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30 Brilliant half-term hangouts

School's out and it's Halloween - a double whammy that calls for Muddy's incredible Half-Term Guide. From werewolf walks and pumpkin flotillas to sports camps and cookery classes, find something near you today.

Want to know where to have some ghoulish and good times this October? Then read on for our hand-picked guide to what to do this half term.

HISTORY HOUNDS

Head to the Corinium Museum in Cirencester until 8 November for the super-fun Spooky Pumpkin Trail around the museum. Discover historical facts about Halloween traditions, rituals, and why we dress up. Entrance to the Trail is included in admission and tickets must be pre-booked online.

There’s tons of Roman-themed fun at your local, friendly Roman villa in Chedworth. Follow their seasonal trail around the site, dress up as a Roman or play with some Roman toys, get creative with historical crafts and get a glimpse of Roman life with Chedworths’ Romans. Hang out with Gaia (still looking fresh from the 3rd century) or Appian the mosaic maker.

If you’re peckish, there’s also a café, serving sandwiches, cakes and snacks and you can visit the shop which offers Roman-themed souvenirs, books and games. Be sure to wrap up warm and bring your boots or wellies with you to walk around. Tickets must be pre-booked online.

SPOOKY STROLLS

Is it scary? Um, yeah … the annual Frightmare at Over Farm in Gloucester has had a Covid-safe upgrade this year, welcome to The Walk – a fantastic and super-freaky Halloween trail around the farm taking in spine-tingling sets and (spoiler alert) the odd pop-up creature. It’s on from Sat 3 Oct to Sat 31 Oct. There’ll be drinks and snacks to calm your nerves and a large, ventilated barn plays host to a bar, food outlets and live music. Bring your wellies it’s muddy and murky out there in the creepy fields of Gloucester. Open on Thurs, Fri and Saturdays only, between 18.30 and 21.30. And if you need some light relief.

PYO PUMPKINS

The brilliant The Cotswold Farm Park is the place to go for pumpkins galore for ghoulish carvings and pie-making. Open between Sat 3 Oct and Sat 31 Oct, head down to PYO this Halloween. Entry to the Park gives you one pumpkin per token. Make sure to book ahead. Or, head to Over Farm in Gloucester pre-Walk. This year, visitors will need to book a time slot online instead of simply turning up on the day. Slots are priced from £2 per person.

ANIMAL AND AVIAN ANTICS

Let your imagination fly wild during October Half Term holidays at Flight or Fright, at Birdland in Bourton-on-the Water. With a special Halloween themed week of activities from Sat 24 October to Sun 1 November. This fun day out is home to 500 birds, and you’re in for an all Hallows-themed treat, including some of the avian world’s most disgusting characters from blood-sucking songbirds and puking penguins to stinking storks and spitting swallows. Keepers will reveal revolting stories about some of the world’s most fearsome flyers.

Head to the Spooky Spectacular at West Midland Safari Park from 10 October to 1 November in Bewdley.

It will be brimming with Halloween decorations with illuminated, themed scarecrows and hundreds of pumpkins. Encounter the brand-new witch and wizard family and Wilbert the Wizard needs help in this year’s ‘Potion Quest’. Journey around the Discovery Trail, and collect ingredients in your own potion bottle to earn yourself a sweet treat at the end. Excellent for all ages.

SPOOKY ART

Let them loose with the arts and crafts somewhere you won’t have to wipe the paint off the ceiling at Spooky Charcoal Houses and Mod Roc Pumpkin Sculptures at the New Brewery Arts, Cirencester. Book onto the Charcoal Spooky Houses session, on Tues 27 October from 1.30pm to 4pm, cost £40 and suitable for ages 5+. Or, on 29 October spend the morning creating Halloween pumpkins from Mod Roc – the stuff they wrap your arm in when you break it! When it dries their pumpkin will last for ages, and super original for Halloween night. Costs £40 for ages 5+.

Join the Becketts Farm Witches from 26 to 31 October as they cast open the doors to their annual Pumpkin Parlour. Enjoy a ghoulish gathering of pumpkin carving and leave the mess and pumpkin guts behind.

Your little monsters will be responsible for scooping out the pumpkin brains, choosing their pumpkin face, pinning on the template and then finally covering them in spooky skeleton dust. They’ll take home a spooky jack-o-lantern to ward off any ghouls that come your way this Halloween.

HAUNTED HISTORY

Berkeley Castle in Glos has gone one better and got the actual Henry VIII and his long suffering wives for All Hallows week at Berkeley Castle, from 25 Oct to 28 October. Get an audience with him and two of his less fortunate spouses, meet Beastly Bad Queen Bess, dodge Grim the Executioner, tour the creepy dungeon (beware the jailer is looking for new recruits) and take part in The Gruesome Game Show. Open from 11am to 4pm, make sure to book tickets online before turning up. Tickets cost £14 for adults and £7 for kids aged 3 -16.

MUSEUM MAYHEM

Let’s not mess about – what you really want is a full-on werewolf-loving moonlit Halloween right? … The UK’s open air museum at Avoncroft is hosting just that at its Halloween Trick or Treat Fright Night from Sat 26 to Thus 31 October in Bromsgrove. This annual and highly popular event is just the terrifying ticket. If you dare to follow the route around the Museum’s grounds and buildings by moonlight, who knows who, or what, you might meet in the dark. Join in a night of macabre goings-on as groups of visitors tour the darkest depths of the Museum, on the hunt for treats. One for the brave.

GHOST TRAINS

Are you brave enough to climb aboard the Ghost Train? Arrive early at Kidderminster Station for the Ghost Train Experience from Sat 26 October to Thurs 31 October. They’ll be no escape but there will be face-painting and a spooky disco, before you make your way along the dark platform to find your seats. Once aboard the train, hold on tight as the train roars away, passing through haunted stations on the way to Arley – the home of the living dead that only come out at night! But beware, things that go bump in the night are not just outside the windows…

ANIMAL MAGIC

Tucked away in the pretty lanes of Painswick is the fantastic Tibbiwell Alpacas, where, from as little as £20 (children welcome), you can meet and greet them at the farm and take one for a walk around the village with owners Sandie and Shaun. Pick your fave from the bunch for the experience, will it be Dumbledore, Pablo, Apollo or Salvador?

alpacas

Or head to the hills and woodland with your trusty (llama) stead at Briery Hill Llamas in Newent, Glos (see below). They have a whopping 26 llamas to choose from – all gentle and calm animals that are sociable and happy to walk at a gentle pace through the woodlands and fields.

Little ones will also love a trip to Atwell Farm Park in Beoley, Worcs. A fully working farm which holds regular talks and handling sessions, there’s a special Halloween Spooktacula going on from Sat 24 October to Sun 1 November. Pick your own pumpkin then get stuck into pumpkin carving, a Ghastly Ghost Hunt and rewards for dressing up. Book online, the tickets include general entrance to this fun farm.

SCOOTER NUTS

Whether you are a bona fide park shredder, bowl carver or street head, Head to Rush SkatePark in Stroud to wear them out – the only indoor skate park in the Cotswolds. With four unique areas, numbers are currently limited to 50 per session and tickets must be pre-booked online.

And a good tip for if it’s bucketing down, is to head to the super fun Mr Mulligan’s Crazy Golf in Cheltenham, to play one of two 18 hole courses (£29 per game). There is no age limit and kids will love whacking balls into lurking dinosaurs and wide-eyed whales in this Lost World paradise.

Pre-book tickets online to reserve your place.

NATURE LOVERS

Where better to head at Autumn than the green and gold wood and wetlands of Slimbridge WWT. As well as the usual fun bird and wildlife spotting, on Fri 16 October there’s an Autumn Wildlife Photography Workshop. Discover the fantastic light, fungi, fruits and feathers here and photograph the autumnal extravaganza with practical guidance and tuition from wildlife photography tutor Iain Green. Suitable for beginner and intermediate photographers with plenty of time for 1-2-1 tuition.

For lungfuls of fresh air head to the magical Forest of Dean & Wye Valley. It’s a perfect way to beat boredom whilst exploring one of Britain’s largest forests, as well as miles of picturesque riverside tracks and panoramic viewpoints overlooking as many as seven different counties. Kids will love the zip wires, sculpture trails and biking routes. In addition to outside fun, kids can take part in a cookery class, or the whole family can get crafty with stone carving workshops, or head in to the ancient woodlands of Puzzlewood. Find all the details here.

There are three great things to get stuck into at the lovely Westonbirt Arboretum in Glos this half term. On Mon 17 Feb – Fri 21 Feb get down and dirty with a free Fun Sticks event. Activities include stick drawings, twig prints and charcoal making with the beautiful backdrop of Westonbirt’s national tree collections. Kids can run around like crazy loons, or take along a warming picnic with flasks of hot chocolate to enjoy whilst they play hide and seek. Admission is free of charge for the event but adults entry to the Arboretum is £7 and kids £3. From 10.30am – 3.30pm.

There’s a whole heap of inflatable fun to be had at the Cotswold Country Park & Beach Aquaventure Experience. Located at the lovely lakes complex near South Cerney in Cirencester, it’s one big giant pimped-up waterpark, and wipe-out style day out. Climb, bounce or (if you’re us) slide, your way around attempting not to fall into the lake, wetsuits and life jackets are provided. Prices start at £15 per person and kids must be six or over.

THEATRE WORKSHOP: Virtual Introduction to Illusion Make-up, The Egg, Bath, 20 October

This brilliant and quirky workshop at the innovative Egg theatre in Bath will teach them all about the world of professional stage make-up. Join professional make-up artist Alana Ashley to cover the basic skills and techniques in special effects, ilusion, and creative face and body art.

The workshops will be delivered via The Egg Assembly platform and you will need a free Zoom account. All materials will be delivered directly and safely to your door. Please provide your address at the time of booking, as well as any allergies. For ages 13+.

Prepare yourself for major mother / father brownie points for this one. They can now play laser tag outside. The new Battlesports Glos Kid’s Outdoor Laser Tag and Paintballing in Newnham in Gloucestershire is spot on to burn off energy. Basically a winning combo of real life video games and lots of fresh air.

Players are issued with a cap, team bib, and camo face paint and get the choice of a laser guns, from a small pistol to a large machine gun. Ammo is unlimited too. The best bit? The big kids (aka adults) are allowed to join in too and purchase smoke grenades to add an extra surprise to the game. Can this get any better? Click here to book. From £10 per person for a one hour session.

Got a head for heights? Then take them to the brilliant Go Ape Treetop Challenge at the Wyre Forest in Worcs. Ascend to the highest canopies (if you dare, or just wave at them from the ground) and have a go on the obstacle course and fast zip wires.  Set in one of Britain’s largest remaining ancient forests, with its enormous Douglas fir trees  – they don’t call the Wyre the Valley of the Giants for nothing. Perfect for thrill seekers and fearless mini-bouncers.

SPORTS FANS

Gloucester Rugby Half Term Camps are up and running again with Covid-safe measure in place. Taking place at the Kingsholm Stadium with exclusive use of the Kingsholm pitch, there will be experienced and qualified coaches, pre-health questionnaires & temperature checks amongst the measures to ensure everyone’s safety whilst taking part. From Mon 26 October to Fri 30 October.

MINI CHEFS

Kids Halloween Cook and Craft 27 October, Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope, Gloucestershire

This fabulous new spooky-themed cookery class especially for kids is perfect for half term fun. Taking place at Harts Barn Cookery School (members of Muddy’s Little Black Book) from 10am to 2pm the class costs £40 and will include three different activities.

From a craft hour making mosaics using kits from Rachel Shilston @Inspiringcreativity, to making hand made pizzas to be eaten as part of lunch and fashioning sugar-craft figures to decorate a cupcake from Emmy at Asylum of Cakery. Book your place now.

Further Afield

Pumpkin Flotilla, Sarehole Mill, Birmingham

See the brilliant spectacle that is pumpkins floating on the mill pond at dusk in this magical Halloween event. The back story? Well, the mill has been visited by the ghostly Ferryman who guards the unearthly millpond. See the illuminated carved pumpkins glide across the millpond in this spooktactular evening event. Whilst you await your turn to view the flotilla, enjoy a delicious hot chocolate and spooky stories. You will even get the chance to make a lantern to guide you through the mill pond. Pre-order a bowl of Vampire’s Delight soup and a bread roll to enjoy before you view the flotilla too for £4.50 per person.. The pumpkin flotilla experience lasts 90 mins. A ticket to the flotilla is £45 and admits a bubble of up to 5 people (of any age).

Brick or Treat at Legoland, 15 October – 8 November, Windsor

Lego-lovers should hightail it to this brilliant annual event at Legoland. The newest attraction is the Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show at Heartlake City, with spooky songs and dancing. Have fun finding Monster Rockers hidden Halloween Surprises, as well as the Haunted House Monster Party Ride with Lord Vampyre. Download the Legoland app to help solve the clues, and get a goody bag from Lord Vampyre’s Butler, which includes a mini Lego pumpkin to build at home. Guests can also walk through the Enchanted Forest as well as greet Lego characters including werewolves, mummies and vampires.

THROW SOME SPOOKY SHAPES

Kick Start your Halloween with Disco, House and Tech. An event brought to you from FUZE Bristol, the UK’s Largest student-run charity show with DJ sets. Enjoy the new nightclub-style at the infamous Lakota Gardens which will be split into two sessions: 18:00 & 20:00. Tickets are £30 per table per session, for groups of up to six per table. Expect a whole lot of fun, including, headline djs we’ve all been missing! A safe and socially distanced space, a bar, pizzas and slushies, dancers and aeriel hoop artists. And they want to see your ghastliest dress ups too, we’ll see you in the garden.

DASTERDLEY DRIVE-INS

We love a good drive-in cinema and there’s one launching in Bristol this Halloween for those who want to be given a fright via the big screen.

Taking place at Filton Airfield between Tuesday, October 27 and Sunday, November 1, there will be screenings for all ages including Scream, Monsters Inc., The Blair Witch Project, Get Out, The Exorcist! and many more. Passengers can enjoy the films on a huge LED screen, with sound transmitted through “state-of-the-art speakers” given to each car upon arrival. To ensure safety, a number of measures will be put in place including plenty of space between parked cars.

Tickets for Adventure Drive-In are priced at £27.50 + booking fee and are available now on Adventure Drive-In’s website.

GHOST HUNTING

Not for the faint-hearted, overnight Ghost hunting with Haunted Happenings takes place in some of the UK’s most atmospheric buildings, from former asylums and mansions to museums and castles.

“Experiments” throughout the night include table tipping, glass moving, vigils, séances, experiments and ouija boards. Events run year-round, and for Halloween week venues include the Ancient Ram Inn in Glos, the decommissioned Shrewsbury prison and the former underground military complex of Drakelow Tunnels in Kidderminster amongst others. From £20pp, hauntedhappenings.co.uk

Find more ideas here

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