Friday, 16 October 2015

Top Things to Do For October Half Term

Why not build a secret hideaway using only what you find on the woodland floor, make a home for a wild animal or pluck up the courage to befriend a spider?

Whether it's spectacular landscapes ablaze with colour or dark moody skies over ravaging seas, autumn is a time to feast your eyes on the wonders of the natural world. And with all kinds of events from bat detecting and wild crafts to Hallowe’en trails and pumpkinfests, it’ll be hard for the kids to get bored this autumn half term.

From running in the rain to hunting for fossils and bones, there’s something magical for everyone to experience this October. Here are our top half term events to tick off this autumn:

South East

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Hallowe’en - Witch and Wizard Week, 24 October – 1 November, 11am – 3pm
Follow the clues on this spooktacular Hallowe’en trail to find the ingredients for a mysterious magical potion, with prizes at the end. Don’t forget to come dressed in your wildest wizard and witch outfits to frighten off any evil spirits. Make the most of your visit and explore the giant yew-tree maze, storybook-themed play area and majestic beech woodlands to make it a day to remember.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01628 605069

Osterley Park and House, Middlesex
Craft cart, 29 October 12pm – 4pm
Just a stone’s throw from London, Osterley Park and House is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke. Keep those little fingers busy this half term and try your hand at crafts, taking inspiration from the autumnal colours, ancient meadows and eighteenth- century surroundings. Why not add some wild art to your crafts and incorporate leaves, conkers and feathers into your piece for an autumnal adventurer look.
Price: Free event, donations welcome (normal admissions fee applies)
For more information, please call 020 8232 5070

Chartwell, Kent
Pumpkin trail, 24 October - 01 November, 10am – 4pm
Do you dare take on Chartwell’s eerie Hallowe’en trail? Snaking around Sir Winston Churchill’s family home and gardens, you may discover some spooky things along the route, and perhaps even a prize at the end. Make a whole day of it and visit the playhouse designed for Churchill’s youngest daughter Mary, or explore the woods and build your own secret hideout. You may even come across Jock, the resident cat, making his daily inspection of the grounds.
Price: £1 per trail (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01732 868381

Nymans, West Sussex
Spooky Nymans, 24 October - 01 November, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Join Ruby the Ranger or George the Gardener on a spooky quest around Nymans’ garden and woods this Hallowe’en. Follow George’s trail clues to discover some of Nymans’ strange and unusual creatures. Older explorers can take up Ruby’s trail, along muddy pathways down into the woods. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be able to tick off no.30 on your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ list - hold a scary beast!
Price: £2 per trail (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01444 405250 

october-half-term-590-2Family visitors at The Vyne National Trust


East Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk
Terrific Tuesdays in the Dark!, 27 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
After the sun goes down families can head out for some ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ fun on the Norfolk Coast. From star gazing to moth trapping and bat detecting, get involved with coastal nature under the big Norfolk skies. Countryside rangers will lead a nature walk at night and be on hand to help. Meet at Blakeney Quay (NR25 7NE), look out for staff.
Price: Adult £2.50, child £5 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 01263 740241

Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Spider Hunters!, 30 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Kids can de-bunk the myths surrounding these eight-legged fly-munchers. Explore the world of British spiders and hold a scary beastie, ticking off of a ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ activity. Find out which spiders live in the park, look for them in their natural habitat and get up close and personal in the microscope lab. There’s plenty to fill up a day out at Sheringham Park, from geocaching to bat spotting. Climb to the top of the towers to experience stunning views of the North Norfolk coast and maybe a steam train passing through.
Price: Adult £2.50, child £4.50 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01263 820550

Blickling Estate, Norfolk
The Birds and Beasts of Tudor Blickling, 24 – 31 October, 12pm – 5pm
Follow a real-life treasure hunt through this exhibition by the artist Kate Leiper. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a fictional account from the young George Boleyn. He tells of a special parade of animals and birds adorned with decorations and ornaments. Look for letters hidden in paintings of exotic animals. Find all the letters and solve the anagram to reveal the intriguing twist of who – or what – stole a jewelled pendant in 1514. One lucky winner will earn a pendant of gold, garnet, diamond and South-sea Pearl, valued at £4,000.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01263 738030

Ickworth, Suffolk
Half term hobbies and adventures, 24 October - 01 November, 11am – 4pm
Embark on an autumnal adventure and become a nature detective in Ickworth’s expansive parkland. Climb an ancient oak tree, build a secret den or make a home for a wild animal to nestle up in over the winter. When you’re all tuckered out head inside for a variety of craft activities in the cosy comfort of Ickworth’s West Wing gallery, enjoy a hot chocolate and snuggle up in the story corner.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01284 735270


Midlands Attingham Park, Shropshire
Attingham Adventures: Ghosthunters, 27 October 10am – 4pm
Join the Attingham Adventure this half term where everyone will be getting messy, exploring the outdoors and ticking off lots of your ‘50 Things to do before you're 11¾’. Prepare yourself for the horrors of Hallowe’en and scavenge the ingredients for a wild magic spell, make a leaf mask disguise to protect you from spirits and join a ghost walk to hear a spooky Attingham story. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Price: Child £5 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01743 708123

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Creepy Kedleston: The Great Annual Bat and Rat Hunt, 26 - 29 October, 12pm – 5pm
Help Kedleston hunt the Hallowe’en beasties that are roaming the Hall. Flying high or scurrying low, these creepy creatures are hard to spot. Can you help count them up so we know how many we have to find? You'll get a sweet treat if you see them all! Stick around after to tick off some of your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ - climb one of Kedleston’s 100 ancient trees, make a trail with sticks, or even track wild animals! This event is suitable for children of all ages (3+).
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01332 843400

Belton House, Lincolnshire Family
Holiday Fun, 26 - 30 October, 11am – 4pm
Escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and join in the family fun at Belton House this autumn. Every day is packed with different activities, from map reading and signalling to wildlife discovery and craft activities. Why not make a day of it and explore the historic deer-park afterwards or take a turn around the formal gardens.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01476 566116

october-half-term-590-3Den building at Lyme

North West

North West Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire
Fright Fest - Crow Wood Spooky Trail, 24 October - 01 November, 11am – 3pm
Get in touch with your inner goblin this Hallowe’en… are you brave enough to follow the spooky trail around Crow Wood? Seek out creepy crawlies and spooky crows on a self-guided trail around the woodland, and if you’re feeling daring why not try to hold a scurrying spider or slimy slug and tick off number 30 of your ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01663 762023

Speke Hall, Liverpool
Archery Taster Challenge, 25 October 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Come and test your Robin Hood skills at an archery taster sessions in the grounds of this magnificent Tudor manor house, run by Bridgefield Archers Club. It's the perfect outdoor activity for the whole family so take the opportunity to learn a new skill and enjoy a family challenge.
Price: £1 for 6 arrows (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 0151 427 7231

Dunham Massey is the Stamford Military Hospital, Cheshire
Make a Bird Feeder, 29 October, 12pm – 4pm
Everyone wants a tasty treat as the colder weather sets in, and that includes birds! Come and make your very own bird buffet full of delicious pine cones, seeds, and wriggly worms to encourage birds into your garden over the autumn. Afterwards, take a step back in time and check out what Dunham Massey would have looked like in World War One as a military hospital. Hear the stories of soldiers, nurses and the family that once lived in this magnificent Georgian house.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 0161 941 1025

South West

South West Barrington Court, Somerset
Apple Day, 25 October, 11am – 4pm
Taste the famous Barrington Court apple juice and cider all made from the award-winning variety of apples grown on the estate. This chance to pick, taste and press apples is fun for all the family. Test local experts by bringing along your own mystery apple varieties for them to identify. Enjoy activities in this Tudor mansion’s Goose Orchard throughout the day.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01460 243124

Saltram, Devon
Half Term Fun, 24 October - 01 November, 12pm – 3pm
Make the most of the half term and get out exploring at Saltram. With 500 acres of rolling parkland and wild woodland, there’s room for everyone to enjoy outdoor play and tick off some ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. Inside, there are different activities every day of the half term to keep those little fingers busy including wild art, pumpkin carving, spooky stories, a scary snaps photo booth, and a mini chef in the great kitchen. Just bring enthusiasm!
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01752 333500

Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Hallowe’en spooktacular, 24 October - 01 November, 10.30am – 6pm
Experience the spooktacular at Kingston Lacy this Hallowe’en in a week of scary fun and spooky games. Wear your most frightening fancy dress to see who can be the scariest, and why not test your bravery and track wild animals in the woodland, or explore inside a creepy tree to tick of some of your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01202 883402

Yorkshire and North East

Yorkshire and North East Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
Bug box making, 27 - 29 October, 10am – 11am, 11am – 12pm, 1pm – 2pm, 2pm – 3pm
As winter approaches we're not the only ones wrapping up warm in preparation for the chill; creepy crawlies are also looking for somewhere to cosy up, and kids can come to help them out. Roll up your sleeves and make a wooden bug box for your garden amongst the atmospheric ruins of the monastery, where green lawns stretch down to the riverside, a perfect spot for an autumnal picnic.
Price: £5, booking essential (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01765 643166

Nostell Priory and Parkland, West Yorkshire
Upstairs Downstairs Tour, 24 October, 2pm – 3.30pm
Not sure what to do this half term, how about visiting a bygone era? Explore the cellars and derelict servants' quarters to learn how the family and their servants lived and worked at Nostell in decades gone by. Make a day of it and head outside to discover the meadows, woodlands and lake surrounding this grand house. Keep an eye out for wild flowers and birds!
Price: £5 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01924 863892

East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire
Hallowe'en Half Term, 24 October - 01 November, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Make this half term special and take part in one of the Riddlesden Hall’s Hallowe'en trails. They’ll have you hunting high and low for clues, and you can even make gruesome potions and ghastly brews in the haunting Hallowe'en Grotto. Stick around after to unwind in the garden and hide in the hobbit house. Or why not build a secret den of your own? Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01535 607075

october-half-term-590-4Smilles all round at the pumpkin crop at Rowallane Garden, County Down, in October.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Castle Ward, Co. Down
Autumn Pumpkinfest, 24 October - 25 October, 12pm – 5pm
Nothing says autumn more than a pumpkinfest, so why not head down to Castle Ward to choose from more than 2,000 pumpkins ready to be scooped out and carved with ghoulish features. If pumpkins aren’t your thing then you can also browse an extensive array of handmade pottery, flowers and subtropical plants in the Farmyard craft village.
Price: Free (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 028 4488 1204

Mount Stewart, Co. Down
Hallowe'en Enchanted Garden, 31 October, 6pm – 10pm
Join the ghostly atmosphere at Mount Stewart this Hallowe’en. Come dressed to impress in your finest scary outfits for an evening of fun activities and spooky characters for all the family to enjoy. Why not combine your visit with your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ list and go on a nature walk at night, or gaze at the stars from the magnificent surroundings of the enchanted garden?
Price: Adult £10, Child £7.50, Family £30 (including members)
For more information, please call 028 4278 8387


Wales Tredegar House, Newport
Hallowe'en, 24 October - 01 November, 11am – 4pm
Join in the spooky affairs at Tredegar House this Hallowe’en and see what tricks and treats we've brewed up for the whole family to enjoy! Don your most frightening fancy dress, and go in search of some peculiar activities; decorate a batty biscuit; follow a terrifying trail, carve a devilish pumpkin and have a fiendishly good time with creepy crafts. There's something to give everyone the jittery giggles.
For crafts and batty biscuits 50p per item, for pumpkin carving £3 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01633 815880 

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys
Hallowe’en pumpkin trail, 29 October - 01 November, 10am – 4pm
Have you got what it takes to solve the Powis Hallowe’en mystery? We've hidden loads of carved pumpkins around the garden for you to find. Keep an eye out for the important clues hidden amongst them though as they will help you solve the big mystery and earn a tasty treat.
Price: free (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01938 551929

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