Doe Park Water Activities Centre

As the school summer holiday kicks off, Bradford Council is urging families to explore the array of exciting free and low-cost activities available across the district, ensuring children remain active and entertained during the six-week break.

With events planned in parks, libraries, museums, galleries, and various other venues, families can look forward to making cherished memories while having fun together.

The Summer Reading Challenge 2023 is set to be a highlight, with over 100 free children’s events and activities scheduled in the district’s libraries. Themed “Sports – Ready, Set, Read!”, the challenge aims to foster a love for reading during the summer holidays. From delightful teddy bear picnics for the little ones to captivating ZooLab workshops featuring live animals like stick insects, a tarantula, giant African land snails, and tree frogs, there’s something for everyone. To secure a spot in the 15 ZooLab events, which are entirely free, families should make direct bookings with the relevant library. Check out the brochure of library events here.

Museums and galleries within the district are also offering a plethora of free, fun events and activities. On Tuesday, July 25, Cliffe Castle will host Festival of Archaeology events, while Bolling Hall will do the same on Wednesday, July 26. Not to be missed, Bradford Industrial Museum will hold a Yorkshire Day event on Tuesday, August 1. Lister Park and Cartwright Hall will mark National Play Day on Wednesday, August 2, and a Fairy Festival will grace Cliffe Castle on Wednesday, August 16. For further details about events in Bradford Council-run museums and galleries, visit here.

The district’s parks and greenspaces are set to host an array of fun days filled with inflatables, sports, and play equipment. The HAF Summer of Fun and Play in Parks schemes combined will present more than 80 park events throughout the summer – all free. Additionally, the HAF Summer of Fun events will provide a complimentary packed lunch for children receiving benefits-related free school meals. Discover the venues for the HAF Summer of Fun events here and explore the details of the Play in Parks events here.

Thrilling festivals are also lined up across the district. This Saturday, July 22, Shipley by the Sea and HWD Fest:23 in Holme Wood will offer a wealth of entertainment. Shipley by the Sea in the town centre will showcase free shows, walkabout entertainment, workshops, games, and more. HWD Fest:23 in Knowles Park promises live performances, music, dance, art, sport, and loads of fun. Tickets for this event are free. Mark your calendars for the BD:Festival on July 28 and 29, which will bring family fun to Bradford city centre with street theatre, immersive cultural installations, hip-hop hippo routines, and edible exhibitions. A special highlight will be the world premiere of Balbir Singh’s Cricket Green – a theatrical game featuring live music and dance exploring cricket and climate change. The two-day event is completely free.

Looking ahead to Wednesday, August 30, the BD4 Community Trust’s summer community celebration at St. John’s Bowling Hub will feature face painting, football coaching, balloon modelling, games, and forest school activities.

For water enthusiasts, the Doe Park Water Activities Centre at Doe Park Reservoir in Denholme is offering various activities for children aged five and over. Sessions start from £6, and further details are available here.

Nell Bank is hosting four Discovery Days on Thursday, August 3, Friday, August 4, Thursday, August 10, and Friday, August 11. Families can explore the grounds, including a new safari trail, adventure playground, and water play. The cost is £5 per person, while children under two can participate for free.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We know that it can be tough for families to keep their children entertained during the long summer break from school. The current cost of living crisis makes it particularly important that there are free and low-cost activities for families to enjoy. All children deserve a fun and active summer holiday after working hard at school all year and so I am delighted that we are able to offer so many free events to delight and entertain children and young people all over our district whatever their age or ability.

“I encourage all parents and carers to visit the FYI website, to help plan varied, interesting and fun activities for the family this summer.”