10 Great Half Term Days Out Across the North East and Yorkshire
Half term holidays are here…
The Forbidden Corner
The Forbidden Corner is a weird and wonderful place, with a labyrinth of underground tunnels and chambers, strange and unnerving statues, surprising follies and more than a few dead ends. At every turn there are decisions to make and tricks to avoid. Originally designed as a private garden and folly, this is a day out with a difference which will keep everyone entertained, and the Corner Café will keep everyone fuelled up throughout the day. From 21st October to 5th November, ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and monsters are taking over The Forbidden Corner. Find the missing skeleton bones to receive a spooky prize, complete the Halloween quiz for even more prizes, and why not take part in the fancy dress competition on 31st October?
Tupgill Park Estate, Middleham, Leyburn DL8 4TJ
Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden
Lilidorei is a magical, mysterious village home to nine clans who worship Christmas. They are ruled by Lord Elfwin, King of Lilidorei who lives in Elfwin Drin – the world’s biggest play structure. Children’s imagination runs wild here and they can (and are encouraged to) make up their own stories as they visit the clan houses, take part in daily activities and join in with stories with the Story Keepers. Until 5th November, Lilidorei is Spookydorei. Visit dressed up as your favourite Halloween character and submit a photo alongside your favourite clan before the end of October half term to be in the chance of winning a return visit at Christmas. Children can also unlock the spooky stories of Lilidorei, explore the Spookydorei trail and get their own Halloween bag for trick or treating.
Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB
The varied landscape at Dalby Forest makes it a brilliant day out for active families. Try the Explorer Ride (14 miles), the Green Cycle Route (six miles) which circles the high plateau around Adderstone, or have a crack at the Green Ellerburn Family Cycle Route, an easy, two-mile trail that’s great for kids who are just learning to ride their bike. There are alternative trails for serious mountain bikers, as well as Dixon’s Hollow Bike Park, a 4X skills course with dirt jumps and pump track. You’ll also find an adventure playground, The Gruffalo orienteering course, Zog trail and an eco-friendly visitor centre and café. Don’t miss Fear in the Forest on Monday 30th October, where families can enjoy creepy crafts and petrifying performances on the guided Halloween trail through the trees.
Pickering YO18 7LT
Bamburgh and its Castle
At the award-winning Bamburgh Castle, families will discover more than 3,000 years of incredible history. Find tales of Vikings, knights and dragons and be crowned King or Queen of the North. Until 5th November step into the real Last Kingdom of Bebbanburg and see a selection of costumes and props from key characters used in the hit Netflix series. From 29th October to 2nd November younger visitors can make spooky characters in the Inner Ward opposite the State Room Entrance, on 30th October Marley the miniature pony (a panto star who has appeared on Come Dine with Me and Countryfile) will be wearing his favourite Halloween costume, and on 1st November Ragnar, a young Viking warrior, will teach children what it takes to be a Viking.
Bamburgh NE69 7DF
One of the most comprehensive and immersive World War II museums, award-winning Eden Camp is built on a real POW camp with various huts full of history. Visitors can explore the sights, sounds and smells of the war in incredible detail. The whole family can enjoy a day out here – even well-behaved dogs are welcome on a lead, including in the display huts and a designated area in the café. Don’t miss the eco-friendly Prisoner of War Exercise Compound (for children aged five–12), where they can sneak through the escape tunnel or zoom down the slide. For those a little younger, Eden Camp have rebuilt their junior play area with a tunnel slide, assault course, basket swing and plenty of space for al fresco snacking.
Malton YO17 6RT
The multi award-winning Beamish Museum is the North East’s own bit of living history, with permanent attractions such as the traditional pit village, the 1940s farm and the 1900s town, where you can see how families lived and worked in the years leading up to the First World War. Ride the tram, go down the drift mine or join the queue for traditional sweets from the Edwardian-style sweet shop. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on a lead. This half term across the museum there’ll be plenty of fun activities for the whole family to take part in (keep an eye on their socials for details).
Beamish DH9 0RG
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is 500 acres of (dog-friendly) outdoor space with intriguing exhibitions of modern art, as well as indoor galleries of changing exhibitions, which currently include Erwin Wurm: Trap of the Truth (outdoors) and Jonathan Baldock: Touch Wood (in The Weston Gallery). There’s always lots to see here, including events for families letting you get involved in the art itself, a great shop and a café for a quick refuel. This half term, look out for pumpkins around the park and see if you can solve the mystery of where a mysterious owl can be found. Entry is free for 25s and under.
West Bretton WF4 4LG
The Plotters’ Forest
The Plotters’ Forest is an immersive outdoor playground located in a magical Christmas Tree Plantation at Raby Castle. Built around the existing trees, the playground equipment is woven into the forest, creating a place where children and their imaginations can run wild. Children can explore ground-level forest trails, climb high walkways and towers and match pairs in the giant memory game. Follow the sky-high turrets and treetop tunnels, then head to the stargazing deck and slip down the slide. From 25th October to 5th November children can enjoy two hours of play in The Plotters’ Forest before following the Halloween Trail, Raby Castle Quest and Mischievous Mog in the Deer Park trails at Raby Castle (all included in your Plotters' Forest ticket – check out our review here). There’s a pumpkin patch too!
Raby Castle, Staindrop DL2 3AH
Web Adventure Park
This huge play centre promises a day of adventure for all the family with an animal park, rides, and indoor and outdoor play areas. Find giant slides, a huge climbing area, a baby sensory area, a sports arena, bouncing pillows and meet all the animals who call the park home. From 28th October to 5th November the park is running a scarecrow competition and they need your help in deciding which scarecrow wins! Their resident magic man will be running Halloween-themed discos every day, with prizes for the best fancy dress costume (and best dancing) and there are plenty of fairground rides to enjoy.
Wigginton Road, York YO32 2RH
Described as a ‘palace of the modern magician’ you can learn all about engineer, innovator and arms manufacturer Lord Armstrong at his former holiday home – the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. There are 30 miles of footpaths in the grounds, a rhododendron maze and plenty of interactive models in the Power House. Armstrong constructed five lakes, a rock garden and planted more than seven million trees and shrubs, so you can easily spend the whole day here. The Explorer Packs are a great way to introduce Cragside’s history to pre-school children (they include a wooden toy camera and a magnifying glass), The Labyrinth is a giant maze cut into a forest of rhododendron where children can hunt for William the Wizard, and they can climb the witch's hat and slide down the tunnels at the adventure play area. (The house closes on 6th November until spring 2024 for maintenance).
Rothbury, Morpeth NE65 7PX