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Muddy Half Term Guide

Eek, they're off on hols again – but we've got ammunition. Check out these faberoo things to do with the kids this half-term.

DAYS OUT 

Larmer Tree Spooktacular, Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, Sun 28 Oct

You’ll need a spooooooooky get up for Larmer Tree’s Spooktacular Halloween event and costume competition. Other activities include Halloween story times, Halloween trail, face painting and much more. www.larmertree.co.uk

 

Bowood’s Happy Halloween, Bowood House, Calne, Tues 30 Oct to Wed 31 Oct

Bring the whole family to Bowood House for a scare-free Halloween. Kids can get stuck into arts and crafts or take a tour around the gardens and admire the decorations. If that doesn’t tempt them, the promise of plenty of sweeties will! www.bowood.org

 

Fright Night, Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, Wed 31 Oct

This is not for the faint of heart. Get ready to tiptoe your way through the terrifying maze…you might not be alone out there. Sadly, no little ones allowed to this one – it’s 12+ only. www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk

 

Kids go free! At Monkey World, Monkey World, Wareham, Wed 31 Oct

Have a spook-tacular time at Monkey World this Halloween. The Kid’s Activity Centre is open throughout half-term with spooky sand art, creepy crafts and a terrifying trail to keep the little ones entertained, and make sure you visit their spider monkeys, who’ll prove that not all spiders are scary! To top it off, on October 31st kids in full Halloween fancy dress get into Monkey World for free. www.monkeyworld.org

 

Half Term Halloween Entertainment, Blenheim Palace, 20 Oct – 4 Nov

Hop on board the ghost train and head through the creepy tunnel to the Pleasure Gardens where a bone-anza of activities are to be found. There will be a host of treats on offer at the Pleasure Gardens Pizza Cafe including their seasonal Pumpkin pizza, as well as ice-scream and other delectable treats for little witches and wizards. www.blenheimpalace.com

 

Halloween, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Wed 24 Oct

Do you dare delve into what lies beneath Sudeley Castle? What will you discover…? A team of archaeologists need help to unravel the gruesome secrets of their bone boxes, and concoct a Medieval cure…   Plus get devilishly crafty with arts and crafts activities inspired by skeletons and bones. The archaeologists have also unearthed something fearsome in the castle grounds… sudeleycastle.co.uk

 

The Great British Autumn, plus Longleat House Ghost Tours, Longleat, Warminster, 20 Oct – 4 Nov

Make this a haunted Halloween that you’ll never forget and book onto one of their spooky Ghost Tours. Join a spine-chilling tour of Longleat House and your ghoulish guide will take you through unseen cellars, eerie attics and dark corridors, all whilst sharing haunting tales of Longleat’s legendary past. It’s long been rumoured that the Grey Lady, Lady Louisa Carteret – wife of the 2nd Viscount, still wonders the House in search for her murdered lover. longleat.co.uk

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Go Ape, Mallards Pike Lake & Beechenhurst Lodge, Forest of Dean

There’s not one but two Go Apes, the treetop adventure playground for Tarzans and Janes, in the Forest of Dean, England’s largest oak woodland. The site at Mallards Pike Lake is home to the original Tree Top Adventure and Forest Segway, while three miles down the road, Beechenhurst Lodge is the place to go for a Tree Top Junior Adventure. The site was completely redesigned recently and now includes new obstacles including the Tank Trap, The Shuffle, Net Bridge and Itchen Crossing among the zip wires, Tarzan swings and rope ladders. And if you need a bit of rest after all that but still want to explore the leafy surroundings, you can hop on a forest Segway and go in search of wild boar, deer and birds of prey.
goape.co.uk

 

Pumpkin Carving, Roves Farm. Sevenhampton, 24 Oct – 4 Nov

Carve pumpkins galore and join in the many spoooooky activities. Don’t miss out! rovesfarm.co.uk

 

Jungleparc, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Wilts

Swing in the treetops at Jungleparc, with loads of activities suitable for children as young as three. And if you’re a big kid or adult – and are feeling extra brave – there is the Xplorer course which, be warned, is VERY high. jungleparc.co.uk

 

Halloween Half Term Spooktacular, Cholderton Charlies Farm, Cholderton, Salisbury, Wilts, 

This Half Term, pop along and get into the “Spirit” of Halloween with a Farm Spooktacular. As an added bonus, if you come in full fancy dress you will receive half price admission during these dates. choldertoncharliesfarm.com

 

Kids Combat Adventures, near Chippenham, Wilts

Enter the battlefield and get ready for a fight at Kids Combat Adventure. Outdoor laser tag will tick most kids’ boxes (and is a lot less painful than paintball apparently). jcompany.co.uk

 

Puzzlewood, Coleford, Forest of Dean, Glos

This beautiful woodland in the heart of the Forest of Dean is like something out of a fairy tale – or a film or the telly, literally; Star Wars: The Force AwakensDr Who and Merlin were all filmed here. Puzzleford’s unworldly, 14-acre forest has plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, including winding vine paths and a willow maze. And if you want to stay for the weekend, you can even book your own cottage tucked away in the greenery and enjoy a weekend in your own little mythical utopia. puzzlewood.net

 

Lydiard Park, near Swindon, Wilts

The super stunning Lydiard Park set in 260 acres of beautiful parkland has a jam-packed schedule of events over the holidays that’ll keep you busy all half term long. lydiardpark.org.uk

 

Halloween Land, Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, Thurs 18 Oct to Wed 31 Oct

Pick your very own pumpkin to carve at home, plus face painting, a spooky maze and a haunting phantomime. www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk

 

Giant bionic bug trail, Slimbridge Wetland Centre, near Dursley, Glos, 6 Oct – 4 Nov

Search for giant animatronic bugs and find out fascinating facts about the minibeasts that inhabit the wetland world. Meet a 6ft long dragonfly, a 4ft buzzing bee, and a 6ft long hopping grasshopper amongst others on the new trail, brought to life with state of the art animatronics and sound effects. wwt.org.uk

 

Castle Combe Circuit, Castle Combe, near Chippenham, Wilts

This home of motorsport has been welcoming petrol-heads for 65 years with a whole load of driving experiences on offer, from rally driving to super-car fun. And kids don’t just have to be passengers – there’s an under 12 driving school where they can get behind the wheel themselves – eek! castlecombecircuit.co.uk

 

National Dive Centre, Tidenham, Chepstow, Glos

Surrounded by a jaw-dropping quarry and slightly terrifying cliff edge, the National Dive Centre has a whole host of wet and dry fun to keep any adrenaline-junkie family happy. Soar through the water with fly boards or go deep below in diving classes. If you fancy keeping dry, the giant 3G swing or zip wire will get your heart pumping. And if you want to stay over, there are fab glamping pods to hole up in. ndac.co.uk

 

Adventurous Photo Shoots, Victoria Tapper Photography, across Wilts and Glos
Right, get your boots on and meet up at your favourite wild location. Climb trees, kick leaves, wade streams, build dens – the kids will love it and you’ll get some utterly gorgeous pics to cherish forever. Tried and tested by yours truly, I can vouch that the lovely Victoria will capture all this adventure beautifully and naturally, leaving you with fabulous memories and  photos that whole family will love for a lifetime. Book now at Victoria Tapper Photography
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INDOOR FUN

Rush Skatepark, Brimscombe, near Stroud, Glos

bmx ramp teenager

The biggest skatepark in the country, this family-run and family-friendly (and sponsored by no less than cool clothing giant Superdry) is no gangsta hangout (there’s a strict zero tolerance policy on drink, drugs and bullying) but is still your über-hip hangout. Offering a unique rider experience for BMXs, scooters, skateboards and aggressive skates, the fully-marshalled, 40,000 sq ft park offers a street section, park and bowl sections, jump track, foam pit and resi. (Had to look that last one up – it’s a ramp. I know, I’m embarrassing…) rushskatepark.co.uk

 

Wessex Raceway, Salisbury, Wilts

This massive 700m indoor track is exactly what the doctor ordered for any rainy day during the October break. Completely weatherproof, it’ll burn off even the most hyper child’s pent-up energy. wessexraceway.co.uk

 

JDR Karting, Gloucester, Glos

Boy racers will absolutely love this one, and it’s a great option for a birthday party. Suit up ‘The Stig’-style, put the pedal to the metal and race around the amazing indoor track. You may even end up on the podium and bringing home a trophy at the end of the day. jdrkarting.co.uk

 

Jolly Roger Adventure, Swindon, Wilts

Bouncy castles, arcade games, slides, and climbing nets – does a kid need anything more? One of the largest indoor play centres in the South West, this is a great day out for small and big kids alike, and, if you’re lucky you might meet the famous resident mascot, Charlie the parrot. jollyrogerplay.com

 

The Warehouse Climbing and Caving Centre, Gloucester, Glos

I recently went to a talk by an Everest adventurer who started his ‘career’ aged 13 on a climbing wall. So if you’re harbouring a young Ranulph Fiennes, who knows what you might trigger as she or he scales the impressive 13m wall here or ditches the ropes and goes bouldering in the lower levels. There’s also a dedicated kids’ room for anyone who’s a bit too small for the big wall. And a cave, built with tunnels and chambers, which feels like you’re really caving somewhere deep down below. the-warehouse.co.uk

 

RampNation Skatepark, Devizes, Wilts

Even grump-tastic teens might consider this indoor skatepark cool. Built for inlines, scooters, skateboards and BMX, it’s a massive 5000 sq ft of skater heaven partly designed by local skaters, so they can ride whatever the weather and keep out of your hair. RampNation.co.uk

 

Far Peak Climbing Centre, Northleach, Glos

There’s nothing like an adrenaline rush and Far Peak near Northleach has plenty of those on offer with its indoor climbing and bouldering (that’s climbing without ropes and harnesses for anyone who didn’t know, ie, me) and 15m outdoor tower that’s just waiting to be scaled. For Easter hols there are extended opening times (9.15am-10pm) and activities that cater for pretty much all ages. wildrockclimbing.co.uk

 

MUSEUMS & CASTLES

Berkeley Castle, Berkeley

This ancient fortress where the Berkeley family has lived since the 12th century (and where Edward II was imprisoned and died, some suspect under dubious circumstances) is one of the country’s most amazing living pieces of history with its arrow slits, murder holes, battlements and fairy-tale warm pink stone. berkeley-castle.com

 

Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud

Fossil rubbing, garden printing, magical box making, print making – is there any creative activity that Stroud’s Museum in the Park doesn’t do? Plus there are bee and butterfly trails to explore, as well as the inspiring permanent exhibition and beautiful art exhibitions. museuminthepark.org.uk

 

Corinium Museum, Cirencester

Study local and ancient history at Cirencester’s brilliant Corinium Museum with exhibitions that take you on a journey through time, marking the development of the Cotswolds from the early prehistoric landscape to modern-day society. coriniummuseum.org

 

Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

This award-winning gallery in Devizes contains the largest collection of early Bronze Age gold ever displayed in England, as well as 500 Stonehenge artefacts and makes a great day out for budding historians and archaeologists. wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

 

The Salisbury Museum, Salisbury, Wilts

Journey back to medieval times to the earliest evidence of human occupation in Salisbury. Learn how people lived and what struggle they went through to reach where they are today. salisburymuseum.org.uk

 

Chedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, near Cheltenham, Glos

One of the grandest Roman villas in Britain are sticking to their roots and inviting families to join in on celebrating roman culture. Kids can dive head first into the dress up box and dress themselves in traditional robes, walk around the beautiful nature trails and become part of history by mucking in on the big mosaic excavation. nationaltrust.org.uk

 

Steam Museum, Swindon, Wilts

All aboard the Steam Museum express! Come along and learn the history of the Great Western Railway which helped make the West Country what it is today. With plenty of interactive displays and historical talks, it’s a great day out for curious children who love a bit of history – and train-obsessed toddlers! steam-museum.org.uk

 

L.S Lowry Exhibition, The Whitewall Gallery, Salisbury, Sat 20 Oct to Sun 21 Oct

A rare collection of artworks from famed artist L.S Lowry is coming to Salisbury, displaying works created between 1887 – 1976. www.whitewallgalleries.com

 

CAMPS AND COURSES

Saturday Chefs, The Farm Cookery School, Bromham, Sat 20 Oct

If your teen needs more confidence in the kitchen this class is perfect – they’ll learn basic skills, new recipes and soon understand the techniques needed to create a delicious meal. www.thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk

 

Mini Chefs – Halloween, Vaughan’s Kitchen, Devizes, Sat 27 Oct

Let your kids go wild with spooky treats at Vaughan’s Kitchen. They’ll learn how to make plenty of themed goodies including graveyard dip, freaky fingers and spider web cakes. Scary yet delicious! www.vaughanskitchen.co.uk

 

Mexican – Night of The Dead, Vaughan’s Kitchen, Devizes, Wed 31 Oct

Fancy doing something a little different this Halloween? Celebrate The Day of The Dead with this Mexican themed cooking class. www.vaughanskitchen.co.uk

 

Christmas Cooking Class, Cookery at Winston House, Stroud, Thurs 1 Nov & Thurs 8 Nov

Learn some fab new recipes in time for Christmas and impress all your family with your delicious new recipes. Perfect for a buffet or as canapes at a Christmas do. www.cookeryatwinstonhouse.co.uk

 

Family Cooking Together, Daylesford Cookery School, Daylesford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Glos, 26 Oct

They say the family that eats together, stays together, so this fab day’s cooking in the salubrious surroundings of Daylesford will be good for you in more ways than one. There will be lots of autumn flavours from their market garden to experiment with and a chance to explore the 25-acre horticultural wonder. Suitable for ages four plus, ingredients, refreshments and lunch all included. daylesford.com

 

Kids Cookery Course, Lucknam Park, Chippenham, Wilts, Tues 23, Wed 24 and Thurs 25 Oct, and Thurs 1 Nov

These half-day courses for adults and children are a great way to introduce your kids to the basics of cooking and teach them the importance of fresh, seasonal produce. Suitable for ages six to 13, you’ll enjoy an excellent bonding experience and go home with lots of yummy treats, including pork meatballs, pancakes with chocolate sauce and blueberry cupcakes. lucknampark.co.uk

 

The School of Wizardry, Dean Close, Cheltenham, Glos

A spellbinding week of magic and wizardry awaits courtesy of the Cheltenham Academy of Music and Dramatic Art’s wand-erful School of Wizardry. Kids will walk into the pages of Harry Potter and be immersed in a Hogworts-style environment for the week where there’ll be music to sing, stories to act out and, of course, spells to be cast taught to them by bona fide magicians from The Magic Circle. Email the Magic Team at info@camda.org or call 07545 345655

 

THEATRE

Heading to London? Shopping, cocktails, some precious ‘me time’. Uh, no. The kids are coming too, which means Shake Shack and Build A Bear. So why not book a show? At least you can put your feet up…Check out our pick of the best kids’ theatre in town this October half term.

Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre

Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, Matilda revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dares to change her destiny. uk.matildathemusical.com

 

42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Young Peggy Sawyer is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway’s newest show. But when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy might just have the shot at stardom she’s always dreamed of. 42ndstreetmusical.co.uk

 

Wicked, Apollo Theatre

Winner of 90 international awards, Wicked has been casting its magical spell over audiences of all ages across the world since 2003 and continues to be a record-breaking hit at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it is has become the 13th longest-running show in West End history. wickedthemusical.co.uk

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Criterion Theatre

A priceless diamond has been entrusted to the city bank, but in a town where everyone’s a crook and even security guards can’t be trusted, what could possibly go wrong? Delivering swag loads of laughter, Ocean’s Eleven meets the Marx Brothers in this dynamite new comedy. thecomedyaboutabankrobbery.com

 

School of Rock, New London Theatre

Based on the iconic hit movie, this irresistible musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out? schoolofrockthemusical.com

 

Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre

ALADDIN, , Director and Choreographer – Casey Nicholaw, Scenic Design – Bob Crowley, Costume Design – Gregg Barnes, Lighting – Natasha Katz, Prince Edward Theatre, London, 2017, Credit: Johan Persson/

Breathtaking sets, mind-blowing special effects, over 350 lavish costumes and a fabulous cast and orchestra bring the magic of Disney’s Aladdin to life on the West End stage. Featuring all the songs from the classic Academy Award®-winning film including ‘Friend Like Me’, ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Arabian Nights’, prepare to experience the unmissable ‘theatrical magic’ (Daily Telegraph) that is Aladdin. aladdinthemusical.co.uk

 

The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Disney’s musical phenomenon The Lion King continues to captivate audiences of all ages. Combining dazzling staging and highly imaginative costumes, masks and puppets, this astonishing show at the Lyceum Theatre uses breathtaking theatrical magic to tell the story of Simba – join him now in his epic journey to reclaim his kingdom. thelionking.co.uk

 

The King and I, London Palladium

Tipped to be London’s theatrical event of 2018, the multi-award winning and critically acclaimed Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I rocks up at London’s iconic Palladium. kingandimusical.co.uk

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