Here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this last weekend of the school summer holidays across the North.


Take time away from the fast pace of everyday life this Sunday and experience the serenity of a trip around the beautiful and mystical Strangford Lough.  Enjoy the magnificent scenery and plentiful wildlife, see where Saint Patrick first came ashore and discover how the Lough helped to aid the pillage and plunder of the Viking raiders as we offer you an insightful tour of one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful bodies of water.  Tour departs Portaferry Slipway.


The Belvoir Players present The auction in Killybuck at the Burnavon Theatre Friday 29th August. Set in 1914  in North Antrim, Aunt Rebecca has a farm of land to sell. Her nephew would like to buy the farm but since he refuses to marry the girl his aunt has chosen for him,  she refuses to lend him the money to do so.  The local auctioneer  sets about thwarting the old girl’s wishes and by some very devious means conspires to get the farm for Robert John.  Prepare to be moved, amused, and entertained by this charming piece of Ulster theatre folklore.


This Saturday 30th August treat yourself to a luxury Crom Castle Cruise and Dine. Your cruise will depart Share Village at 4pm and navigate through the maze of islands on Upper Lough Erne to Crom Boat House, where you will dine in the opulent surroundings of the West Wing – Crom Castle. Indulge in a four course set dinner served in the Victorian Conservatory. Your return cruise will get back to Share Village before dark.


The Walled City Tattoo outdoor spectacle, which was one of the highlights of the 2013 UK City of Culture, will comprise a 500 strong cast of local, national and international performers. The production will entertain and delight up to 15,000 people in Northern Ireland’s largest, bespoke Amphitheatre when it returns to the city’s Ebrington Square from 27th to 30th August.


Fancy yourself as a Jedi?  Do you have the force?  If so then make the journey to Armagh Planetarium this Saturday and Sunday where the Emerald Garrison will be training some future Jedis..  Young visitors will have the opportunity to don the famous brown robe, pick up a light sabre and learn a few Force skills from an Emerald Garrison Master!  Trainees must stay vigilant as there has been a disturbance in the force and Stormtroopers,  lead by Darth Maul himself, have been rumoured to be nearby.  Can our young Padawan defeat the Dark Side and win the day?  Only time will tell.  May the force be with you!  The Planetarium will also be running digital theatre shows, space themed arts and craft workshops, launching rockets and there will be Stormtroopers keeping the peace along our corridors.  This is a weekend not to be missed!


The Braid Film Theatre Ballymena presents Frozen the Singalong this Saturday. The film’s plot sees Fearless Anna setting off on an epic journey with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven-to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. If you missed the film in the cinema first time round, or you just fancy a good old sing along with onscreen Elsa, Anna and Olaf, then this event in the Braid’s very own film theatre is the one for you and the perfect way to bring the summer holidays to a close.

Ravara Productions present Little Shop of Horrors at the Stranmillis College 27th to 30th August. A down-and out skid row floral assistant becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. One of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time, this affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies has become a house-hold name, thanks to a highly successful film version and a score by the song writing team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who redefined the animated musical film with Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin. Charming, tuneful and hilarious, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Little Shop Of Horrors never fails to entertain.
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