Summer of fun for Winchester's young scientists

Budding scientists and bright sparks of all ages can look forward to a fun-packed summer, thanks to a series of exciting school holiday activities taking place across the Winchester District.

Coordinated by Winchester City Council's tourism service, working in partnership with local visitor attractions, the science-themed events form part of Bright Sparks - A Year of Science and Discovery in England's Ancient Capital, marking Einstein Year and World Year of Physics.

INTECH, the science and discovery centre at Morn Hill, will be offering a host of hands-on activities throughout July and August. Children can become aircraft engineers for the day as they design and build various flying objects (25 and 26 August), or launch their own rocket in a workshop entitled Rocket Science for Beginners (1 August).

Younger children can follow science trails around the futuristic, pyramid-shaped building throughout the holidays or enjoy making a glittery butterfly as they learn all about Mighty Morphin' Animals (31 August). 'Science showman' Ian B. Dunne makes a welcome return to the centre on 23 August, when he will explain how nature makes, changes and uses light in an illuminating science show that is guaranteed to have the audience tripping the light fantastic.

While events continue at INTECH throughout the year, the Bright Sparks programme provides an opportunity to examine the inner workings of many of the District's other attractions over the summer months.

Follow a Technology Trail around the National Trust's City Mill (throughout August) and try your hand at experiments connected with milling, flour and bread, or head for the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson over the August Bank Holiday weekend to take a look at the complex mechanisms that were used to attack forts and castles in days gone by.

Young entomologists can observe bees at close quarters during Bees-a- Buzzin' at Marwell Zoological Park (29 July - 1 August), while budding meteorologists can make St Swithun mobiles in one of a series of special holiday activities at Winchester Cathedral's Education Centre (Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August - pre-booking essential).

Grown-ups, too, will find plenty of Bright Sparks events at the cathedral to keep them entertained this summer. Relive the story of William Walker during a newly-introduced tour (Wednesdays in July and August) and learn just how this lone diver saved the building from total collapse 100 years ago. Or take an Architectural Odyssey Tour, which traces 1000 years of architectural innovation at this imposing Norman cathedral.  Visit before the end of July for the last chance to catch a special exhibition entitled Cosmos and Creation (1-31 July) featuring paintings by Colin Wilmott on a theme of cosmic space and the mystery of the creation of the universe.

Commenting on the Bright Sparks programme, Cllr Thérèse Evans, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, said: "The Bright Sparks year has already seen some imaginative events taking place across the District - which have been widely enjoyed by visitors and residents alike - and the summer holiday activities are set to be just as popular. We are very grateful to local visitor attractions for their willingness to work in partnership in this way, as it plays a key role in encouraging return visits to the area."

Full details of these and other Bright Sparks events can be found on or obtained from Winchester Tourist Information Centre on 01962 840500 or by e-mailing