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Brilliant half term and Halloween ideas

Yep, half term crept up on us too. No fear, Muddy to the rescue with the ultimate guide to beating the boredom and surviving the school holidays.

GREET A GHOST

SS Great Britain, Spooky Ship. Photo Adam Gasson

Join Longleat for a spine-chilling tour of Longleat House, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov. There have been some other-worldly visitors rumored to be walking the halls just waiting to be discovered. You’ll hear all about the ghostly residents and get the chance the wonder through the unseen cellars, eerie attics, and dark corridors. www.longleat.co.uk

Step aboard the 175 -year-old SS Great Britain for an immersive Victorian fright-fest based on the true story of Captain James Hosken, whose fatal error caused the ship to run aground in Dundrum Bay in 1846. Sunken souls and spectres await on The Spooky Ship: Shipwrecked! in conjunction with the Bristol Old Vic, Bristol, Thurs 31 Oct – Sat 2 Nov.

Take a night time ghost walk around the streets of Roman and Georgian Bath. Ghost Walks of Bath run (or hopefully, stroll) every Thurs, Fri and Sat with a special Halloween walk on Thurs 31 Oct.

Spiders and skeletons, ghosts and cobwebs in the East Somerset Railway‘s Halloween carriage and spooky station. Sat, 26, Sun 27 and Weds 30 Oct.

 

PUMPKIN FUN

Pick your own pumpkin to light up your garden on Halloween night at Cotswold Farm Park, Mon 21 Oct to Sun 3 Nov. They’re available for sale at just £1.00 if you have a valid Farm park ticket.

Check out Bowood’s Enchanted AutumnBowood House, Wed 23 Oct to Fri 1 Nov – an evil witch has caused mayhem around the Bowood Estate and now the whole place is riddled with ghouls, ghosts and creepy crawlies. Follow the scarecrow trail and take part in all the Halloween activities around the grounds.

Monkey World is spook-tacular this half term! Learn all about their creatures of the night, the slow loris. Not only are these fang-tastic primates nocturnal, with heightened senses to enable them to negotiate the dark forest, but they are also able to deliver a toxic bite. Visit the spook station by the loris house to test your senses against a loris, and take part in their terrifying trail, and creepy crafts. To top it off, on October 31st, kids in full Halloween fancy dress get into Monkey World for FREE! The best costume will receive a prize, in the FREE fancy dress competition.

Giant pumpkins, a parliament of owls, Autumn-themed sand art, a chilling ghost walk through the dark corridors and a fireworks finale are all at The Great British Autumn, Longleat House, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov.

There is plenty of spooky fun to be had at Cotswold Farm Park’s Halloween Land, Fri 25 Oct to Sun 3 Nov. Each child will get their own free pumpkin to pick and then decorate with haunting designs.

 

JOIN A THEATRE WORKSHOP

The School of Wizardry (inspired by Harry Potter) at The School of Wizardry, by CAMDA – Cheltenham Academy of Music and Dramatic Art runs for 4 magical days from Monday 28 to Thursday 31 October inclusive.  Hours are 10-4.30 pm in the heart of Cheltenham. Featuring ‘Conjuring’ with Magic Circle Magicians, Acting Potter and live owls! TO BOOK, please phone or email Camda’s Magic Team; 07545 345655 and info@camda.org.  Don’t forget your wands!  www.camda.org

 

GET OUT AND ABOUT

We’ve discovered the amazing Cotswold Discovery Trail, a really cool new way to explore the Cotswolds. Whether you want to walk with friends, family or kids, you’ll get a gorgeous map, plus 2 day-long trails (one in the north Cotswolds and one in the south) for you to follow by car and explore on foot. The maps are designed as treasure trails, with loads of information to uncover and clues to answer on your journey, so they’re loads of fun.
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GO ON A SAFARI

Wildlife expert and broadcaster Ed Drewitt has teamed up with Tudor Farmhouse to create the ultimate West Country Wildlife Safari, dates in October/November. Explore the ancient wonderland to discover one it’s many residents including bats, deer, badgers, foxes, voles, mice, hedgehogs and wild boar.

 

GO DOWN TO THE WOODS

Dens, mud kitchens, rope swings and more in 80 acres of huge oak and beech trees, burbling brooks and an abundance of plants and wildlife in the Hidden Woods, between Bath and Frome. Age 8+ Read our review. Holiday Club for up to Tues 29 and Thurs 31 Oct.

Light a campfire without matches, make campfire popcorn and build the perfect den at a ranger for the day at the National Trust’s Barrington Court, near Ilminster. Tues 29 Oct.

 

GO TO THE BALL

Bowood House is throwing the most exclusive and glam Halloween event in the West Country this season, Fri 1 Nov. Guests must come in their best fancy dress and will be welcomed with a terrifyingly delicious buffet and a DJ with killer tunes. www.bowood.org

 

WATCH SCARY MOVIES

Special Halloween screenings of cult musical the Rocky Horror Show and Beetlejuice are on at Bath’s Little Theatre Cinema., Thurs 31 Oct.

Or, for little ones, Tetbury Goods Shed are showing Toy Story 4 on 29 Oct.

 

BOOK A COOKERY CLASS

Bored of cooking for your ungrateful kids? How about sending them to one of these cookery classes instead?

Mini & Young Chefs – Day of the Dead (Mexican Halloween) – at Vaughan’s Cookery School, Sat 26 Oct, will get the Mudlets making something that sounds ghoulish but tastes delicious.

Join Spooky Children’s Halloween Baking at The Cooking School, Warminster, 31 Oct, 10am – 12pm. Spend your Halloween crafting some devilishly decadent Halloween treats. This creepy class covers a range of spooky treats perfect for any Halloween party.

If you’re interested in learning how to cook North Indian food and would love your child to learn with you, then join Parent and Child Cookery Workshop, Pure Punjabi, Salisbury . Learn in the style in which the fabulous mother and daughter Pure Punjabi team learned and in which they teach…the mother-daughter style. Sat 2 Nov.

Lucknam Park are offering Spooky Bakes, an adult and child course on 31 October. Suitable for ages six to 13, you’ll enjoy an excellent bonding experience and go home with lots of yummy, ghouly treats.

Budding Chefs at Daylesford Farm, Cotswolds, will tour the 25 acre market garden and harvest some of the ingredients before heading in to the teaching kitchen to whip them up in to some delish dishes.

 

GET ARTY AND CRAFTY

Clear your fridge doors for autumn’s influx of kiddie artwork! Join The Pound, Corsham to make, stick, craft and create at The Big Draw Festival, 25-31 Oct. Or head to New Brewery Arts, Cirencester for October Craft Days, as well as photography workshops, two upcycling extravaganzas and Mexican Day of the Dead Crafts.

Splash of Colour, Salisbury have holiday painting for all age groups at their gorgeous pottery painting stop.

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CHANGE THE WORLD

Part show, part TED talk and part party, the dynamic Zest Theatre’s Youthquake at the dedicated children and young people’s theatre, the egg, in Bath uses the words and opinions of 800 young people around to reveal the  hidden lives of Teen Britain and asks what it actually means to change the world. Suitable 14+ Tue 22 – Fri 25 Oct.

 

MEET A BUG

Robert Hooke, Micrographia of a bug (c) National Trust Images-John Hammond

Go on a insect bug trail around the 270 acres of National Trust Dyrham Park in Bath. The trail looks at insects from the late 1600s when Dyrham Park was in its heyday, and when scientists first started putting miniscule critters under a microscope. Crafts, 17th century storytellers and more.  Thurs 24 Oct – Sun 3 Nov.

 

BUILD A COMPUTER GAME

For older kids (16+), code a computer game (not Snake) in just two hours. Part of Bath Digital Festival. Tues 22 Oct.

 

RIDE A CRANE

Take a ride in an electric cargo crane and Fairbairn steam crane at MShed on Bristol Harbourside, Sat 19 & Sun 20 Oct.

 

DO STUFF IN THE DARK

the galaxy with planets and stars

All sorts of starry stuff at the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival – stargazing, planetarium, camping, crafts – around Exmoor, Mon 14 Oct – Sun 3 Nov.

Take a twilight tour around the 5,000 graves in the Landsdown Cemetery – if you dare. The cemetery was once the garden of Beckford Tower to the north of the city of Bath,  Tues 29 Oct.

Halloween-themed children’s art workshops, the Big Draw, drinks, nibbles and more at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, Thurs 31 Oct; Halloween night with story-telling and fossils at the Lyme Regis Museum in Dorset, Thurs 31 Oct. Part of the UK-wide Museums at Night Festival, Thurs 31 Oct – Sun 2 Nov.

 

UNVEIL A MONSTER

Help a detective duo find Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and Bill Sikes hiding in the caves at Cheddar Gorge. Weds 23 Oct – Sun 3 Nov.

 

GO TO A FESTIVAL

At the tail end of the holiday, there’s Wantage Literary Festival (26 Oct – 2 Nov). Highlights include a performance by festival stalwart, singer Nick Cope (27 Oct, £5), Training Your Dragon Themed Activity Day at the Vale & Downland Museum (29 Oct, FREE) and a free Creative Writing Workshop where kids can get ideas on how to start a story, including developing plot, characters and narrative (1 Nov).

 

FANCY A GHOST FEST? 

Oxford Castle’s Halloween event returns for its 10 year ‘Spookiversary’, 25 Oct – 3 Nov. Lots of activities going on across the week including Potion Making, Trick or Treating around the castle’s rooms with a few spooky characters, a Mystic Market selling Goth-y goods and spooky tours around the prison cells. For an adults-only version, how about a tour of the cocktail menu in Malmaison?

 

SCREAM AT A THEME PARK

It may be my worst nightmare but it’s a dead cert hit with adrenaline junkie teens. Yep, it’s the 18th annual Fright Night at Thorpe Park in Surrey. This year there’ll be a spooky walk-through experiences and mazes, including the one-way Platform 15, Vulcan Peak and Walking Dead Maze, plus Halloween shows and more.

Or for smaller kids, head to Legoland Windsor’s annual Halloween event Brick or Treat. It’s has been running for years but this year is set to be bigger and better with the addition of a brand new ride earlier this year that’s perfect for the season, the Haunted House Monster Party Ride. Also new is the Creepy Cobweb Castle and Monster Rocker’s Dance Party as well as the usual trail around the park, costume competition and general spooky antics. There’ll also be firework displays on select dates (17 Oct – 2 Nov).

 

GO TO A SHOW

Disney’s The Lion King, Bristol Hippodrome, to Sat 23 Nov. The first Disney animation with an original story (and more than a few passing resemblances to Hamlet) on stage with a cast from around the world. Tickets

 

FURTHER AFIELD

Warwick Castle is one of the slickest family entertainment operations around and Halloween is no exception – the Medieval castle makes for a perfect setting. On offer this year is a new show in The Witches Tower, Horrible Histories maze, Haunted Hallows trail and birds of prey demos, plus a new Ghost Trail for younger kids or scaredy-cats (guilty!).

Over in Beds you’ll find Whipsnade Zoo, the sister outpost of London Zoo which is putting on its annual Halloween event. It’s hands down my favourite zoo with the countryside setting giving it a more natural feel than city zoos – plus kids will go mad for the train. As well as its usual animal viewing, feeding, demos and talks there’ll be pumpkin carving, face painting and crafts, with each day ending with a Pumpkin Party and storytime.

Heading to the Big Smoke? There’s the brilliant Science Museum‘s cool interactive gallery- Wonderlab, with over 50 exhibitions including hands-on, live experiments at the Chemistry Bar and daily shows. The Space and AI tech exhibitions are also worth seeing.

Find more ideas here

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