10 half-term activities for kids

Last updated 19th July 2022

little boy eating an apple

1/10 Embrace the great outdoors

Wintery weather needn’t mean spending half term hauled up in the house, glued to the telly. The British countryside looks spectacular in October, when leaves are golden brown and the apple harvest is in full swing. Nothing beats picking your own, so for a fun day out, discover what produce is in season and find details of your local Pick-Your-Own farm.

Camping in October might sound crazy, but plenty of families do – and they love it! Here are some of our favourite places for pitching a tent in Autumn:

Crockford Bridge Farm Shop and pick-your-own

Pick out the biggest, juiciest-looking pumpkins on the patch, between 10.30am and 4.30pm, 19-31 October. Entrance to the pumpkin patch is free, although there is a charge for some items. From 26-31 October, the Farm is hosting Spooky Fun Days, where little monsters can enjoy apple bobbing, face painting and pumpkin carving. For mums and dads, a pop-up cafe will serve tasty homemade grub.

Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sussex

Families can choose between regular or luxury pitches, and the farm offers a jampacked schedule of half term fun:

24 Oct-2 Nov: Festival of Pumpkins
25 Oct-29 Oct: Wild Nature with Rob Fallon
26 Oct: Acorn Day with Anna Richardson
27 Oct: Really Wild Bushcraft
1 Nov: Uckfield Farmers’ Market

This charming campsite is a stone’s throw from fabulous family activities. Bluebell Railway, with its old-fashioned steam trains, is only a five minute walk away, and the delightful Winnie the Pooh Bridge is only seven miles from the site in Ashdown Forest.

Price: £60 for a family of four for a basic site (two nights) – with added costs for additional amenities.

There are hundreds of family-friendly camping and caravan clubs all over the UK, with prices around £40 a night – go on, be brave!

More of what you love…

Don’t set off on your camping adventure without reading Family Traveller’s top camping tips and Simon Reeve’s expert advice about camping with a toddler.

Tempted by camping but nervous of pitching a tent in October? Why not try vintage-style camping in an Airstream caravan?


Jacqueline wilson

2/10 Discover the story of Jacqueline Wilson

Who doesn’t love Jacqueline Wilson? She’s one of Britain’s best-selling and most treasured children’s authors – apparently even the Queen is a fan! Now young bookworms can come face-to-face with their favourite characters, including Tracy Beaker, The Suitcase Kid and Hetty Feather, at the V&A Museum of Childhood’s new exhibition, Daydreams and Diaries.

As well as inviting you to delve into the world of Jacqueline Wilson’s wonderful stories, the Seven Stories exhibition gives you the chance to learn about her childhood, early career and what inspired her to write. You’ll get to read the author’s original notebooks, school reports and diaries – and even explore reconstructions of her childhood bedroom and the study where she now writes. The exhibition also features touching contributions from readers, explaining the impact Jacqueline Wilson’s books have had on their lives.

The exhibition runs from 11 September to 2 November 2014.

Price: Free

More of what you love…

Find out why we can’t wait to go to the Jacqueline Wilson exhibition and discover what else is new at the V&A’s fabulous Museum of Childhood.


family on a beach with kite

3/10 Explore the world on the doorstep

Just because you haven’t planned a fancy holiday overseas this half term, it doesn’t mean you can’t escape home for a few days. Nothing blows away the cobwebs like a change of scenery so, before the cold winter weather really takes hold, why not sneak away and spend a few days getting to know a new part of the UK?

London might be old news, but you’ll find just as much culture and family fun in cities like Manchester, Cardiff or Glasgow. The UK also has lots of fabulous cities that are small enough to explore in a weekend, but big enough to keep the whole family entertained for days.

Why not hop in the car and head to Bath, Oxford or Stratford-Upon-Avon? And if you want to escape city life altogether, pick a pretty coastal spot and spend some time snuggled up in a seaside B&B or flying kites on the beach, which you’ll most likely have all to yourselves.

More of what you love…

Find half-term inspiration in our roundup of the ten best UK city breaks.

To ensure a stress-free holiday, check out Simon Reeve’s expert advice on surviving a city break with a toddler.


monsters at lego land

4/10 Meet friendly monsters at Legoland Windsor

From Saturday 18 October to Monday 3 November, Legoland’s Brick or Treat event will serve up enough Halloween fun to keep little Lego fans entertained all day.

The world’s friendliest monster, bolt-necked Frankie, will lead the dancing at the Monster’s Ball, while the wicked Lord Vampyre is set to judge the fancy dress competition. Kids will love exploring the spooky Forest of 5,000 Pumpkins (beware Lego spiders!), where they’ll have the chance to make their own pumpkins.

For the really little ones, the Duplo Theatre will host a delightful Halloween puppet show, while over at the resort’s hotel, any worries about bogey-men or things that go bump in the night will be put to rest by a crack team of Bed Checkers, who will look under beds and make sure young guests sleep tight.

Park price: Legoland tickets start at £35.10 for adults, £31.05 for children (free for under threes) and from £132.30 for families (two adults plus two children, or one adult plus three children) when you book in advance online.

Legoland hotel prices: Themed family rooms (two adults and two children) are available from £334 (price based on £83.50 per person). Hotel price includes breakfast and park tickets for two days, plus early bird access to selected rides in the park.

Book now for a spooktacular Halloween!

More of what you love…

Family Traveller’s top tips on visiting theme parks will help you make the most of your day. And if your little ones enjoy Legoland, they’ll love Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire. With rides for all ages, a zoo and overnight accommodation, it’s the perfect place for a family weekend.


real mary kings cross

5/10 Unlock Edinburgh’s deepest secrets

This half term, visitors to the popular Edinburgh attraction Real Mary King’s Close will enjoy a 15% saving.

The attraction brings to life the story of the people who once lived, worked and died in the city’s underground closes from the 16th century. A historical character leads visitors on a journey into Edinburgh’s fascinating past – with plenty of surprises along the way.

The somewhat spooky experience never fails to appeal to kids, but due to the nature of the site, this tour is not suitable for children under five.

Price: The family ticket admits two adults and two children (aged five to 15) and is available daily from 1 October until 2 November. The family tickets cost £35.70 and advance bookings can be made by calling 0845 070 6244 or in person at The Real Mary King’s Close.

More of what you love…

Find out what else the charming city of Edinburgh has to offer families and get some great advice about where to stay.


treetop adventure lake district

6/10 Have a treetop adventure in the Lake District

Perched high in the leafy canopy of Brockhole, Windermere, Treetop Nets is an exciting network of walkways, trampolines, slides and tunnels – all made entirely of nets. The beauty is that the whole adventure park is also surrounded by safety netting, so there’s no need to wear harnesses. Kids (and young-at-heart grown-ups) can run and leap and bounce to their hearts’ content. The attraction is suitable for kids aged three and up and is a great way to explore the treetops in a fun – and completely safe – environment.

While at Brockhole, be sure to check out the high ropes course, Treetop Trek. Try the 35 exciting treetop challenges, designed to make you swing, climb, balance and fly through the ancient woodland canopy, and to top it all off, race your friends and family down the 250-metre zip wire.

Price: Treetop nets pricing includes unlimited play for up to two hours. Children three to six years, £12.50 (must be supervised on the nets); children seven and over, £15.00. Adults, £15.00. Adults accompanying children under seven, £12.50.

Treetop trek prices start from £17 per person, with family discount available.

More of what you love…

The soaring mountains and lush green valleys of the Lake District are well worth a journey to the northwest. Discover Family Traveller’s top ten buggy walks in the area.


kids in the theatre with glasses on

7/10 Take in a show with the kids

You don’t have to wait for panto season to plan a family trip to the theatre. Theatres up and down the country are staging child-friendly productions during half term, and there are also dozens that are dedicated especially to children, including the Egg in Bath, Leeds Children’s Theatre and the Polka Theatre in London. Here are some of our top half-term picks:

The Falcon’s Malteser

The Egg Theatre, Bath – 20-25 October
This charming production follows the adventures of the hopelessly inept private detective and his sharp-witted brother as they set off on a thrilling case to discover just what is so important about a box of Maltesers. For ages eight and up.Price: £11 for adults and £8 for children. A family ticket (four tickets) costs £30. Lap seats are available at £2 for infants up to two years at the door.

Fantastic Mr Fox

Little Angel Theatre, London – 13 September – 9 November
An imaginative adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale using puppets and music. Suitable for ages four to eleven.

Price: £14/£12 for children and concessions (£1.80 booking fee applies to all card transactions, no fee for members). The theatre’s Friday Fives deal means all tickets cost £5 for shows at 5pm on Friday.

Top tip: At 2pm on Sunday 12 October there will be a special Family Gala performance, with a chance to meet the puppets and explore backstage after the show. Tickets cost £25.

Room On The Broom

The Hexagon, Reading. 23 October – 24 October
Adapted from the best-selling book written by the creators of the Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, little ones will love this spellbinding new adventure. Join a hapless witch and her cat as they search for a missing hat and wand. For ages three and up.

Price: Tickets cost £14 and groups of more than ten people cost £9.70, with the eleventh person attending for free (all tickets are inclusive of booking fee).

The show is also touring to:

Dorking, Dorking Halls Theatre (Tue 14 Oct)
North Finchley, Artsdepot Theatre (Fri 17-Sun 19 Oct)
Corby, The Core Theatre (Sat 25-Sun 26 Oct)
Liverpool, Playhouse Theatre (Tue 28-Thu 30 Oct)
Chelmsford, Civic Theatre (Fri 31 Oct–Sun 2 Nov)

More of what you love…

Looking for more fun and educational half-term activities? Treat the family to an unforgettable historical walking tour of London or take little detectives to the thrilling new Sherlock Holmes exhibition.


Warwick castle silouhette

8/10 Face your fears at Warwick Castle

If you and the kids want a real scare this Halloween, then the Haunted Castle is for you. During daylight hours, you’ll enjoy spine-tingling storytelling and a pumpkin trail (watch out for the headless horseman who’ll be roaming the corridors!). Especially for Halloween, Princess Tower will fall into the hands of a coven of wicked witches, who will be offering younger children the chance to join them – dressing up and even writing their own spells.

Older kids (aged ten and up) will love exploring the dungeon, where they can discover some of the most disturbing times in the castle’s bloody history, as actors and special effects bring to life grim tales from when the town was ravaged by plague.

It’s when the sun sets that the fear factor really ramps up. After dark, spirits become more restless, the atmosphere shifts and the castle transforms into a horrifying playground for adults.

For those looking for a real thrill – outbreak 1349 is the scariest of all the castles Halloween offerings. Prepare to scream as you try to escape plague ridden characters. The castle stays open until 9pm.

Price: The Complete Castle Kingdom Ticket includes everything; castle, grounds, shows and The Castle Dungeon. Warwick Castle Scares and ‘Mares takes place between 24 October and 1 November 2014. Tickets to the castle from 5pm cost £10, or £15 including entrance to The Castle Dungeon.

Evening only tickets will be on sale soon.

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Discover the less spooky side of Warwick Castle and remind yourself why family days out are experiences to treasure.


Northumberland beach

9/10 Enjoy a taste of Northumberland

Why go?

Northumberland is a land of lush forests, beautiful coastline and delicious local cuisine – and Autumn is the perfect time to visit.

Few counties boast such variety of outdoor and family activities. From stargazing at Kielder Water and Forest Park and hill walking in the Cheviots, to exploring the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, there’s no shortage of ways to tire the kids out this half term.

If you want to get into the Halloween spirit, head to Ford and Etal Estates, a few miles inland from the Northumberland coast, for a spooktacular show which features bat hunts, fancy dress steam train rides, pumpkin competitions and a hog roast with ceilidh.

Where to eat

Fresh seafood caught off Northumberland’s expansive coast is available in abundance, as are fluffy scones baked with the flour from the Heatherslaw Corn Mill. The county’s meat is recognised as some of the best in the country and several markets offer not only fresh meat, but homemade chutneys, preserves, and cheeses.

Look forward to enjoying a hearty hog roast (Halloween fancy dress optional) at Hay Farm, tucking into a delicious meal at the forest at Kielder Castle Café or eating tasty, locally produced food at award-winning family-friendly restaurants overlooking the beach.

Where to stay

Kielder Water and Forest Park offers inexpensive accommodation that’s a stone’s throw from plenty of family amenities. You’ll find a great selection of family accommodation options, including a luxury lodge and touring caravan site at Leaplish Waterside Park, a riverside camping site, and fully equipped Scandinavian style lodges.

For something a little more indulgent, treat the family to a stay at Matfen Hall Hotel. You’ll enjoy endless on-site activities and tasty food to suit palates of all ages. With award-winning fine dining, a relaxed bistro and a juice bar to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The hotel is set in 300 acres of parkland, which features a 27-hole golf course and spa. Popular treetop adventure course, Go Ape, is situated in the hotel grounds, and is the perfect place for kids aged 10 and up to let off steam.

More of what you love…

If you’re taking a trip to Northumberland, on the England-Scotland border, you may as well venture a little further north, and find out why Scotland is a fabulous place for a family holiday.


London eyes witch academy

10/10 Enrol at London Eye’s Witch Academy

This Halloween, the London Eye Witch Academy will open its doors to wicked little witches and wizards.

Once they enroll, recruits will be delighted with sweets, spiders and scary storytelling, and learn how to do spells and tricks. Now in its third year, the Witch Academy also invites little ones to dress up, play games and dance.

The Halloween lessons take place inside London Eye capsules, which will be given a spooky makeover for the occasion. Kids will discover plenty of spooky facts about London while looking down from their 135m high classroom. They’ll also receive a goody bag, a wizard or witch hat, activity pack and of course, plenty of sweets.

The Halloween Storytelling Experience is suitable for little horrors aged four to nine and is available from 12.30–6.30pm on Saturday 24 October, running until Saturday 31 October.

Price: Tickets from £18.50 for children (four-15 years) and £29.50 for adults (16+ years).

Witch Academy package: Includes priority boarding, 30 minutes on the London Eye, entry to the 4D Experience, children’s storytelling and goody bag and up to a discount when you book online.