Half term's looming but don't be afraid, we've sorted the fun with 19 brilliant things to do in Berkshire and beyond to keep the little people entertained.
Hallo-Welly-Ween, Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Sat 24 – Sat 31 Oct
Release your little monsters at Wellington Country Park for a week of spooktacular fun from 10am-4pm every day. Join Wanda the Witch on a Halloween hat hunt around the park, all aboard for a haunted train ride, followed by pumpkin carving, creepy crafting and much more. It’s a brilliant day out and great if the idea of trick or treating brings you out in hives. Pre-booking is essential. Tickets go on sale Fri 16 Oct.
Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, 15 Oct – 8 Nov
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.
Drive-In Cinema, The Wellington Arms, Stratfield Turgis, Thu 29-Sat 31 Oct
Things that go bump in the night – as long as it’s not you hitting in the car in front. Pull up for the new drive-in cinema at The Wellington Arms in Stratfield Turgis. Three days of great movies, including family classics like E.T., Secret Life of Pets 2, Hotel Transylvania, Sing and more. The best rom-com of all time – yes, that is Dirty Dancing or fright-night films like The Blair Witch Project. Yikes. Film, food, fun and all safely socially distanced.
PYO Pumpkin, Cobbs Farm Shop Hungerford, Sat 10 – Sat 31 Oct
Slime and seeds – pumpkin carving is a nightmare, but it definitely keeps the kids busy for a bit. Head to Cobbs Farm and pick your own pumpkin (pay for it) Check in at the new bus café, you have one hour to find your perfect pumpkin. Then head home for creative carving, or paint it (much easier0 Entry is £3.50 per child! cobbsfarmshop.co.uk
Quentin Blake and John Yoeman – 50 Years of Children’s Books, The Base Greenham, now – Sun 6 Dec
Just like wine and cheese, Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl trip off the tongue. But a new exhibition at The Base in Greenham Common reveals Quentin Blake’s longest collaboration was in fact with the author John Yeoman. House of Illustration’s 50 Years of Children’s Books exhibition is the first to celebrate this partnership. It features the original drawings for A Drink of Water, and 10 other projects – from picture books and short novels.
The Little Gym, Windsor
If you’ve got a Duracell bunny. The Little Gym to the rescue. The brilliant team will take your 3-12 year olds off your hands, send them on exciting missions around the gym – running, rolling, swinging. Think Lara Croft or Indiana Jones without the jeopardy and snacks. Book as little or as much as you want or need. School is out but the fun is on (and you don’t have to worry about the weather).
Red Kangaroo Trampoline Park, Reading
With wall-to-wall trampolines, Red Kangaroo is the perfect spot for wearing out energetic children. There are dedicated areas and sessions for littlies, while bigger kids can blitz through the assault course, wipeout zones and extreme dodgeball courts. And yes, there’s a mezzanine café for you to sit sedately while the madness unfolds below.
Halloween Trail, Beale Park Pangbourne, Sat 24 Oct – Sun 1 Nov
Head to Beale Park like a bat out of her for its Halloween Trail. join in the spooky fun looking for the clues dotted around the Park, while oohing and ahhing at the many different animals. Kids get in for free if they come dressed to scare (with a fee paying adult).
Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst
Dinton Pastures Country Park is a Berkshire belter. This 400-acre site has something for everyone. During half term the activity centre is running watery fun for ages 10+ – kayaking, canoeing, archery, bushcraft and sailing. Want to get competitive? There’s a 30-point Orienteering Course here and plenty of pretty walks. Or enjoy simply take in the view with a cuppa and cake at the Dragonfly Café.
Reading Museum, Reading
Reading Museum is a treasure trove of taxidermy and preserved beetles and butterflies. Reading Museum, with its full size Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, has more than its fair share of stuffed animals, art and biscuits. There’s also lots of activities from a Big Draw animal and mummified fish demos to a Victorian schoolroom experience and Frankenstein paperbag creatures.
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon
The National Trust is always a life saver when it comes to half term and Basildon Park has a good offering this year with a free autumn nature trail around the grounds and quirky scarecrow display in the walled garden.
Windsor Castle, Windsor
Windsor Castle is the world’s largest and oldest occupied castle and Royal Wedding venue du jour. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs, so practice your curtsey, keep the kids away from the priceless antiques and look through the gilded keyhole. Right now, for your admission price, you can get up close to Princess Beatrice’s ‘Something Borrowed’ vintage wedding gown, the castle’s wartime panto pictures and the Eastern Terrace gardens.
Bray Lake Watersports, Bray
Too cold to spend a week in the water? Nah, that’s what wetsuits were invented for. Bray Lake Watersports is your boredom busting bestie for half term courses offering a pick and mix of watery activities to sailing and paddlesports.
Stonor Park, nr Henley
Home to the Stonor family for 850 years, this historic house has brilliant family walks aplenty with the vast grounds encompassing parts of both the Chiltern and Shakespeare Way. For the little people, there’s the Wonder Woods (we’re talking sandpits, seesaws, tunnels), plus a giant slide and 50-metre zip wire.
Concertini: Spooky Music, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 31 Oct
What makes horror movies so blinkin terrifying? The music. Perfect timing for the Wiltshire Piano Duo to join Concertini at Norden Farm to be playing a spooky concert with songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop Of Horrors. Tickets £8 norden.farm
Windsor Duck Tour, Windsor
I’m not sure Roger Moore would approve of this amphibious motor, but then you won’t get many passengers in his water bound Lotus Esprit. Good job we have the Duck bus to whizz around the historic streets of Windsor for dunking into the river. Rain or shine, this is fun history lesson/ sightseeing adventure.
Swinley Forest, Bracknell
Step away from the screens and release the children. Swinley Forest is a great venue for all ages. A rarity, let’s be honest. There’s a mountain bike trail (hire bikes available), The Lookout Discovery Centre, a lovely playground, Segway trails or get high on life at Go Ape Bracknell – a forest adventure that tests your balance, bravery and dignity. There’s a 1hr Junior Tree Top Adventure (suitable for kids 1m+) and a High Ropes Course (ages 10+ and 1.4m+ tall), that takes you 30m off the ground. Adrenaline junkies will love it.!
Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury
Release the children. Bucklebury Farm Park boasts 77 stunning acres in the pretty village of Bucklebury, West Berkshire – Wave to Ma and Pa Middleton, they live opposite. What can you expect? Well, clue’s in the name – animals. And there are plenty to feed, pet and gawp – donkeys, goats, ponies, cows, pigs, rabbits and alpacas, to name a few. The tractor deer safari is always a highlight and then there’s the indoor whizzy slides, bouncy pillow, go karts, zip wire, den building, woodland assault course and more. Booking is essential.
Halloween at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, 24 Oct – 1 Nov
The National Trust site is piling on the activities for autumn half term including a ghostly trail around the grounds, pumpkin carving in The Stables and – our personal favourite – a spooky-themed Halloween afternoon tea (how cute is that little ghost meringue?!). Booking essential.
IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, online, 1 Oct – 17 Nov
The city’s annual science and tech fest is taking everything online this year with loads of digital events across half term for kids including storytelling and coding workshops.
River & Rowing Museum, Henley
This sweet museum excels at creating exhibitions for kids with fun, interactive elements. There’s the museum itself to explore and an on-site café (with outdoor seating), plus you’re right next to a huge park and the river for walking and feeding the ducks. At the moment you can visit the Wind in the Willows exhibition.
Fright Night Fearstival, Thorpe Park, Surrey, Fri 16 Oct – Sun 1 Nov
A dead cert hit with adrenaline junkie teens, it’s the 19th annual Fright Night at Thorpe Park. Expect thrilling rollercoaster rides, spooks, ghouls and social distancing. Recommended for ages 13+.