10 great days out for all the family this October half-term

With the first term of school well underway, October half-term will be here in no time.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be looking forward to the break from routine and keen to make the most of time with your children or grandchildren when schools break up, this time next month.

So, here are 10 ideas for fun days out with all the family.

1. Head outdoors to the RHS Garden at Bridgewater

From 21 to 29 October, expect to enjoy some “spooktacular” half-term fun, courtesy of RHS Garden Bridgewater.

There are spooky activities for the whole family – with creative pumpkin carving and some particularly spooky planting, where you can get dirty with hands-on fun.

If you prefer to be on the move, explore the creepy garden trail. Or get creative and make your own “Trick or Treat tote bag” ready to collect your treats on Halloween night.

Reserve your spot on the RHS Bridgewater website. Normal garden admission applies.

2. Have some ghoulish Halloween fun at Beeston Castle

For families who love to be scared, look no further than Beeston Castle. Sneak a path along the spooky trail and solve all the creepy clues. Then, settle down to listen to stories that might just scare your socks off.

As well as the spooky trail and storytelling, look deep into the deep castle well and see if you think Richard II’s lost treasure might really be hidden in its depths.

Set in 40-acres of woodland, follow one of countless walks and see if you can spot the foxes, rabbits and buzzards that have made their home in the castle grounds. If you’re very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the nesting peregrine falcons.

The park is open daily from 10 am until 5 pm, and the ghoulish Halloween trail opens Saturday 21 October, with the final outing on Sunday 29 October.

3. Experience an enchanting trip through Magical Woodland

This interactive outdoor adventure will dazzle people of all ages. With brilliant lighting effects and a suitably haunting soundtrack, experience the magic of Halloween deep within 15 acres of Cheshire woodland.

Performing artists combined with hands-on fun will capture your imagination and immerse you everything you love most about the spooky season.

Loop the trail as many times as you like, and when everyone’s growing tired, get sticky and roast marshmallows over the fire pit.

Open every evening from Tuesday 6 October to Friday 31 October, tickets for the Magical Woodland in Blakemere Village are on sale now.

4. Get up close to a variety of creepy crawlies

If you know a little person who’s fascinated by creepy crawlies, ZooLab at Lyme Park will make a perfect mini adventure.

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about invertebrates as you explore creepy crawlies and learn more about the wider topics of biodiversity and the environment.

Want to know how slimy a snail really is, or if tarantulas are as terrifying as we’re made to believe – ZooLab will answer all your creeping questions.

To take part, head to Lyme Park on Thursday 26 or Friday 27 October. With various times available throughout each day, secure your preferred spot on the National Trust website.

5. Search for Mog in the Maze at Tatton Park

This half-term, Mog the Forgetful Cat needs your help.

On a visit to Tatton Park, Mog managed to get lost in a Maize Maze and needs your help to find her way out! Can you help her plot a safe route out of the maze before she misses her breakfast?

In association with Harper Collins Publishers, Tatton Park is inviting you to step into the enchanting world of Mog the Forgetful Cat to celebrate Judith Kerr’s 100th birthday.

Once you know Mog is safe and sound, run over to the outdoor adventure playground and remember to pop in and say hello to all the farmyard animals before you head home for tea.

6. Go on safari

Five miles long and home to more than 750 animals, Knowsley is the longest safari drive in the UK.

One circuit of the park takes about an hour to complete but, because you can drive round as many times as you want, there’s ample opportunity to spot even the most bashful of creatures.

Expect to see cheeky baboons, lions, tigers, rhinos, meerkats, giraffes, and more. If you’re worried for the safety of your car’s windscreen wipers, there’s a monkey-free drive that you can take instead! Or ride the baboon bus and keep your car entirely out of harm’s way.

If it’s fine and dry, you could walk the foot safari, too?

With amusement rides, refreshments, and a variety of live displays and educational opportunities, Knowsley Safari Park is guaranteed to give the whole family a wild day out.

7. See all the animals at Chester Zoo

Home to more than 21,000 animals and 500 different species – including some of the world’s most endangered – Chester Zoo has been a popular family day out for almost a hundred years.

Spread over 110 acres of gardens, you can book private experiences, including an early morning bus tour before the park opens, hand-feeding fruit bats, and delivering lunch to the lions – using a zip line to keep limbs safe from harm.

With large habitats for every resident animal, you need to keep a watchful eye as there are many hiding places for shy creatures to take refuge from prying eyes.

If you’re keen to plan ahead and make the most of your visit, book a session with a zoo ranger to learn even more about all the animals and plants.

And, for October half-term 2023, experience Planet Shark – an aquatic adventure that transports you “under the sea into the domain of one of the world’s most misunderstood predators”.

8. Go plane-spotting at Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park

A visit to the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport lets you get within metres of planes arriving home and jetting off to sunnier climes.

As well as watching live planes in action, the park boasts a variety of retired planes, including “the spectacular supersonic airliner, Concorde G-BOAC; and former RAF military spy plane, Nimrod”.

Additionally, a DC-10, Avro RJX and a retro Trident airliner give an idea of what flying was like in the 60s and 70s.

With a large picnic spot, on-site coffee house, a playground, and The Aviation Shop – this is a great day out for children and keen aircraft enthusiasts alike.

9. Discover classic football toys and games at the National Football Museum

If your family is football mad, discover the history of football toys and games at the Batteries Not Included exhibition.

The Score Gallery exhibition takes you on an “immersive journey, from the Victorian era through to the latest cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) technology” where you can find out about the cultural changes of each decade and how play technology has been adopted across the professional game.

No matter your age, get your hands on a whole range of football toys and games, including 17 interactive games and exhibits, the most popular of which is almost certainly Subbuteo.

10. Play more than 300 video arcade games

Who’d have thought that Europe’s largest arcade would be found in Bury?

Boasting the largest collection of video arcade games in Europe and spread over four floors, play more than 300 games – including Ghost Busters, X-Men, Pac-Man, Sega Rally, Frogger and, of course, Mario Bros, to name just a very few.

Discover a gaming heaven with long-lost classics, dance floors, pinball machines, and games consoles.

Simply pay to enter and then play everything for free – no coins, no tokens, no faff.

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