While the summer holidays can be filled with trips to outdoor pools and countryside walks, the slightly chillier October half term calls for more weather-conscious activities. Spending time together as a family is what half term is all about, so whether your kids are only just learning how to walk or are well on their way to becoming adults, make sure to get everyone involved in the half term fun.
If you’re planning on travelling for your kids’ half term activities, then why not make the most of public transport? The train is a reliable and easy way to get from A to B, and you don’t have to worry about inconveniences like traffic jams or finding a parking spot.
The October half term always falls around Halloween, so if you’re looking for some spooky activities to get up to with the family, then check out our guide to the top spooky UK attractions. For activities a little less creepy, read on to find out more about what you can do this half term as a family.
Kids between the ages of 0-6 look at everything with wonder and excitement, so there’s no better place for a half term adventure than Kew Gardens. You and your little ones can embark on a wild journey through the beautiful autumn landscape, exploring the plants and wildlife around you. Keep your eyes peeled for The Gruffalo’s Child and his friends and collect clues along the way to help find them. Children under four go free, perfect for if you’re after a cheap day out!
The nearest station to Kew Gardens is Richmond, then it’s just a 15-minute walk to your destination.
While you might want to keep an eye on the weather for this one, it doesn’t have to be scorching hot for you to enjoy a trip to Bournemouth Beach. Summer might be over, but there’s still plenty to keep little ones entertained on the beach – even if you need to wrap up!
Voted best in the area for families, Alum Chine Beach is a great place to visit with children. There’s plenty to do, from leisurely strolls across the shore to a dip in the sea for those who are feeling brave! Finish off with a trip to the pirate themed playground and tropical gardens located on the beach. No seaside experience would be complete without an ice cream—so don’t forget to grab one before you leave!
To get here, catch the train to Bournemouth before walking for 15 minutes towards the coast.
Weymouth Sea Life Centre
Dive underwater and take a trip to Weymouth Sea Life this half term. Check out all the weird and wonderful sea creatures that live in the aquarium as you follow an immersive trail to help a resident sea witch find her missing potion ingredients, and don’t forget to keep a lookout for sharks! With lots to see and do, this exciting deep-sea adventure is perfect for little ones, and makes for a great rainy day activity.
Get here by catching the train to Weymouth, before walking for around 25 minutes to the Sea Life Centre.
Southbank Centre, London
If you’re searching for free activities to do in London this half term, then round up your family and head to Southbank Centre on Belvedere Road. This year, the centre is running a Halloween themed ‘Magnificent Monsters’ event, filled with creative workshops and wacky performances that will have your little monsters hooked.
While you’re there, be sure to stop off at Southbank Centre Food Market. Running every Friday and Saturday, you’ll find a huge selection of foods with enough variety to please even the pickiest of eaters.
The nearest station to Southbank Centre is London Waterloo, and from there, it’s just a five-minute walk to your destination.
Trip to the Isle of Wight
Situated just off the south coast of England, the Isle of Wight is easily accessible by public transport and has lots to offer for families of all ages. Little thrill seekers should head to the UK’s oldest theme park, Blackgang Chine, for an action-packed day filled with fun rides and delicious food. Once you’re all theme-parked out, take a trip to Monkey Haven to get up close and personal with a mix of different animals, from monkeys and gibbons to lemurs and owls.
The Isle of Wight can be accessed by catching a ferry from one of the four ferry ports at either Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington or Southsea. Each has its own station: Lymington Pier, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central, and from there, simply hop on a ferry to Isle of Wight. You can save money by combining your ferry and train tickets when travelling with South Western Railway, so don’t forget to book in advance.
Corfe Castle, Dorset
For a fun learning activity this half term, head to Corfe Castle. After surviving the English Civil War, the castle’s iconic ruins became a big part of Dorset’s history. There’s plenty to see and do at this thousand-year-old castle, from exploring the ruins using a fascinating audio guide to indulging in a tasty bite to eat at the castle’s tea rooms. This half term, guests are invited to meet the Tudors - an interactive experience which sees Gabrielle the kitchen maid and Thomas the master carver prepare a Tudor meal. There are many books set in the south west, and bookworms might be interested to know that Kirrin Castle in the Famous Five novels is based on Corfe Castle.
It’s easy to get to Corfe Castle by train. Simply catch the train to Wareham station before hopping on Purbeck Breezer 40 bus, which takes just 15 minutes to arrive at the castle.
The National History Museum, London
Brush up your history skills at The National History Museum, where you can discover the fascinating free exhibits and tours taking place over half term. By far the most impressive exhibits in the museum have to be the huge dinosaur skeletons that hang suspended from the ceiling—but that’s not all the museum has to offer! Potterheads won’t want to miss out on tickets to see ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Wonders of Nature’ tour, which comes with a fun activity booklet to fill in along the way.
To get here, catch the train to London Victoria before hopping on a four-minute tube to South Kensington. From there, it’s just a four-minute walk.
These half term ideas should help you to plan a fun-packed week for the whole family, no matter what age the kids are. For a stress-free journey, book your train tickets in advance, choosing from our flexible range of ticket types. Discover cheap train tickets by going off-peak, and those with a Railcard could save even more. If you travel regularly with the kids then you might want to consider a Family and Friends Railcard, which allows you to save 1/3 off adult fares and 60% off child fares.