Have a Happy, Haunted Half-term with the Kids
With Halloween falling within half term (Sat 26 October– Sun 3 November 2013) this year, ghoulish offerings around the country are bigger and better than ever, with many attractions hosting a whole week of spooky doings.
We’ve picked out some of the best within easy reach of the various Luxury Family Hotels, for fabulous autumn days out for kids big and small.
Look Out Archery Halloween/Putrid Pumpkins and Monster Masks, Ickworth
Handy for: The Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk
26–27/10/2013 (archery), 31/10/2013 (pumpkins, crafts and trail)
All ages can try out archery with a twist during the first weekend of half term at this Georgian Italianate palace of which The Ickworth Hotel is a part – the targets are pumpkins. For Halloween itself, there’s pumpkin-carving, scary crafts and a spooky trail.
Halloween Festival, Bristol Zoo
Handy for: Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire
Drop in at this attraction during half term and you can follow a trick or treat trail and enjoy creepy animal encounters, shiver-inducing storytelling, face-painting and (except on 2 or 3 Nov) Halloween lantern-making followed by a lantern parade. Kids get zoo entry for £5 if they come dressed head-to-toe in Halloween fancy dress.
Witches & Wizards Day, Lacock Abbey
Handy for: Woolley Grange, Wiltshire
A day of freaky family fun is in store this half term at this quirky country house built in different architectural styles on the foundations of a former nunnery. Younger visitors are invited to come dressed up to explore the atmospheric medieval cloisters and abbey grounds and will be able to raid Wiltshire Scrapstore for materials to create Halloween crafts to take home, watch a balloon artist at work and go on a self-led potion-making trail.
Ghosts & Ghouls Half-term Hauntings, Beaulieu
Handy for: New Park Manor, Hampshire
Expect plenty of strange goings-on this half term at this 13th-century abbey and Palace House, supposed to be one of Britain’s most haunted places: a Halloween quiz trail, ghostly storytelling by costumed guides, scary face-painting and rides on the high-level, mile-long ‘moan-a-rail’. You can also still catch the Bond in Motion exhibition at the National Motor Museum, and there’s a veteran bus ride around the grounds, go-karts, and, for younger kids, Dipstick’s Driving Circuit and the Mini Motor Play Trail.
Spooky Halloween Trail, Portland Castle
Handy for: Moonfleet Manor, Dorset
Family visitors to this fine coastal fort by Henry VIII will get an extra helping of fun in the form of a Halloween trail around the castle and grounds, including the gun platforms with their powerful cannons and the armoury. Those who complete the clues can claim a ‘terrible prize’…
Halloweden, Eden Project
Handy for: Fowey Hall, Cornwall
This environmental attraction is going all out for kids this half term with a ‘Room on the Broom’ tent with potion-making, craft activities, a Little Monsters' Ball disco (29/30 Oct), the Scream fright night (31 Oct/1 Nov; ages 12+), pumpkin-carving demonstrations, face-painting, encounters with nocturnal creatures and the return of the ice rink (which will stay in place until March 2014).