Half term activities in the Chichester district

IT’S fun ahoy for families this half term with a pirate themed week of activities.

Landlubbers and sea-dogs alike can learn about the area’s links with pirates and smugglers at The Novium museum, with information on the 1740’s Hawkhurst Gang – one of the largest and most vicious of the south-coast smuggling gangs.

Gang member William Jackson’s talisman, a small printed cloth kept in a silver locket, is in the museum’s collection. It was found on his body when he was discovered dead in his cell after being condemned to death for the murders of a customs officer and a fellow gang member.

Jackson was buried at The Broyle, Chichester, where The Smuggler’s Stone records the event.

From Saturday, May 25, to Sunday, June 2, there will be Smugglers and Pirates family fun days at the museum.

Running from 11am to 2pm, the days will offer families the chance to try out mock stocks, make pieces of eight or build a galleon. Visitors dressed in the best pirate gear will win a bar of chocolate. Participation is free with museum admission.

On Thursday, May 30, from 1pm to 2.30pm, it is Jolly Rogers versus Rule Brittania from 1pm to 2.30pm.

Children will have the chance to make and decorate a flag to fly above their galleon. Pre-booking is required and participation is £3.50 per child, not including museum entry.

There are also two upcoming events for adults.

On Friday, May 31, Film Archives: The Royal Sussex Regiment in Photographs and Film, held in partnership with the WCounty Record Office, is on from 2pm to 3.30pm. Adult tickets are £5, concession £4 and pre-booking is required.

On Tuesday, June 4, from 6.30pm to 8pm, Mark Beattie-Edwards, Nautical Archaeology Society programme director, will talk about two local shipwrecks and their archaeological and historical importance. Adults £6 and concessions £5.

For more information, call 01243 775888, email thenovium@chichester.gov.uk or visit www.thenovium.org.

At Westgate Leisure, Chichester, the Burst Holiday Club will run from 8.30am to 5.30pm every day apart from Bank Holiday Monday, May 27.

The holiday club is available for children aged six to 16 years old. A half day is available from 8.30am to 1pm.

The cost per child is £22 for a full day or £16 for a half day.

Bookings can be made by calling 01243 785651, in person or online at www.westgateleisure.co.uk.