Whether you want to catch the autumn colours or are up for a bit of a fright, October holds plenty of promise when it comes to days out. Those here in the UK are well aware that Halloween coincides with the end of the half-term break for many schools, which means there’s plenty to experience before classes start again. For those reading from beyond these shores, rest assured that — though the nights are drawing in, the air is cooler and the leaves are gently dropping from the trees — there’s no shortage of things to see and do in England this October.
Where to get your foliage fix
And speaking of leaves, there are plenty of places to enjoy the foliage, but Plymouth has a raft of special spots in and around the city to make the most of the season. Autumn in Dartmoor National Park gives walkers and hikers the chance to see the unique moorland environment aglow in russet tones. For an extra special vantage point, a climb up any of the park’s granite tors offers a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and valleys. Those after something less strenuous can head to Plymbridge Woods, which features an easy meander along the River Plym plus plenty of family-friendly cycling and walking trails — perfect for getting a closer look at the seasonal colours. For a total change of pace, Saltram House and Buckland Abbey offer the chance to experience autumn in a range of different landscapes — from coast and saltmarsh to woodland and meadow — while taking in small slices of local history.
On the Isle of Wight, walking is without a doubt the best way to enjoy all that the season has to offer. This year, the annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival runs from 8th-16th October. The festival consists of nine days of guided, themed walks taking place across the island, from Cowes to Niton and Yarmouth to Bembridge. The walks are graded according to pace and difficulty of terrain and include gentle strolls as well as faster-paced hikes. From royal connections and maritime history through to pretty thatched cottages, tea parties, and even a dash of Jimi Hendrix, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival offers something for everyone — and especially for foliage fans, who can head onto Ventnor Downs or into Walter’s Copse for a blaze of autumn colour.
Halloween and half-term fun for everyone
With the end of October comes Halloween and this, of course, means pumpkins, ghosts and plenty to do. Reading is hosting Halloween-themed events all month long, with everything from family-friendly parties and costume parades thrown into the mix. More mature audiences can also enjoy cabaret and comedy performances along with DJ sets and even a beer festival. Bradford boasts multiple pumpkin trails, craft making sessions, kid-friendly Halloween film screenings, and, in the Haworth area of the city, a zombie run. For those after something a bit more educational, there’s also lots of Halloween half-term fun at Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum.
Heading back into the great outdoors, North Norfolk is hosting a plethora of Halloween-themed activities, many of which are set against the backdrop of the region’s striking landscape. There’s plenty of pumpkins at Wroxham Barns, potions and poisons a-brew at Pentsthorpe Natural Park, or, for something a bit different, the truly brave can board a river cruise for a haunted tour of the Norfolk Broads. Closer to the London area, there’s creepy crawlies in the county of Surrey, with reptile and insect encounters on the cards at Bocketts Farm. Secretts — a local institution and farm shop — is back for 2022 with its legendary Pumpkin Week while the Scary Skywalk in Esher offers a thrilling zipline adventure, Halloween-style. Surrey is of course the seat of Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII, and this year, visitors can explore the palace by night in an interactive and family-friendly adventure.
The leaves have fallen, there’s a chill in the air, but October brings no shortage of things to see and do. From quiet walks under the autumn colours to family-friendly activities for Halloween and half-term, this month offers something for everyone.