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Half Term at National Memorial Arboretum

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Fun activities for all ages at Arboretum this autumn
What better way to spend the half term break and escape the coronavirus gloom than take advantage of the great outdoors at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. From October 24 to November 1, young visitors to the Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, can discover Halloween's origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Thousands of years ago, this annual festival at the end of October was a spiritual time of reflection and Remembrance. A free activity trail targeted at KS2 pupils aged 7 - 10 will take visitors on a journey across the 150-acre garden and woodland site to uncover hidden symbols. They will learn about some of the ancient traditions that have become part of Halloween and can collect a treat for completing the trail.

National Memorial Arboretum
Enjoy autumn at the National Memorial Arboretum

For older families, a pair of outdoor escape challenges offer an engaging way of learning about the conflict in the Far East during the Second World War. Operation Locate, costing 12 per team to take part, has been designed to test the skills of even the most ardent escape room enthusiast during a two to three-hour puzzle adventure to locate a missing British Army Unit as they try to escape pursuing forces. Meanwhile, Operation Uncover, at 10 per team, is a two-hour family-friendly mission to help a Special Operations Executive agent uncover the identity of a spy. For younger children, an interactive learning experience invites 3-7 year olds to follow Stick Man* on his journey back to the family tree. This free activity trail has been designed to help children go on their own adventure as they learn the story of Stick Man while wandering through the Arboretum's autumnal landscape. A free map is available from the Welcome Desk.

National Memorial Arboretum
Take part in a World War 2 adventure game

In addition, the Arboretum is home to two outdoor play areas. The Sensory Play Garden uses sensory exploration and discovery to introduce younger visitors to the concept of Remembrance, in addition to providing traditional play. It features tunnels, climbing globe, bannister slides and a time circle. The second children's play area in the Children's Wood offers wooden play equipment with picnic benches located nearby. Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning at the Arboretum, said: "There is plenty for families to do at the Arboretum this half term and our activities are a fantastic way of encouraging young people to embrace the great outdoors. Whether you're visiting to see Stick Man, learn about the roots of Halloween or solve intricate Second World War themed puzzles, there is something for everyone to enjoy."

National Memorial Arboretum
Explore the 150 acres of the National Memorial Arboretum

Due to Covid-19, the Arboretum remains open to pre-booked visitors only for the foreseeable future. Visit for more information and to book a slot.

*Stick Man (C) 2008 & TM. Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffer. Licenced by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.
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Why? Spend the autumnal half term break in the Arboretum's 150 acres
When: 24 October to 1 November
Phone: 01283 245100
Where: National Memorial Arboretum, Croxall Road, Alrewas, Staffordshire DE13 7AR
Cost: 4 per car
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by Tony Collins on 22/10/2018
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