Four days of famiy fun for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Olympic flag hand over celebrations in Portsmouth Guildhall Square.

Olympic flag hand over celebrations in Portsmouth Guildhall Square.

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Sixty years is a long time. It’s a lot more than most of us will work in our lifetime.

So it’s only right that we should celebrate this impressive milestone in the Queen’s reign.

And celebrate we will, with a four-day weekend to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

What’s more, the festivities mark the start of Half-Term, so there’s even more for families to celebrate from today.

While our city looks set to take the crown as home of the most street parties in the south, there’s plenty more to keep families entertained over the whole Bank Holiday weekend.

n Fort Nelson, home of the Royal Armouries on Portsdown Hill, is holding a special Royal Week from Monday to Sunday, including a 21-gun salute on Monday from 2pm.

Other free events throughout the week include daily gun firings at noon and 3pm, and a trail showcasing the museum’s Royal Treasures.

Kids can get crafty in the children’s activity area, create a portrait of the Queen for the Fort’s gallery, and explain what they would do if they were the monarch for a day (£2, 10.30am to 3.30pm).

There’s also a chance to kill Bad King John with mini catapults (£1 for five shots) on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Entry and car parking are free.

n Over at The Spring in Havant, they are holding a Jubilation Family Open Day tomorrow from 10.30am.

It will include painting mugs, making bunting, a vintage arts and crafts market and cake.

There will also be party games, a fancy dress parade, party food and fizz at the indoor children’s street party (£2.95 per child).

While free activities for children include crown-making, a dressing-up box, write and post a letter to the Queen, make and post your own Jubilee postcards and have a go at face painting.

n At Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea, they are celebrating the Best of Brit-Fish from tomorrow to Sunday.

Here, families can find out all about the amazing sea life that lives on our doorstep. There will be opportunities to meet experts from the RSPB, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Marine Conservation Society, plus half-hourly talks, mini tours, games, quizzes, and handouts for visitors to take away.

On Monday, there is also a Jubilee Beach Party with an all-day barbecue and kids’ sandcastle building competition.

Admission costs £7.50 to £9.75.

n Meanwhile, Guildhall Square in Portsmouth has a packed schedule of events including a street party from 11am to 5pm on Sunday with coverage of the Thames pageant, dancing, paddling pool, soprano, craft activities and fancy dress.

On Monday there’s a live screening of the Jubilee concert plus a free family treasure hunt at 2.30pm and Tuesday sees the Big Screen transmitting coverage of the Jubilee service at St Paul’s and the Jubilee procession.

n Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has plenty on over the Jubilee weekend, including the free Victorious Vintage festival on Saturday and Sunday and a special family event at the National Museum of the Royal Navy on Wednesday.

Here, from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm, families can create their own nautical decorations and they can ice biscuits too.

Admission to the dockyard costs £15.80 to £21.50.

n A Diamond Jubilee summer fete is being held at Portsmouth Cathedral on Sunday with free open-top bus rides, fancy dress, bouncy castle, face painting, games and barbecue. Admission is free.

n On Sunday, a guided Diamond Jubilee walk will start at Victory Gate at 2.30pm and take participants to Guildhall Square. Tickets (£3 with accompanying children free) are available from Visitor Information Centres of the City Museum.

n Finally, families can stay up late to witness the beacon-lighting at Fort Widley and Southsea Castle at 10.15pm on Monday as these local beacons are set alight to join a national chain of more than 4,000 to mark the Jubilee.

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