News release

For Immediate Release

Friday 15 July 2022

The summer is set to be a magical one for all the family at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, The Commandery, and Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle.

Visitors can step into The Magic of Middle-Earth at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum throughout the summer holidays and have fun with weekly workshops for families. Each Thursday, children’s imaginations can be ignited by model making, interactive storytelling, and book cover illustration – inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy realm – and get creative in a portrait-making session all about The Power of Portraiture exhibition. Sessions are £4 per child; pay on the day except for interactive storytelling, which requires advance booking.

Refuel at the brilliant café Little Al’s on the Balcony – enjoy homemade food, delicious coffee and even shortbread inspired by the One Ring.

The Commandery’s fascinating rooms and spacious grounds – complete with a nature play garden – make it the perfect spot for exciting explorations every Tuesday to Thursday throughout the holidays. Become knights and princesses, epic explorers, or dig for dinosaurs. Children can paint their own shield, excavate a mini frozen dinosaur, see a volcano come to life, and get hands-on in a scavenger hunt. All sessions end with a story, drink and biscuit. Ages pre-school to 10. Booking essential. Workshops are £5 per child; usual admission to The Commandery applies.

The canal-side café Commandery Coffee will be open with homemade food and wonderful coffee.

At Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle in July, families can make traditional travellers’ crafts inspired by the beautiful collection of vibrant vardos – gypsy caravans – at the museum. There will be wooden horseshoe ornaments to decorate, and bright, colourful paper flowers to create. A family trail around the castle and museum is a fun way to find out fascinating facts about travelling culture and heritage.

Every Tuesday to Thursday throughout the summer holidays, Worcestershire County Museum will have a new theme each week to enjoy with crafts and trails. Starting with Vibrant Vardos, families can get stuck into Castles and Jousting Knights, Swords and Dragons, Crowns and Catapults, and Jesters’ Hats. There is no need to book in advance; crafts are £2.50 per child and usual applies.

Save energy for the brand-new adventure playground in the beautiful grounds – climb, slide and have a go on the brilliant zipwire too. Pop into Hayley’s Kitchen 10am – 5pm for hot and cold food, cakes, and refreshments, or enjoy the orchard picnic area where families can play outdoor games.

“There is so much to get stuck into at all three museums over the summer – and beautiful gardens and grounds to spend time exploring in the sun too. Not to mention the new adventure playground at Hartlebury Castle!” Rachel Robinson, Museums Manager.

Please see the website for full details:


Notes to editors

The transport gallery at Worcestershire County Museum is temporarily closed; this will not affect the Vibrant Vardos crafts and activities (26 – 28 July), though visitors will not be able to visit the transport collection as usual.

Image attached shows: A princess in action at The Commandery.


Usual opening hours

The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester is open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and Sundays, 11am – 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, Foregate Street, Worcester is open: Monday to Saturday, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, is open: Tuesday to Friday, 10am – 5pm, and at weekends, 11am – 5pm. Closed on Mondays.


Events listings

Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum

Thursday 28 July – Powerful Portraits
Delve into exciting craft supplies to create your own portrait inspired by The Power of Portraiture exhibition.

Thursday 4 August – Magical Model Making
Did you know lots of models were made to create the fantasy worlds in the Lord of the Rings films? Use different materials to make a world of your own!

Thursday 11 August – Illustrate your own Book Cover
Design your own book cover inspired by the illustrators who have who have designed covers for Tolkien’s books.

Thursday 18 August – Magical Model Making
Repeat of Thursday 4 August workshop.

Thursday 25 August – Illustrate your own Book Cover
Repeat of Thursday 11 August workshop.

Thursday 1 September – Interactive Storytelling
Choose a character and costume, colour in a mask, and enjoy a fun interactive storytelling session! Children are welcome to come dressed up if they would like or dress up on the day. The storytelling will be inspired by the work of Tolkien and other fantasy worlds. Booking in advance is essential for this workshop.

The Commandery

Tuesdays to Thursdays in the holidays, 10.30am – 12noon.

Have fun at The Commandery every week through the summer holidays!

Knights and Princesses
Tuesday to Thursday, 26 – 28 July and 16 – 18 August.
Paint your shield, joust on hobbyhorses, play in castle tents, and quest through the garden.

Dig for Dinosaurs

Tuesday to Thursday, 2 – 4 and 23 – 25 August.
Excavate a frozen mini dinosaur, dig for bones, see a volcano come to life, and have fun painting and colouring dinosaurs.

Epic Explorers
Tuesday to Thursday, 9 – 11 August and 30 August – 1 September.
Delve into trays inspired by the Arctic and the desert, and head off on a scavenger hunt! Turn yourself into an explorer in a photo and colouring activity.

All sessions end with a story, drink and biscuit. Ages pre-school to 10. Children under 1 free with a paying sibling. Admission + £5 per child.

Limited spaces; booking essential.

Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle

Come dressed up, follow a trail, and create crafts you can take home!

26 – 28 July: Vibrant Vardos

2 – 4 August: Castles and Jousting Knights

9 – 11 August: Swords and Dragons

16 – 18 August: Crowns and Catapults

23 – 25 August: Jesters’ Hats

Crafts: £2.50 per child (includes all materials).

No need to book; whole-site admission to Hartlebury Castle applies.

For more information or further images please contact Alice Benbow, Museums Marketing Officer: / 01905 361828.