Bah Humbug! A beginners guide.

This week, in the midst of a flurry of last minute frantic Christmas preparations, an oddity has appeared in Peterborough.

Bah Humbug! Fest is a welcome break from all things festive. With not a Christmas tree or even a mince pie in sight, families are invited to spend some time having (non festive) fun together. We were lucky enough to be invited to attend the opening and so I thought it might be helpful to offer a beginners guide to all thing Bah Humbug!

Here’s what you need to know

What is Bah Humbug! Fest?

Bah Humbug! Fest is comprised of over 40 fairground rides and attractions. Once your admission is paid the theory is that you can enjoy your 4 hour allotted slot – either 12 until 4pm or 5 until 9pm depending on your preference with very little if any additional expenditure. No festive decorations or songs will be around to irritate your senses here – if you recoil at the thought of hearing THAT Slade song one more time then this is the place for you!

But what is there to do?

I was a bit dubious about the poster. “Over 40 rides and attractions” was the claim and I wondered what the quality of those rides might be considering that they are all free and unlimited upon entry. So. Here is a list of just some of them:

For the younger guests
  • Thomas The Tank Engine ride
  • Runaway Train
  • The Fun House
  • Frozen Swing
  • Helter Skelter
  • Mini Miami
  • Flying Planes
  • Teacups
  • Wild West Coaster
  • Go-Gator
  • Mini Wheel

For the older ones
  • Dodgems
  • Freak Out
  • Superbowl
  • Waltzer
  • Miami
  • Extreme
  • Ghost Train
  • Crazy Bulls
  • Haunted House
  • Twist

A well as the fairground rides, Bah Humbug! Fest also offers a whole host of inflatables including some Wipeout style big balls! Moose spent ages playing on the inflatable slides and also the Toxic Labyrinth – think mini inflatable assault course. I don’t THINK it was actually toxic…

 

What age group would this suit?

I think 4 to 14 would be a safe bet here. There is plenty to keep this age range occupied at Bah Humbug! Fest. The younger ones spent ages playing on the inflatables. Especially the inflatable slides! It was great that the smaller rides were indoors too which offered a bit of protection against the colder weather for the younger children. Outside, the larger rides appealed to the older ones – so much so that Bess doesn’t appear in many of my pics. She disappeared to try out those bigger rides while I enjoyed the smaller ones with Moose.

What can I eat?

I always feel a bit apprehensive about the costs of refreshments at this kind of an event. This Mum needs her coffee – especially when I am in charge of some very excited small people. A cup of tea or coffee here will set you back £2. There is also a covered seating area if you get the chance to use it.

There were a few food vendors selling burgers and jacket potatoes which were priced at around £5 each. Pretty much what you would expect to pay I think. Donuts were 4 for £3.

There is no signage to suggest that picnics are unwelcome but it was really only toward the end of our session that the children seemed to feel like they might want to eat something. They were having too much fun to care!

How much will it cost me?

Individual tickets priced £20 per person

Family of 4 – reduced ticket price £70

Spectator only tickets priced £6

Under 3s go free

Tickets give unlimited access to a four-hour session at Bah Humbug! Fest

There are two sessions a day: 12-4pm and 5-9pm

 

What’s the parking situation?

It’s free and there is lots of it! Peterborough arena has 22,000 spaces. There is also a half hourly bus service nearby for non-drivers.

Is it really worth it?

£20 per ticket could be thought of as quite steep. Especially so close to Christmas. However, rides at a fairground can be anywhere between £2 and £5 per ride. That soon adds up!

Based on a cheap night at the travelling fair where rides are £2 a go, you would need to ride 10 times to get your moneys worth. My lot went on 10 rides in the first hour easily.

If your child isn’t really into fairgrounds then I would say it would be one to avoid. Maybe the panto instead? But if  like mine, your kids love rides then Bah Humbug! Fest will be a massive hit!

 


Ada Lovelace Day – STEM Festival Peterborough

Today is Ada Lovelace day!

You have probably heard of Ada Lovelace but you might not be entirely clear on why she is famous or who she really was. Here are some facts you might not know about her but you definitely should!

ada lovelace

Her father was Lord Byron

Yes, that Byron. Ada’s Mum and Dad separated in 1815 when Ada was 3 months old. The mad, bad and dangerous to know poet sadly (or not so sadly, depending on your point of view) died when Ada was 8.

It was said to be that, because Ada’s Mother wanted to avoid her daughter inheriting Byron’s reckless artistic temperament, she pushed her daughter into the study of mathematics. 

She wasn’t really accepted.

Ada had to publish her work under her initials, as women were not seen to be intellectual.

Although Ada’s mother had succeeded in providing her daughter with the best education and had passed onto her a real thirst for knowledge. She hadn’t done quite so well when it came to teaching her how to be a lady in victorian England.

In an 1835 edition of the New York Mirror (Ada would have been 20) was written: “It is said that Ada Byron, sole daughter of the ‘noble bard’, is the most coarse and vulgar woman in England!” Even Babbage, her good friend, was said to have described her as having “a good deal of the Byron devil”! 

She’s buried next to the Father she never knew

She died from cancer in 1852 – at just 36 years old. At her own request, she was buried next to her well known father in a Nottinghamshire churchyard.

It took a while for the world to catch up

Lovelace’s ideas about computing were so far ahead of their time that it took nearly a century for technology to catch up. While Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s analytical engine gained little attention at the time (they were originally published in 1843), they found a much wider audience when republished in B.V. Bowden’s 1953 book “Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines”. As the field of computer science dawned in the 1950s, Lovelace gained a new following in the digital age.

There’s a computing language named after her

The US department of defence computer language is named Ada. Each October, Ada Lovelace Day recognizes women in maths, science and engineering, who the British Computer Society then award the ‘Ada Lovelace medal’ to.

You can read more about Ada Lovelace by following the links below:

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ada-lovelace 

https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323

GET INVOLVED

An official event for Ada Lovelace day, Peterborough STEM festival returns in 2018 for it’s 3rd year. It will be held at the Kingsgate Conference Centre, Peterborough on October 13th, from 9.30am until 4pm.

Promising fun activities to celebrate and experience the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This event is FREE to enter and suitable for the whole family. You just need to book your FREE tickets here:

https://www.peterboroughstemfestival.co.uk/

Adventureland at Springfields Outlet Shopping & Leisure Spalding

Every Friday Moose has a day off from preschool. I work from home so I try to pack as much work into the first 4 days of the week. This leaves Friday as our day. We only have 1 Friday left before the schools are out for the summer. After that we have everyone at home and then my baby boy is <gulp> off to primary school.

mummy and moose

I am determined to fill our Fridays with fun.

Last week we were invited to the new Adventureland located at Springfields Outlet Shopping & Leisure in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

This £1 million adventure playground is an exciting addition to what is on offer for families in the East Midlands area.

How much is it?

Entry to Adventureland is priced at £7.95 for an All inclusive wristband during peak season or £29.95 for up to 4 people. This covers children under 12 for

  • Adventure Land
  • Springy’s Beach
  • Tree Top Village

Plus, one session to each of the following attractions: (token/wristband provided upon entry)

  • JCB Young Drivers Zone. One hour in the zone includes Foreman’s briefing and pedal power driving trucks, building bricks and mechanical diggers. Timeslot booked on purchase. Recommended for children under 10 years old
  • Goldie’s Gold Mine – 1 x 15 minute session per child to pan for gold and find the treasure
  • Springy’s Railroad – One trip through the Tree Top village and woodland
  • Dino Golf  –  One round of the 9 hole, dinosaur themed adventure golf course

If you don’t fancy trying out the latter, you also have the option of purchasing a standard wristband.

Standard tickets include entry to:

  • Adventure Land
  • Springy’s Beach
  • The Tree Top Village

You are able to purchase individual tokens for the other activities which are priced as follows

  • JCB Young Drivers Zone £6 per child – Sessions last an hour  and includes a safety briefing, your own pedal powered JCB truck, huge JCB house and scaffolding play tower, brick laying area, mechanical diggers and bouldering wall plus more!  Time slot booked on purchase. Recommended for children under 10 years old.
  • Gold Panning £2 per person   One 15-minute session to pan for gold and find the treasure. Includes treasure memento
  •  Springy’s Railroad £2 per person – One trip through the Tree Top Village and woodland
  • Dino Golf £3 per person – One round of the 9 hole dinosaur themed adventure golf course
  • Remote Controlled Boats £1 Token – Available from any Kiosk. This is located by the Dino Golf

What did we think?

Moose absolutely loved Adventureland. He had been feeling a little under the weather the day before so I was anxious that maybe he would find it all a bit much but I needn’t have worried.

The beach area is under a large shade so there is no danger of little ones getting sunburnt while they play and splash in the little stream running through the beach area.

We thought the JCB young drivers zone was a great idea! The platforms inside the scaffolding tower which the children have to climb in order to go down the big slide were unfortunately too high for Moose. He is a tall 3 year old (he’s around 110cm) so I think that is really for slightly older kids. Shame as he loves a slide!

It was great for the children to be able to select safety gear to wear as they scooted around on the little JCB’s and the petrol station and play shop were really well done. Grandma was pleased that there was seating provided for the grown ups.

Panning for Gold

The Gold Panning activity was one which we really enjoyed. Moose surprised me and spent a really long time sifting through to look for coloured stones and pieces of (fools) gold. I really like that the children get to keep what they find. That’s a really nice touch.

After we had collected our treasure we headed to have a ride on Springy’s railroad. It was a nice little trip around the woodland area and as you can see, Moose enjoyed himself immensely!

Something I thought might be a little old for Moose was the

Dino Golf.

We thought we would have a go but I really underestimated how much he would love this! We liked spotting the Dinosaurs hiding around the 9 hole course and Moose managed to name quite a few!

Then we decided to head to the tree top village. Moose was a little unsure at first but he soon got the hang of climbing  across the bridges and even ventured onto the tree walk, a massive 12m2 suspended net. This activity needed adult supervision for anyone aged 3-6 so I had a go too. I was a little worried that my weight might be an issue here but it was absolutely fine – and good fun!

What about food?

Springfields has a good choice of places to eat. We decided to stay in Adventureland and grab a quick bite at Springy’s diner. The outdoor seating area is right next to Springys beach so it’s handy for watching the kids play. It also has bottomless coffee which from a parental point of view is a massive bonus!

 

Grandma and I decided to try the small bites trio deal. You can select 3 dishes for £12. We chose the chicken strips, ranch salad and potato skins. Moose settled on the children’s cheeseburger and fries which was priced at £5.95.

The food was nice but I do think that the kids meal was slightly too pricey and maybe should include a drink at least? I think on our next trip we would probably go and try The Kitchen which looked to be really good for families. It’s great that Springfields has a choice of places for families to eat.

Would we go back?

Absolutely yes. I am planning on visiting during the summer holidays. I really like the choice of activities on offer and a really nice aspect of Adventureland is it’s setting. Springfields outlet village offers a nice shopping experience which my older daughter will want to explore with her friends. And if shopping is not your thing, the festival gardens are a lovely place for a peaceful walk.

We are also hoping to have a ride on the Spalding water taxi so we can explore the town centre too! All in all I think Adventureland offers a really valuable resource for parents and we can’t wait to visit again!

 

Disclaimer:We received wristband entry to Adventureland and a gift card to try Springys diner but all opinions are honest and my own.

900 years of Peterborough – Queensgate Medeshamstede Medieval Village

As a self confessed history geek I am really enjoying the celebrations surrounding the 900th anniversary of Peterborough.

It wasn’t always called Peterborough though.

Prepare to be taken back in time, back to Medeshamstede, when Peterborough was born, as Queensgate Shopping Centre puts on a week-long celebration and festivities to mark the 900th anniversary of the city.

From Monday 30 July until Sunday 5 August, shoppers are invited to step into a medieval village, complete with a castle and towering turrets, in Central Square. Walk across the drawbridge, through the giant gates and into the courtyard where real knights, villagers and churchmen go about their daily lives.

 

The grand hall houses a giant banquet table, creating the perfect setting for activities to take part in, such as bread making, crown and shield making workshops, Merlin’s spell school, dressing up, stories of bravery and valour and much more.

 

Watch knights of the round table battle with incredible sword skills, listen to traditional harps and folk music, and for those that have been naughty, it’s off to the village stocks!

peterborough 900th anniversary

“Embracing Peterborough’s heritage during this special year is important to Queensgate,” said Marketing Manager, Laura Chandler. “The Medeshamstede village is a fully immersive interactive experience replicating life in Peterborough 900 years ago. From a working water mill to the peasant’s house, this is going to be a great way to show where Peterborough came from.”

 

There’s also the chance to find the king or queen of Peterborough as shoppers are invited to pull the sword from the stone.

The Medeshamstede village, the name of Peterborough in the Anglo-Saxon period, is completely free and a full schedule of events and timings can be found at www.queensgate-shopping.co.uk/whats-on.

I think this will be a really interesting and fun thing to do with the children and best of all it’s free!

 

 

Sleeping Beauty Pantomime at Key Theatre Peterborough

We had never taken the children to a pantomime before so when we were kindly invited to watch Sleeping Beauty at the Key Theatre we were happy to accept! 

I have been to see other productions at the Key. However, as much as I love the theatre I don’t get the opportunity to go as much I would like to. I am definitely intending on changing this in 2018! Call it a resolution if you like. 

p

We awoke on the morning of the pantomime to find that overnight the snow had settled covering our street in a blanket of white. As beautiful as the snow looks it’s not really practical when you have things to do.

I did wonder whether the pantomime would go ahead at all but one look at twitter and it became clear that it would take more than a bit of dodgy weather to stop this show. 

key theatre

The show must go on

We got to theatre a little later than planned thanks to a bit of trouble with the parking machine. Parking at the theatre is chargeable. 

Collecting our tickets from the box office was simple and the queue was thankfully a fast moving one. We hurried to our seats and waited excitedly for the show to begin! The Key Theatre do have booster seats available but thanks to its gradient seating and the small person in front of him, Moose didn’t need boosting.

key theatre

As any parent of large age gap children knows, it is sometimes difficult to find an activity which entertains both children at a similar level. The pantomime can definitely be added to that (short) list. 

From the moment that Fairy PD walked out onto the stage both Bess and Moose were hooked. I had been a bit apprehensive that 135 minutes would be a bit much for Moose to sit through but he was utterly transfixed by it all. 

theatre

Carabosse (the bad fairy) was a surprise hit with both of the children. When asked who his favourite was, Moose said the bad fairy because he liked shouting BOOOOO. Bess loved her Taylor Swift parody. She really was a fabulous character and probably my favourite too!

135 minutes could have been a bit long

As I said previously, I had my doubts. To be honest I wasn’t sure MrG would like it. He is quite grumpy about these things and has said in the past that he doesn’t really “get” the appeal. Even he was laughing at the carefully constructed adult jokes which flew straight over the children’s heads and although he did say he felt like there was a lot of music (no less than 15 songs) I caught him humming along… 

In the interval Grandma Chicken (not a panto character, just a nickname for my Mum created by Bess which stuck) bought some goodies. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices for snacks were really very reasonable. The children had a pack which cost £3.50 and contained; popcorn, fruit shoot, packet of buttons and a pot of ice cream. I had some popcorn £2 and a bottle of coke £2. Moose ate his in the correct way by tipping the chocolate buttons into the popcorn. He gave me his ice cream as (and I quote) “it was too cold”. Kids are odd. 

There were also flashing wands and swords available. I decided not to buy one as Moose hadn’t spotted them and I was pretty sure him having one would result in some kind of injury (to someone else) but they too were not badly priced at less than £5 each. 

 

If you haven’t booked tickets then I think you should

It’s a very traditional family friendly panto with the usual audience participation and funny lines to shout.  The Panto follows the story of Aurora who is cursed at her naming ceremony by Carabosse (the spurned former fiance of the King) and is sent to live with the 3 good fairies as their niece until her 18th birthday to escape Carabosse’s curse. There to help along the way was Jingle the Jester. 

The cast were all fabulous! Jingle the Jester and Queen Iona Trumpet especially were very funny. I was really impressed by the set and costumes too! It all felt really polished – Bess wasn’t sure whether Carabosse getting the giggles was part of the show but it was amusing nonetheless.

We found the show to be fun, engaging for all ages and really a great way to introduce the children to the theatre. I will feel a lot more confident taking Moose to future productions. 

Will we return? Oh yes we will!

queen igotta trumpet

Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch the pantomime in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.