The great half term escape: 10 top day trips
Filled with fear at the thought of having to entertain the kids this October half term? Book a ticket, bundle them in the car and hit the road with our top picks for a family-friendly day out.
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE: Wicksteed Park
A stalwart of the Northants funscape, Wicksteed serves up family-friendly hedonism in the Grade II English Heritage listed surroundings that have been a part of Northamptonshire’s legacy for a century. Get your adrenaline rush on the 30 rides and activities, have a go at archery and climbing, and splash about on the boating lake. There’s also nearly 150 acres of parkland including an arboretum, water meadows and the ruins of a 900 year old motte and bailey castle to explore. Over half term, rides will be running from 11-4 and tickets can be purchased from the ticket office on the day.
OXFORDSHIRE: Crocodiles of the World
Hey, what’s up, croc? There are all sorts of scaly happenings going on at this crocodile conservation site including croc keeper experiences, underwater viewing tunnels and the chance to see some of the world’s most endangered species, including the Cambodian Siamese Crocodile. It’s also one of only four UK zoos to house a Komodo Dragon – pretty cool, right?
BERKSHIRE: Legoland Windsor
OMG. Protect your credit card, it’s gonna get a hammering. 2020 saw the opening of Duplo Valley and the world’s first Duplo coaster, joining Lego Ninjago Ride, Haunted House Monster Party, the Jolly Rocker, Viking River Splash, Miniland and more. Basically, Legoland Windsor is a one stop adrenaline rush. Halloween half term sees lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, including a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow. Watch out for the gift shop at the end – it’s a killer.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Odds Farm Park
There’s so much on at this High Wycombe farm that you might struggle to get round it in one day! There are animals galore, naturally (to the tune of pigs, cows, goats, sheep and more), as well as a mini golf course, outdoor play area and a Halloween pumpkin patch for autumn. Pre-booking essential.
ESSEX: Halloween Spooktacular on the Audley End Miniature Railway
Audley End House’s Miniature Railway outpost certainly knows how to throw a themed event. The tracks will be transformed from 24 October to 1 November into a ghost train, where kids journey on the haunted Halloween Express with trick or treat bags to visit the witches in their haunted house. (Yes, fancy dress includes you, too!) The craft tent is also in action this year, so little monsters can create a creepy craft, have their faces painted, test out their thriller dance moves and listen to a spooky tale or three.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Skylark Week of Wickedness
It wouldn’t be Halloween without some pumpkin picking and carving. Ditch the Sainsbury’s queue and take the kids for a day of Pumpkin Carving Workshops at Skylark Maize Maze and Funyard, in March, Cambs instead. This popular family attraction’s Week of Wickedness also includes a magic show, haunted tractor rides, den building and pig racing (you know, that classic Halloween activity!).
ESSEX: Stubbers Adventure Centre
With more than 35 action-packed activities across land, air, water and motor, the enormous Stubbers activity park in Upminster is perfect for daredevils who want to feel the wind in their hair and the waves/mud on their backs. From abseiling and assault courses to off-roading and quad biking, you can get the whole family kitted out, demo’d up and revved for the ride of their lives. We love the jet ski sessions, which come with slalom kicks for the full 30-90 minutes, and exhilarating banana rides are sure to float your boat too.
SURREY: Chessington World of Adventures
Theme park, zoo and sealife centre – this is the best of all worlds for the family that wants animals and adrenalin. With more than 1,000 animals, including gorillas, sealions and Sumatran tigers, the park is loosely themed on world cultures. Head from the Mexicana to Wild Asia via the Land of the Dragons.
Kent Life Heritage Farm Park is a 28-acre working farm and visitor attraction with so much to do that you’re in danger of having too much fun with the littlies. Discover more than 200 farmyard animals including donkeys, alpacas, sheep, pigs and goats as well as indoor and outdoor play areas, and Kentish gardens and orchards. This half term expect pumpkin carving, spooky tractor rides, creepy bugs and fancy-dress competitions. Are you brave enough to trick or treat in Kent Life’s historic houses? You never know who’s lurking behind the doors! Available from 2pm everyday in half term, pre-booking recommended.
WARWICKSHIRE: Warwick Castle
This spectacular castle is a Muddy favourite and very good at luring us back with its historical spectacles, winter ice-rink and spooky Halloween Castle, as well as the overnight glamping in the Knight’s Village or tower suites. Day time fun also includes the regular birds of prey demos, the mighty trebuchet, archery and ramparts.