Explore the UK this Autumn with these amazing family days out

Saturday 02 October 2021

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With October half term fast approaching, you might be wondering how you’re going to keep your little ones busy for a whole week. After all, it feels like they only just went back to school.  And let’s not even mention the weather – surely we can’t be the only ones who have the heating back on already! Luckily the team here at CrossCountry has some excellent days out in their sights, and are ready to share. Let’s get excited about the Autumn break!

Get into the Halloween mood:

With October half term falling towards the end of the month, many of the activities available have a spooky bent! We’ve picked a couple of our favourites from across the UK.

National Space Centre, Leicester

The National Space Centre offers a great day out for families year-round, with plenty of interactive exhibits and fun activities to try out daily. Whether you’ve got a budding scientist at home, or someone who needs a little more convincing, there’s something for everyone. See the impressive space tower for yourself and learn about the stars in the state of the art planetarium.

Entertain your inner space person like this young chap in his orange NASA space gear on a day out at the National Space Center in Leicester

Royal Armouries, Leeds

Only a short distance from the city centre, The Royal Armouries in Leeds are a veritable treasure trove of fascinating historical artefacts, including weapons from across the world designed for hunting, self-defence and ceremonial purposes. There’s a display of swords designed for the Lord of the Rings movies and a crossbow shooting range where older children can practice their aim.

Enjoy some spooky goings on this Halloween at the Royal Armouries at Leeds, on a Family day out this autumn. Here staff dressed up as Zombies from a bygone era are staring menacingly out of the picture.

The Royal Armouries are celebrating half term with an exciting program of events including Light Night, an illuminated menagerie of animal puppets, or if you’re feeling brave you can tackle vampires, mummies and zombies at Movie Monsters!

St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff

At St Fagans, you and your family can explore the history of Wales to learn how and why it became a country in its own right. It makes the perfect day trip as there’s so much to see and do on the grounds. New exhibitions are opening this Autumn, specially designed with children in mind. There’s even going to be a bespoke play area with links to the displays.

At St Fagans there is plenty of space to run around as well as learn, these children are running towards a reconstructed traditional welsh house with a thatched roof.

Get outdoors:

Just because there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you can’t spend the day outside with your family. Wrap up warm and enjoy the falling leaves and shiny conkers of the great British outdoors.

Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Ely

The Wicken Fen Nature Reserve just outside of Ely is a unique habitat waiting to be explored. Autumn is a great time to explore the Cambridgeshire fens by foot, and discover the amazing wildlife who call the nature reserve their home. There is a range of downloadable walks available, so you can choose how far you want to go and what you want to see. You might choose to go geocaching using a smart phone, or borrow a GPS device from the visitor centre. There are 12 geocaches to find and each contains a log book and an activity!

During half term Wicken Fen is organising a range of fun activities for children, your kids could learn to build a shelter like these children have done.

There are a couple of activities planned for during the half term week, including Autumn Adventure – a day of games, crafts and outdoor fun for children ages 3-10. For older children aged 8+, there’s a Nature Survival Skills day, where you can learn basic survival skills such as building a shelter, lighting a fire and more.

New Forest, Southampton

Autumn is the perfect time to visit the New Forest; the leaves on the trees turn fiery shades of red, orange and ochre, and the bounties of the forest come into full fruition. Whether you choose to explore by foot or by bike, there’s plenty to see. Even if the weather isn’t as good as you might have hoped, you’re still sure to have a good time. Choose to go on a day trip, or pack your bags for a longer stay; with so much to explore, you could enjoy your whole week here.

Get outdoors this autumn with your children, this group of 6 children aged 6-10 have been enjoying the autumn foliage on their walk.

The New Forest Walking and Cycling festival coincides with the October half term this year, running from the 16th of October to the 7th of November. There are numerous guided walks and bike rides of all abilities to choose from, and those arriving by train get discounted or even free tickets. Choose between themed walks such as "Sunrise at Magical Tree World”, “Food in the Wood” or “Navigation Skills for Beginners”.

Stay warm:

If you’d rather stay indoors, there are plenty of fun activities available that don’t involve braving the elements.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Budding thespians will enjoy a day trip to visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, home to the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company.  There’s plenty to see and do in Stratford-upon-Avon, the bard’s birthplace. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre contains a fascinating permanent exhibition that is being revamped in time for the October half term with new exhibits. You will be able to create your own portrait using different materials in the “In my Shoes” exhibition or you can learn to fight like a Trojan using safe techniques for fighting on stage!

A family day out to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is sure to include dressing up! Here a small boy is dressed in bear gloves and roman helmet, and is clearly loving it!

During the half term week, there are extra activities on offer including a crafts day, and acting workshops. There’s also an amazing opportunity to learn about how bruises, cuts and scars are created for the stage.

National Aquarium, Plymouth

You won’t even notice you’re not outdoors as you enjoy exploring the National Aquarium in Plymouth. There’s plenty to see and do for the whole family, and children will love the wide variety of colouring pages, facts pages, and activity sheets available. The aquarium is home to friendly characters including Friday the Turtle, Cornelia the grumpiest Stone Bass, and Miss Squishy the giant Pacific Octopus.

On a family day out to the National Aquarium at Plymouth you can enjoy the surreal under-water landscapes, just as this young girl exploring the aquarium is doing.

For those lucky enough to be visiting during October half term, there will be extra activities available as part of the Deep Blue Spaces week , specially designed to entertain families during their holiday. A whole range of water-themed arts and crafts activities are planned designed for children aged 3+.


If you’ve been inspired to go on a day out this October half term, check out our journey planner to help you plan a fantastic adventure with your family.

Written by Abby

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