May Bank Holiday Weekend is hopefully a chance for you to get away or just relax doing something other than work, so here are our top 10 things to do, including a few free events to help the money go a little bit further.
Celebrate the London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary (FREE)
When: April 30 to May 30
Where: London (various locations)
Children can visit fire stations around London for free and learn about the fire engines on display.
Feel the force at Legoland Windsor
When: April 30 to May 2
There will be a galaxy of Star Wars-themed activities to celebrate the arrival of the brand new 500,000-brick model of the Death Star for the early May bank holiday weekend. Come dressed as your favourite Star Wars character and you can enter the daily costume competition.
Enjoy a traditional May Day at Ironbridge Gorge Museums
When: May 1
The May Queen leads the traditional May Day parade. Dress up and follow her through Blists Hill, departing at 2pm from the centre of the town. Other activities include maypole dancing on the green and candle dipping.
Head for the treetops at BeWILDerwood
When: April 30 – May 2
Join Mildred, BeWILDerwood’s resident ‘Crocklebog’, at her brand new Maypole event. Find answers to clues, climb through the treetops and hear stories along the Lillypad Trail.
Bekonscot Model Village & Railway
When: Daily 10am-5.30pm from February 13
This Thirties creation, the world’s oldest and original model village, started as a hobby and developed into more than an acre of meticulously made houses, farms, fields and lakes, connected by a model railway that wends its way through well-kept gardens. Profits go to charity.
National Railway Museum (FREE)
When: NRM York 10am-5pm daily; NRM Shildon 10am-5pm until October and 10am-4pm October-April
Where: North Yorkshire and County Durham
One of the best free museums in the country, across two sites, in York and at Shildon. Highlights include a Japanese bullet train, a Chinese locomotive, Queen Victoria’s railway carriage and Mallard, once the fastest steam train in the world. There is also a model railway, outdoor play area and train-ride simulator. The Shildon site has a Stirling Single from 1870 and family train rides.
When: daily 10am-5.30pm from March 24 until October 30
A 14th-century crenellated castle, best known as one of the locations for the Harry Potter films. Events and activities included in the admission price include “Broomstick training” workshops, medieval dressing up sessions, and tours of the state rooms and grounds.
When: 9.30am-5pm daily. Later closing in summer months. Last admission two hours before closing.
December 2013 saw the opening of the new visitor centre which means a trip to this ancient prehistoric monument is now enhanced with audio-visual displays, hands-on exhibits and a new café. Reconstructed huts show how life would have been for Neolithic children.
The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre
When: site open all year. Exhibition daily 10am-5.30pm March 1 until October 31, then until 5pm until December 31
Opened to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 2014, this centre recreates the sights and sounds of medieval battle using 3D technology. Visitors can watch or participate in the Battle Game, an interactive test of strategy, and Battle Show, a demonstration of how the battle was won.
Big Pit Mining Museum, Torfaen (FREE)
When: daily 9.30am – 4.30pm
You really get a feel of what life was like underground on a guided tour of the mine, which starts with a 300ft descent by pit cage down the mineshaft, equipped with helmets and cap lamps. Or you can opt to take a new virtual tour of a modern coal mine. The original winding engine house, blacksmith’s forge and fan house are open to visitors.
There’s plenty of ideas for you no matter what you enjoy with something there for everyone, the big question is what will you get up to?