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Arts Council England funds award-winning family friendly fun

  • Date: 2 October 2013
  • Area: South West
Muse of Fire, Globe Education, 2013. Muse of Fire premiere's at the Family Arts Festival from 28 October

Muse of Fire, Globe Education, 2013. Muse of Fire premiere's at the Family Arts Festival from 28 October. Credit: Globe Education and Family Arts Festival

For most families, finding family friendly activity in your local neighbourhood can be a challenge, but a festival and a museum, both funded by the Arts Council, are helping to change this.

This October, arts and cultural organisations across the South West are taking part in he first ever UK-wide Family Arts Festival, funded by Arts Council England. The Family Arts Festival is a national initiative led by six leading UK arts organisations in collaboration with The Big Draw and runs during October half term, from Friday 18 October to Sunday 3 November.

In Bristol, the city's leading arts and culture organisations have joined together to create a Bristol Family Arts Festival. The festival offers families a huge heap of fun activities, some of which are free. Activities range from the Mad Hatter's high tea and a special voyage to a Floating Ballast Seed Garden to opportunities for making Artrageous junk models and playing with spellbinding technology.

Meanwhile, in September, the Brixham Heritage Museum in Devon funded by Arts Council England's Renaissance Strategic Support fund, was named one of Britain's most family friendly museums in this year's Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Awards. Brixham shares the prize jointly with South London's Horniman Museum.

The prize recognises Brixham and Horniman's commitment to 'outstanding, stimulating and immersive experiences for the whole family.' The Telegraph adds: 'And they share the same fundamental philosophy: for children to be truly engaged with a museum, they have to get stuck in.'

Brixham Heritage Museum has developed its offer to young children over the past few years through the Mini Museum Project. The project, coordinated by the museum, focuses on teaching young children about Torbay's heritage through a range of early years activities such as mini digs, storytelling, trips and guided walks to sites of local historic interest.

Two other South West museums were shortlisted in the Telegraph award: National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth and Nature in Art  in Gloucester. Undercover family judges roadtested all 140 entries in this year's competition.

Family friendly art and culture for October half term

So during October half term, check out the wealth of fascinating and fun arts events taking place throughout Bristol and in the South West.

Join one of the two free Big Draw events as part of the Bristol Family Arts Festival, Easton: Draw Tomorrow,at Junction 3 Library in Easton (26 October) and Big Draw: Draw Tomorrow, at the Arnolfini (2 November).

Venture down to Devon to Brixham Heritage Museum to explore real police cells, from when the building was originally a police station, to a model train track.

In Bath, make Day of the Dead shadow puppets at the American Museum in Britain (29 October) and enjoy Halloween tales and arts and craft at No.1 Royal Crescent (31 October).

In Wiltshire, create your own cave drawings and paintings at Wilshire Museum (30 October, and in Swindon, try Zimbabwean dance with Black Umfolosi 5 at Swindon Arts Centre (24 October).

If you're up for a family friendly show, catch Stomp at Hall for Cornwall, The Big Red Bath at Salibury Playhouse, and I'm an Aristocrat, Get Me Out of Here! at The Pound in Cosham.

The Family Arts Festival is part of a two-year Family Arts Campaign funded by the Arts Council with the aim to develop the range of arts events and activities available to families - the quality as well as the overall experience

The Campaign is the initiative of six leading UK arts trade organisations: The Association of British Orchestras, Dance UK, the Independent Theatre Council, The Society of London Theatre, The Theatrical Management Association and the Visual Arts & Galleries Association.

The Bristol Family Arts Festival is hosted by Arts Council England National portfolio organisations Architecture Centre, Arnolfini, Bristol Old Vic, and Watershed and Arts Council England Renaissance Major partner museums Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Mshed, and ss Great Britain, plus Artrageous and Bristol Hippodome.

For more information about this year's Family Art Festival, visit the website

Download the Bristol Family Arts Festival flyer to discover all the activities on offer and how by participating you can collect stickers and win a prize.