Tips for a Spooktacular October Half term: 5 ideas to entertain children over half term to suit all ages, weather and budgets
Spooky events at Chessington Garden Centre
Garden centres all over Surrey are running Halloween events that coincide with this year’s October half term. Chessington Garden Centre has not one but four spooky events taking place. From just £2.50 for the Trick or Treat Maze to the highest priced ticket of £9 for the Scary Circus, there are plenty of choices to help you get carried away with the Halloween vibe. The events run from now until 3rd November.
Free outdoor activities
In Scandinavia they have a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” If this October half term is set to be a wash out and the idea of staying inside all day fills you with dread, then it’s time to wrap up in your best waterproofs and head for the great outdoors. Surrey is filled with amazing autumnal walks and to make it even better there are more than enough places that are completely free. Here are two of my top free choices in Surrey this half term:
Box Hill is in the North Downs of Surrey and is looked after by the National Trust. If you are not a member then the only thing you have to pay for is the car park. With spectacular views over Dorking, the Surrey Hills and beyond, you will find plenty of trails to enjoy whether you are looking for short walk in the woods or a longer circuit. Just be sure to wear your wellies if it has been raining!
The original Nonsuch Park was created by Henry VIII so simply walking around the park can feel like a step back in time. The grand Grade II Mansion House that now stands in the grounds was built in 1802. Nonsuch park offers easy walks around open parkland as well as the fenced in garden that is extremely well-maintained. The café that is attached to the Mansion offers a wide range of snacks and the outdoor area is heated in cold weather allowing for seating throughout the year (which is good news for dog walkers).
Bocketts Farm and Deen City Farm
There are so many farms to choose from in Surrey but I have narrowed it down to two choices this half term to suit either a big spend to virtually nothing at all:
Bocketts Farm is a working farm in Fetcham that has plenty to offer both indoors and outdoors. From tractor rides, watching pig races and feeding the animals to trampolines, indoor carting and soft play there is more than enough to keep you here for a whole day. From 26th October to 3rd November, Bocketts Farm has a fun-filled programme for Halloween with its Witches and Wizards week. Look out for the reptile roadshow, the bubble disco and much, much more!
Deen City Farm
Deen City Farm is an urban farm in Merton that is free to visit. The farm is at the heart of the community and offers children the chance to see animals up close including pigs, cows, sheep and even alpaca. For the small cost of £2 there are pony rides and meet and greet sessions available this half term. (Note: It is closed on Mondays).
We are spoilt for choice with National Trust places in Surrey, so why not become a member and try to visit as many as you can over the October holiday? Each are offering plenty of Halloween activities such as arts and crafts, spooky trails and pumpkin carving. Polesdon Lacey in Great Bookham has a “Petrified” Spooky Trail throughout the whole half term with no booking required. For £3 per child there is a guaranteed prize and no doubt guaranteed fun in the beautiful grounds of this Edwardian estate.
Tulleys Farm – Shocktober
So technically this is not in Surrey but just over the border in Crawley, West Sussex. Tulleys Farm hosts the most spectacular, spookiest and scariest event in the UK. It has been the UK’s number one Halloween attraction since 2008. Shocktober boasts 10 live attractions, Street theatre and live music festival and much more. With attractions such as “The Chop Shop” and “Twisted Clowns” you will definitely scream your way through all of the immersive scare experiences. Shocktober is aimed at adults but if you have teenagers the recommended age is from 15. Who said Halloween is just for little kids?