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Don’t panic! It’s your last minute guide to summer courses for kids

Holy crap! The summer holidays are almost upon us. And yet again I’ve totally left it to the last minute to book the mudlets into a summer course. But fear not, because I’ve done a last-minute trawl of cool courses, camps and other childcare-masquarading-as-fun options to help ease your way through the summer. It’s a bit of a scratch list so if you have any suggestions of things you’ve booked kids into or know of, please do add in the comment box below. Knowledge is power people, let’s flex our muscles.

Stagecoach Performing  Arts



Lights, If you’re little darling wants to be the next Taylor Swift, then this holiday club may be just the thing to bring out their star quality. The drama and music theatre clubs and workshops are open to kids aged from six to 18. No previous dancing, singing or acting experience is necessary, and your child needn’t  have attended one of the term-time Stagecoach schools. At the end of the week they’ll showcase their new-found singing, acting and dancing skills to family and friends.

Where: Guildford, Dorking, Woking, Leatherhead, Weybridge, Reigate, Redhill, Chertsey, Walton-on-Thames, Godalming, Hinchley Wood, Epsom, Staines, Cheam, Camberley, Farnham, Coulsdon, Sutton. (For exact locations, click the link below.)
When: various dates throughout July and August 

How much: £100 to £170 per week 
To book: Tel: 0800 915 0199.


Wild Learning Holiday Club


Move over Bear Grylls – this is good old-fashioned outdoor fun in the woods, building dens, making campfires, tracking and stalking, climbing trees and stream dipping. No two days are the same.They’ll be grubby and knackered after all that fresh air, but they’ll have spent an entire day without a screen in sight, and that’s a good thing, right! It’s aimed at 5-12 year olds. Drop-off is 10am and pick up is 4pm. Booking is essential, and places get booked up quickly, so be quick.

Claremont Landscape Garden
, Portsmouth Rd, Esher, KT10 9JG.
Winkworth Arboretum, Hascombe Rd, Godalming, GU8 4AD.
Alice Holt Forest,
Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, GU10 4LS.
Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking, RH5 6BD.
The Chantries, Guildford, Pilrims way carpark, off Pilgrims Way, GU4 8AD.
Reigate, Earlswood Common, Earlswood Common car park A2044, Reigate, RH2 7QH.
When: various dates throughout July and August
How much: £38 for the day, with a multi-buy discount of buy five, get one free.
To book: Tel: 01483 424 400.


The Hive: Amazing Outdoor Missions


This is no ordinary holiday camp. Think computer games in the open air, with a mix of digital technology, game-led learning and storytelling. Children take on roles and solve problems to complete a mission using all sorts of skills from fire-lighting and geocaching to filmmaking. This summer, the themes are ‘Operation Night Wing’ and ‘The Legend of the Secret Jewels’ for kids aged 5 to 9 years; and ‘Potion Masters’ and ‘Urban Survival’, for kids aged 7 to 10 years. The clubs are from 9.30am-4.30pm, with the possibility to extend times if needed.

Where: St George’s College, Weybridge Road, Addlestone, KT15 2QS
When: 8-12 Aug and 15-19 Aug.
How much: from £50 a day, the price decreases the more days you book.
To book: Tel: 01034 356 848.


SCL Education Through Sport


SCL run holiday courses throughout the summer. There is Club Energy, a multi-activity course including fun games, team sports, arts and crafts, drama and dance and outdoor pursuits, and a dedicated soccer school. For children aged four to 12.

Where: Banstead, Camberley, Cranleigh, Epsom, Farnham, Frimley, Godalming, Guildford, Haslemere, Leatherhead, Reigate and Woking.
When: throughout summer
How much: from £22 a day and £93 per week
To book: Tel: 0345 644 5747.


Summer Activity Camp, at Painshill


Painshill host these activity camps most school holidays. Over the summer there are three week-long camps, you can book them in for one day or five, and they’ll be doing something different each day, from building dens, crafty workshops, paining on canvas, and tracking badgers and birds. Children must be aged 8-13 years. Days start at 9am and finish at 4.30pm.

Where: Painshill, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Tel: 01932 868113.
When: 25-29 July; 1-5 August; 8-12 August
How much: £40 per day, £170 for five days
To book:


Koosa Kids Holiday Clubs 

Portrait of happy children embracing each other and laughing with pretty girl in front

This is childcare you needn’t feel guilty about. With a programme of more than 35o activities, there’s going to be something they enjoy – from go-karts and golf, to clay moulding, painting and drama. Children are spilt into three age groups from Krazy Ks (4 to 5yrs), Kool Ks (6 to 8 yrs) and King Ks (9 to 13yrs). The activity day runs from 8.15am to 6.00pm, with the option to book a shorter day from 10am to 4pm.

Where: Egham, Godalming, Guildford, Twickenham, East Sheen, Teddington, Richmond
When: various dates from July to September
How much: £19.75 a day and £90.85 a week
To book: Tel: Call 0845 094 2322/01276 21884 or book online here


Maltings Marvellous Summer School, at Farnham Maltings


There’s plenty going on at the Marvellous Maltings Summer School, with different workshops each day for kids aged from 7-13. To book you’ll need to purchase a ticket for the number of days you want using the online form.

Mon 8 Aug – Willow weaving and cake decorating: A day of craft and cakes, firstly making a willow sculpture with Judith Needham, then tasty summer treat.
Tue 9 Aug – Play in a day: A packed day of drama where the kids will devise, script and stage their own play, all in one day.
Wed 10 Aug – Dance and film: They’ll join the Dance Movement for a fun and funky creative dance workshop, and then chill out with some popcorn in the Maltings’ studio cinema.
Thu 11 Aug – Puppetry and special effects makeup: This is where it starts to get messy. The spend the morning with the multi-talented Rose Perry and bring materials to life through puppetry, then dabble in the special effect make up to create fake bruises, burns and bullet wounds!
Fri 12 Aug – Singing and painting: The week ends with a song-tastic sing-a-along and a swish of the old paintbrush.

Where: Farnham Maltings,
When: 8-12 August
How much: from £30 for one day to £130 for five
To book:


Summer Family Fun Festival at The Lightbox, Woking


Various arts-related workshops for kids at The Lightbox in Woking – from drop-in workshops to those you need to plan ahead for. Keep an eye on my weekly summer survival guide for the drop-in workshops. Here are the workshops that require some forward planning. There’s no of-loading them for the entire day (*sigh*), and if they’re under 8, you’ll have to hang about. But these crafty workshops will keep them busy for a couple of hours – and you don’t have to worry about turning your own kitchen table into a craft workshop. The bonus for those with kids older than 8, you can head off for 90 minutes of me-time!

Tues 26 July – Fantastic Structures: Send them off to get arty with Michael Bradley. They’ll create large-scale suspended models using the architecture of The Lightbox as inspiration. 1pm–2.30pm (8-11 year olds), 3pm–4.30pm (12-16 year olds, cost £6.50.
Thurs 28 July – Theatre in a Box: Make a mini theatre to stage your own play with characters, props and scenery that you have created. 1pm–2.30pm (4 – 7 year olds), 3pm–4.30pm (8 – 11 year olds) cost £6.50
Tues 2 Aug – Printed Scrapbooks: I particularly like the sound of this one. They’ll make a scrapbook for all their holiday memories and then design and print a cover for it. Dress for mess. 1pm–2.30pm (4-7 year olds), 3pm–4.30pm (8-11 year olds), cost £6.50.
Thurs 4 Aug – Summertime Clocks: Tick tock. Make a working clock with a summer holiday theme using card, paint and a variety of materials. 1pm–2.30pm (4-7 year olds), 3pm – 4.30pm (8 – 11 year olds), cost £6.50.
Tues 9 Aug –  Wow! Zap! Pow! 3D Pictures: Dress for mess for this fun printing, drawing, sticking and cutting workshop and create an amazing 3D picture inspired by The Lightbox’s Comics exhibition. 1pm–2.30pm (4-7 year olds), 3pm–4.30pm (8-11 year olds), cost £6.50.
Thurs 11 Aug – Digital Comic Making Workshop: You your kids love comics, then they’ll love this comic making session inspired by The Lightbox’s current exhibition. They’ll create a fun digital comic on a tablet, which can then be shared with family and friends. 1pm-2.30pm (8-11 year olds), 3pm-4.30pm (12–16 year olds), cost £6.50.
Thurs 18 Aug – Superhero Drama Workshop: Don your cape and join Guildford Shakespeare Company for an afternoon of comic-themed drama games. No experience of theatre or fighting crime required. 1pm-2.30pm (8-11 year olds), 3pm-4.30pm (12-16 year olds), cost £6.50.
Tues 23 Aug – Learn to Draw Comic Art: Pencils at the ready. Learn secret drawing tricks used by the professionals, and create whatever you want, from magical mermaids to rotting zombies, mega-powered heroes or super-cute animals. 1pm-2.30pm (8-11 year olds), 3pm-4.30pm (12-16 year olds), cost £6.50.
Thurs 25 Aug – Story Dice: Come and make a unique storytelling cube. Create your story in a series of pictures and then roll your story dice to play a fun storytelling game. 1pm-2.30pm (4-7 year olds), 3pm-4.30pm (8-11 year olds), cost £6.50.
Thurs 1 Sept – Mechanical Toys: Join us to learn how to make a moving toy using simple cranks and wheels. These toys are fun to make and fun to play with! 1.00pm – 2.30pm (4 – 7 year olds), 3.00pm – 4.30pm (8 – 11 year olds), cost £6.50.

The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking GU21 4AA. Tel: 01483 737800.

A Play in a Week: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, at The Lightbox, Woking


If you’re little darlings are of the theatrical variety, then this is the workshop for them. It’s a week-long programme with the Guildford Shakespeare Company where they’ll create their own version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, ending with a final performance at 4pm on the Friday. I’m sure it’ll be just as good as the one at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2011! The workshop is aimed at 7-11 year olds and runs from 10am-3.15pm.

Where: The Lightbox
When: 25-29 July
How much: £145
To book:
 Book online at, call 01483 301590 or email [email protected] for more information.


Ultimate Survival, Guildford – seven to 14-year-olds 


Let your children go wild as they learn basic survival skills over five days in pretty woodland near Guildford. The course even includes fire making, hunting and tracking plus the option of a camping sleepover on the Thursday night. Think friendly Hunger Games.

Where: Prior’s Field School, Godalming
25 – 29 July, 5 day Survival Games
1 – 5 August, 5 day Raiders of the Lost Settlement
8 – 12 August, 5 day Safari Ranger
15 – 19 August, 5 day Survival Games
How much: £194 (plus an extra £35 for the sleepover)
Time: 8.30am – 5.15pm
To book:


Cricket coaching courses at Lords

cricket ball

Yeah, you read that right. Half-day, 0ne, two or three-day cricket courses at Lords, run by the MCC, including hawk-eye technology, pitch-vision analysis of batting and a packed lunch (surely cucumber sandwiches?!). The courses go from under 5s through to under 16s. Owzat!

Where: Lords Cricket Ground
When: various dates
How much: £115 for a half-day, £230 for two-day
Time: 10am-5pm for the two day course
To book:


Watts Academy Summer School, at the Watts Gallery and Artists Village, Compton


If your children are a dab hand with a paintbrush then this is a great workshop for them. They’ll spend a week at the artists’ village getting creative with artist Stacey Allan. They’ll visit the collections, explore different kids of printing techniques, paint at easels in the Watt’s studios woodlands, learn how to create a portfolio and much more ending with an exhibition for family and friends at the end. It’s for ages 11-16, and runs from 10.30-4pm from Mon 1 – Fri 5 August. Booking is essential.

Where: Watts Gallery and Artists Village, Compton
When: Mon 1- Fri 5 August
How much: £120 (all materials are included
Time: 10.30-4pm daily
To book:

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6 comments on “Don’t panic! It’s your last minute guide to summer courses for kids”

  • Denise Purssey July 15, 2016

    Great newsletter – and really helpful.

    There are also great judo summer camps for kids with Core Judo: at ACS Egham and at Pinewood judo club.

    • amberevans July 16, 2016

      Thanks Denise. That’s good to know about.

  • Pamela - Weddings in Surrey August 4, 2016

    Thank you for giving some great ideas to keep the kids amused during the Summer hols. I didn’t know about half of these and now have plenty of dates in the diary.

    PS Love your blog!

    • amberevans August 4, 2016

      Thank you Pamela. That’s lovely to hear. Enjoy the holidays. X

  • Katherine April 19, 2017

    Thank you for all the ideas. And just wanted to mention that my daughter (8)always really enjoys the days she spends with The Surrey Hills Adventure Company – den-building, fire-making and whittling! They also offer lots of other activities like mountain-biking and paddle-boarding . . .

    • amberevans April 19, 2017

      Ohhhh. Thanks for the tip Katherine. I’ll certainly check out The Surrey Hills Adventure Company – they sound fab.


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