After the long summer holidays the October half-term can whizz by without you leaving the house but with a little planning you (and your children) can have as much fun during half-term as you did in the summer.
All those activities you did during the summer are still valid, you just have to prepare for colder weather.
We visited Chester Zoo in the summer holidays, the day we chose to go it poured with rain but it didn't make much difference to our day. We took coats and an umbrella and wandered around the zoo. The great thing was that the weather had put people off so there were less people than would've been there if it had been sunny. That meant we could walk around and see the animals without lots of people blocking LP's view. Chester Zoo even have an indoor picnic area so you can still take a picnic with you. Win!
Chester Zoo is open from 10am until 5pm every day apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. During half term the entry prices go up a little, for a family of four (children aged 3-15) with all day monorail passes (adult: £3.50, child: £2.50) it costs £83.80. This may sound like a lot of money but it is so worth it, your family will have a wonderful day at Chester Zoo and you'll give your children the chance to see tigers, leopards, and rhinos!
Hardwick Old Hall is run by English Heritage and I would highly recommend the audio tour when visiting. You learn so much about the history of the building and Bess of Hardwick and your children may even enjoy wandering around such an old building. When we visited the boys had a great time and they still talk about it now. Being able to walk around the Old Hall while listening to someone talk about the history is a much more practical way of learning and it works wonders on the children!
You can also visit the New Hall which is run by the National Trust. We have yet to visit the New Hall but I've heard great things about it.
For a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) to visit Hardwick Old Hall it costs £15.60 and for a family ticket to visit Hardwick Hall and walk around the house and gardens it costs £32.75.
Calke Abbey is a home trapped in time, it is filled with historical artefacts and walking around the house is both interesting and strange. From grand halls to spooky corridors Calke Abbey has it all. Visiting the Abbey in the colder months is fine because there's things to see indoors, but there's also Calke Explore for the children. At Calke Explore there's log trails, rope walks, and climbing areas to keep the children busy.
For a family ticket to visit the whole property at Calke Abbey costs £31.90.
If it's art you like I'd recommend Nottingham Contemporary, there's always something on for the children to enjoy and you get to see lots of art. Visiting Nottingham Contemporary would probably take up a morning, so you don't need to plan for an all day thing, and best of all entry is FREE.
We love Blackpool, while it's quite far away the boys love travelling for the day and walking along the beach or going in the arcades. Visiting Blackpool can be as cheap or as expensive as you like, there's the Sealife Centre, the Blackpool Tower, and Madame Tussauds to visit too. Not to mention all the seafront stores filled with candy floss!
All I would say is prepare for the cold. If you're used to being inland (Midlands) then going to the coast during the colder months might come as a shock. It can get very cold during autumn/winter so make sure you take scarves, gloves, and a warm coat.
The Heights of Abraham, Matlock
See amazing views, walk through the caves, and wander around the town. If you're based in the Midlands it's a great place to visit and won't necessarily take up the whole day. There's a restaurant if you require one but the most interesting part of visiting Matlock is the caves. Be sure to check them out.
The weather might not be great but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a picnic, all you need to do is make sure you prepare for the wetter, colder weather. Perhaps take a small tent with you so you can all sit inside and eat your food, take a flask filled with hot chocolate, and wrap up warm with coats and scarves. Oh yes, and don't forget to take a board game so you can have fun despite the weather.
Visit a local restaurant
As a treat during the half term why not take your children to a restaurant? In Nottingham there are so many to choose from and it really depends what kind of food you're after. If you'd like to try something new you could try Thaikhun or if burgers are more your thing then the Handmade Burger Company is definitely worth a visit.
Trick or Treating
Of course during the half term you must prepare for Halloween. Costumes can be a pain, especially for boys but it's all part of the fun. Decorate your home with pumpkins, cobwebs, and skeletons, and make sure you have lots of sweets in the house ready for other little monsters who come a'knocking.
As it's the October half-term you can prepare a scary movie night for you and your children. Movies like Goosebumps, Ghostbusters, or even The Witches are great for a Halloween themed movie night. Snuggle up together beneath a blanket, with popcorn and spooky treats at the ready, and enjoy a brilliant movie night as a family.
Whether you're an active family or prefer to spend time at home there's always something to do. Is there anything you'd add to my list?