Ideas to keep the kids busy this half-term

Ideas to keep the kids busy this half-term


Posted 23rd Oct 2015


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

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? And it’s the perfect time to tick off some of the National Trust's ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. From running in the rain to hunting for fossils and bones, there’s something magical for everyone to experience this October.

Here are the National Trust's top half-term events to tick off this autumn:

South East

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Hallowe’en - Witch and Wizard Week, 24th October - 1st 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 605 069

Chartwell, Kent

Pumpkin trail, 24th October - 1st 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 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01732 868 381

Nymans, West Sussex

Spooky Nymans, 24th October - 1st 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 11¾’ list – hold a scary beast!
Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01444 405 250

East

Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk

Terrific Tuesdays in the Dark!, 27th October, 4.30pm - 7pm

After the sun goes down families can head out for some ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ 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: £2.50 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 01263 740 241

Ickworth, Suffolk

Half-term hobbies and adventures, 24th October - 1st 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 735 270

Midlands

Attingham Park, Shropshire

Attingham Adventures: Ghosthunters, 27th 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: £5 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01743 708123

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

Creepy Kedleston: The Great Annual Bat and Rat Hunt, 26th - 29th 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 843 400

Belton House, Lincolnshire

Family Holiday Fun, 26th - 30th 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 566 116

North West

Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire

Fright Fest - Crow Wood Spooky Trail, 24th October - 1st 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?
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01663 762 023

Speke Hall, Liverpool

Archery Taster Challenge, 25th 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 to 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, 29th 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

Barrington Court, Somerset

Apple Day, 25th - 26th 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 243 124

Saltram, Devon

Half-term Fun, 24th October - 1st 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.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01752 333 500

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Hallowe’en Spooktacular, 24th October - 1st 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?
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01202 883 402

Yorkshire and North East

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Bug box making, 27th - 29th 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, normal admission fee applies (booking essential)
For more information, please call 01765 643 166

East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire

Hallowe'en Half-term, 24th October - 1st November, 10.30am - 4.30pm

Make this half-term special and take part in one of 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 607 075

Northern Ireland

Castle Ward, Co. Down

Autumn Pumpkinfest, 24th October - 25th 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, 31st 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, 24th October - 1st November, 11am - 6pm

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 bat 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.
Price: For crafts and bat biscuits it's 50p per item, for pumpkin carving it's £3 (normal admission fee also applies)
For more information, please call 01633 815 880

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys

Hallowe’en pumpkin trail, 29th October - 1st 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 551 929

Images courtesy of: Chris Lacey, John Millar, Jennie Woodcock, Arnhel de Serra, Paul Harris





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