Top 10 half term adventures

October half term is here and we are being spoilt with so many wonderful days out that are great fun for children and adults alike. Take your pick from all the great activities going on as Ed Jones reveals his top 10


Nelly Moss’s magical emporium, Cragside, Northumberland
25-30 October, 11am – 3pm
Normal ticket prices apply plus £1 per child
01669 620333

If you don’t believe in magic then prepare to be proved wrong as young wizards and witches enter the magical emporium to make wands and potions. You make the potions to your own recipe; half a newt’s eye, frogs legs and an old man’s beard, its up to you. Built on a rocky crag, Cragside is the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity, and was once owned by the Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong. Outside is Nelly’s Labyrinth, a group of paths and tunnels through a rhododendron forest, an adventure playground and a wildlife hide. No need to book.

Get crafty, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
25-27 October, 11am – 1pm
£6.50 adults, £3.30 child, £16.50 family
01394 389700

It was on this very site 70 years ago that one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time took place. It was here that the incredible ship-burial of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king, including weapons and priceless royal treasure was unearthed. Go and visit the award-winning exhibition, featuring the full size reconstruction of the burial chamber and stunning replica treasures that goes some way to discovering the truth behind this mystery man. From the 25th October why not drop in and make an Anglo-Saxon shield fit for a warrior, whether they are big or small. There is no need to book for this event.

Haunted woodland trail, Chirk Castle, Wrexham
24-30 October, 11am – 4pm
£10 adults, £5 children, £25 family
01691 777701

Visit medieval Chirk Castle, which stands on a hilltop overlooking the Ceiriog valley in Wrexham for a day out with some spooky goings on. The castle rooms and gardens will be open for a week of haunted fun including a haunted woodland walk that is sure to raise the hairs on your neck. The castle, which dates back to 1310, still contains many original features including dungeon and medieval tower.

Dress to Impress, Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
24-28 October, 11am – 3pm
£2 All Tickets (Does not include castle entry)
01580 830196

Come to this spectacular, real 17th century castle that has absolutely everything you would expect. With turrets, moats, ramparts, spiral staircases and battlements why not go and be transformed into a knight, princess, lord or jester. The day will be full of replica medieval armour and costumes. Booking is not required.

Autumn crafts, Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire
24-28 October, 12pm – 4pm
£1 All Tickets (Plus normal admission charges to the Museum)
01283 585337

Join the fun at Sudbury Hall for arts and crafts for all the family. Adults and children are welcome to join in and perhaps afterwards visit the museum of childhood with its many themed galleries and interactive displays. Children get the opportunity to dress up in the story gallery and try out being a pupil in a Victorian school. There is even a chance to be a chimney sweep for the day, which includes climbing up inside a chimney.

Halloween half term, Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey
22-30 October, 10am – 6pm
Normal admission charges apply, plus 50p per trail
01372 467806

Go and see the beautiful gardens of Claremont Garden in Surrey that have a grass amphitheatre and surround a serpentine lake. Not only is there the children’s trails, an exciting play area and plenty of ducks to feed but on the 28th October there will also be pumpkin carving. There are Halloween craft workshops 24-27 October 11am – 1pm and pumpkin carving on 28th October 11am – 1pm but don’t forget to take your own pumpkin. No need to book for this event.

Outdoor Activity day, Brownsea Island, Dorset
25-27 October, 11am – 4pm
Normal admission charges apply, plus £7.50 per child
01202 492161

Experience a day on an island with a wonderful history and an unspoilt natural habitat. The island has played host to a coastguard station, daffodil farm, Victorian pottery and a smugglers hideout through the past and now will hold two days of action packed adventure. Lots to choose from, with archery, low ropes and den building for children over 6 years of age. Booking is essential.

Halloween spook-tacular, Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, Cheshire
24-29 October, 11am – 4pm
Mill, Apprentice House and garden: £12.70 adult, £6.35 child, £31.75 family
01625 445896

A real treat for the whole family, let yourselves slip back in time and discover how our ancestors lived at Quarry Bank Mill. Interesting and educational, you will leave with a real feeling of the noise and hardships that were faced in the 18th century cotton mill. There are some spooky goings on in the mill during the half term break but also the usual spinning and weaving in this truly unique place. There is also the chance for a guided tour through the apprentice and mill.

Halloween trail, Castle Drogo, Devon
22-30 October, 11am – 4pm
Normal admission charges apply plus £1.50 per child per trail
01647 433306

The last castle built in England; Drogo looks like a medieval fortress but was actually built in the early 20th century. The castle offers a great view of Dartmoor from its rocky outcrop and has plenty of winding paths in the terrace garden outside. Over the half term week enjoy finding lots of spooky characters hidden in the grounds and listen to stories of myth, legends, witches and ghosts. Inside there’s plenty to see as well with an interesting mixture of 21st century technology with 17th century tapestries and furniture.

Dark happening season, Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd
24-28 October, 12pm – 4pm
Normal admission charges apply, plus small additional charges for activities
01248 353084

Despite looking much older Penrhyn castle was actually built in the 19th century and is stuffed full of interesting artifacts elaborate carvings and an outstanding collection of paintings. For four days the castle is putting on some spooky Halloween fun and games for all the family. Make sure you book for this event, which will include a Halloween trail around the castle and grounds. If you have time be sure to have a look at the fantastic adventure playground outside.