October Half Term: Great days out for the family from Peppa Pig to science fun

With October half term coming up soon, it’s a great time to start planning family activities.

But keeping the whole family happy can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

We’ve found a range of thrilling days out to suit everyone from moody teenagers to under-fives (and grown-ups, too!).

So whether you know someone who’d fancy bouncing around a huge underground cave or think your kids would love exploring a secret garden, we’ve got your half term plans sorted.

Keep reading to discover great days out around the UK and how to book them.

For thrillseekers

Jump around, jump up and get down at Bounce Below in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Illuminated by disco lights, this 60m-high cavern in an old slate mine has three levels of trampolines, each connected by net tunnels.

After being kitted out in helmets and protective suits, it’s all aboard the mining train for a rumble down to the main cave, where you can bounce around like Captain Caveman, somersaulting on huge net trampolines, before jumping through the shute down to the next level.

Bounce Below Junior is a slightly less chaotic but no less fun option for those under six.

Tickets from £20pp.

Where to stay: Sleep in the shadow of Snowdonia at Plas Weunydd. Family rooms from £98, room only.

Nearest station: Blaenau Ffestiniog

For little nippers

A pilgrimage to Peppa Pig World is at the top of any wish list of the under-fives, with Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride and George’s Dinosaur Adventure being the signature attractions.

But aside from being the home of the world’s most famous porker, Paulton’s Park also has Critter Creek, the Lost Kingdom — complete with animatronic dinosaurs — and Little Africa, with its walk-through aviary and nocturnal house.

New for 2021 is Tornado Springs, a retro midwest desert town with a spinning roller-coaster and a gyro swing.

Family tickets from £110.

Where to stay: Naturally, the only place to stay is the original Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst in the New Forest. Family rooms from £295.

Nearest station: Southampton Central

For teens and tweens

Britain’s oldest seaside pleasure park, Dreamland in Margate, is as colourful and retro as a roll of dusty Love Hearts.

Come and ride the Scenic Railway, the oldest roller-coaster in the country, fly vintage jets or get a seagull’s view of Margate’s famous sands from the top of the Ferris wheel.

New for this summer is the spooky ghost train but don’t miss the opportunity to embarrass the kids with a whirl around the Roller Disco to the Grease megamix.

Free to enter, rides from £2.

Where to stay: Settle down at the Sands, a boutique seaside hotel on the prom. Family rooms from £200pn.

Nearest station: Margate

For fairy tale fans

Take a tumble down a beautiful Cornish rabbit hole and discover the green wonderland of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Part of the Heligan Estate, this secret garden was discovered in 1990 and unfurls across 200 acres of subtropical gardens, ancient woodland and jungle.

Children of all ages, and even adults, will love to romp along the woodland trails and hide out under giant rhubarb leaves, cross the swinging rope bridge and peek at the Giant’s Head — it’s like a fairy tale has come to life.

Family tickets from £32..

Where to stay: Treat the whole team to a night at Fowey Hall, a beautiful, fancy pile that’s a family-focused hotel overlooking the estuary. Family rooms from £359, B&B.

Nearest station: St Austell

For animal lovers

Why not hitch a ride on a safari truck and see Africa’s Big Five as they rumble across the south Kent savannah at Port Lympne safari park?

The charity-run wildlife reserve is home to more than 700 animals, including big cats, black rhinos, snow leopards and spectacled bears.

One of the highlights is the Palace of the Apes, the largest gorilla enclosure in the world. It’s the closest you’ll get to experiencing an African family safari without leaving the UK.

Where to stay: Wake up to the roar of lions at Pinewood, a camp with wooden glamping pods. From £179 a night.

Nearest station: Westenhanger

For wannabe scientists

Housed in the old Templeborough steelworks in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Magna is the UK’s first science adventure centre.

This gigantic, hands-on museum is spread over four pavilions and features more than 100 interactive exhibits themed around air, earth, fire and water.

Operate a JCB, make a tornado of fire, or try and explode a rock face before cooling off in Aqua-Tek, a water play zone with cannons, spray arches and water wheels.

Adults from £13.95, children 4-15 £11.95.

Where to stay: Hooton Lodge Farm, fully decked out with bunting and beds. From £95pn.

Nearest station: Meadowhall

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