Family-friendly Activities for Half Term in Leeds.
It may feel like they’ve only just gone back to school, but autumn half term is upon us! What to do now the dinosaurs are gone? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Welcome to Leeds has put together a selection of family-friendly activities across the city that will keep the little ones entertained and (hopefully) give the grown ups a few minutes of peace. All activities are free, but some require advance booking.
Bloody Barbers and Splattered Surgeons at Thackray |24 - 30 October | Various times
Thackray Museum of Medicine, Beckett Street, LS9 7LN
This October half term Thackray Museum of Medicine will chronicle the history of the barber-surgeon using objects from their collection through a bumper series of talks and tours.
Barbers today are primarily engaged in caring for their patrons’ hair and nails. Until the nineteenth century, however, they offered many other services. Barber shops are the common ancestor of many different occupations today including surgeons, dentists, tattooists, embalmers, doctors, hairdressers, wigmakers and more. Join one of the daily talks to find out about the bloody history of the barber-surgeon; from tearing teeth and bloodletting to bullet extraction and bone setting.
They have a series of talks and tours throughout the week including From Shaver to Life Saver – Ambroise Paré, considered the father of modern surgery, was one such barber-surgeon. Originally a wound-dresser at the Paris Hotel Dieu, Paré rose to be the surgeon to King Henry II of France. From one Henry to another, hear the extraordinary story of court barber-surgeon John Bradmore and his invention that saved the life of King Henry V of England.
Surgical Suturing For Families at Thackray | 25 - 27 Oct | 11-11:45am and 2 – 2:45pm
Thackray Museum of Medicine, Beckett Street, LS9 7LN
Ever wanted to try your hand at surgery? Thackray’s popular series of hands-on experiences for families is back.
Step into the shoes of a scalpel-wielding surgeon to dissect a kidney and, with guidance from our medical specialist, learn how to stitch it back together – just be careful not to tie yourself in (surgical) knots!
Limited spaces, please book in advance – a museum ticket is required to access this event, and an additional event ticket can be added during the checkout process. Please note that this workshop uses animal products.Surgical Scavenger Hunt – If you can solve the rhyme an object you will find… Take on our scavenger trail to see how many surgical objects you can discover. Free to drop in, recommended for those age 7+.
Makers Lab Sessions at The Tetley |Saturdays |11am–3pm
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, LS10 1JQ
Join The Tetley team and special guest artists to get creative and make a mess. Perfect for children aged 5–11, but open to all. Experiment with paint, clay, food and other exciting new materials and techniques for making art. Go dressed to get messy and for outside play as sessions may be on the Terrace.
Makers Lab is free for Family Pass holders. Family Pass also gives you access to special offers in The Tetley Bar & Kitchen and access to Tiny Tetley Studio: The Tetley’s dedicated under 5s space created by artist Stephanie Jefferies. You can sign up for a FREE Family Pass here
Code Breaker Trail at Leeds City Museum|22 - 30 Oct
Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, LS2 8BH
Do you have what it takes to crack codes and use your logic to solve clues?This October half term take part in Leeds City Museum’s family-friendly code breaking trail!
Test your group’s code breaking skills and explore the museum during the holidays including their latest exhibition, Living with Machines: human stories from the industrial age. What can Dickens, Lowry and Leeds factory workers teach us about the rich and powerful, work-life balance and holidays on a budget? You might be surprised.
Code Breaker Crafts – on Wed 26 & Thurs 27 there will be free craft sessions in the main hall of the museum. Drop in between 10am – 12pm or 1 – 3pm to take part.
Haunted Halloween Hunt at Kirkstall Abbey | 22 - 30 Oct
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Rd, Kirkstall, LS5 3EH
Head to Kirkstall Abbey this October half term for a Haunted Halloween Hunt in a spectacularly spooky setting!
– the family trail around the mediaeval ruins and along the way you will find plenty of creepy creatures, spooky statues and peculiar props. Not too spooky, so suitable for all the family! No need to book.
Kirkstall Abbey Markets will also be taking place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October so it may be busier over the weekend. Come along to enjoy food & drink from local producers and street food stalls, plus have a wander of the stalls to pick up something from a local maker.
Rebels & Revolutionaries at Royal Armouries Museum| 22 - 30 Oct | 10am - 5pm
Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds Dock
Get up close with famous rebels from history at The Royal Armouries. Join the revolution and discover this area of homemade history with daily shows and workshops. There will be live combat and a chance to examine some special objects from their handling collection.
From Guy Fawkes to the French resistance, rebels throughout history have had to beg, borrow, and steal weapons. And sometimes do without weapons altogether. When it comes to revolution and rebellion, improvisation was key, and now you can get involved.
Show: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – join Guy Fawkes as he investigates the best explosives for his dastardly plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Science workshop: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – there’ll be plenty of explosive experiments and amazing action in this interactive science workshop with the mastermind behind the Gunpowder Plot.
Make and take badges: Votes for Women! – make your own ‘Votes for Women’ badge in support of the Suffragettes.
For full programme details and start times see the Royal Armouries website.
Coalitions and Joy in Artspace at Leeds Art Gallery | 25 - 27 Oct | 11am - 4pm
Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, LS1 3AA
Pop along for creative family activities in Artspace over October Half Term, led by artist Sarah Jane Mason. Inspired by the Shifting Perspectives exhibition, celebrating the similarities and differences within people. There’s no need to book ahead, just drop-in and all activities are absolutely free!