Family days out

Free things to do with kids in UK this October half term

Last updated 18th October 2023

We think you’ll be amazed by how many free things to do with kids are available during October half term. Seems like someone, somewhere has finally realised that fun is priceless, so it shouldn’t cost a thing. Grab it while you can.


Belgravia Pumpkin Trail, London

Free things to do with pumpkins in Belgravia

Free things to do in Belgravia aren’t words you often read. But this Halloween one of the bougiest bits of London is taking bargain to a whole new level.

Building on the success of last year’s event, the Belgravia Pumpkin Trail is back, giving families the thrill of some jaw-dropping Halloween displays created by local businesses. Dozens of shops are getting in on the act with pumpkin-themed extravaganzas, plus  many also have great offers during the trail weeks too.

When: 23 – 31 October

Where: Belgravia, London

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Make half term magic with light at Tate Modern

Families with children of all ages will have a blast at the Tate Modern with its Shadow and Light relaxed studio experience in the Underground Tanks. Tailored for families with neurodiverse children,  it’s all about creating shapes and shadows on the glow wall, exploring sensory play, and making patterns with overhead projectors. Ear defenders and quiet spaces will be available on the day.

When: 24 October, 10:30 – 11:30

Where: Tate Modern, Bankside

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Shaun the Sheep, Brighton

Hunt down Shaun by the Sea in Brighton & Hove

Shaun by the Sea brings together a flock of fabulous Shaun the Sheep, each one decorated individually to reflect the diversity of the community in Brighton & Hove.

Explore the area to discover all 42 of them, and see if you can spot any of the 77 mini-ones made by local schools and community groups. It’s pegged as the most baa-riliant art trail this year, and completely free to explore . Here’s the free trail map and you can download the app now too.

When: now until 5 November 2023

Where: Brighton and Hove

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The Cove, National Maritime Museum

Climb around The Cove for free at the National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum brand new playground, The Cove, is already a bit of a social media darling because it looks amazing. How does it feel? Find out for free this half term.

Climb on board the ship to take the helm, scramble through the tentacles of the mighty Kraken, but watch out for the Cutty Shark with his giant jaws. It’s right next to Parkside Cafe too, so bathrooms, drinks, and snacks are just a plank walk away.

When: all year round

Where: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

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Zog Trail, free things to do in Forest of Dean

Free things to do with Zog in the Forest of Dean

Get active and make the most of the autumn leaves in fantastic Forest of Dean with the Zog activity trail at Beechenhurst. Before you go, download the app to unlock interactive challenges as kids explore the forest and collect golden stars: just like Zog in the Julia Donaldson book. The trail is buggy friendly and wheelchair accessible and one of the most enchanting free things to do this half term.

When: all year round

Where: Beechenhurst, Speech House Road, Coleford

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Ashmolean Museum © Ian Wallman

Kid size history for half term at the Ashmolean Museum

Join experts for interactive family tours to explore the galleries at Ashmolean this half term. Each day has a different theme, but they’re all ancient, so you can bet on Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome making an appearance.

There’s also a Story-Time day where kids get to bring history to life with craft activities. Tours last about an hour and did we mention, they’re free.

When:  23 – 27 October 2023

Where: Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2PH

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Museum of Making © Chris Seddon Photography

Find LEGO for free at the Museum of Making in Derby

LEGO minifigures have invaded the Museum of Making, and it’s your job to find them all!

Inspired by the LEGO Lakes exhibition, families can enjoy everything the museum has to offer, all while spotting the carefully concealed minifigures hiding in the displays. It’s a great chance to soak in the 30,000-plus objects around the museum, from pottery to aircraft engines.

When: 21 October to 5 November 2023

Where: Museum of Making, Derby

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National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Free children’s workshops at the National Museum of Scotland

Across the half term, the National Museum of Scotland will be putting on a variety of workshops around the museum just for families.

Kids can discover the song, dance, storytelling, and art that connect us to Africa and the Caribbean, and free activities range from Sailor’s Valentine crafts and drumming workshops to African storytelling and printmaking.

When: now until- 21 October

Where: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Find a family hotel in Edinburgh Old Town

Head into space for half term at the World Museum in Liverpool

The planetarium at the World Museum is hosting a series of shows themed around space for children of all ages this half term.

Young trainee astronauts will love the story of The Little Star that Could, while older explorers can uncover the secrets of the Artemis mission with Forward to the Moon. With seven shows to choose from, there are free things to do for everyone, and a rotating ‘show of the week’ makes sure it’s always fresh and new.

When: all year round

Where: World Museum, Liverpool

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Hope the Blue Whale, Natural History Museum

Six free things to do for half term at the Natural History Museum

A visit to the Natural History Museum always tops our list of free things to do. This half term, as well as the permanent exhibitions, there’s so much more that’s going on.

Kids can try out the Earthquake Simulator, hunt down the clock from Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, take the quiz in the Dinosaur Gallery, check out Hope in the Hintze Hall, get up close to a Stegosaurus and get down and dirty with some serious creepy crawlies.

When: now until 14 January 2024

Where: Natural History Museum, London

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