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Half-term activities

23rd October 2020

A fun roundup of outdoor adventures and activities for the whole family this half term. Louise Goss looks at what’s happening locally to keep everybody entertained.


Barnsdale Gardens Scary Spooktacular

There are Halloween activities and frightening fun for all the family at the Barnsdale Scary Spooktacular. You can carve your own petrifying pumpkin and follow the trail around the gardens to find all the spooky sites. Children in costume get in free!

Wed 28 to Sat 31 Oct, 12–4pm. Cost is included with normal garden entry: Adults £10, Child £6 (or free if in costume).

The Burghley Halloween Trail

For a lovely family day out, the Burghley Halloween trail is still going ahead this year. For children, there is a Halloween-themed trail to follow with a special treat at the end and for adults, it all takes place in the beautiful Sculpture Garden, perfect for a crisp, autumn day. To warm up afterwards, the Garden Café is open for drinks and refreshments.

Mon 19 to Sat 31 Oct. Admission is included with a House & Gardens or Gardens only ticket and is free to annual pass holders.

Rockingham Castle

Rockingham Castle are putting on some fun activities this half term for the whole family. The witches of Rockingham will be gathering to celebrate a Spooktacular Halloween and you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful castle grounds.

Tue 27 to Fri 30 Oct


Sacrewell Farm

Sacrewell becomes Scarewell for Halloween. There will be lots of fun down at the farm and their giant pumpkin patch. You’ll be able to visit the usual animals on the farm, while children of all ages can enjoy an interactive walk with live actors. Stamford Heavenly Chocolates (now based at Sacrewell) will also be making Halloween-themed chocolate treats.

Check out their website for all the dates and details. Morning sessions: 9am–12pm; afternoon sessions: 1–4pm. Cost: There will be an extra charge for a Scarewell Pass on top of general admission.

Pick your own pumpkin

Head over to the beautiful Rutland village of Brooke to pick your own pumpkin with the kids. Peta, co-owner, told Local Living: ‘We have grown six varieties of pumpkins this year, miniature orange Jill Be Little’s, small white Casperitas (both delicious roasted), we have knobbly and warty knucklehead pumpkins, which are great for Halloween festivities and traditional carving varieties like the Wicked pumpkin and the large Early King (which can reach 10-12 kilograms in weight!). We are also keeping an eye on our resident Polar Bear variety (extra-large and white), although they aren’t quite of extra-large proportions yet and we are really hoping they have a growth spurt in time for Halloween!

‘James will be cooking up meat from the farm to be served to visitors on site at the pumpkin patch. James’ food offering Raddleman’s is usually located at two farmers’ markets in London during the week, and we visit country-wide food festivals over the summer. The pumpkin patch is a good opportunity to bring James’ delicious food closer to home. We will have slow cooked lamb burgers on offer and the smell really is mouth-watering!’

Free entry – please register for a ticket on website first. Pumpkins will range in price from £1 to £10 for the very large varieties. Hot refreshments and food will be available.

17–31 Oct, 10am–3pm. America Lodge, Brooke, Oakham, LE15 8DF

Rutland Farm Park

This lovely country farm will be open as usual throughout half term and is a great way to entertain the family, especially if you’re not afraid of a bit of mud. You can feed lots of the animals including goats and alpacas who may come close for a stroke as well. There’s a friendly shire horse and lots of smaller animals to pet such as rabbits and guinea pigs. The farm has plenty of hand sanitising stations and a children’s play area, where they can run off steam while the adults enjoy a coffee and refreshments from the café.

Tue to Sun, 10am–4pm. Admission: Adult £6, Child £5, family ticket, £18. Under threes go free.


Nene Valley Railway

The enduringly fun Thomas specials are back at Nene Valley Railway. For a half-term day out with the family, this will definitely put a smile on your face. It’s a delightful ride for children being pulled by Thomas and even the grown-ups get to enjoy the magic of steam travel. There will also be a special Thomas Ghost train for Halloween too!

Sat 24 to Sun 25 Oct & Sat 31 Oct to Sun 1 Nov

Nene Park Autumn Festival

You’ll be spoilt for choice down at Nene Park over half term. With a different activity on every day of the holiday, there are loads of events to keep the family entertained. Young children will love the Witches and Broomsticks event, which focuses on different tree species in the park, and they’ll be able to make their own broomstick. There will also be a trail to follow around the park.

For the chance to see some of the mammals making their home in Nene Park, there will be a ’Meeting Magical Mammals’ event, and there will autumnal arts and crafts to take part in. Other events over the week include survival skills with campfire cooking, a guided cycle ride, a guided walk, archery sessions, and pay and play watersports activities (swan pedalos, kayaks, paddleboards, rowing boats).

Sat 24 Oct to Sun 1 Nov. Activities need to be pre-booked as numbers will be limited to comply with Government guidance. There will be a small fee for each activity.

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