Skip to main content

52 fantastic activities for the October 2022 half term holidays

Kew Gardens Mexico Festival
Sit in the BFG’s chair, uncover a T. rex in the undergrowth or even meet a monstrous gingerbread man (yes, really!) – you’ll be taking a walk on the wild and wonderful side this October with our top pick of 52 fun and educational activities for you and your family!
or Register to add to your saved resources

TheSchoolRun has partnered up with to help expand your options for school holiday activities and keep things affordable. You can find plenty of events and activities in your area at discounted prices or even for free.

October 2022 half term holiday family activities in England

Main image by Betsabeé Romero, part of the Mexico festival at Kew Gardens 

Terrifying tales
Head to Newcastle’s Seven Stories for a truly bewitching tale with children’s character Winnie the Witch in this interactive story perfect for little monsters. Help Winnie and Wilbur as they journey into the deep, dark woods to discover who, or what, is making some very mysterious footprints. Once you’ve recovered, you can also join in with a clay or fabric monster-making workshop and take your own creepy creation home with you!
Where: Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, 30 Lime St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ
When: Winnie, 24-29 October, 10.30am and 12.30pm. Monster making workshops, 10.15am and 11.30am.
Need to know: Tickets, £7.50 child, adults free. Tickets to monster workshops, £7.50.

Go batty!
Take a trip to the London Transport Museum and discover the secret lives of some of the city’s hidden residents. Find out about the nocturnal wildlife – from the red fox to the swooping tawny owl – and see the city from their perspective before taking part in an imaginative dance workshop. Learn about London’s bat population – including the Daubenton species that live in Highgate station – and make a bat mask to take home. Then take a twisty trail through the galleries to discover the ‘hidden jobs’ on the transport network and meet the people behind them.
Where: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Plaza, London, WC2E 7BB
When: 22-30 October, 10am-6pm.
Need to know: Activities free with admission, tickets from £21 adult, kids go free.

Comic characters
Go on an interactive journey through the comic-making process at the Story Museum in Oxford with new exhibition KA-BOOM! Study the giant pop-up comic strip revealing what makes a great comic and learn the skills to make your own. You’ll master the whole comic process from characters and plotting to drawing, colouring and lettering – with the help of famous faces including Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, Cadet Judge Dredd and Bunny VS Monkey, as well as tips from experts including Ramzee, Laura Howell and Jamie Smart.
Where: Story Museum, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP
When: Until Spring 2023, 9.30am-5.30pm
Need to know: Tickets from £10 per person as part of a galleries ticket.

Mexican rave
Explore the deep, dark woods of Kew Gardens as it celebrates the Day of the Dead. Immerse yourself in the vibrancy of Mexican culture with a whole day of fun and activities – from dress-up stations, carnival dance workshops and parades, through to some very unique art installations in the Temperate House that bring Mexico to life. Just keep your eyes peeled for a slumber of jungle sloths!
Where: Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE
When: 22-31 October, 10am-5pm.
Need to know: Most events included with admission, family ticket costs £37.50. Book in advance.

Seaside science
Gather your bright sparks and help to make them stars at the Brighton Science Festival with Hands-on Half-Term – nine days of workshops, shows and events all featuring that strange, exciting, explosive, curious, magical thing called science! You’ll be able to witness a mad scientist giving a live demonstration of lightning, discover how Zoom and your senses work, find out if you were once a dinosaur (or if you were likely eaten by one) and master a very scientific way to Splat The Rat...
Multiple venues within Brighton.
When: 23-30 October, times vary.
Need to know: Prices vary by event, some are free.

A splashing time!
Dive into the dangerous depths with the return of SEA LIFE’s Ascarium trails at centres across the country. The Sea Witch has tasked you, if you’re brave enough, to find her missing potion ingredients hidden alongside some of the creepiest creatures to be found in the sea. Spot them all while learning about these monsters of the deep, then solve the riddle to complete the spell and to claim a tasty reward for your Halloween bravery. 
Where: SEA LIFE centres across the UK – including Birmingham, Blackpool, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Manchester, Scarborough, and Weymouth.
When: Various dates and times in October, varies with location.
Need to know: Booking essential. Prices vary with location.

Totally roarsome!
Get closer to dinosaurs than ever before in Jurassic World: The Exhibition! Based on one of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history, the exhibition immerses audiences of all ages in classic scenes inspired by the famous films. Walk through the Jurassic World gates as an honoured guest and gaze in wonder at a towering Brachiosaurus, come face-to-face with a Velociraptor, and get a rare close-up look at the most vicious dinosaur of them all, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Just remember, if something chases you – run!
Where: Excel London, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL
When: 14-31 October, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays: 10am-6pm. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: 10am-8pm.
Need to know: Ticket prices vary with time and date. Adult ticket from £20, child ticket from £13.

Body matters
Get set for a range of biological-based workshops looking at the human body all held in the Neuron Pod – Centre for the Cell’s state-of-the-art learning space. Get grossed out focusing on snot, sick, scabs, bones and guts. Ever wondered how your body fights off microscopic monsters, or how many bones there are in the human body? Do you know what snot is made of, or how to make a healthy poo? You can also catch Muscling In and Gut Feeling shows too, with each session featuring interactive tabletop activities.
Where: Centre of the Cell, Blizard Institute, 4 Newark Street, Whitechapel London E1 2AT
When: 24, 28 and 29 October, starting at 2pm.
Need to know: Adults £8.50, children £6.50. Family tickets, £24.50 for some events. Book online or call 020 7882 2562. Suitable for ages 7-14.

Black history
Commemorate black history month with National Museums Liverpool this October and a range of special events and activities.  An annual nationwide celebration of African and Caribbean culture, arts and history, Black History Month recognises the achievements and contributions of Black people to British society. As well as reading stories of inspirational Black British people with links to Liverpool and Liverpool’s links with slavery, you can see a new exhibition of artwork from school children celebrating great Black Britons and take part in crafting workshops too – including one about Joseph Johnson, a Black sailor who lived 200 years ago and was famous for his enormous sailing ship hat.
Where:  Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1DG, Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ and International Slavery Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ.
When: 6-23 October, times vary.
Need to know: Free admission.

Fang-tastic fun
Come along to Cornwall as HallowEden returns for another fang-tastic year. Discover the superstitions and traditions of Halloween and venture into the Rainforest Biome to explore the different cycles in Autumn nature, catch a cursed puppet show and follow the mysterious magpie trail to delve deeper into the origins of seasonal superstitions. You can also visit the Pumpkin Patch for some wild and wonderful stories, get hands-on with a weave a web workshop and take a spin on the spooky ice rink.
Where: Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
When: 22-30 October, 9.30am-6pm
Need to know: Most activities free with admission. Tickets from £32.50 adult, £11 child. Weave a web workshops must be booked in advance, costs £1 per adult and child. Ice skating from £6 per person, depending on time.

Science stories
Discover the world of Science Fiction – an immersive genre-defying exhibition at Kensington’s Science Museum – taking you on a once in a lifetime adventure through the cosmos exploring visions of the future through the science of today. Guided by an AI intelligence of alien origin, you’ll board and explore a unique spaceship, scout an unknown planet, and investigate how scientists and science fiction creators have imagined new worlds to better understand our own.  The exhibition features classic sci-fi literature, incredible set-pieces and props from iconic films and TV including a costume worm by Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a Dalek from Doctor Who and a Darth Vader helmet created for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Where: Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
When: 6 October - 4 May 2023, 10am-4pm.
Need to know: Museum entry is free. Family ticket for exhibition from £48.60, book online in advance.

Game on
Discover how computer games really reflect real-life conflict with this new War Games exhibition from IWM London. Delving into one of today’s most popular storytelling mediums, it seeks to challenge perceptions of how video games interpret stories about war through a series of titles which, over the last 40 years, have reflected events from the First World War to the present. The exhibition features 12 unique titles including Sniper Elite 5 and Call of Duty and showcases immersive installations and never-before-displayed objects – as well as a military training simulator and a free retro gaming zone. 
Where: IWM London, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ
When: Until 28 May 2023, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.
Need to know: Admission free.

Sounds amazing
Discover the brilliance of the human body with a week of fun activities as Manchester Science Festival returns featuring world premieres, inspiring experiences and entertaining events, all aimed at exploring what makes us human. You can also check out their new exhibition The Power of Music – exploring how music makes us create, perform, feel and share. Find out how it triggers emotions and memories and whether it can affect what you buy – and even learn what certain songs taste like! You can also take part in a musical Turing test to see if you can tell the difference between songs written by a human or a machine.
Where: Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP
When: 23-31 October, 10am-5pm. Exhibition, 21 October–21 May 2023.
Need to know: Free entry for science festival. Tickets for The Power of Music Exhibition, adult £8, child £6.

Delve into the world of the deadliest plants and bugs at RHS Gardens and discover how clever creepy-crawlies and super-smart plants fight back. Follow the trails throughout the gardens, spotting clues along the way and explore how plants and insects from cacti to centipedes defend themselves and their habitat, have a go at autumnal arts and crafts (from pumpkin painting to ugly bug facemask making), get into the Halloween spirit with spooky storytelling, and enjoy fungi foraging, a family disco, and planting workshops too.
Where: RHS Gardens Bridgewater (Manchester), Harlow Carr (Yorkshire), Hyde Hall (Essex), Rosemoor (Devon) and Wisley (Surrey).
When: 22-30 October, 10am-4pm
Need to know: Prices vary, many events free with admission.

Cartoon capers
Celebrate Halloween at Dover Castle with Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and friends and solve all cryptic clues on a family quest around the grounds. Look out for the ghoulish guide who will tell you tales of ghostly goings on and try your hand at becoming a monster hunter before chatting with the castle rat who’ll entertain you with stories and songs. Don't miss the dragon and grim reaper puppets prowling around the keep and watch in awe as the shadow puppet theatre creates magical shapes in the darkness.
Where: Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU
When: 22-30 October, 10am-5pm.
Need to know: Family ticket from £62.40.

Light fantastic
Brighten up your autumn and visit Greenwich Maritime Museum for a series of workshops and activities all inspired by light. From adapting to UV in the polar regions to photography, you can learn more about and explore illumination. Celebrate Diwali and enjoy live music performances and a lantern parade, create your own shadow puppet and play with light and dark, build your own model ship and make it glow – and even build your own lighthouse to keep sailors safe, or a boat to sail away from the rocks! 
Where: National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF
When: 22-30 October, 11am-1pm and 2-4pm. 22 October, Diwali lantern parade and day.
Need to know: Free but booking essential for some events.

Roman holiday
Go back in time this October at Butser Ancient Farm when the IX Legion will be taking up residence in the Roman Villa. You’ll be able to discover how the army marched and even a go yourself before trying on some armour and cooking up some Roman delicacies, using ingredients such as apricots, olives, and honey. To relax you can learn more about Roman crafts like mosaic, beading and spinning and enjoy a game of tabula – a board game similar to chess.
Where: Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton Lane, Chalton Hampshire PO8 0BG
When: 29-30 October, 10am to 4pm
Need to know: Activities included with admission, family ticket £27.50.

Word power
Join Chester’s Storyhouse for a super new festival for children – all celebrating the power of words. With special guests including Benjamin Zephaniah, Jacqueline Wilson, Julian Clary and Nick Sharratt – and covering everything from Romeo and Juliet to a Funnybones Halloween party – the WayWord festival celebrates the way words can ignite imaginations to go on an adventure and discover something new. Expect discos, drawing, fancy dress, workshops, storytelling, performances and loads more.
Where: Storyhouse, Hunter St, Chester CH1 2AR and locations around Chester.
When: 24-30 October, times vary.
Need to know: Prices vary. Many events free or low cost.

Haunted house
Have a frightfully good time at Ormesby Hall, North Yorkshire as the historic house and garden come alive for Halloween. Join in with their friendly cackling coven of witches and learn their unique dance moves before having a go yourself – or try your hand at making your own wand. Remember, the stick chooses the witch and make sure you find a perfect one before personalising it with wool and ribbon. Or escape into the garden and follow the gothic tales trail, creating your own spooky tale with the monsters you see along the way.
Where: Ormesby Hall, Ladgate Lane, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, TS3 OSR
When: 22-30 October, 10.30am-4pm. Witch dancing, 24-27 October, 10.45-3.45pm

Elephant walk
Step into illustrator and writer David McKee’s colourful world at the Horniman Museum which celebrates more than 30 years of Elmer the Elephant with this new exhibition. Travel your way through Elmer’s jungle encountering stories and characters en route, including Bernard (from Not Now Bernard), King Rollo and Mr. Benn. Featuring original artwork and illustrations, you can also get hands-on with a magnetic Elmer game, visit Mr Benn’s fancy-dress shop, and enjoy playing in the dressing up and reading areas.
Where: Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ
When: 21 October-16 April 2023, 10am-5.30pm
Need to know. Book in advance. Family ticket £12, includes museum and exhibition entry. 

Animal crackers
Get ready to go wild as you uncover the mysteries of nature with these outdoorsy activities at Holkham Hall. Take a trailer trip around the parkland and meet the herd of fallow deer and watch a bird of prey display in the Walled Garden or test your mettle on the outdoor ropes course. You can also have a go at pumpkin carving and follow the pumpkin trail, or make yourself a mini scarecrow, autumn leaf crown or woodland creature finger puppet before settling down for some storytelling in the Hall itself.  
Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1RH
When: 23-30 October, 10am-5pm, dates and times vary.
Need to know: Family ticket to Holkham Stories and Walled Garden, £25. Pumpkin carving, £3.50.  Deer safari, £5.50. Ropes course, £21 per person. All participants must be over 1m tall. Participants under 1.25m must have an adult accompanying them around the course. Parking charge, £5 per day.

Block party
Get into the spirit with these fantastic Brick or Treat events at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centres. Go on a scare-venger hunt and explore the haunted Miniland display to solve a spooky mystery, or boo-gie with the centre's character mascots at a Halloween dance party, before polishing up your LEGO skills by building your own pumpkin-themed creation to add to the menacing monster garden and helping the resident Master Model Builder construct a giant vampire. You can also catch their 4D movie ‘The Great Monster Chase’ and spin the spooky wheel of fortune – will you get a trick or a treat?
Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester, Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham, Arena, King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2AA
When: 15-31 October, Birmingham, 1-31 October, Manchester.
Need to know: Activities free with admission. Manchester tickets from £21.95 per person, Birmingham tickets from £18.30 per person.

Five alive
Get set for some interactive theatrical fun at Chichester Festival Theatre based on Enid Blyton’s classic books. George isn’t happy at being lumbered with three unknown cousins for the summer, and her devoted dog Timmy agrees. Her cousins aren’t keen either. But out in the bay lies Kirrin Island, with a ruined castle rumoured to harbour secrets – and soon the Famous Five are on a daring mission with the future of the planet at stake! Watch the show and then go on a treasure hunt around Chichester, solving riddles and cracking the codes along the way – will you be able to find the hidden treasure?
Where: Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Way, Chichester PO19 6AP and The Lodge, Keepers Green, Graylingwell Dr, Chichester PO19 6GU.
When: Performances, 21 October–12 November, 2pm and 7pm. Treasure hunt, 29 October, 10am-4pm, free.
Need to know: Tickets from £10 per person. Suitable for 7+. For treasure hunt a smartphone or similar device with access to Wi-Fi or 4G is recommended.
Hit and myth
Level up your October with some very unusual and unknown creatures inspired by Sahej Rahal’s immersive digital exhibition Mythmachine, currently on display at Newcastle’s Baltic. Play with monster-like characters with tactile tentacles and soft spikes in Snowdin’s sculptural world Do Touch. Accompanied by roaring and rumbling sounds you can play, sit, listen and respond in this squishy space, surrounded by colour and soft lighting. Or join artist Megan Randall and build a world of myths and monsters – squishing, shaping and squashing clay into friendly, or not so friendly, beasties that grow.
When: 26-28 October, 11am-4pm. Clay workshop, 2-4pm
Need to know: Free, donations welcome.

A Will and a way
Take a literary trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and follow the new trail at Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall which brings the schooldays of the Bard back to life. You’ll be able to explore the 600-year-old building with Young Will uncovering curious and intriguing facts and meet his friends – including Master Thomas Jenkins – along the way. Afterwards, step into the classroom (where Shakespeare would have first watched professional theatrical performance) and join in with an interactive Tudor lesson, where you’ll play Tudor games, practice quill writing, solve puzzles and get a chance to dress up Tudor style.
Where: Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, 17 Church St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6HD
When: Throughout October, 11am-5pm, last entry 4.30pm
Need to know: Events free with admission. Family ticket costs £33.

Get your freak on
Join Beastie and Esme and a whole host of colourful characters as they present a range of fun Halloween themed activities and events just for you at Eureka! National Children’s Museum in Halifax. From making seriously scary potions to the art of science busking, you can also have a go at creating your own creepy crafts – before shaking your funky stuff at the Ghoul School disco!
Where: Eureka! the National Children’s Museum, Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE
When: 23-31 October, 9am-5pm 
Need to know: Events free with admission. Tickets, £13.95 per person.

Ship shape
Ahoy shipmates! Find your sea legs and take charge in this interactive adventure on HMS Belfast developed with TV presenter and host of Officially Amazing, Ben Shires. It’s 1942 and HMS Belfast is ready to set sail – the only thing is no one knows where it’s supposed to be going! Help the crew plot the course for the upcoming mission and make sure everything is ready to go. Hop on the balance board to test how steady you’ll be on choppy seas, figure out how to feed 950 men on board with limited rations and even find out what kind of supplies you’ll need along the way and discover for yourself what life was like for the ship’s company during the Second World War.
Where: HMS Belfast, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2JH
When: 24-30 October, 10am-6pm
Need to know: Drop-in, free with admission, tickets £23.60 adult, £11.80 child. Under 5s free. Suitable for ages 7+

Fantastic beasts
One small step for man, one giant pile of rubbish left behind! Man’s dream to reach the stars leaves the world in ruins and disturbs the sleeping dinosaurs. Will they wake up and save planet Earth? This imaginative touring adaptation of Michael Foreman’s classic environmental children’s picture book Dinosaurs and All That, features rock ‘n’ roll, lots of dancing dinosaurs and will have you tapping your toes from start to finish!
Where: Touring multiple venues including Exeter Phoenix (Gandy St, Exeter EX4 3LS), Watermans Arts Centre (40 High St, Brentford TW8 0DS), Ashcroft Arts Centre (Osborn Road, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 7DX) and Forest Art Centre (Old Milton Road
New Milton BH25 6DS).
When: 24-30 October, 11am and 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm.
Need to know: Tickets from £6.

Play away
Put on a real performance at Lakeside Arts in Nottingham with these three fun creative workshops. You can make a play in a day by creating characters, devising a script, and design costumes and set, before weaving it all together into a polished final performance. Or try your hand with their poetry and song writing workshops too – you’ll be able to learn how to put word and music together to write a song from scratch or build skills and confidence playing with rhyme, sound and words.
Where: Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD
When: Song writing, 24 October, 10.30am-12.30pm. Play in a day, 26 October, 10am-4pm. Performance poetry, 27 October, 10am-12pm.
Need to know: Song writing, free. Suitable for ages 9-14. Play in day, £25. Performance poetry, £8. Suitable for ages 8-12. Book in advance.

Freaky family
Dennis and Achoo return to the Customs House Theatre with a brand-new pantomime adventure in Meet the Monsters. Whilst out trick or treating, Dennis and Arbuthnot stumble upon their new neighbours with mysteriously good costumes – they couldn’t be real monsters, could they? But daughter Luna just wants to blend in, which can be hard when your mam is a vampire, your dad is FrankenSteve and you’re a werewolf…
Where: The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields, NE33 1ES
When: 26-28 October, 11am, 2pm and 6pm
Need to know: Tickets from £12 per person. Book online or call 0191 454 1234.

Words and pictures
What: Now in its 15th year, the longest-running literature festival in the city, the London Literature Festival is back and with a family programme, perfect for hooking kids on books – and featuring big names such as Tom Gates creator Liz Pichon and Blue Peter presenter and internet star Adam B. Other highlights include an interactive storytelling adventure led by Jordan Stephens and illustrator Beth Suzanna based on their heart-warming new children’s book The Missing Piece, and you can find out what happened to the mermaid of Milton Keynes with Tongue Fu for Kids in their fun family show.
Where:  Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
When: 20-30 October, times vary.
Need to know: Prices vary, some events free.

Totally chuffed
What: Get ready to take a trip on The Backyard Cinema train – a 1920s-themed steam train all set to leave the station and take passengers on an arctic voyage to the top of the world! Follow constellations of twinkling stars that will guide you to the Northern Lights and find your giant comfy beanbag, before settling down surrounded by snow topped trees to enjoy your movie from family favourites like ET, Frozen, Minions: The Rise of Gru and The Neverending Story.
Where: Backyard Cinema London, 2 Armoury Way, London SW18 1SH
When: 12pm and 4pm
Need to know: Adult tickets from £20, child tickets from £10.  Book online in advance.

Sophie’s choice
What: Grab your snozzcumbers and head to Knole as Roald Dahl's much-loved classic, the BFG, will be brought to life in a new exhibition. Curated by Quentin Blake, it features 40 reproductions including illustrations never seen in the book. As well as admiring the artwork, you’ll be able to dress up as Sophie or the BFG, try your hand at drawing your own character, or have your photo taken in a giant chair! You can even head outside and enjoy the winter trail to claim a special BFG prize.
When: 13 October-23 December, 10am-5pm
Where: Knole Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RP
Need to know: Free with admission, family ticket costs £37.50. Car parking, £5.

Victorian values
What: Halloween for the Victorians was a time of witches, ghouls, mischief, and romance – so take a trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge and see how they celebrated the spookiest time of the year first hand. You’ll be able find out how the traditions we know today started to take shape like telling ghost stories and wearing creepy costumes, as well as having a go at some spooky parlour games and catching a special screening of a Victorian horror film with a traditional musical accompaniment. 
Where: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Legges Way, Madeley, Telford TF7 5UD
When: 23-30 October, 10am-4pm
Need to know: Events free with admission. Adult ticket, £21.50, child ticket £14. Under 5s free.

Quick on the draw
What: Get arty at London’s Royal Academy with these two drawing workshops, part of their autumn Family Day Make Your Mark. Taking place across four rooms, you can think big and investigate drawing as an expanded practice by creating giant paper installations across the floor, making 3D line drawings, and much more. Or invent your own rules and have a go at still life drawing in new and playful ways with still life installations set up for you, alongside an array of materials and creative prompts.
Where: Royal Academy, John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House, Piccadilly,
London, W1J 0BD and Clore Learning Centre, 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET
When: Both workshops 23 October, 11am and 2pm
Need to know: Free, booking advised.

Magical mystery
What: One of the professors at the Dunster Castle School of Magic has turned to the Dark Side and is plotting to take over the school. Head Teacher, Professor Luttrell senses something is wrong and saw a number of cryptic words appear in his dream. Armed with the list of words, will you complete the Loyalty Quest to see if you can work out who the traitor is?
Where: Dunster Castle, Dunster, Minehead TA24 6NY
When: 1-29 October, 10am-3pm
Need to know: Event costs £3, family ticket from £32.50.

Ginger snaps
What: Run, run as fast as you can – because the Gingerbread Man is alive! One dark and stormy night, by the light of a fiery oven, a baking experiment goes terribly wrong and creates a monster… a Gingerbread Man! Can he be stopped before he wreaks untold havoc?  With live music, puppets, and the most milk-curdling baked goods around, this show is the perfect Halloween treat that won’t ruin your appetite…
Where: Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RH
When: 25-30 October, 10am and 2pm.
Need to know: Tickets from £11. Suitable for under 7s.

October 2022 half term holiday family activities in Wales

Mighty museums
The Welsh Museums Festival is back and it’s bigger than ever – with two whole weeks of special events and activities for all ages at museums across Wales and many of them are free! There are dragons to find, pirate riddles to solve, scintillating science events, crafts to make and do as well as a chance to time travel and take part in a special Instagram photo competition.
Where: Museums throughout Wales, online and in person.
When: 22 October-6 November, times and dates vary.
Need to know: Many events free. Book online in advance.

Going underground
Descend into the depths of a Victorian mine at the Silver Mountain Experience and uncover some Welsh myths and legends, as well as the gruesome history of those who used to work there. See if you can discover all the ingredients the witch needs to complete her deadly brew, gather round for ghostly tales with the mine’s resident storyteller, or enjoy carving a pumpkin to take home.
Where: The Silver Mountain Experience, Llywernog, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth SY23 3AB
When: 22 October-6 November, 10.15am-4pm.
Need to know: Activities included with admission. Tickets for one tour (The Black Chasm, A Dragon’s Tale, or A Miner’s Life) are £15.95 adult, £11.95 child when booked online. Pumpkin carving costs £3 extra. Black Chasm tour not recommended for children under 10.

Totally bewitched
All witches and warlocks are invited to Picton Castle Gardens, Pembrokeshire for some spellbinding half term fun. Enrol in a special potion-making class, where you can choose your own spell, collect the correct ingredients and conjure up a pungent brew. You can also create some creepy make-and-do in the depths of the witches’ lair, find your way around the malevolent maze and cast your own magical spell on the special garden trail.
Where: Picton Castle Gardens, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA6 4AS
When: 30-31 October, 10am-4pm
Need to know: Most events free with admission. Family ticket, £34. Potion making class £2.50 extra.

Picking pumpkins
Visit Forage Farm and pick up a farm-fresh pumpkin just in time for Halloween. The pumpkin patch isn’t the only attraction, with the farm also boasting pumpkin catapults, a maize maze, tractor rides and face painting– as well as giving you the chance to meet with some friendly alpacas.  If you’re feeling brave enough, you can even enjoy a spooky twilight pumpkin picking session too!
Where: Forage Farm, Penllyn Estate, Llwynhelig, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7FF
When: 22-31 October, 10am-5.30pm. Twilight picking, 28-30 October, 7-9pm.
Need to know: Costs £8 per car. Pumpkin catapulting, £2.  Face painting, £5. Wear warm clothes and wellies.

Getting schooled
Cardiff’s Techniquest science centre will be welcoming their victims – er, visitors – to Ghoul School this October as they look at how you can use science and technology to make this Halloween an absolute scream. At this very special scare school, you’ll learn how to create the perfect spooky atmosphere – from making a truly terrifying entrance to finishing with the biggest bang. It will be a hair-raising experience for everyone to enjoy!
Where: Techniquest, Stuart Street, Cardiff, CF10 5BW
When: 1-31 October, 10am-5pm.
Need to know: Event tickets £2, family ticket £38.18 with £2.50 booking fee. Suitable for 5+.

October 2022 half term holiday family activities in Scotland

Pure imagination
This year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival, an annual celebration of tales, fables, and yarns of all kinds, invites everyone to gather around the hearth this autumn where experiences and memories are shared, and the torch of oral storytelling is passed on. Join in with the tall tales and learn how to become a Viking with School for Skads and create your own mini-saga complete with sea monsters, battles and a visit from the gods. Take in a show featuring the amazing discovery of a 1930s inventor in Rocket Post! Or even meet the fearsome monster under the bridge!
Where: Online and locations across Scotland.
When: 14-31 October, times vary.
Need to know: Prices vary by event, many are free.

Picture perfect
Discover the magic of classic children’s illustrator Raymond Briggs, who sadly died this August, with this exhibition of never-before-seen artwork at Dumfries and Galloway’s Kirkcudbright Galleries. This exhibition delves deeply into the work of the author-illustrator behind some of the UK’s most influential children’s books and graphic novels with drawings, hand-lettered typography and page designs from many of his most famous works – including The Snowman and Fungus the Bogeyman.
Where: Kirkcudbright Galleries, St. Mary Street, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4AA
When: Until 30 October, 10am-5pm.
Need to know:  Free entry to exhibition but suggested donation of £3.

We can be heroes…
What: Grab your cape and gather your superpowers for the Paisley Halloween Festival - three nights of electrifying live performances and spine-chilling installations all inspired by heroes, myths, and legends. Highlights include a sprawling spider’s lair, complete with luminous eggs and a giant arachnid, a perilous rooftop battle of good vs evil choreographed by aerial-experts and an interactive fire laboratory experience, overseen by the madcap Dr Kronovator himself – just watch out for Bessemer the dragon lurking to catch unsuspecting revellers! You can also catch a performance by festival-faves Spark! LED drummers and the flame-throwing PyroCeltica, as well as enjoying some superhero-inspired make and do.
Where: The town centre of Paisley – around the Town Hall, Abbey, and River Cart.
When: 27-29 October, 6-9pm
Need to know: Free. Warm clothes recommended.

Out of this world!
What: Calling all earthlings, aliens, ghouls, goblins and monsters…Children’s Classic Concerts are back and invite you on a special orchestral intergalactic space mission! Join Captain Owen onboard the CCC Enterprise and together you’ll blast off to a galaxy far, far away – as you swing your way round the moon, soar towards Jupiter and beyond, encountering mysterious music along the way…
Where: The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3NY and The Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2EA
When: 29 and 30 October, 3-4pm.
Need to know: Tickets from £7-£16.

Spook-tacular science
What: Put on your best fancy dress and head for Dundee Science Centre this Halloween and have a go at some seriously sinister science. You’ll learn how to track down ghosts, help fix Frankenstein's monster, and even witness vampires turning water into blood. With tons of different activities and make-and-take stations, from mask-making sessions to DIY trick or treat bags, you’re guaranteed to have lot of fearsome fun!
Where: Dundee Science Centre, Greenmarket, Dundee DD1 4QB
When: 29-30 October, 9am-5.30pm.
Need to know: Tickets, £10 child, £4.50 adult. Book online.

October 2022 half term holiday family activities in Northern Ireland

Samhain special 
Making a welcome return this autumn is ‘Footsteps in the Forest’– five nights of magical Halloween happenings celebrating the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, which once marked the harvest season's end and the beginning of winter throughout Ireland. Go on a spooky stroll through the darkening forest and find out how Samhain’s traditions have helped to shape the Halloween season we all know and love, encountering costumed characters and dazzling light displays along the way.
Where: Slieve Gullion Forest Park, 89 Drumintee Rd, Meigh, Newry BT35 8SW
When: 27-31 October, 5.30-9.30pm
Need to know: Free, booking required. Warm clothing and appropriate footwear recommended.

Historic horrors
There’s plenty of frightful fun for the whole family as the Ulster Folk Museum celebrates Halloween in the village of Ballycultra. Full of traditions and stories, keep your eyes peeled for any unusual characters and listen as they recount spooky tales from times gone by. Leftover turnips from the harvest will be carved with scary faces to help ward off restless souls, and you can try your hand at some special Halloween crafts as well as enjoying music in the streets from the Armagh Rhymers.
Where: Ulster Folk Museum, 153 Bangor Rd, Holywood BT18 0EU
When: 29-31 October, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm, Monday, 10am-4pm.
Need to know: Events included with admission, family ticket from £30.25.

Picture this
It’s Lights, Camera, Action! as Cinemagic, the International Film and Television Festival for Young People, returns to venues in Belfast for its 33rd year bringing with it a stupendous selection of the world’s best family-friendly cinema. There’s more than 200 events taking place across the city, including in-depth masterclasses with industry professionals showcasing how to improve your acting, presenting, puppetry or screenwriting skills, special showings of family favourites including WALL-E, The Wizard of Oz, Moana and The Iron Giant and short film showcases highlighting some of the region’s most talented young filmmakers.
Where: Belfast’s Ulster Museum, Odeon Cinema, and Queen’s Film Theatre, as well as online and in other regional locations.
When: Until 31 October, various dates and times.
Need to know: Prices vary by event, some are free.

Creepy creatures
Dive into the mysterious wonders of wetland nature at Castle Espie Wetland Centre as you uncover the secrets of the wildlife trail winding its way around the reserve, and put your ‘spookometer’ to good use as you take part in some truly terrifying activities – are you fearless enough to put your hand in a snake box or get up close and personal with a toad? Plus, you can become a junior detective with the L.A.P.D (Lost Animal Protection Department) and join Lieutenant Spraint and Officer Holt in a nature based ‘whodunnit’ to catch the fiendish killer of Ollie the Otter.
Where: Castle Espie Wetland Centre, 78 Ballydrain Rd, Comber, Newtownards BT23 6EA
When: 1-31 October, 10am-4.30pm. 30 and 31 October, Ollie the otter, 11am and 2pm. 
Need to know: Events free with admission, family ticket £23.27, Ollie the Otter must be booked in advance by calling 02891 874146. 

Hat trick
Getting ready for Halloween? You'll need a costume then! Head on down to the MAC Belfast and join Young at Art for some magnificent millinery in a drop-in workshop where you'll get to make your own witch's or wizard's hat. Design your hat however you like with a big selection of crafty supplies allowing your imagination to run wild – make it spooky by adding spiders' webs or some sparkle for a more magical appearance. You can also start off with a spooky walking tour around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter which will finish at the MAC in time for you to get crafty.
Where: The MAC Belfast, 10 Exchange St West, Belfast BT1 2NJ. Walking tour: Cathedral Quarter, Belfast, BT1 2ED.
When: 29-31 October, 11am-4pm, drop-in. Walking tour, 29 and 30 October, 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm.
Need to know: Free. Pre-booking essential for walking tour.