
- Suffolk Owl Sanctuary offers a Wings Junior Falconry Course for children aged between 10 and 14. Go on a behind-the-scenes tour, get a close up introduction to birds from the five main raptor families and learn about the Falconer’s Knot, plus the hoods, bags, bells, leashes and lures which make up the essential equipment of the falconer. 18th May, 1st June, 29th June, 13th July and 3rd August. £25.00 per person with advanced booking essential.
- Go Ape ‘Tree Top Junior’ at Thetford Forest is a tree top adventure aimed at five to 10 year olds. Ideal for Tiny Tarzans, the special course is a fun filled experience of canopy exploring, trail blazing and obstacles for all abilities for all little monkey’s. £16 per person.
- Interested in the darker side of history? Those who dare can embark on a ‘Horrible History’ walk around Ipswich and learn some of the more gruesome facts they don’t teach at school! Other fun themed walks around the town include ‘On Safari’ and ‘Dangerous Dragons & other Fabulous Beasts’. The walks take place every Wednesday and Friday throughout the summer holidays, commencing at the Tourist Information Centre at 10.30am. The cost is £3.00 per child and children must be accompanied by an adult who may accompany free of charge. Booking essential – 01473 258070.
- The Long Shop Museum near Aldeburgh has a special programme of activities for little ones. On 29th May make a balloon powered car or hovercraft, craft a machine from junk on 7th August and enjoy a fire fighting day with firemen and a story in conjunction with the library on 14th August 2013. Admission £4.
- For children who love to paint and draw, Smart4Art at Felixstowe run special art classes and holiday fun days for children. Workshops are exciting, social and include lots of fun with a pencil and paintbrush. £8 per hour.
- Every Thursday is ‘Activity Thursday’ at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. It’s a day of have-a-go activities, including archery, pottery, mini archaeological digging, cookery and storytelling. Plus, little ones will love getting dressed up as an Anglo-Saxon. In addition, all the family can take part in the Ring Quest Weekend from 27th July to 28th July 2013 between 10am and 5pm at the village. Visit the Hobbit hole and meet Orc, Elf and Ranger characters and embark on a family challenge to save Middle Earth! Included in normal admission price.
- Meet Jimmy Doherty and get hands on with the animals down at Jimmy’s Farm. A working farm, children will love meeting rare breed pigs, leading the way on a nature trail and burning off energy on the playground. There’s also children’s cookery courses and sausage making workshops on 28th and 30th May and 1st June. £5 each for adults and children.
- Pet the Suffolk Punch Trust horses at Woodbridge and see this year’s newborn foals. The Trust operates the Hollesley Bay Colony Stud, the world’s oldest stud farm breeding the extremely rare Suffolk Horse, which played a crucial role in the development of farming throughout the British colonies. Plus, have a pony ride and go on a beautiful walk to the River Deben. There’s also a museum showcasing Suffolk’s rural heritage, a harness room, large black pigs and the oldest registered flock of Suffolk sheep in the world! Adults £6.50, children £3.00 and under 5’s free.
- Newmarket Racecourses Summer Saturday’s are the perfect family day out and combine racing on the July Course with entertainment in the Garden Enclosure with Punch & Judy, inflatables and a playground. Plus, teenage siblings will enjoy Summer Saturday Live’s which include an open air concert once the last race has finished. See Lawson & The Saturday’s on 8th June and McFly on 24th August. Tickets to the Family Enclosure from £8.
For more suggestions on family accommodation and things to do when visiting Suffolk, see http://www.visitsuffolk.com/things-to-do/family.aspx