October half-term is fast approaching, which means it's time to start planning any outings or activities to help keep the kids entertained, as many things tend to get booked up pretty quickly.
If you’re racking your brains for ideas for things to do, we've rounded up our pick of some of the very best family-friendly activities that promise a week full of fun.
From exhibitions, plays and films, to broomstick making, pumpkin carving and storytelling events, we bring you the best family days out and attractions during half-term from every corner of the UK.
1. Learn to become a spy with Si5
Does your child love espionage and all things Jason Bourne or James Bond? Si5 Spy Missions is suitable for children and adult recruits and takes you on an hour-long mission where you test your mettle in a series of mental and physical puzzles and challenges aboard the battlecruiser, UND Steadfast. Spy Missions has sites in Croydon, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham.
2. Discover treasure at Tatton Park
The whispery and decidedly creepy Tatton Old Hall has the rep as one of the most haunted buildings in the country - and this half term if you visit it, you'll discover a frightening trail called A Hidden Halloween which is full of secret treasures. There's a mystical tree, hidden conkers and spooks hiding everywhere. From 21 – 29 October, from 10am to 5pm.
3. Pick your own pumpkin
Are you planning to carve pumpkins, decorate them or make Jack O'Lanterns this half term? Well, why not try picking your own? Up and down the country a range of farms are opening up their doors to their pumpkin patch where you can see rows and rows of pumpkins. From Crockford Bridge Farm Shop in Surrey to Down At the Farm in Durham and Craigies Farm in Edinburgh, gather the kids together and let them spot their own pumpkin.
4. Visit the Loogabarooga Festival in Loughborough
There’s plenty for book-lovers to see and do at the Loogabarooga Festival (from 18 - 24 October), from storytelling sessions, theatre and cinema shows, advice on how to write and illustrate your own book, gaming demo days and appearances by favourite children’s authors and illustrators including Michael Rosen, author of classic picture book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.
5. Play with over 3 million Lego bricks
Do your kids love lego? The UK’s biggest Lego event is coming to Birmingham just in time for half-term. Kids can dive into pits with over 3 million bricks and make anything at all for as long as they like. The tricks that turn super-fans into professional builders are revealed. From 26 to 39 October.
6. Learn to ride
There are 40 or so horses and ponies (ranging from Shetlands to Irish hunters) at the Stag Lodge stables in Richmond Park. Three to six-year-olds can enjoy half-hour leading rein rides through the park, and lessons for all abilities take place in one of two outdoor maneges (arenas). There are pony weeks for the over-sixes in school holidays and half-term – but book ahead!
7. Get spooked out at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire
Something spooky is happening at Cliveden. This half term, children will discover the naturally spooky side of Halloween with an array of wild art based deep in the estate's woodlands. From October 21 to October 29 11 – 2.30pm.
8. Mix up a potion at Lyme
The gorgeous Lyme grounds in Cheshire are knee-high in leaves for some serious stomping around and a hauntingly good Halloween Trail is on during this October half term. Join the team there to help search for the weird and wonderful potion ingredients that will help create a magical spell for the Green Man of Lyme. From October 23 to October 27.
9. drop them off at spooky school
Their school might be closed for the half term, but there's another school still open. Enter into a world of spookiness in the Old Riding School, in Powerderham Castle, where children can enjoy face painting and glitter tattoos, pumpkins crafts and ghostly games. They'll be able to meet the weird and wonderful characters at the potion making shows at 12pm and 2pm too. From October 22 to October 27th.
10. Conquer Alnwick Castle
Harry Potter fans can scale Hogwarts itself in Northumberland, where Alnwick Castle stands atop a lush green hill. From broomstick training to dressing up games, budding wizards and witches can experience a little magic in this rather special setting. Throughout October.
11. Disney on ice
If your kids love Disney, then Disney on Ice this might be the best thing to guarantee a happy half term. Book in for the production, which is taking to the stage at Birmingham Arena this half term.
12. Experience Day of the Dead in Basingstoke
Experience an alternative Halloween celebration like no other with this free event inspired by the traditional Mexican festival known as Dia de los Muertos. Taking place from noon on Friday 28th October, Basingstoke's Day of the Dead offers face painting, craft activities, live music, street food stalls and storytelling. Friday October 27 from 12 noon until 9pm.
13. Watch the kids experience their dream jobs at Kidzania
What child hasn't at least fleetingly dreamt of becoming a pilot, a firefighter, or the next big pop icon? A brilliant experience your kids will love, Kidzania (in Westfield, Shepherds Bush, London) offers more than 60 real-life role-play adventures in an epic 75,000sq.ft play space. Children can learn financial literacy in the bank, dramatics on stage, the essence of beauty in the salon, or justice on the streets as a police officer! Each ticket allows for a 4-hour visit, and as each activity lasts roughly 30 minutes, meaning your little ones should be able to take part in around 8 activities per session.
14. Get stuck in with Halloween fun at Hever Castle
Come dressed in your scariest costume this Halloween half-term for as Hever Castle is transformed into a spooky estate from October 21 – 29. Take part in a Halloween trail, plant garlic bubs and decorate the pot to ward off vampires and ice and decorate a spooky biscuit in a Halloween cupcake workshop.
15. Become a scientist at the Manchester Science Festival
England’s largest science festival is jam-packed with hands-on family activities to inspire would-be boffins everywhere – whether you like your science messy, explosive, high-tech or even edible. Until October 29.