We round up some top ideas for family days out for the early and late May bank holidays
Guineas Festival 5-6 May
This year’s Guineas Festival at Newmarket Racecourse hosts five sporting legends who will keep guests entertained during two days of packed high-class racing.
On 5 May one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time, Lester Piggott, with 4,493 wins and 11 championship titles, will be joined by jump jockey Bob Champion, who overcame cancer to win the 1981 Grand National.
They will be joined on the day in the Winning Post Pavilion by Freddy Tylicki, champion apprentice in 2009.
The next day, 6 May, features former England cricket captain Graham Gooch and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek, who was a member of Britain’s hockey team in Rio de Janeiro two years ago.
The pavilion is opposite the grandstand on the winning line, offering guests excellent views. If you choose a day at the races in this fab location, you’ll be treated to a three- or two-course meal and a champagne or prosecco reception, plus afternoon tea and a complimentary or cash bar, depending on which day you choose.
Gooch said: “During my career I played at some spectacular grounds, such as Lord’s, the home of cricket; and Newmarket, as the home of horseracing, is part of this illustrious group of iconic sporting venues. Every visit is special.”
Champion added: “It’s right on the winning line, the atmosphere is incredible.”
The two-day meeting includes the season’s first two classic races, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas. Some of the very best thoroughbreds in the world will be going head to head and the race meeting marks the beginning of the QIPCO British Champions Series – 35 flat races that feature four of the top ten rated races in the world.
Package prices are £360 for 5 May and £240 for 6 May.
Family fun on four wheels of all sizes takes place at Wildtracks, with something to bring out the Lewis Hamilton in everyone.
Whether it’s karts to replicate the world of Formula 1 with a much smaller engine, quad bikes to give an energy rush as you speed through mud, or 4×4 vehicles for an off-road thrill, there’s plenty to choose from at the centre, which is just off the A11, near Red Lodge.
Trying out karts and quad bikes can be combined in one session, with children from eight and up catered for, as long as they are 1.3 metres tall.
Reach Fair 7 May
A feast for the eyes, ears and your belly awaits at a grand day out that mixes tradition with fun. Reach is host to one of the oldest fairs in the country; the Fair was granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1201 (8 January to be precise).
From 12pm to 5pm on 7 May there will be a big wheel and fairground rides suitable for all ages, the Devil’s Dyke Morris Men will dance through the afternoon and various inflatables will keep young ones bouncing in the top field. Village games – including football, a coconut shy and a crockery stall, where you can reserve an item (to save it) or smash it, are all part of the fun, plus dancing, a gymnastics display, a dog show and lots of live music.
Craft stalls feature jewellery, cards, paintings, photography, hats, scarves, ceramics, textiles and much more. The Reach village barbecue will serve up burgers and hot dogs, plus pastries from Brownbread, fish and chips from Handy Plaice, Hoggies with – you guessed it – a hog roast, Nanna Mexico’s delicious street food, as well as sweet stuff from Lazy Lisa’s doughnuts or waffles, Gourmet Brownies and The Sinful Bakery. You can wash all that down with one of Lord Conrad Brewery’s beers or Gentleman Jim’s draft ales or cocktails, which are served from a horsebox bar.
Hannam’s Wake Hub
Get out and active with the family at Hannam’s Wake Hub, which offers a range of fun, water-based activities on a unique purpose-built site north of Cambridge. Try kneeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, open water swimming, inflatable rides or wakeboarding, which involves you riding a surfboard–style board, speeding along the lake helped by a zip wire-like cable overhead.
The experiences are suitable for ages six years and up, and Hannam’s also hosts kids’ parties with wakeboarding, inflatables and barbecue options.
Discover what it was like to holiday like a lord of the manor when Anglesey Abbey hosts rare collections for the first time.
The first Lord Fairhaven, who lived at the estate, was very well-travelled and used the family’s steam yacht, RY Sapphire, to journey far with family and friends to places including America and the Far East, with stops in Europe to dine with ambassadors.
The conservation team at Anglesey have discovered a cine film he took at Cowes Regatta in the 1920s which has been digitised.
Kate Reeder, house manager, said: “The team discovered it in a trunk in a wardrobe. We’re also celebrating important moments in his life, such as attending royal coronations and his friendship with the royal family.
“Lord Fairhaven’s travels make for a fascinating glimpse into a world that influenced the work he undertook at Anglesey Abbey. In the library, visitors can see the books he created from postcards and guidebooks he collected.”
Duxford Air Festival 26-27 May
Look up! What’s that? Check out the thrilling, amazing and sometimes strange aircraft that take to the skies at Duxford Air Festival on 26 and 27 May. There’s so much to see, including AeroSuperBatics, a team of gymnastic wing walkers on biplanes, the TRIG aerobatic team, a Tiger 9 formation flypast, a Great War display and a B-17 Flying Fortress.
On the ground, there’s a family flight challenge that explains, in a hands-on way, all the jobs, from designers to mechanics, that make a plane fly. You can also join a challenge to make a record-breaking paper plane. On the Adventurers Stage aviators and pilots will talk about their experiences and the Inventors Lab features new plane technology, including jetpacks and satellites.
Tickets are from £29.50, children enter for free.
Enjoy some quintessentially Cambridge messing about in boats with Rutherford’s Punting. An ideal bank holiday activity, Rutherford’s offers picnic punting tours featuring an indulgent afternoon tea aboard a punt bedecked with blankets and cushions (plus lumbar supports, which grown-ups might well be grateful for).
The treats are provided by local institution Fitzbillies, and include scones with jam and cream, mini cakes and macarons, plus dainty finger sandwiches and sparkling elderflower cordial. The tour lasts 50 minutes and takes in some of Cambridge’s most iconic sights.