Phantom-astic half-term fun for the whole family

All parents know that half-term can drag, but not any more!

There's plenty going on, lots of it in the healthy outdoors, and many events have a Halloween theme, so there's no excuse to be bored.

Drag your children away from Facebook and computer games. There's a whole ghostly world out there to be explored. 

Children with pumpkins

Spooky sights: All sorts of Halloween activities take place in half-term

Beaulieu, Hampshire: Perfect for tweenagers, Beaulieu is holding a fright night on 31 October, with a fireworks display, set to scary music from the movies. Admission, from 3pm, includes entry into the National Motor Museum and the James Bond Experience. Normal admission rates apply before 3pm (£10.50 for adults and £6.50 for children over five, advance tickets £8.50 for adults and £5.50 for children) and visitors can stay on to watch the fireworks. Fairground entertainment continues, together with the monorail, until 9.30pm. (01590 612345

Chillingham Castle: England boasts more than 1,400 medieval castles, many said to be frequented by ghosts. Aptly named Chillingham in Northumberland is billed as 'The Most Haunted Castle in England' and the most famous of the castle's ghosts is the 'Blue Boy', whose cries are said to wail out at around midnight from a passageway inside the walls.

The Castle Tea Room offers home-cooked soups in front of wonderful log fires. The castle is open to 30 October (closed on Saturdays). Adults £7, children £3.50, under-fives £1, family ticket: £18. (01668 215359

Lincoln Cathedral: Take part in the award-winning Lincoln Ghost Walk and learn about the headless knights riding through the heavy door of Lincoln Cathedral and the imp who got stuck in the Cathedral and was turned to stone. You can also visit the 'sad room' of the White Hart Hotel, and hear about the phantom horseman of Exchequergate. (

Child making Halloween crafts

Fright night: Making Halloween decorations at Chatsworth Castle

Electric bikes, Aldeburgh, Suffolk: If you fancy a bit of exercise without having to use up every last bit of energy, try a cycle ride from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness. It's a flat route and, better still, a scheme to encourage visitors to abandon their cars and go sightseeing by electric bike has been rolled out over the Suffolk coastal strip.

Hire your bike at the Brudenell hotel in Aldeburgh and follow the old railway track, round the side of the picturesque golf course, to Thorpeness and on towards Leiston leisure centre for a swim. Batteries are sufficient for about 30 miles and recharging takes about 1.5 hours (you can get a map of recharging points).

Children must be over 14 to ride electric bikes. Rates: £24.50 a day. (0845 602 6652

Chatsworth: The home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire will host a week of trickery and treats from 24 to 31 October, with daily 'fright flights' through the haunted Warlock Woods, where all kinds of ghosts and ghouls will lurk behind the trees. Children can make Halloween arts and crafts to take home. (01246 565 300

Discovery Trail, Newquay: Sardines, surfing, fishing and boating. This trail gives a wonderful insight into Newquay's fascinating history. Learn more about its pilchard industry, the headland riots or the Bronze Age remains on the Barrowfields. Take in views that encompass the Gannel estuary, Fistral Beach, Pentire Headland, Towan Head and the north Cornwall coast.

Pick up a free Discovery Trail map at a number of outlets throughout Newquay, including the Tourist Information Office and explore the town's hidden past. Newquay has a fantastic coastline and stunning beaches; some great for walks, some for surfing, others for making sandcastles.

At half-term, Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium will be taken over by sea monsters. As well as revealing the truth behind some of the world's most famous sea monster stories, there's the chance to come face to face with real monsters of the deep. (01637 878134

Children and tipi

The great outdoors: Enjoy the experience of camping in a tipi

Sleeping in the great outdoors:

If you want to go more 'rural', there are plenty of outdoor options promising you an exciting holiday experience with a difference. Caravans are fashionable again; or what about a tipi? If you fancy 'indoors with an outdoors feel', you could stay on a farm. You can't fail to have fun in these cosy locations:

Caravans: Hidden Valley Park, set amid 27 acres of Devonshire countryside in Ilfracombe, scooped the South West Holiday Park of the Year award and 2009 Enjoy England excellence award. (01271 813 837

The award-winning Seafield Caravan Park in Northumberland has a breathtaking location with most pitches enjoying fabulous views of Bamburgh Castle, the sea and the Farne Islands. (01665 720628

Camping: Walkers and ramblers will adore the Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club site in the northern Lake District, on the shore of Derwent Water. Nearby Grizedale Forest Park is home to Go Ape! - a high-wire forest adventure - and the ten-mile North Face Mountain Bike Trail.

At Grasmere you can visit two homes of the late poet William Wordsworth ( or you can go royal at the Sandringham Club Site (non-members welcome), set among wooded glades within the Royal Estate. Sandringham house is open to visitors until 1 November (as are the gardens and church). Adults £10, children £5. From here you can walk along the Norfolk coast path, or, in spring, visit the lavender fields at Meacham. It's free and open 9am-5pm. (01485 570384

Tipis: Just watch your children's faces as you tell them they are going to stay in a tipi. Camp Pinewood in Scarborough, North Yorkshire is home to four traditional tipis, four modern tipis and four cowboy cavalry tents. The North and South beaches are within three miles, with an indoor swimming pool and cinema near the North Bay for rainy days. Peasholm Park is also close by, one of Scarborough's finest attractions. A large authentic tipi costs £80 a night for a family of four. Unfurnished, it is just £35 for four. (01723 367278

Tipi Adventure in the Wye Valley offers luxury tipis for up to seven people, with two-day canoe trips to the tipis costing from £130 per tipi (sleeps seven) per night and £40 for a canoe rental. (01594 861666

Farms: Young children will love waking up in farm surroundings. Upper Parsonage Farm is part of a 1,200-acre family farm and within easy reach of Winchester and Guildford - perfect for walkers, horse riders and those wishing to explore the south coast. £80 per night for a double B&B. (01730 823490

For hundreds of money-saving offers and ideas on short breaks and family days out, visit

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