With Halloween and the October half-term upon us there’s plenty of fun in store for you and the grandchildren. The half term holidays run from Monday 24 – Friday 28 October this year, giving you a full week to get together with the grandkids and have some fun around the UK.
Stories of the Romans, Tudors and Victorians along with battles and beheadings are there to be discovered in novel ways all over the country. Halloween also brings so much opportunity for frivolous fun – something grandparents and grandkids do so well.
Impossible as it is to cover the multitude of activities available to you and your little ones in the UK this half-term, we’ve come up with a few interesting ideas which should keep your grandchildren spookily well entertained.
The Scottish capital offers plenty of child-friendly activities over half-term. Explore the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens which lays on half-term activities such as story-telling, garden walks and Halloween workshops.
Half-term at the Palace of Holyroodhouse heralds the Big Draw, a collage competition which entitles the winner to come back for free for a year. Alternatively have a quick browse at the shops on Princes Street, then climb Arthur’s Seat for epic city views.
There are big pumpkins hiding in Strid Wood, Bolton and they’re waiting to be discovered by clever kids. The Pumpkin Trail takes place every day during Halloween week. You must discover the mystery doors hidden in the woods, behind which there are clues to help you unravel the witch’s magic spell.
The Tropical Butterfly House hosts a number of Halloween treats and the Halloween-themed afternoon tea is a firm favourite for grandparents and kids alike. “Spooktacular” brings the opportunity to visit the new Witch’s Cottage and Haunted House, take a scary tractor trailer ride through Freaky Forest to come face to face with monsters and ghosts, watch bird shows hosted by witches, carve pumpkins and take part in a kids’ fancy dress competition. That’s in addition to unforgettable encounters with meerkats, lemurs, birds of prey, otters, snakes and creepy-crawlies.
Join in the scary goings-on at the National Trust-run Hanbury Hall and Gardens near Droitwich Spa – spooky walks and several other ghostly activities.
Cadbury’s World in Bournville, Birmingham sounds inviting enough to chocolate-lovers, let alone the Ghosts and Ghouls entertainment going on all holiday. Expect scary stories, jugglers, stilt walkers plus a ghoulishly good menu at the restaurant.
If you’re after a traditional pumpkin trail, head for Witley Court, Worcester and base your hunt around the spooky clues hidden around the Court to claim a prize or go to the National Trust’s Croome Park for a hunt around the grounds. Alternatively, Avoncroft Museum, Bromsgrove hosts a good programme of events, from pumpkins and creepy crafts to horror trails and trick or treating.
For extra museum fun, head for London’s big museums like the Science and Natural History Museums and the V&A. These provide a good range of hands-on half term activities running alongside the regular exhibits, so plan a full exploration of the museums.
London’s parks also host Halloween events. Horse-drawn rides in Richmond Park are a unique opportunity for a dark and exhilarating hour-long ride through the park at night. Sharing the ride with just eight others, you’ll be subjected to intriguing tales of ghosts, highwaymen and a Victorian murder. Take a moment to marvel at the Park’s famous stags who at this time of the year, sleep by day and fight by night. “Discover Autumn” in Regent’s Park gives families the chance to share in the fantastic autumn displays of colour in the park, identifying plants and animals as they go, with the help of a guide.
Dare you discover who’s haunting the gardens at Prior Park Landscape Garden during Halloween week? The popular annual Halloween Trail means getting dressed up and setting off on your broomstick to hunt out the garden’s ghosts and ghouls!
There’s also half term Spooky Fun at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park’s Witch & Wizard School. Join in with broomstick training, the scare school, pumpkin carving, hat making and a spooky lab tour. The Park also puts on FEAR (certificate 12A), a programme of three award-winning events – phobia, purgatory and anarchy live – including street theatre, a fire show, fairground rides, music and more.
Time for fresh air and rosy cheeks – get outside for some bracing coastal walks along the rugged coast of Cornwall. Activities can include surfing, dolphin-watching and cycling.
Go to Land’s End not only for its tourist appeal and outstanding views, but also for the October Half Term Spooktacular, a programme of holiday events including a Halloween Craft Cavern where the little ones will love making the scariest Halloween monsters in Britain.
Wherever you are and whatever you do this October break, we wish you a hauntingly happy time and many new memories starring the younger members of the family.