Review: A Spooktacular Halloween at Raby Estates
Living North headed to Raby Castle to take in the spooktacular celebrations, starting with a creep around the Plotters' Forest
Upon arrival we collected our activity sheet from the kiosk and quickly established our new names: we were now Burning Zombie, Cackling Witch and Howling Witch. The kids find this hilarious, while Dad now has a legitimate reason to call his soon-to-be-teenage daughter a Cackling Witch – so it’s a win win.
Heading in through the Rebel Gateway, eerie music adds to the atmosphere. As you climb turrets, traverse tree-top walkways and slip down slides you also set about finding and ticking off the various symbols from the activity sheet, all of which are hidden around the attraction.
The ghosts that have taken over the trees have jumbled up the letters of a phrase, and you're invited to gather them all together in an attempt to work out what it's meant to say. Children love exploring and outdoor playing, but they also love a challenge, so when this is bundled together as it is here they quickly become immersed in the experience.
The various routes through the Christmas tree plantation of the Plotters’ Forest are dressed up with all things Halloween including ghosts, witches, cauldrons, spiders, webs, skulls and pumpkins – but our favourites are a couple of past plotters (now skeletons) enjoying a game of chess, and a graveyard(including tombstones for Debbie Downer (who was apparently ‘eternally disappointed’) and Chris P Bacon.
Make your way to the top of the attraction and your reward is the Plotters’ Pantry, where you can have a well-earned rest and enjoy some refreshments, all while trying to decipher the phrase from the jumbled up letters challenge.
The Halloween fun doesn’t end here though. Included in your Plotters' Forest ticket is entry into the stunning Deer Park, where both red and fallow deer roam freely, and you can take part in the Mischievous Mog Halloween Trail with Raby Castle as the back drop.
A visit to this beautiful estate is not complete without exploring the 14th century castle itself, where knowledgeable staff are on hand at every turn to answer all your questions. Children are kept entertained in the castle with the Castle Quest adventure, and with a valid Plotters’ Forest and Deer Park ticket kids go free into Raby Castle until 5th November.
There's a whole host of other things going on for Halloween at Raby Estates, including the After Dark Halloween Trail through the Plotters' Forest, The Deer Park at Dusk and, half an hour down the road, the magnificent High Force Waterfall is hosting a Halloween Trail along its spectacular woodland walk. A spooky mission awaits as families will need to collect a series of spine-tingling clues to find their way back to High Force Hotel for sweet treats and hot drinks.
Raby Castle is currently going through a major two-year development period. Known as The Rising, the ambitious programme includes the renovation and restoration of historic buildings – some which have never been open to the public – providing contemporary retail, dining and event spaces, as well as the redesign of the walled gardens. For now, with so much going on for Halloween, don't miss out on the spooktacular celebrations!
You can book tickets and find more details of all the Halloween events happening at Raby Estates at www.raby.co.uk/halloween