Dragon catching, den building and mini-beast safaris are just some of the activities planned for children over half term at the National Trust’s Hardwick Hal.
And to kick start the school holidays Hogwarts-style classes have been organised in the grounds of the Hall, known to Harry Potter film fans as ‘Malfoy Manor.’
The special week will begin with an Animal Magic day on Sunday 29th May when dragon expert, Agent Green, aka Chloe of the Midnight Storytellers, makes a flying visit for a day of family storytelling and classes for budding witches and wizards.
Her 30-minute show ‘Breathing Fire, Flying High’ gives an insight into the myths and legends around dragons. Families also get the opportunity to take part in a master class in the art of ‘How to catch and keep dragons.’ For fans of Harry Potter who yearn to be a student at Hogwarts, this is the chance to hear all the secrets of dealing with dragons along with advice on what to wear for high altitude dragon flight.
During this exciting magical event, visitors will also be able to meet over twenty real owls, where there will be an opportunity to stroke an Eagle owl and find out more about their habitat. David Goldstraw, from Majestic Owls rescues injured owls and takes in unwanted birds of prey, which initially started as a hobby and now he enjoys sharing his knowledge of these wonderful creatures for educational purposes.
The show and classes, which take place between 11am and 4pm, are designed for families and are suitable for children aged over five. Normal admission charges apply.
Other activities planned at Hardwick over the week include a Wildchild Funday at the Park Centre on Wednesday 1st June. Youngsters will be able to have a go at activities ranging from den building to mini-beast safari walks.
Outdoor activities on the day also include den building, mud pie making, natural collages and painting and the chance to have a go at making wildlife masks, bird feeders, bug homes, dream catchers and kites. There will also be Wild Child trails and games organised. The event, which runs between 11am and 4pm, costs £5.
Jo Rawson, Community Learning Officer said: “The Wildchild Funday is designed to inspire and encourage young people and their families to get closer to nature and find out just what’s on their doorstep. There’s lots of nature and outdoor themed activities for everyone to get involved in and have a whole lot of fun together.”
A family based Building Day on Friday 3rd June gives children and adults the chance to have hands on experience of what it might have been like to have built and maintain the Elizabethan mansion.
The National Trust’s Regional Building team and Hardwick’s very own Stone Mason team, who featured in the recent BBC’s Mastercraft series, will be showing children and adults brick laying and stone carving. There’s the chance to have a go at stone carving, archaeology and clay model making as well as learn all about other conservation trade skills in action.
The Building Day takes place between 11am and 4pm in the Hardwick Stableyard, which is currently undergoing a major building project. The buildings, which date from the 17th century, are being transformed into all year round visitor facilities, including a new car park, visitor reception, shop and restaurant.
To find out more about the activities, contact Hardwick Hall on 01246 850430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Normal admission charges will apply to the Car Park, Hall and Gardens.