Dorset A Wealth of Winter Wonders
Don’t forget to look on our ‘Where’s Santa’ page for details of more places to find the man in red!
Whizz through the festive and chilly season with these ideas that could fill you with wonderful, wintery cheer…
Peter Pan takes flight at the Lighthouse
Debra Stephenson, star of BBC 1’s The Impressions Show and famed for playing the character Frankie Baldwin in Coronation Street, is to take the lead role in Lighthouse’s very first home-produced pantomime, Peter Pan, which opens on Friday 10th December. Debra will be joined by CBBC presenter Michael Absalom as Captain Hook's sidekick Smee and former soap star Gary Turner, who played 'Carlos Diaz' in Emmerdale who will play Captain Hook. Prolific national pantomime producer Peter Frosdick will work alongside Robin and their combined experience is guaranteed to give audiences a ‘flying’ production to thrill. With swashbuckling sword fights, buckets of fairy dust and a tick tocking croc, Peter Pan will run at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts from December 10th until January 9th 2011. Tickets are on sale now – for more details go to www.lighthousepoole.co.uk or call 0844 406 8666.
Let the children explore a gigantic indoor playground at Granby Fun Factory
When it is wintery, wet and wild outdoors, why not venture indoors at the Granby Fun Factory instead? This soft play centre has a gigantic indoor play area, huge restaurant and two party rooms for children’s parties. Watch your kids as they explore the gigantic indoor playground, including the ‘Battle Cannon’ and ‘Firing Zone’ or see them flying across the ‘High Glide’ or shooting down the 4-Lane ‘Astro Slide’ – it’s all such exciting stuff! Granby Fun Factory is open from 9.30am to 6.30pm 7 days a week, excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
You will find Granby Fun Factory at 7 Albany Road, Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth. For details call 01305 777 334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Scrooge’s Christmas Presence at Nothe Fort on Saturday 11th December
Calling all Santa’s little helpers, young angels, reindeer keepers and old humbugs – there will be a Christmas event of traditional festive fun at Nothe Fort, Barrack Road in Weymouth on Saturday 11th December. With so many things going on will your excitement hold out?
Activities on offer include a Spirit of Scrooge Walk, a Santa's Grotto, children’s craft making, face painting, Christmas Carol singing, a brass band and school choirs.
See the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come! An intriguing tour will be narrated by the Ghost of Christmas Present and brought to life by Marley and three ghosts, as well as Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and little Tiny Tim. Will Scrooge change his ways?
Nothe Fort’s restaurant will be open for festive treats (including mince pies and mulled wine) and don't forget to look in the Fort shop for some special Christmas gifts. The Fort will be open from 10.30am to 4.30pm and entry charge will be only £5 per person which includes participation in all the Christmas activities including a visit to Santa’s Grotto with a Christmas gift for all children. See the website for further details at www.nothefort.org.uk or call 01305 766626
See Santa by train at Poole Park
See Father Christmas at Poole Park this December – just jump aboard the train on this miniature rail line that chugs along a scenic track to Santa’s grotto. When you arrive at this magical destination, the children will be able to visit the great man in red and tell him all their Christmas wishes. For more details go to www.pooleparktrains.co.uk
Father Christmas arrives in Christchurch
Children will be able to visit Father Christmas in his snowy winter wonderland at the Toy Shop on Fairmile Road in Christchurch. He arrives on Saturday 27th November at 11am and will be in his log cabin each Saturday until Christmas from 11am until 3pm. It will cost £3.50 per child which includes a lovely present and treat. Booking is advisable at the Toyshop, 5 St Catherines Parade, Fairmile Road, Christchurch or on 01202 475337. The Toy Shop stocks Playmobil, Big Jigs wooden toys, Orchard, Airfix, puzzles, baby safe toys, magic snow, science kits and many stocking fillers. Pop in or take a look at www.kellyscastles.co.uk
Alpine cheer at Snowtrax
Why not enjoy the unique experience of one of the activities on offer at the South’s premier ski and snowboard centre? Whether you want to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, or if you’re already an accomplished skier then Snowtrax is the ideal venue with its mist lubricated dry ski slope. You could also try the ski-bobs or ringos for some whacky fun – these are simply great for children’s birthday parties. The newly refurbished bar and restaurant serves a terrific choice of mouth watering dishes in surroundings that really make you feel you’re at a ski resort. Snowtrax is situated amongst a glorious alpine backdrop in Matchams Lane, Hurn close to Bournemouth airport. For details call 01202 499155 or go to www.snowtrax.eu or email email@example.com
Festive fun at Kingston Maurward
Enjoy some festive family fun with seasonal sparkle at Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester on the 11th and 12th of December. Meet Santa and his elves in his gorgeous grotto, explore the college’s enchanted floodlit gardens and see live animals in a Nativity scene. Called ‘Christmas in the Gardens’ the weekend event also promises seasonal choir music, exciting children’s activities, and shopping opportunities for presents, trees and wreaths. There will also be forgework demonstrations, and refreshments with a festive flavour. Both days will run from 2pm to 6pm, with Santa in his grotto until 5pm. Admission costs £5 for adults, £4.50 seniors, children £3, or a family ticket £15.50. Season ticket holders get in free. There is an additional £2 entrance for Santa’s grotto. For more information call 01305 215003.
Celebrate Christmas at Farmer Palmers!
On Saturday 4th December at 11am a jolly Santa will arrive by tractor trailer with many of his friendly elves to help the animals celebrate Christmas. Santa’s bright red suit is brand new and his sack is brimming with brightly coloured presents. Santa will comfortably sit in the Animal Barn Cabin on every Saturday and Sunday in the run up to Christmas until 19th December, where he will be giving out the presents (an additional charge applies). He will be surrounded by friendly animals who will be eating hay and greeting the children.
On the 5th and 12th December, The Winton Salvation Army Youth Band will play a feast of traditional tunes from 2.45pm – this is guaranteed to get you in the festive mood. So celebrate Christmas with Farmer Palmers, who incidentally have won an Outstanding Customer Service Award – see the Pinboards page for more details. For details go to www.farmerpalmers.co.uk or call 01202 622022. You will find Farmer Palmer's Farm Park at Wareham Road, Organford, Poole.
Christmas Fun at Lulworth Castle
There will be lots of merriment in Lulworth Castle this Christmas time, as it comes alive with plenty of traditional themed activities to keep those little faces glowing with festive cheer from Sunday 19th to Friday 31st December 2010 (Closed 24th & 25th).
Enjoy Christmas fun and story time by the fireside, magic shows, Castle games, quizzes, ‘Hunt the Cracker’ and an activity table bursting with items to make and take home, and see how original mince pies were made in the Castle Kitchen. The Stable Café will be offering a warming festive menu and the Courtyard Shop will be open for you to browse. Admission includes access to 17C Castle, Animal Farm, 18C Chapel and the Adventure Playground. For more details call 0845 4501054 or go to www.lulworth.com. You can find Lulworth Castle at East Lulworth, Wareham
Have fun pottery painting this winter
Get everyone in the savings habit by painting your own moneybox at Poole Pottery’s Paint A Pot. There is a great range to choose from including pirates, racing cars motorbikes, fairy princesses, castles, frogs and ponies. They cost from just £10 each (although you can receive a £2 discount with the voucher in this edition of Primary Times). Everyone can have fun spending time at Poole Pottery painting and decorating items to their own unique style. Paint A Pot is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4.30pm, on Saturday from 9.30am until 5pm and on Sunday from 10.30am until 4pm. The Pottery is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day but open New Years Day. Find Paint A Pot at Poole Pottery at The Quay, Poole. For details ring 01202 668681
Help keep the art of making Dorset Buttons alive
The Dorset Buttons industry was part of our local heritage and supported many local families for over 200 years. On its demise in the mid 18th century, families emigrated to Canada and Australia taking their skills with them. Over the last year, 80 people have signed up with Henry’s Buttons, run by Anna McDowell, to support and encourage the resurrection of this local industry.
This new venture has reached the stage where demand for Dorset Buttons and goods featuring Dorset Buttons is greater than supply. Anyone with a passion for resurrecting traditional craft and needlework skills should make contact and join the group. A programme of Dorset Button workshops has been planned to help keep the art of buttony alive and to develop the necessary skills. On Saturday 11th December have fun making beaded Dorset Buttons for Christmas - this is a great opportunity to try to make these intricate buttons yourself. For full details contact Anna McDowell on 01747 829010, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the events page of www.henrysbuttons.co.uk.
Get the festive season all wrapped up at the BIC’s Christmas Gift Show
At the Christmas Gift Show you can expect a festive and fun packed two day family event with fantastic Christmas present ideas plus activities all under one roof! Open on Saturday 27th November between 10am-5pm and Sunday 28th November between 10am-4pm this fun, festive show will include live craft demonstrations, competitions, children’s party and activity zones with Mr Merlin and Oakey Dokey, Dragon and Circus Workshops: a disco and party games will also be taking place each day. Tickets cost just £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for seniors and accompanied children 16 and under. Look out for ticket offers on leaflets and in the local press.
For more information contact 01202 456400 or email email@example.com
Fantastic festive fun at Adventure Wonderland
This year there’s even more festive fun at Adventure Wonderland, the fantastic all-weather all-family theme park, opposite Bournemouth Airport. The massive indoor adventure play centre Wild Thing is transformed into a spectacular Winter Wonderland with all the fun and excitement of this most magical time of year. The whole place goes winter wild with masses of Christmas decorations, festive fare and everything that makes for a wonderful treat for all the family. Don’t miss the magical Nativity Animal Cuddles Corner and included in the entry price, the ever popular seasonal pantomime in the Happydrome Theatre. This year it’s Cinderella so you can all go to the ball!
This year you can book online to visit Father Christmas with his faithful reindeer Rudolph and helpful elves direct from the North Pole. They are all waiting in their log cabin in Santa’s Grotto with fantastic presents for the children. The Christmas Season at Adventure Wonderland starts on the 27th and 28th November, 4th and 5th December and then every day from 11th December through to 24th December.
For further details and Father Christmas bookings visit www.adventurewonderland.co.uk or phone 01202 483444.
A one stop toy shop for all your Christmas needs
The Toy Barn is the perfect place to escape the Christmas crowds as it is situated on a working farm on the edge of Sherborne. Inside the Toy Barn you will find a veritable Aladdin’s cave of toys, games and gifts, from a fabulous range of stocking fillers and pocket money toys to special items such as doll’s houses and football tables. Outside, the demonstration area of climbing frames and trampolines will give you some idea of what items will look like in situ and, of course, your children are welcome to try everything out! The Toy Barn is looking forward to welcoming its customers back this Christmas. If you haven’t been to the toy-based business before – it really is worth a visit! The Toy Barn is easy to find just east of Sherborne on the A30. It also offers free parking - helping to save those all important extra few pounds. You can find the Toy Barn at Blackmarsh Farm, Dodds Cross, near Sherborne, DT9 4JX. For details ring 01935 815040
Yuletide Festivities at the Priest’s House Museum
Children can sample a taste of Christmas past at the Priest’s House Museum as it hosts a couple of festive events this December. An aptly titled ‘Yuletide Festivities’ event will take place on Saturday 4th December from 10am to 4pm, where youngsters will be able to discover Christmas past with festive craft activities. Admission is just £1.50. The following week on Saturday 11th December there is The Great Pudding Stir from 10.30am to 4pm when the Victorian kitchen will be filled with the delightful aroma of yummy Christmas Pudding. Admission on this day is £1.50 for adults £1.50 and £1 for children. For more details you can contact the museum on 01202 882533 or visit www.priest-house.co.uk.
Meet Comet and his friends with Santa at Stewarts Garden Centres
Father Christmas has always been a very important person at Stewarts. His grotto is truly magical for young and old, and is complete with a snowy forest with animated animals, photographer elf and Santa’s real reindeer, who will be there to give both children and adults a really special start to the Christmas season. For the first time this year, you will be able to book your timed slot to see Father Christmas online. For details ring Gardenlands on 01425 272244 or the Country Garden Centre on 01202 882462
Pantomime season is back at the Bournemouth Pavilion this winter with Cinderella…
Returning to direct and star at this year’s pantomime once more is CBeebies favourite Chris Jarvis as Buttons, alongside Amanda Barrie (from Coronation Street and Bad Girls) as Fairy Godmother and Tom Owen (from Last of the Summer Wine) as Baron Hardup! Also starring are Tim Dixon (from CITV’s Fingertips) and David Perry. Prepare yourself for a show packed with hilarious comedy, magical music and spectacular dance, from the company who brought you the fantastic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! This glittering production promises to be the best pantomime yet - so book now at www.bic.co.uk and make your festive season one to remember!
UK’s biggest schools’ wildlife survey celebrates 10th birthday
Schoolchildren across the country will be taking part in the biggest survey of birdlife in UK schools this winter, as the RSPB marks 10 years of its Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
With up to 2,000 schools taking part each year, the survey has helped to track bird populations in schools for the last decade.
Running from the 24th January to 4th February, the activity encourages children and their teachers to discover and learn about the birds that share their school environment. The survey also provides a purpose for their observations and helps the RSPB build a picture of birds visiting school grounds and the population changes they are experiencing. Laura Osborne, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch project manager, said: “For the past 10 years, we’ve been asking young people to count the birds in their school grounds. As well as contributing to our understanding of the changes in bird numbers, Big Schools’ Birdwatch does a fantastic job of inspiring thousands of children about nature.”
75,000 school children and teachers from nearly 2,000 schools took part in the wildlife survey last year. More than 83,000 birds were counted and 85% of schools reported seeing blackbirds with an average of 4.3 being seen at each school making it the most common visitor to school grounds in 2010. For further information and to get hold of a free 10th Birthday Big Schools’ Birdwatch teachers’ pack, visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch or ring 0300 456 8340.