Mud Kitchen Midsummer Madness

With the longest day nearly upon us, it’s time for some midsummer merriment at Cressing Temple Barns.

Join in the family fun this Sunday at this year’s Midsummer Madness Day. It includes everything from African storytelling, crafts and drumming; traditional ink-making and eco-printing; a pop-up library book tent; a ballet performance; a fabulous fairy trail and workshops galore; The Book Nook and Poetry Shed, plus the Little Earthlings Mud Cafe. The challenge will be fitting everything in.

The good news is that most activities are free, including entrance to the site and parking. Why not pack a picnic and explore one of Essex’s most intriguing heritage sites: the erstwhile home of The Knights Templar no less!

Mark your dance card for Goldilocks: The Ballet by Let’s Dance Ballet Company

Join Goldilocks, the girl with the lovely locks and her jar of magical honey, as she befriends a family of bears and teaches everyone the value of sharing.

Goldilocks Let's All Dance

But watch out for Selfish Sid who, on hearing that the honey is magical, hatches a nasty plan to steal it from Goldilocks. With a 1940’s vibe, a variety of dance styles and plenty of bowls of delicious porridge, this ballet is just right!

A fabulously fun show for everyone ages 1 – 101.

Free, no booking required.

Get writing with children’s author Sam Scott

Sam Scott will be offering some top tips for all of those budding young Essex writers’ out there aged 11-16 years. Explore different writing techniques. Learn how to create a believable character. How to build a plot arc, and the importance of using varied vocabulary. Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free.

Singing Like Larks Nature Workshop with Andrew Millham

Anyone who had the good fortune of attending Andrew Millham’s event at Hylands House last Sunday, will have no doubt of the magic in store for Andrew’s Singing Like Larks Nature Workshop at Cressing Temple Barns this Sunday.

Andrew Millham nature workshop

Uncover the remarkable relationship between birds and traditional folk music, and try your hand at Forest School skills and bug-hunting in this family nature workshop. Andrew will also read from his book, Singing Like Larks, and sing accompanying songs. All ages welcome. Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free.

Much Ado About Numbers with Rob Eastaway

What’s the connection between Shakespeare and Numbers? A lot, as it turns out!

In this fun, interactive talk Rob Eastaway explores the surprising and entertaining ways that maths and numbers crop up in Shakespeare’s plays. Find out how Tudors multiplied, why Shakespeare never ended a line with the word orange, and why dice-playing was a serious hazard for the unwary.

Elizabethan card players. Photo of Rob Eastaway and Much Ado About Numbers book cover

With historical asides about games, optics, astronomy, music and magic, you might never think about maths or Shakespeare the same way again. Tickets: Free, booking required.

Love My Skin Outside In with Dr Leema Jabbar

Join children’s author Dr. Leema Jabbar for this fun, inspiring and interactive session about celebrating individuality and showing kindness.

Using fun games and simple experiments, Leema will show how talking about feelings can make problems so much smaller. Including a reading from her book, Love My Skin Outside In, and using colourful visuals from nature you’ll discover just how stunningly beautiful we all are both inside and out.
For ages 6-10.

Essex Explorers Summer Magic Trail

The park rangers at Cressing Temple Barns are sure that magical creatures including fairies, trolls, and maybe even unicorns, live deep in the hidden corners of the Essex Country Parks. But some children have stopped believing in them! Can you find and count them on our Summer Magic trail to help make the magic stronger.

Remember to take your photo at the Summer Magic Trail selfie board and tag @essexbookfest In partnership with Essex Year of Numbers.

Fairy Door Trail
Find the Fairy Doors in the walled garden and add up the door numbers to find the magic number for their spell. Once you’ve added it up, shout out the number so that the fairies can hear you.