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Family activities for the bank holiday

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May has not just one bank holiday, but two, and these long weekends give families some lovely extra time together.

However, knowing what to do on a long weekend can be tricky. Many family activities and days out are completely weather dependent, so bad weather can often spell trouble. Have a read through my ideas for great ways to spend the bank holiday weekends with your family, whatever the weather may throw at you.

Good Weather

Farm visits

May is an especially lovely time to visit local farms as there are plenty of spring lambs still frolicking about and lots of other baby animals to visit, feed and pet.


Make the most of sunny weather and get the BBQ going early this year. Involve the kids too; they can make vegetable kebabs by skewering onions, peppers and mushrooms, and then marinate them in oil, herbs and spices (if you’re using wooden skewers soak them in water first). They could also prepare some burgers by seasoning and then shaping mincemeat into patties.

Garden activities

You don’t need to spend any money to enjoy activities in your own garden. Set up some water activities using a paddling pool, or even just some buckets and toys. Little ones love playing with water, and it can keep them entertained for a surprising amount of time. You could also involve the whole family in some gardening. Clear the beds of weeds before planting out flowers, or sowing vegetable seeds.

Days out

Make the most of the extra day by heading a little further from home than you might do on a normal weekend. Take a trip to the seaside for plenty of sand play and ice cream. If the seaside isn’t within reach, then head to the countryside for a long walk, or go to a visitor attraction that’s a bit further afield.

Local events and festivals

Search online for May bank holiday activity listings that are local to you. You can also look in your library or other venues for leaflets about special events that are taking place in your local parks or town centres etc.

May Day traditions

Some traditional activities may be falling by the wayside, but it’s still fun to give them a try. Washing your face in the early morning dew on May Day is said to make a person more beautiful. You could involve the children in making flower garlands to decorate your house and garden, or use ribbons to make a mini maypole, for dancing. If you live in a traditional village or town, people may be putting on some of these activities, and there may even be a Morris Dancer or two to be found, if you’re lucky.

Bad weather

If the weather is cold, wet and windy, things can become tricky for families over a long weekend. Kids get bored and restless, and can become troublesome if they don’t get rid of their excess energy. If you really have to, you could wrap yourselves up and get out there for a trot around the park before coming back for a warming hot chocolate, but this can be difficult if your children are very young.


We often revert to baking as it’s one our favourite activities. Let your kids get creative by making and decorating cakes, biscuits or breads. It’s fun, hands on and interactive, and there are treats to eat at the end of it. Make sure that you have the basics in and then it can be an option at any time.


When getting your shopping in for the weekend, buy items that can be used by your kids to make a meal. Pizza making is a great activity for the whole family; make your own pizza dough, and then let everyone put on their own toppings.


Get out the glue, paint and decorations and raid the recycling bin. Your children can create all sorts of things from a few boxes (such as houses, robots, cars etc.). Let their imagination run wild.


If you want to get out of the house, local museums can be very entertaining for children and some of them offer free entry, too.

Tried and tested

You can always do something that you know will be a big hit with your kids. The classics, such as swimming or bowling are always fun, and will go some way to tiring out your children so that you can come home and relax afterwards.

Jo Murricane is a copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog,


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