27 October half term saviours
Half term's looming but don't be afraid, we've sorted the fun with 19 brilliant things to do in Warwickshire, the West Midlands and beyond to keep the little people entertained.
The Haunted Castle, Warwick Castle, Oct 24 – Nov 1
Join ghosts, ghouls, wizards and witches at The Haunted Castle from Oct 24-Nov 1 and prepare for a Halloween adventure brimming with spooky tales, scary fun, and daytime themed attractions and activities for all ages. Then there’s the even spookier The Castle After Dark – Oct 24, 29, 30 and 31 – when you can experience a whole host of spine-tingling edible treats after sun down thanks to Digbeth Dining Club’s Halloween-themed festival experience with live music and evening entertainment on the Main Stage. Experience nerve-jangling thrills in the Castle Dungeon after dark and watch out for creepy characters in two scare mazes.
British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Fri Oct 23-Mon Nov 2
This October half-term the British Motor Museum is joining in the national Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search to celebrate the release of the new Where’s Wally? book, Spooky Spotlight Search. Families can also enjoy a 25-minute live scientific spectacular – Rocket Science with ‘Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin’ daily and on Wed Oct 28 there’s a cool outdoor Rocket Workshop delivered by the STEM ambassadors from MOD Kineton (11am – 3pm). Children can design and build their own Rocket and see how far it flies from the pneumatic rocket launcher.
Coombe Abbey Hotel‘s Haunted Halloween Afternoon Tea
Enjoy a ghoulish afternoon tea feast whilst you witness the spooky tales of Coombe at this famously haunted site. There will be two sittings. Coombe Abbey also has an exclusive half-term staycation offer for families. Takeaway afternoon teas are also available to book.
Pumpkin Spooktacular, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, Oct 24 – Nov 1
Hatton’s annual Halloween shindig is back awash with ghosts, ghouls, cobwebs…and pumpkins! Pick your own free pumpkin from the fields, brave the Haunted House and Zombie Marsh (sounds terrifying), plus create a spooktacular carving, dress up in your scary fancy dress outfit for daily competitions. There’s a full programme of spooky activities here.
Spot demons within The Dance of Death wall paintings, Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oct 20, 27 and 28
Seeking some Halloween ghoulishness? Try and spot the demons within the chapel’s wall paintings and find out about The Dance of Death. Wall paintings dating back half a century are preserved in incredible detail; images of Death and the afterlife serving as stark reminder to its medieval congregation of the importance of living a good life! The Guild Chapel is pleased to be reopening its doors over half-term with strict safety measures in place from 11am–2pm, to six visitors at a time. Visitors will be allocated a 15-minute time slot on arrival and must wear a face mask or covering unless exempt.
Stratford Butterfly Farm, Oct 24 – Nov 1
Discover an assortment of creepy crawly spiders, predatory beetles, a dessert hairy scorpion and the latest inhabitants in Minibeast Metropolis – including three bright yellow and blue Dying Poison Arrow Frogs from French Guiana, which are among the most toxic animals on earth (all behind glass thankfully…eek!). On Oct 30 & 31 younger visitors are encouraged to dress up as their favourite Halloween character and watch out for terrifyingly real messages from beyond the grave…Booking online is essential: butterflyfarm.co.uk
Spooky Kenilworth Castle, Castle Green, Off Castle Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1NG, Sat Oct 24 – Sun Nov 1
Gather your little monsters for a ghoulishly good day out at Kenilworth Castle. Follow the trail to solve creepy clues and gather round to listen to spooky stories. There’s a frighteningly fun fancy dress competition every day – just come in your scariest outfits to be in with a chance of winning, 10am – 5pm. Book here.
Ghost Tours at Kenilworth Castle (16+), Wed Oct 28 – Sat Oct 31
Do you dare explore Kenilworth Castle in the dark this Halloween? Join storytellers as they guide you on a bone-chilling journey through the past. With tales of ghosts, supernatural sightings and horrors from history, this is not a night for the faint-hearted. Don’t forget to bring a torch – things are going to get dark. Times: 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm & 8.30pm. Book here.
Create your own animation, FarGo Village, Coventry, Oct 27 – 29
Budding young animators can have-a-go at making a film from their own drawings in half-term workshops at animation studio Lets Animate, who are running socially distanced birthday parties, adhering to the rule of six, if you have a child celebrating their birthday.
Jump In Trampoline Park, Warwick
Young chefs can take part in pizza-making sessions before a jump and then eat their own pizza for lunch with half term sessions running daily 10.30am-12.30pm . Book here. For Halloween they’re running two events: Fright Night Friday on Oct 30 and Monster Bash on Sat Oct 31.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum‘s Festival of the Dead, Coventry – Oct 24, 26, 28 and 30
Join in a popular half-term workshop for some spooktacular crafts as part of the Festival of the Dead celebrations by making Sugar Skull Luminaries and other ghostly decorations, in a creative and artful environment.
Destroy everyday items like a toaster, a telephone and other gadgets to create Whacky Wonders in This Makes That With These workshops or find out about different materials and the secrets of Outrageous Oobleck in the Make And Play Engineers workshops. There’s also newly developed Mini Museum Engineers trails and play boxes.
Museum of the Moon, Compton Verney, Thu Oct 29 – Sun Nov 1
This half term Compton Verney is hosting Museum of the Moon inspired by their Chinese collection and the Chinese Moon Festival – a spectacular touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram measuring a massive seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. It will be a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. A programme of related family activities will run alongside. Pre-booking is essential. Tickets must be purchased online or call 01926 645500.
Go Ape, Coombe Abbey Park, Binley
This autumn and half-term Sundown Adventures include an hour of treetop excitement and exploration for young adventurers over 1m (see here) and adrenalin-seekers can experience the thrill of zip wires in the dark, (see here).
The Wave waterpark, Coventry
Weekend and half-term tickets are now available for this new council-run £36.7million waterpark with its six high octane slides, lazy river, wave pool and splash zone. From October 7 new Family Fun Sessions started on Wednesdays 5pm–6pm. For times & prices see here.
Small World Exhibition & Playful trail (inside & out), Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Sat Oct 24, Tues Oct 27 & Wed Oct 28
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum is one of 11 UK museums chosen to take part in the Kids in Museums #PlayfulMuseums project. They will be encouraging play in the museum in the new socially distancing normal. Over half term the gallery is introducing prebookable ‘Playful trails’ for families to explore and get creative inside (and outside) the building. Booking details available soon via the website. Kids will also enjoy the Small Worlds exhibition featuring dolls houses and miniature models including replicas for the Queen’s Doll’s House at Windsor. Pre-book here.
Pumpkins R Us, Leamington Road, Kenilworth, open from Oct 10-31
Summer has barely backed out of the door but time and tide waits for no (wo)man and we are now steaming into pumpkin season. Opening in time for Halloween season, this hugely popular family-run farm has thousands of pumpkins to choose from, in all shapes, sizes and colours across 50 different varieties, spooky interactive displays, Halloween shop and on-site café. Like many business, Covid-19 has had a considerable impact and for the first time, visitors will need a ticket to enter. Tickets are £5 per car. Book online. Open 10am-8pm.
Rush Trampoline Park, Kings Norton, Birmingham, B30 3DZ
With 100 wall-to-wall trampolines, Rush is the perfect spot for wearing out energetic children. There are dedicated areas and sessions for toddlers and a soft play area that opened this year, while bigger kids can blitz through the assault course, wipeout zones, multi sport arena and extreme dodgeball courts. For budding acrobats there’s even a trapeze, tumble lanes and a slackline to practise your balancing. And yes, there’s a mezzanine café for you to sit sedately while the madness unfolds below.
Kids can learn to ski or snowboard in a day during half term on a fun-packed day course – junior day courses won’t be back until Easter 2021. To kick off the half term festivities the Big Bang Snowboard Show will be back for one day only on Sat Oct 17 – and if you’re looking to try out snowboarding book one of the snowboard taster sessions. Snowdome also has the UK’s only ice track surrounding the rink, kids can enjoy ice skating, tobogganing down 170 metres of real snow and daily 55-minute climbing session. To round off an active day the on-site Starbucks is serving up pumpkin spiced lattes and a new vampire frappuccino.
Planet Ice, Coventry
Learn to skate 3 or 5 day courses are available over half term available from Oct 17, have a go at ice hockey or just go along for a fun session on the ice. Wednesday and Friday night sessions are now open to members of the public. Book online.
Cadbury’s World, Bournville, Birmingham, Sat Oct 17 – Sun Nov 1
In the Cadbury World Marquee, enter the famous frog’s Haunted Mansion and help him uncover the mystery ghost with plenty of spooky fun and games. Kids are encouraged to don their creepiest costume as they walk round Cadbury World’s self-guided tour, catching the talented chocolatiers in action and take a delicious taster for themselves in the Chocolate Making zone, before practising their piping skills by drawing their name in chocolate in the Have A Go zone. Seasonal treats in the world’s biggest chocolate shop, include hand-crafted chocolate pumpkins. Additional hygiene and safety measures in all areas. Pre-booking essential.
Spooky Spectacular, West Midlands Safari Park, Oct 10 – Nov 1
Brimming with Halloween decorations including illuminated, themed scarecrows and hundreds of pumpkins, it’s one big giant Halloween jamboree at the WMSP’s bash this year. Watch the meerkats, tigers and more get to grips with some ghouly-gourds. The Safari Drive-through gates close at 3pm in half term.
Coffin Works Museum, the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
What could be more eerie on Halloween than a trip to an actual old coffin factory…One of the city’s newest and award-winning independent museums is re-opening on Oct 30 just for the occasion. Experience how this old Jewellery Quarter firm once operated on a day-to-day basis, producing some of the world’s finest coffin furniture, including the fittings for the funerals of Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother!
Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Oct 15 – Nov 8
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
The Pitt Rivers quirky archaeological and ethnographic collections are catnip for the little people (what kid wouldn’t be hypnotised by rows and rows or unearthed treasures?). The museum also has several family trails to help kids explore and learn from the vast amounts of objects on display.
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
You’ll know Bletchley as the home of the Codebreakers in WWII, which means there are plenty of on-site museums, exhibitions and codebreaking huts to explore including the top-rated Teleprinter Building, which holds the popular immersive cinematic experience exhibition, D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion. For the kids there’s an outdoor playground, plus you can pick up a Top Secret Mission Pack at the front desk for an extra quid. Pre-booking is essential.
Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford
The Cotswolds is associated with pretty stone architecture, farmers’ markets and countryside rambles, but the 160-acre Bradwell Grove estate, two miles south of Burford, is home to something else entirely – over 260 species of animals! One of the UK’s largest zoological collections, Cotswolds Wildlife Park has all the best characters from the animal kingdom from rhinos and giraffes to lions, zebras and monkeys (although, watch out for the sandwich-stealing ones).