Smart Living | Digital Parenting

Digital Parenting | 14 Oct 2022

October half-term: The best ways to get outside with your family

Our parent experts have compiled a list of some of the best ways to find adventure with your children, from toddlers to teens, this October half-term.


Dragon hunt at Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

There be dragons at Bodiam Castle, according to tales from the 14th Century, when the castle was built by a knight called Sir Edward. Little ones can spot fearsome beasts as they follow a trail through the castle gardens.

In the event of rain, children can attend craft workshops to decorate a dragon or make a shield. On 29 October, there will be interactive storytelling in the northeast tower, led by Hastings-based artist Ed Boxall.

15-30 October,

Pumpkin carving at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire

As well as visiting the tigers, gorillas and hippos at the park this half term, families can welcome Autumn at Longleat’s Longhouse.

Activities here will include pumpkin carving, owl meet-and-greets, and exploring mini-tractors. You’ll also come across giant pumpkins around the park, along a trail filled with photo opportunities.

22-30 October,

Mog autumn trail at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Mog, the forgetful cat who is the star of Judith Kerr’s much-loved books for pre-schoolers, has inspired an autumn-themed trail at Dunham Massey.

The character helps families learn about the wildlife on the estate as they explore, with a book nook and a musical installation to visit along the way.

Dates throughout Autumn,

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Mexican fiesta at Kew, London

Fans of the Pixar film Coco should enjoy the colourful, fiesta-themed activities at Kew Gardens. Run by performance group Mandinga Arts, expect dance workshops and games that celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead, plus carnival parades from performers in traditional costume.

Get involved by visiting the dressing up and selfie station outside the Temperate House.

22-31 October,

Enchanted Forest at Tay Forest Park, Perthshire

For Scotland’s largest autumn event, the trees and water at Loch Dunmore are brought to life with lights, art, choreography and an original soundtrack.

Around 80,000 visitors are taken from Pitlochry to Faskally Woods by coach for the installations, which are now in their 20th year having run since 2002.

29 September-30 October,

Ropes and cycling at Holkham, Norfolk

Swing into Autumn by tackling a ropes course on the Holkham estate. By whizzing through the trees and balancing across bridges, you’ll be rewarded with glorious seasonal views. Children younger than six must have an adult with them.

Too daredevil? Adult and child-sized bicycles are also available to hire at Holkham, for a pedal around the park.

22-30 October,

Deadliest Plants and Bugs at RHS gardens, UK

Learn how carnivorous plants and cacti protect themselves – and about the creepy-crawlies that use fangs, stings and slime to cause harm – during interactive sessions at five Royal Horticultural Society gardens.

Hands-on activities include meeting bugs, crafting and planting at RHS gardens Wisley, Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor.

22–30 October,

Tales of Narnia at Mottisfont, Hampshire

The drawings of Pauline Baynes, who originally illustrated C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, are on display this autumn at Mottisfont. Children can spot characters including Aslan and Mr Tumnus in a gallery on the top floor of the house.

Outdoors, harvest time is celebrated in the riverside grounds, with activities including leaf-gathering for the compost.

24 September-31 October,

Halloween fun with English Heritage, UK

Ghoulish clues are hidden around 20 stately homes and gardens, for children who might enjoy a scarily good time solving Halloween-themed puzzles.

As evenings grow darker, your little monsters can also take part in spooky woodland walks (28-30 October) led by ghost-hunting storytellers at Belsay Hall, Walmer Castle, Witley Court and Wrest Park.

22-30 October,

Broomstick agility at Croft Castle, Herefordshire

Brooms can be borrowed – or you’re welcome to bring your own! – for a race along a broomstick agility course with friends on the lawn at this castle on the English-Welsh border.

Children can also have a go at making their own wands to take home (22-23 October) with wood collected from the grounds.

22-30 October,

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River kayaking in the Wye Valley, Herefordshire

Marvel at Autumn colours in the Forest of Dean on a kayaking trip along the Wye Valley, one that gives teens a sense of adventure and responsibility.

Wye Adventures has two-person kayaks, canoes or paddleboards to hire, plus barrels to keep mobile phones dry. Three-quarter day, seven-mile trips start at Kerne Bridge and end in Symonds Yat.

Anytime but book ahead,

Winter Droving in Penrith, Cumbria

After three years off due to the pandemic, this traditional festival celebrating rural life is back.

Woman in costume holding flaming torches at night
The Winter Droving, Penrith

There will be crafts and food stalls in this Lake District town during the day, but the highlight is always the torchlight parade and live music at night. Mask-wearing is encouraged, so get creative.

29 October, until 8.30pm,

Mountain biking in Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

On the southern slopes of the moors, Dalby Forest covers 8,000 acres of woodland which will be resplendent with colour at half term.

The waymarked trails are suitable for walkers, plus there are 55 miles (88km) of trails for mountain bikers, suitable for beginners and up.

Hire wheels from Dalby Forest Cycle Hub or Dalby Bike Barn and bag a picnic table with a view for lunch.


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