Your Bumper Half-Term Guide
From haunted castles and fright nights to fantastic family-friendly art exhibitions, ghost stories, Pumpkin Week and a Moomins Day!
The Haunted Castle, Warwick Castle, Sat Oct 21-Tues Oct 31
Fire jousting, dreadful dungeons, ghostly tales in Witches Tower, Horrible Histories maze and an Edinburgh Fringe sell-out – Seance. It’s no wonder The Haunted Castle will remain open until 9pm with so much going on! Enjoy eerie escapades throughout the day and as darkness falls over the ancient towers and ramparts, the scare factor rises. New for 2017 is live entertainment on Dead Centre Stage, Dolls House and Glen Neath and David Rosenberg’s Séance, fresh from rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – an intense 15-minute sonic performance for an audience of 20 that will test just how susceptible you are to a visit from the other side. Not one for the claustrophobic!
The Lost Words & Spell Walks, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 21-Sun Dec 17
This absolutely delightful new family-friendly autumn exhibition opens just in time for half-term! It combines the creative talents of writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris to celebrate the relationship between language and the living world, and nature’s power to spark the imagination. In response to the gradual disappearance of nature from our children’s stories and imaginations, Robert’s spell-poems and Jackie Morris’ beautiful, iridescent watercolours will take visitors on a journey that makes the familiar appear magical once more. Immersive floor to ceiling graphics, merge with family interpretation areas and recordings of Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris reading the poems. Experience Jackie and Roberts’ images and words as they appear in nature via two specially commissioned interactive digital trails.
Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 21-Sun Dec 17
A rare insight into some of Quentin Blake’s best known and popular creations. Blake himself introduces illustrations for his own books and collaborations with other writers, bringing together rough drawings and finished artwork to demonstrate how his ideas evolved into unforgettable illustrations and bestselling books. Featuring a huge range of his witty illustrated characters, including Roald Dahl’s The Twits, The BFG and Matilda to The Boy in the Dress and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book. This is one of two family-friendly exhibitions this autumn at Compton Verney and includes more than 140 original works, many never seen before outside Blake’s studio, as well as some of his artist tools. Blake’s candid personal commentary and extensive selection of works make this his most intimate and revealing exhibition to date.
Picasso Pottery Painting for 7-16-year-olds, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, Mon Oct 23
Design your own abstract plate inspired by the Picasso exhibition and have it professionally fired in a special workshop for children aged 7-16 with Diana Fallowes from Crazy Kiln. Learn how to create colourful prints and patterns by hand on ceramic. Book online, £12.50, here, 10.30am-12noon. This half-term there’s also prints aplenty from stampers to blocks and vegetable printing, with a different craft every day. Picasso: Linocuts from the British Museum is on until Dec 3.
Stranger Things 2, Netflix, from Fri Oct 27
Spooky TV phenomenon Stranger Things returns this week just in time for Halloween…This nostalgic supernatural series went from word-of-mouth to must see TV almost overnight and resurrected the career of 80s ingenue Winona Ryder.
Pumpkin Week, Hatton Adventure World, Sat Oct 21-Sun Oct 29
Enjoy some scary half-term fun at this Muddy award-winning family attraction. Pick your own free pumpkin from the fields, carve it in the spooky decorated Marquee and then enter the best carved pumpkin competition to win a host of prizes. Brand new for 2017 is the Mystifying Halloween Show with scary capers and ghostly antics with Zoobee, the resident entertainer. The 3-acre corn Mega Maize Maze has had a spooky facelift and transformed into a Terrifying Terror Maze with 6 new hidden spooky characters open at timed slots throughout Pumpkin Week. Also new for this year is Haunted House and Laser Combat Game – Zombie Run for ages 8 +.
hattonworld, Tel: 01926 843411
Blade Runner 2049 (15) out now in cinemas across Wark & West Mids
Back to the future with Ryan Gosling in a film that wouldn’t really exist without Harrison Ford. Amazing cinematography. There’s a brilliant sequence I loved in a post-apocalyptic New York with snippets of Elvis and Frank Sinatra. A good one for older teens who like sci-fi. My 16-year-old son loved it and is very worried that it won’t be a box office smash!
Your Toys, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 24 & Wed Oct 25
Slot Machine Theatre bring real toys to life on stage using puppetry, original live music and quirky humour. Children are welcome to bring their own teddy or favourite toy and join in the adventure, 11am & 2pm. A family show for ages 5-9 year olds and their grownups. Afterwards as part of Creative Week at Warwick Arts Centre bring your toy to meet Snow Mouse, the star of this year’s Christmas show; make an air balloon in the Mead Gallery or explore the Around the World in 80 Sculptures Trail around campus. Running time: 1 hour.
Half-term Haunting at Tamworth Castle, Mon Oct 23-Fri Oct 27
Bring the family to enjoy the ghostly goings-on at the Castle. Encounter spooky characters and activities as you tour the medieval Castle. Complete the challenges set by the horrible hags, and try not to lose your body parts as you meet Master Slaughter! Have you got the courage to complete the tour? 11.30am-4pm,
Tamworth Castle, Holloway, Ladybank, Tamworth B79 7NA
Crafts of the Punjab, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, Sat Oct 20 – Jan 21 2018
A rare opportunity to view these stunning works from the V&A’s South Asian Collection outside London. Discover the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s elaborate musical instruments and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts. One of the most extraordinary pieces on show will be the Golden Throne made by a Muslim craftsman in Lahore for Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab. There’ll be Prints of the Punjab inspired half-term activities all week. See what’s on here.
Playbox Theatre Half-Term Workshops, The Dream Factory, Warwick, Mon Oct 23-Fri Oct 27
This year’s workshops for children who like to dress-up and be creative include Harry Potter’s World (Mon Oct 23-Fri Oct 27), The BFG (Thurs Oct 26-Fri Oct 27), Peter Pan (Mon Oct 23), The Worst Witch (Fri Oct 27), Winnie The Witch (Tues Oct 24) and Rapunzel & Friends (Wed Oct 25). There’s also a Pumpkin Part on Thurs Oct 26, 10am-1pm.
playboxtheatre, 01926 419555
Halloween Fright Night, Ryton Pools, nr Princethorpe, Sat Oct 28
Bring the whole family to Ryton Pools for a spooky evening of Halloween fun and games with Old Warty and friends. Pick up your trick-or-treat fun bag as you enter the haunted courtyard. Attractions include rides on the Ghost Train, Spooky Photo Corner, Clumsy Ranger Trail, Tunnel-web Spider Lair and new this year The Big Bad Bat Cave, Old Warty’s Haunted Garden and the Horror Hospital. Don’t forget to bring your own carved, numbered pumpkin to put out in Old Warty’s Pumpkin Patch to be judged by the visitors. A prize will be awarded to the top pumpkin! Bring a torch! Suitable for ages 3 years + accompanied by an adult.
£10 per child and £2 per adult. Booking is essential on 024 7630 5592.
Fright Nights, Kenilworth Castle, Sat Oct 21-Sun Oct 29
Little horrors will be scared silly by terrifying Tudor tales and enjoy creepy crafts and spooky every day during half-term and from Thurs Oct 26 – Sat Oct 28 families with children aged 5-10 years can visit the castle after-hours, 6-7pm to meet spine-tingling storytellers and discover tales of ghostly apparitions, dastardly deeds, and ghoulish goings-on. From 7pm-10pm the event is suitable for over 10’s only and not for anyone with a nervous disposition!
Children’s Halloween Evening, Tamworth Castle, Sat 28 Oct
As half-term week ends, enjoy a fun evening hosted by the Friends of Tamworth Castle charity. Bring all the family, get dressed up in your spookiest costume and enjoy the ghostly goings on around the Castle. This is a very popular event, so please book your time slot in advance, 5 -8.30pm.
Tamworth Castle, Holloway, Ladybank, Tamworth B79 7NA
The Big Draw, Compton Verney, Tues Oct 24-Fri Oct 27
Drop in to the studio during half-term with your children to create your very own wonderful and bizarre creations inspired by Quentin Blake, using a variety of drawing materials.
Make your own Roman-style pot, Lunt Roman Fort, Bagington, Mon Oct 23-Fri Oct 27
October half term sees the last set of school holiday workshops at Lunt Roman Fort this year, so explore the fascinating historic site before entering the Granary to make your own Roman-style pot, 10am-3.30pm.
Kaleidoscope: Colour & Sequence in 1960s British Art, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Thur Oct 5-Dec 9
I popped along to the private view last and this touring Arts Council Collection is definitely worth a visit. It features lots of fun brightly-coloured abstract New Generation sculpture, Op Art including paintings by Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley and Pop art. Among the 20 artists there’s also work by David Annesley, Anthony Carol, Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Philip King, Kim Lim, Mary Martin, Eduardo Polozzi, Tim Scott, Richard Smith, William Tucker and William Turnbull. Free.
Revolting Recipes: Museums at Night, Market Hall Museum, Warwick, Fri Oct 27
Make apple maws, banana ghosts and squirmy jelly worms. Take home some repulsive recipes so you can create a feast to gross out your friends over Halloween. Cost: £2.50 per child, drop in 4pm-6pm. On Tues Oct 24 children ages 5+ can make some fun characters to scare their friends in a Spooktacular Arty Tots session, 10am-3pm; and on Thurs Oct 26 kids of all ages can make Halloween decorations and hunt for skeletons in Skull Hunter. Both £2.50.
Half-term with Mad Science and Halloween at Twycross Zoo, Atherstone, Mon Oct 23-Wed Oct 25
Head over to Twycross Zoo this month for some spooky goings-ons. Enter the Mad Science Lab for some hands-on science experiments from chemical reactions to bubbling potions run by a professional team of scientists, plus a drop-in Fire and Ice Show.
Twycross, Zoo, Atherstone CV9 3PX or Tel 0844 474 1777
All Hallows Eve celebrations, Mary Arden’s Farm, Sat Oct 21-Sun Oct 29
Dress up in fancy dress and celebrate the feast of All Hallows and discover Tudor traditions at the home of Shakespeare’s mother – now a working Tudor farm while carving a pumpkin (small charge applies)! Watch the amazing Castle Small Theatre perform The Friendly Witch in the Great Barn on Mon Oct 23, 12pm & 2pm. On Wed Oct 25, meet and touch the animals that would have crossed Shakespeare’s paths at the ZooLab Tudor Storytelling Workshop.
Set Your Career Compass – a one-day half-term workshop for 15-18-year-olds, The Priory, Wolston nr Brandon, Warwickshire, Tues Oct 24
Do you have a son or daughter aged 15-18-years old who is wondering what their options are for the future; whether to go to uni or apply for an apprenticeship?; or what they’re good at? Teen Direct, a team of professional career coaches based in Warwickshire, is running a one-day workshop to help teenagers discover where they fit into ‘the world of work’ based on their strengths, personality and interests. They will discuss implementing a career action plan, create a professional personal profile and learn interview skills, 9.30am-3.30pm.
For further info go to teendirect.biz, email: email@example.com or call Eva on 07901 517012.
Nativity! The Musical, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Fri Oct 20-Sat Nov 12
The Christmas season as begun in earnest with the stage musical version of the hit film by Birmingham-born and Coventry based Debbie Isitt. Expect a whole lot of sparkle and shine – um, that’s 500 glittering stars, 50 kilograms of glitter, 40 oversized Christmas presents and 14 Christmas trees! Plus, 27 local children from across Birmingham and the West Mids aged 8-11. Following its premiere in Birmingham Nativity the Musical is touring.
Box Office: 0121 236 4455, Birmingham-rep.co.uk
Fancy becoming a Zookeeper for the Day? Drayton Manor Park, until Thurs Oct 26
Last month Drayon Manor launched its new Zookeeper for the Day experience for ages 18+. Novice Zoo Keepers will don their boots and overalls before getting stuck into the day-to-day tasks of maintaining the welfare of the animals they care for, including monkeys, reptiles and cheeky meerkats. The day costs £100.
draytonmanor, Tel: 0844 472 1950
Half-term at the Royal Shakespeare Company, RST, The Other Place and Clore Learning Centre, Stratford, Mon Oct 23-Fri Oct 27
The RSC is offering families a whole host of fun this October with an action-packed schedule of events. You can celebrate the RSC’s forthcoming family-friendly production of A Christmas Carol with two special workshops; learn specially commissioned choral arrangements of traditional wassailing songs in the run-up to Christmas and Twelfth Night and attend brand new baby and toddler groups with two taster sessions starting on Mon Oct 23 – 10.15am-10.45am, for ages 6-18 months and 11.15am-12noon for 18 months-four years, £4, The Events Space, The Other Place.
For all activities see here.
In-Light II and Museums at Night, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 28 – Sun Oct 29
The combination of dark autumnal skies and a rural location makes Compton Verney the ideal place to experience a spectacular and contemporary ‘son et lumière’. Celebrated light artist Luxmuralis will draw upon poetry and nature to create a series of stunning light projections. Wrap up warm and prepare to see the written word and a colourful palette projected onto the famous house’s Georgian façade. You can also join Antonia Harrison, the curator of Compton’s major autumn exhibition The Lost Words, writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris as they reveal the ideas and inspirations that led to the show. The talk takes place in the recently restored Chapel, and is followed by a book signing.
National Trust Halloween Trails – Packwood House, Baddesley Clinton and Chalecote Park, Sat Oct 21-Sun Oct 29
The gardeners at Packwood have also been growing an abundance of bright orange pumpkins in the Kitchen Garden ready for October half-term. So, crunch through the fallen leaves, admire the autumnal colours in the trees and don’t forget to sample a warm bowl of pumpkin soup or hot chocolate in the Garden Kitchen Cafe after you’ve finished your trail. At Baddesley Clinton there’ll also be ghost stories to share in the house – ask volunteers about a lady in grey who wanders the house at night, a ghostly portrait that appears on the wall and a dog who begs to an empty chair. Enjoy the fresh air and deer park at Charlecote Park in your wellies for the annual spooky Hallowe’en trail.
Gather round the cauldron from Thurs Oct 26–Sun Oct 29 (11am-3pm) and brew your own potions that feature in Shakespeare’s plays with the help of the fantastical Mad Science team at Shakespeare’s childhood home. Watch the show in the Marble Hall then have a go at making your own fizzing, foaming, smoking and popping potions! Throughout half term prepare for a scare with resident actors Shakespeare Aloud, as they perform some of Shakespeare’s darker works in the garden. Plus, little witches and wizards can join a hidden creature hunt.
Moomin Day, Stratford Artshouse, Wed Oct 25
Join Stratford Literary Festival as they celebrate the much loved Moomin Family created by Swedish author Tove Janssen. There’s be a morning 9.30am-12.30pm and afternoon session (1.20pm-4.30pm) to choose from with Storytelling from Moominvalley; a Moomin Workshop with Escape Arts creating your Moomin characters and a Moominvalley Puppet Show. Refreshments available and pop-up Waterstones bookshop. Ideal for children aged 3 to 9.
Half-Term activities at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Sat Oct 21-Sat Oct 28
Arty Halloween-inspired crafts are on the agenda including We’re Going on a Bat Hunt, stained glass effect pumpkin art, monster masks and Paint and Glaze ceramics.
Full listings here.
Pumpkin Carving, Chedhams Yard, Sat Oct 28
Hidden away in Wellesbourne in Warwickshire Chedham’s Yard is a well-kept secret – a blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s workshop dating from the early 19th century. prize-winning heritage site. Recently restored it’s now open to the public. Come along in your scary costume, carve a pumpkin and make your own magic lantern to take home. There’s no charge for the pumpkins or candles. Free entry, 10am-4pm.
2 School Road, Wellesbourne, CV35 9NH, chedhamsyard
Dinosaur World, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 26-Sat Oct 28
Using incredible puppetry, Dinosaur World brings a range of remarkably life-like dinosaurs to the stage, including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with a Giraffatitan, Segnosaurus and baby Triceratops. An engaging show for ages 3+. Afterwards there’s a post-show ‘meat and greet’ where braver children can meet the dinos in person. And if you happen to be in the city on Sat Oct 21 you may even catch a glimpse of a life-size Triceratops at Coventry’s Lower Precinct between 2– 2.15pm, 3–3.15pm and 4– 4.15pm ahead of the show.
belgrade.co.uk, Tel: 024 7655 3055
Around the World in 80 Days, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 24-Thurs Oct 26
A very talented cast of 8 play over 125 characters in this imaginative, high-spirited family-friendly escapade including 6 trains, 5 boats, 4 fights, 3 dances, 2 circus acts and an elephant for ages 8+ coming directly from the West End. Times vary.
During the day visitors can create their very own shadow puppet inspired by The Tempest and perform a scene from the play in the shadow theatre. On Sat Oct 28 (6-7.30pm) the Halloween Tudor Storyteller, The Yarnsmith of Norwich presents a mix of spooky and comedic tales from 400 years ago. Join him on a journey through the gardens to hear the creepiest of Halloween tales.
Performances start at 6pm-7.30pm. Tickets £8 per adult and £5 for friends. Suitable for ages 12+
Art Week, British Motor Museum, Gaydon
Children can take part in a week of art-based workshops including Motor Mouths, a digital arts project led by artist Richard Jones, My First Car in watercolour and designing My First Car and a print workshop. There’s a new interactive trail led by costumed guides and a Halloween ‘Black Cat’ trail for younger visitors.
Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0BJ, britishmotormuseum
Halloween Fireworks Festival, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Sat Oct 28
Enjoy a night of action, frights and laser lights with Halloween themed firework displays from MLE Pyrotechnics. Activities include a fun fair, face painter, music and fancy dress competition. Food and drink. Doors open at 5pm.
Bloodhound extravaganza & NewSTEMtastic workshops, Coventry Transport Museum, until Sat Oct 28
Make a robotic arm, electrify images, create a fast car out of recyclable material and much more this Half Term. Kids can discover the wonderful world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Join in with celebrations to mark the first ever drive of the Bloodhound SSC and make roaring racers in the family activity centre. There’s Thrust and the Bloodhound storytelling sessions for under-5s on Wed Oct 25 plus during half term enjoy a Landspeed record gallery story for free when you book on the 4D Bloodhound simulator.
Hall’s Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon
On Sat Oct 21, discover what it was like to be a Jacobean Barber Surgeon with the Live’n History team. See and touch the tools the surgeon would have used and hear the grizzly tales of the procedures they would have carried out. The brilliant Zoolab UK return on Oct 26, giving visitors the chance to meet the Tudor street urchin and her cute yet creepy creatures.
Twycross Zoo’s Halloween Spooky Spectacular, Twycross Zoo, Thurs Oct 26-Tues Oct 31
Kids can dress up in their fave fancy dress costumes and follow trick or treat trail, take part in pumpkin carving or grab some popcorn and enjoy a spooky cinema. Ghostly grub includes pumpkin load, eyeball pop cakes, monster burgers, and bloody ice cream.
Twycross, Zoo, Atherstone CV9 3PX or Tel 0844 474 1777.
See Poison Dart Frogs, a children’s book launch & Meet the Minibeasts, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Sat Oct 21-Sat Oct 28
The latest inhabitants this half-term are Golden Poison Dart Frogs, native to rainforests of the Pacific coast of Columbia. Each contain 1 milligram of poison – strong enough to kill 20 human beings! Indigenous hunters would dip their blow darts into secreted poison, hence where they get their name. Fri Oct 27 also sees the launch of ‘Leafcutter’, an new children’s book written specially for the Butterfly Farm set within a leafcutter ant colony. Author and Illustrator John Eames and Nicola Dennis will be signing copies and reading excerpts from the book throughout the day. Meet the Minibeast’ handling sessions take place twice a day.
butterflyfarm, Tel: 01789 299288.
Nocturnal Nature Trail, Upton House, nr Banbury, Sat Oct 21-Sun Oct 29
Get the kids running out-and-about following a trail through the woods where they’ll discover logs to jump over, screens to hide behind, and if they’re quiet they might even hear the rooks in the trees above. Use the trail to identify animals that come out at night and learn all about how they live and appear during the night hours. Finish in the squash court and take home a prize. Upton’s gardens cover 32 acres of woodlands, water, lawns, terraced borders and a kitchen garden. End up with afternoon tea in The Pavilion1 or Iris Team Room, 11am-5pm.
Drayton Manor Park: More Treat than Trick, Sat Oct 14- Thurs Oct 26; Firework Spectacular Weekend, Fri Oct 27-Sun Oct 29
For two weeks, the popular Staffordshire attraction will be transformed into a hub of Halloween fun. Families are invited to visit Europe’s only Thomas Land™ and the ‘spook-tacular’ Island of Sodor, where they can enjoy trick or treating, live shows and a fantastic array of rides, including Flynn’s Fire Rescue, Toby’s Tram Express and Captain’s Sea Adventure. At Drayton Park Zoo children can learn all about creepy crawlies and creatures of all shapes and sizes including spiders, bearded dragons, lizards and iguanas. Teenage thrill seekers looking for a real treat will love the 54m drop tower, Apocalypse, the stomach-churning gyro swing, Maelstrom and The Haunting’s intriguing world of the paranormal. To top it all the Sky-Fi Fireworks Spectacular: A Galactic Gathering is on the last weekend of October.
draytonmanor, Tel: 0844 472 1950.
The Sooty Show on Tour, Royal Spa Centre, Sun Oct 29
Three of the UK’s most famous puppets – Sooty, Sweep and Soo – are back on the road this autumn in a show full of mishaps with actor/magician Richard Cadell and special guest stars Butch and Ramsbottom. The show was Winner of Best Kids Show at Leicester Comedy Festival 2017.
Splat Anatomy, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Sat Oct 21
Kinetic artist and sculptor Jim Bond has created a life-size operation game, Splat Anatomy, and for Halloween is bringing it to the gallery between 1.30pm-5pm. Wearing a mask and apron you have to remove the organs and bones from a life-sized anatomical model without touching the sensitive copper nerves. Like a flight simulator for surgeons this game requires a steady hand and a cool head. So far, the game has tested the squeamishness, humour and skill of children and adults and even the odd GP and surgeon at festivals such as Latitude and Green Man. Drop-in (£2 per person). Open to all – families, children aged 7+, teenagers and adults.
National Apple Day Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens, Sat Oct 21 & Sun Oct 22
Bring the entire family and celebrate the quintessential English fruit. Make apple-y crafts, enjoy apple juice using the press and take home some recipes. Apples will be for sale from the heritage orchards, all proceeds go towards the conservation of the cottage. Throughout half-term children should head to the spook-tacular activity tent and make a spooky spider natural bird feeder by utilising the apples in the stunning orchard. Join historical food caterer Pario Gallico on Mon Oct and watch the maestro at work. Create your very own Pomander bags, filled with spices and herbs to protect you from “bad air” and Tudor diseases. Plus, Georgia Jeffries and the Zoolab critters will be stopping by the Cottage on Tue Oct 24.
National Apple Day Celebration & The Big Draw, Cotesbach Educational Trust, Cotesbach nr Lutterworth, Sat Oct 21
Have a go at printing with apples, drawing with vegetable inks, make a crumble (sessions are 11.15am – 12noon & 2.15 – 3pm) or press different apple varieties and taste the juice. Take a tour of the orchard and identify different heritage apple varieties. Sign up for the 2pm foraging walk when you arrive, as spaces are limited, to discover nature’s free food on the Cotesbach Estate. Throughout the day everyone will be expressing their creative side and drawing with chalks across the grounds. Free, 10am-4pm.
Meet an animatronic T-Rex and dino babies, Twycross Zoo, Sat Oct 21 & Sun Oct 22
Tywcross Zoo is playing host to Rex, an 8-foot-tall and 17-foot-long animatronic T-Rex and some newly-hatched dino babies. Get up close and personal with Rex, a life-size baby T Rex, and as authentic as they come. He is the first dinosaur of his kind in the UK, with real legs. But there is no need for young ones to be afraid, as Rex might look ferocious, but he is funny and friendly. There will be T-Rex Shows and baby dinos ‘meet and greet’ opportunities at different times throughout the day.
twycrosszoo, Tel 0844 474 1777
Half-term Halloween Hoot, Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire, Sat Oct 21-Nov 5
From face-painting in the Broomstick Barn to fright flights into the deep dark woods on a trailer ride, a visit by author Caryl Hart, storytelling, an abandoned tunnel and creepy crafts there’s frighteningly good half-term fun at the Derbyshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire
Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP, chatsworth.org
Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Sun 1 Oct–Sun Nov 12
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!
Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
Canons Ashby – Spooky Stories: creative writing workshop, Thu Oct 26–Fri Oct 27
Let your imagination run wild writing Spooky Stories with us this Halloween. This event will encourage your children’s creativity and help them come up tales to thrill everyone this October. Then they can display their scary stories for the public to read over Halloween weekend, or take them home to scare their siblings. Aimed at children aged 8-12 years old, this will take place in a couple of atmospheric locations at Canons Ashby, and use the buildings and stories as inspiration. Booking Essential. Phone: 03442491895. 10.30am – 12pm (times vary).
Canons Ashby, Canons Ashby House, Canons Ashby, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3SD
Wharf Distillery ’Apple Day’ Artisan Market, Sat 21 Oct
Come and join team Wharf Distillery at their regular artisan market at Wakefield Country Courtyard. Local businesses will be showcasing their food, drink and crafts – some new and some familiar. Hot street food will be available alongside a real ale and cider bar to keep your energy up! 10am – 4pm. FREE Entry, FREE Parking
Wharf Distillery, Wakefield Country Courtyard, Potterspury, Towcester, Northamptonshire NN12 7QX
Hunt for Pumpkins at Canons Ashby, nr Daventry and Rugby, Sat Oct 7–Tues Oct 31
Explore the grounds at Canons Ashby whilst seeking out pumpkins and solving the clues! Afterwards, pick up a spooky shortbread ghost or warm up with some soup in the tea room, 10am – 3pm.
Canons Ashby, near Daventry and Rugby, NN11 3SD
Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Sat Oct 14–Mon Oct 30
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Over 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions, plus firework displays on 21, 22, 27 & 28 October. Don’t forget to read my tips on how to survive Legoland.