Here’s five local lockdown activities you can do this half-term to keep your children entertained, informed – and even healthy.

1. Scare yourselves on a spooky walk.

In a beautiful rural setting beside the River Windrush lie the picturesque ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, a former 15th century Oxfordshire manor house. Built in the 1430s, after several changes of hands the hall was abandoned and eventually demolished in the 18th century, leaving the remains that stand today.

Expect an eerie atmosphere while exploring the ruins on a misty winter evening.

Several spooky legends surround the medieval ruins including the haunting of Lord Lovell. After the battle of Stoke, he went into hiding and was cared for by one faithful servant. When the servant passed away, Lord Lovell starved to death. After repairs in 1718, a vault was uncovered in which a skeleton and a dog’s skeleton was found. To this day, the ghostly figure of Lord Lovell has been spotted walking through the ruins accompanied by the sound of rustling paper.

2. Science fun online. Log on for holiday activities at Oxford University’s Natural History Museum website. With the theme Home Sweet Home, it says: “Animals have homes of all shapes and sizes. This half term, we have selected two animals and will focus on their ‘homes’ and you will have the chance to make your very own animal home." Go to  https://oumnh.web.ox.ac.uk/home-sweet-home

3. Time to get back out in the garden. It is a bit early for sowing bulbs and seeds during February but Rebecca Daniel, of Burford Garden Centre, suggests a few things that families can do:

  • Sow mustard, cress, sprouting beans on windowsills
  • Sow sweet peas, tomatoes and chillies again all on windowsills inside
  • Buy seed potatoes and start chitting them
  • Sow garlic cloves
  • Plant up containers with primroses
  • Make bird feeders
  • Look at the RSPB, RHS, Gardeners World and BBC learning websites there is more in depth information and ideas.

4. Tidy up the neighbourhood. The annual OxClean Spring Clean was postponed but will now take place over the weekend of Friday 12 to Sunday March 14. In the meantime, organisers suggest you help keep Oxford clean and tidy by using your permitted exercise time to clear up lockdown litter close to where you live. Go to their website to register for the March event and order your litter picker. Get ready by registering a Grot Spot on the website at www.oxclean.org.uk/spring-clean/

5. Bake some lockdown treats. Join one of Mrs B’s online cookery classes for children. A qualified primary school teacher from Carterton, Mrs B says: “My aim is to teach a wide range of recipes, both sweet and savoury and develop independence and confidence within the kitchen. My lessons are fun and educational, enabling pupils to develop a healthy relationship with food.”

Pupils also build up their own recipe portfolio with dishes they can both cook independently and at home with their family and friends. 

Prices are £5 for a one-to-one video session. Contact her at www.facebook.com/mrsbscookery and see her treats for sale including celebration cakes, traybakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, rocky road and blondies at www.mrsbscookeryclasses.co.uk