43 fangtastic half term ideas
Yep, half term crept up on us too. No fear, Muddy to the rescue with the ultimate guide to beating the boredom and surviving the school holidays.
1/ Boo! Halloween high jinks
Hallo’welly’ween, Wellington Country Park Reading, Sat 26 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
A week of spooktacular fun for the kids at Wellington Country Park – New for 2019 is the Giant Hale Bale Hunt, pumpkin science, potion making and witches supermarket, alongside the annual spooky storytime, rocket show, Big Foot show, spooky disco, magic shows, a creepy craft room, scary face painting, a haunted Halloween train ride, pumpkin carving and much more! You;re gonna be busy. wellington-country-park.co.uk
Halloween Half Term, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Stonor are going for it this year with their Spooktacular Halloween. Your kids can run amok round the grounds to search for secret messages and riddles to win a prize, carve or decorate pumpkins, wear creepy fancy dress and explore the Wonder Woods adventure playground. Plus they’ve reeled in the big guns – Mud Guts will be running a workshop on Wed 30 Oct and famous Oxford ghost tour guide and storyteller, Bill Spectre, will be reading horror stories on Sun 3 Nov. stonor.com
PYO Pumpkin and Carving, Cobbs Farm Shop Hungerford and Englefield, Fri 25 – Thu 31 Oct
Slime and seeds – pumpkin carving is a nightmare. Leave the mess to someone else and hop over to Cobbs Farm. Pick up a pumpkin (pay for it) and get creative in our carving tent this October Half Term. Entry is £3.50 per child and includes a complimentary Halloween treat and squash to keep those creative juices flowing! cobbsfarmshop.co.uk
Special Halloween Duck Tour, The Royal Berkshire Windsor, Wed 30 and Thu 31 Oct
All Aboard Count Duck’u’la for a wicked watery adventure! This exclusive Halloween Duck Tour will be filled with 45-minute spooky castle stories, devilish decorations and fangtastic two-course meal at The Royal Windsor! Halloween fun and tea sorted. Winning at half term, right there. £30pp. windsorducktours.co.uk
Halloween, Bucklebury Farm Park, Sat 26 – Sun 3 Nov
This October half term wave your magic wand to whisk you of to Bucklebury Farm Park for free pumpkin to carving, creepy crafting, ghoulish face painting and hurry through the trick or treat maze to find the witches belongings. All included in the £12.95 entry price. Buckleburyfarmpark.co.uk
Halloween Film Night, West Berkshire Brewery Yattendon, Tue 29 Oct
Mexico’s Day of the Dead has been hijacked by Halloween and Hollywood – probably because the next level costumes and make up. Get in on the act and head to West Berkshire Brewery Taproom for a special film night – Oscar-winning Pixar animation, COCO on the big screen, popcorn, treats and it’s FREE to enter. Film starts at 4pm.
Dia De Los Muertos (Halloween) Party, Jelly Lounge Windsor, Thu 31 Oct
A Muddy favourite, The Jelly Lounge in Windsor know how to keep kids and grown ups sweet. Ditch trick or treating for a fright night partaaaay! Your little critters can dress up, dance, play and get fed – and you can anaesthetise with gin. thejellylounge.co.uk
Concertini Spooky singalong , Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 31 Oct
Raise the dead with a spooky sing-a-long at Norden Farm. Muddy award-winning Concertini will be causing musical mayhem with tunes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Little Shop of Horrors all performed by West End singer Mairi Cowieson and CBBC singer songwriter Rob Castell. The 11.30am show is a relaxed perfomance – ideal for babies and toddlers or SEND children. Put your hands your hips and time warp, people. norden.farm
School of wizardry The Oracle Reading Mon 28 – Wed 30 Oct
Hubble bubble toil and trouble at The Oracle Reading! All sorts of sourcery to be found outside Victoria Secret (and there’s nhot a lace thong in sight). Your young wizards can experiment making potions with a mix of ingredients sprinkled with a touch of magic and maybe the odd frogs leg. Non booking needed. Just rock up and wreak havoc. theoracle.com
Halloween Half Term Fun, Holme Grange Wokingham, Mon 28 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
If Holme Grange in Wokingham isn’t on your radar, then make a point of going this half term. Lots of cool indie businesses in one place and an abundance of spooktacular activities, including slime making (always best to do this outside of your own home), treasure trail, cookie decorating, owls and pony rides. holmegrangecraftvillage.co.uk
Hellfire Caves, Wycombe, 26 Oct – 3 Nov
Hellfire Caves are a brilliant venue for spooky activities – I mean, the clue’s in the name. Plus, for Halloween, the caves are decked out to the nines with macabre props, lighting, creepy music and characters. There’ll also be free games, colouring, fancy dress competitions and more in the courtyard, plus face painting for a small fee. Between 28 Oct – 1 Nov kids can also sign up to Hellfire School of Witchcraft & Wizardry with broomstick races, potion making and, erm, werewolf banishing (nope, me neither). hellfirecaves.co.uk
2/ Children’s theatre
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 31 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
First up is Judith Kerr’s tea-guzzling tiger, direct from its West End stint, it’s directed by children’s theatre stalwart David Wood OBE (BFG, The Witches, Meg and Mog) so bound to be brilliant.
Born Ready – Diversity 2019, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 29 Oct
It’s been 10 years since Diversity won Britain’s Got Talent, and they’re now all grown up. Eight sell out UK tours, over half a million tickets sold, and countless television and live performances, Diversity have set off an Anniversary UK tour. The joints are creaking a little more, but they’ve still for the X factor. readingarts.com
Morgan & West: Unbelievable Science, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 28 Oct
Morgan & West present captivating chemistry, phenomenal physics and bonkers biology in this science extravaganza. Expect explosive thrills, chemical spills, and a risk assessment that gives their stage managers chills. Suitable for age 6 years +. Runs Monday 28 October at 11.30am & 2.00pm. Find out more and book here.
Widdershins theatre comes to Berkshire with it’s new show Rumpelstiltskin & the Snail of Destiny (a snail dressed up in sequins with a crystal ball for a shell, perhaps?), a twist on the Grimm’s classic, performed with puppets.
Great Expectations, South Hill Park Bracknell, Wed 23 – Mon 28 Oct
An inventive and atmospheric adaptation of Great Expectations takes to the stage at South Hill Park. This much-loved Dickens novel delves into the childhood hopes and fears of young Pip, as he begins his adventures in the windswept marshes of Kent, to the haunting cobwebbed lair of Miss Havisham. southhillpark.org.uk
Jack and the Beans, Shaw House Newbury Mon 28 Oct
Charming and inventive with plenty of interaction, an enormous beanstalk, bags of gold and a smelly old giant. Jack and the Beans Talk is a cautionary tale about what might happen if you throw things out of the window! The performance is 45 minutes, ideal for kids aged 3-7. westberkshireheritage.org
David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, Wycombe Swan, Wed 23 – Sat 26 Oct
Starring 12-year-old Joe, the richest boy in the country who receives £100,000 a week pocket money (don’t go getting any ideas, kids). There’s another brilliant team behind the production – the same as the award-winning West End show Gangsta Granny – and, knowing Walliams, it will be packed with humour for the grown ups too. wycombeswan.co.uk
3/ Family friendly museums and exhibitions
Bears, Rivers and Rowing Museum, Henley On Thames
The lovely River and Rowing Museum, in Henley, has a new children’s exhibition Bears! where kids can learn about history’s favourite teddies – Rupert, Winnie the Pooh and friends – as well as explore original artwork and manuscripts from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Bear and The Piano and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Every Fri during the hols there’ll be bear-themed games and crafts in the galleries, and on 8 Aug, there’ll be a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
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.
The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 15 Dec
Fancy a literary trip down memory lane? Immerse yourself in the nostalgic world of Ladybird Books told through original artwork, books and objects. We all had them, and bring back the same childhood fuzzies as Space Invader crisps and Willow The Wisp. Explore an unparalleled collection of books, original artwork and artefacts, dating back to the WW2, at The Base. thebasegreenham.co.uk
Anthony Caro, Cliveden House, Berks, until 10 Nov
If you’re heading over the Berks border, this sculpture trail at National Trust site Cliveden is well worth a peek. Around the Grade I listed grounds you’ll find 16 of the iconic ’60s sculptural artist’s famous steel structures. nationaltrust.org.uk
Oxford Museum of Natural History
Always a goodie for little ones – lots of dinosaur skeletons which are always a winner, as well as the current major exhibition First Animals, an interesting exploration of the first life on earth (until 24 Feb).
Halloween Ghost Hunt, Wycombe Museum
Jumping on the Halloween bandwagon, Wycombe Museum is running a mystery trail through the museum – no need to worry if you scare easily as the hunt is recommended for kids aged 4 – 11 (31 Oct).
4/ Cookery classes
Pizza Making Classes and Parents Brunch, Fenwick Bracknell, Fri 18 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Get in my belly. Kids are busy making pizzas and you get to drink hot coffee and eat something without a small hand stealing your food. Fenwick Bracknell has lots of Half Term fun planned. A great excuse to scan the cool denim lounge and beauty hall.
Spooky Cookie Decorating, The Jelly Lounge Windsor. Mon 21 Oct
Life is sweet at The Jelly Lounge, your littlies spend a delicious hour decorating sppoky cookies and you get to whizz round Zara and Whistles. £10 well spent. Book em up. thejellylounge.co.uk
Pasta and Pizza Course for Kids, Delights of Italy, Earley. Tue 22 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
Grab an hour to yourself, and get your kids to make their own lunch/tea. Winner winner. Suitable for ages 5+, there’s a pizza pro course or become a pasta master. delightsofitaly.co.uk
5/ Theatre workshops
Comedy Improvisation, The Watermill Newbury, Mon 28 Oct
Got a kids with all the LOLs. Pack ’em off to Stand-up Comedy camp. The Watermill has a brilliant education department and their holiday courses are snapped up. This October half term your kids can unleash your inner comic! They’ll learn techniques used by professionals and explore how to create your very own comedy sketches on the spot (ages 7-11, 9am-12noon and ages ages 12 – 16, 1pm-4pm).
6/ Theme parks
Fright Nights, Thorpe Park, now – Sun 3 Nov – Thorpe Park’s Fright Night boasts more terror than ever before with new horror experiences, attractions, and even more scares. It’s the perfect event to get you in the mood for Halloween, so grab your tickets… if you dare.
Legoland Windsor Brick or Treat, now – Sun 3 Nov
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Over 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions, plus firework displays on 19, 20, 25 and 26 Oct, 1 and 2 Nov. New for 2019 the Creepy Cobweb Castle, Monster Rocker’s Dance Party and Lord Vampyre’s Haunted House Monster Party Ride. legoland.co.uk
7/Arts & crafts
Graffiti Camp, Jelly Lounge Windsor, Wed 30 Oct
Ooh, we love a bit off urban art at Muddy – and the kids are down with it too. Let them rip on a boards rather rather than your walls at The Jelly Lounge Windsor – the coolest family club in Berkshire. If you can lift their gaze from a screen, book your Banksy wannabes in and they can create something awesome for their bedroom walls.
Dream Make, Newbury, Fri 25, Wed 30 and Thu 31 Oct
Huzzah! Arts and crafts I can get on board with. Dream Make is a brilliant Newbury-based biz for creative kids. Annelies, an award-winning architect, started ‘Dream Make’ to fire up kids’ imaginations and introduce them to the world of architecture and design. It’s such a fab idea, you’d be mad not to book up. Take your pick from Marvellous 3D Mask, Pop-Up Interiors and Future City workshops running over half term.
Goodness and Ghouls Retreat, Wasing Wellbeing Aldermaston, Thu 31 Oct
Time out for you and your little pumpkins! This retreat is for you and your kids to step off the treadmill and just ‘be’. It’s a fun, relaxing day with loads of activities including yoga, mindfulness and forest bathing.
Kids’ Yoga, Swan at Streatley, Tue 22 Oct
Release the tension! And what better place to send them than kids yoga at Swan at Streatley. Two creative yoga workshops for different age groups (4-7 yr olds at 1.15pm and 8-13 yr olds at 2.15pm), where they’ll get to release energy and hit the reset button. You can work on your own tension in the cafe/bar – coffee? wine? Choose your poison and relax.
Intro To Climbing, Reading Climbing Centre.
Reach for the sky and learn the basic skills involved in indoor roped climbing. Suitable for ages 7-17, the 3-day course starts each day at 10am-12noon, £90. readingclimbingcentre.com
Bracknell Ski Centre & Ice Rink
If you’re not heading off the Alps, pack your kids off to the dry slope in Bracknell for ski or snowboarding camps. All the cool kids are doing it, with our current top tricksters having honed their skills on the white carpet. JNL Sports in Bracknell is running camps for skiers and boarders of all abilities. Lessons begin at 9.30am and finish at 4.30pm but if you need to work, you can drop the kids off early and pick them up as late as 6pm. How good is that! jnlbracknell.co.uk
Reading FC Soccer School, various locations , Mon 28 Oct – Fri 1 Nov
Can you kick it? Yes you can. Once again Reading FC is running its ridiculous popular soccer schools. All age groups are catered for plus girls only sessions, goalie and technical skills training. Courses at Madjeski Stadium Dome book up really quickly. From £6 a session -£60 for the week. community.readingfc.co.uk
Tree Climbing, Cliveden – The Big Tree Climbing Company will help kids scale the Cliveden canopies over Easter – an hour activity for 6+, bookable here and promising gorgeous views with a zip line back down to the bottom. Wheeee!
Enchanted Halloween, Sudeley Castle – Stalk the grounds of Sudeley on a magical trail to track down the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Eyes peeled for Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and the wicked Step Mother’s chilling storytelling.
Longleat, Wiltshire – Join Longleat for a spine-chilling tour of Longleat House, Sat 26 Oct – Sun 3 Nov. There have been some other-worldly visitors rumored to be walking the halls just waiting to be discovered. You’ll hear all about the ghostly residents and get the chance the wonder through the unseen cellars, eerie attics, and dark corridors. www.longleat.co.uk
Warwick Castle – One of the slickest family entertainment operations around and Halloween is no exception – the Medieval castle makes for a perfect setting. On offer this year is a new show in The Witches Tower, Horrible Histories maze, Haunted Hallows trail and birds of prey demos, plus a new Ghost Trail for younger kids or scaredy-cats (guilty!).
Whipsnade Zoo – The sister outpost of London Zoo which is putting on its annual Halloween event. It’s hands down my favourite zoo with the countryside setting giving it a more natural feel than city zoos – plus kids will go mad for the train. As well as its usual animal viewing, feeding, demos and talks there’ll be pumpkin carving, face painting and crafts, with each day ending with a Pumpkin Party and storytime.
Heading to the Big Smoke? There’s the brilliant Science Museum‘s cool interactive gallery- Wonderlab, with over 50 exhibitions including hands-on, live experiments at the Chemistry Bar and daily shows. The Space and AI tech exhibitions are also worth seeing.