A host of council services to offer free fun for half term

Published: Monday, 23rd October 2023

Halloween activities, monster trails and live storytelling sessions are among a host of free activities available for Stoke-on-Trent families over the half term break.

The city’s museums, libraries, markets and Family Hubs will once again host activities for families to get involved in as many household budgets remain tight.

During half term, the city’s the leisure centres will also have a range of swimming sessions available for families to book on to for a small fee, including the return of the popular inflatable aqua run.

Councillor Jane Ashworth, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We know it can be difficult for parents to find things to keep the kids entertained over half term and with the added pressures of cost of living we want to make sure there are activities available that don’t break the bank.

“Our great city is full of heritage and culture where you can experience lots of fun, family friendly moments over half term right on your door step at little or no cost.”

The ‘Help is at Hand’ campaign has also been set up to support residents across the city through the cost of living crisis and winter months, with the support of public services, community and voluntary sector groups. For families who may be struggling over half term, www.stoke.gov.uk/helpisathand has helpful advice and support links.

Details of the activities and events provided by council services are available below.

The city council’s Visit Stoke team has put together a guide for activities across the city. For more information, go to www.visitstoke.co.uk/october-half-term

Stoke-on-Trent Museums:

Dare you enter our eerie gallery as spectres, ghosts and ghouls glide through the air? The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is hosting a free Haunted Gallery on Saturday 28 October, 11am-4pm.

Also, at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery during half term search for strange creatures and spooky spectres as part of the national Eerie-on-Sea Monster Museum Tour from Kids in Museums and Walker Books. Can you spot all the monsters of the mysterious seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea? Complete the trail and get a free Eerie-on-Sea bookmark and sticker.

This Halloween come and enjoy our giant pink larger than life witch in training at Gladstone Pottery Museum on Saturday 28 October, 11am-3pm. Children can also have a go at painting our spooky pottery wizards, bats & gargoyles.

Visit www.stokemuseums.org.uk for more details on these events.

Stoke-on-Trent Libraries:

Libraries will be hosting a number of activities for the whole family to get involved in from Saturday 28 October until Saturday 4 November. These include special story and craft sessions and our ever-popular Bouncing Bears and Singing Bears.

Lego Club sessions will also be running across numerous library sites, with schedules available on the SOT Libraries Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/stokeontrentlibraries.

To celebrate the opening of City Central Library at Two Smithfield, we will also have a special free storytelling session with Sue Perks on Wednesday 1 November from 2-3pm. This session is suitable for ages 5-8, but siblings are welcome to join in too.

Visit https://librariesonline.stoke.gov.uk for more details on these activities.

Stoke-on-Trent Leisure centres:

A host of swimming activities are on offer at Fenton Manor Sports Complex this half-term. The main pool will host floats and inflatable fun swim sessions Monday to Friday, 10:15am to 11:45am and Saturday 1pm to 2.30pm and 3pm to 4.30pm. In the small pool AquaTots is available Monday to Friday, 10:15am to 11:45am.

At Dimensions Leisure Centre why not slide down the dragon slide, swim in the rapids and take full advantage of the fantasy pool with lots of sessions to choose from (slide and features are subject to availability). Bookings for swim sessions can be made seven days in advance and payment will be taken at the time of booking.

The New Horizons Sport and leisure Centre holiday programme is back with family swimming sessions with floats and toys, sports hall mixed activities featuring inflatable football, and the giant bouncy castle. Plus, our inflatable aqua run is the perfect session to tackle the trick or treat sugar rush.

Visit https://librariesonline.stoke.gov.uk for more details on these activities.

Stoke-on-Trent Markets:

At Stoke Market make your own Halloween mask, plus get a free Halloween treat bag on Friday 27 October and Saturday 28 October, 8am-4pm.

At Longton Market make your own Halloween mask, plus there will be a face painter and balloon modeller on Saturday 28 October, 10am-2pm.

Family Hubs:

Friday Fun activities for babies and toddlers (sensory activities, arts and crafts, stories and nursey rhymes, role play, ages 0-5) at Bentilee Family Hub, every Friday, 12.30pm-2.15pm.

Breastfeeding network groups:

Bentilee – Mondays, 12.30pm-2pm (9, 16, 23, 30 Oct).

Tunstall – Wednesdays, 12.30pm-2pm (11 and 25 Oct).

Thomas Boughey – Thursdays, 10am-11.30am (12, 19, 26 Oct).

Westfield – Fridays, 10am-11.30am (6, 13, 20, 287 Oct)

At Bentilee Family Hub join the Mothers Mind Coffee morning which offer support and promotes empowerment for women overcoming poor maternal mental illness. This is held the last Weds of every month (25 Oct) 10am-12pm.

Alice Charity Big Cup:

Educational play, healthy snacks and hot drinks in a safe and stimulating environment. Free group for all parents/carers and toddlers.

Westfield – Thursdays ,9.30am-11.30am.

Bentilee – Mondays, 9.30am-11.30am