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National Trust News: National Trust Half-Term Fun

"Grab the wellies, wrap up warm and head to a National Trust place for an October half term filled with spooky goings on, autumn colour and lots of family fun.

"From brewing magical potions and dressing up as knights and princesses, to carving wicked pumpkins and finding spooky characters hidden in the garden, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained.

"Let the National Trust blow the cobwebs away this October half term with a great family day out.''

Phil Harper issues an invitation.

Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire

There’s something for every here, either in the 17th century hall or the museum of childhood, which is a delight for all ages. In the unique museum, get lost in themed galleries covering everything from outdoor adventure to stories and imagination, complete with interactive displays and even bedrooms on the ceiling. Children can dress up in the story gallery, pretend to be pupils in the Victorian schoolroom, or even chimney sweeps (the adventurous can even climb up inside the chimney). Outdoors, explore the wicked woodland and discover the adventure play areas.

Autumn outdoor play, 22-23 October 2pm- 4pm

Join Sudbury’s play worker and keep warm this autumn with the woodland play area challenge (weather permitting).

Normal admission charges apply.

Autumn crafts, 24-28 October 12pm – 4pm

Craft activities for children and families with an autumnal theme.

Normal admission charges apply, plus £1 per person.

Outdoor Halloween Hunt, 29 – 30 October 2pm – 4pm

Are you brave enough for our scary trail around the Wicked Woodland Adventure Play Area? (weather permitting).

Normal admission charges apply, plus £1 per person.

Booking is not required for these events.

For more information please call 01283 585337.


Castle Drogo, Devon

Famously the last castle built in England, Castle Drogo looks like a medieval fortress but was actually built at the beginning of the 20th-century. Situated high on a rocky outcrop above the dramatic Teign Gorge, the castle offers spectacular views over the wilds of Dartmoor. Spend some time spotting the fake castle features - like the arrow splits, turrets and portcullis - before heading inside to discover the intriguing interior, which is a mixture of modern technology and 17th-century tapestries and furniture. Outside, follow the winding paths in the terrace garden, walk in the rhododendron valley and discover the arts and crafts inspired garden.

Halloween trail 22-30 October 11am – 4pm.

Find the spooky characters hidden in the garden and grounds and learn about myths and legends, ghouls, ghosts and witches of Dartmoor.

Normal admission charges apply plus £1.50 per child per trail.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01647 433306.

Holiday cottage

Why not stay a little longer at Warcleave Cottage - it’s just a short distance from Castle Drogo. Splendidly isolated in the heart of a wooded landscape, the cottage sleeps up to four people and is approached via a grass track over two fields. All the accommodation is on one floor, but the lodge is elevated, and guests can step off the balcony, right out into the wood.

Find out more at www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk


Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey

There beautiful gardens surround a serpentine lake and feature an unusual grass amphitheatre. Try sitting at the top and getting someone to talk at the bottom. There’s also children’s trails around the garden, an exciting play area and ducks to feed near the lake.
Halloween half term, 22-30 October 10am – 6pm

Come to Claremont for crafts, pumpkin carving and trail activities with a spooky Halloween theme.

Halloween craft workshops, 24-27 11am – 1pm.

Pumpkin carving, 28 11am – 1pm (please bring a pumpkin).

Normal admission charges apply, plus 50p per trail.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01372 467806.


Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

This is a real 17th century castle complete with turrets and moat. With medieval battlements, ramparts and spiral staircases to explore this makes the perfect place for nights and princesses in training. One of the most famous and atmospheric landmarks in Britain Bodiam will leave a lasting impression on all of the family.

Dress to Impress, 24-28 October 11am – 3pm.

Everyone can be transformed into a knight, princess, lord or jester with Bodiam’s stunning collection of replica medieval armour and costumes.

Normal admission charges apply, plus £2 per person.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01580 830196.


Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Penrhyn looks like a fairytale medieval castle but it was actually built in the 19th century, but who cares if its fake, the property is stuffed full of interesting artefacts elaborate carvings and an outstanding collection of paintings. Alongside this are railway and dolls museums all topped off by a fantastic adventure playground.

Dark happening season, 24-28 October 12pm – 4pm

Spooky fun for all the family during half term week, including a Halloween trail.

Normal admission charges apply, plus small additional charges for activities.

Booking is essential for this event, please call 01248 353084.


Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, Cheshire

Where did our great grandparents live? How did they live? Experience something of the noise and hardship in their lives at Quarry Bank Mill. Overflowing with the atmosphere of the Industrial Revolution, hear the clattering of machinery and hiss of steam engines as costumed guides bring the 18th century cotton mill to life. From demonstrations of spinning and weaving to watching the most powerful water wheel in Europe as it churns through the water to power the mill, families can live and breathe the workings of this truly unique place. There’s also the chance too take a guided tour through the apprentice house and experience life as a child working in the mill.

Halloween spook-tacular, 24-29 October 11am – 4pm

A very scary week of spooky goings on at the Mill for October half term.

Normal admission charges apply.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01625 445896.


Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Chirk Castle, which stands on a hilltop overlooking the Ceiriog valley, is a magnificent, medieval castle full of mystery and intrigue. Completed in 1310, many original features still remain, including the grisly dungeon, the medieval tower and 17th century long gallery. Uncover 400 years of family living, take in views across nine counties, explore the award-winning gardens with rare trees and shrubs or try on costumes and play games in the family rooms. Be on best behaviour though, as naughty children and parents will end up in the stocks.

Haunted woodland trail, 24-30 October 11am – 4pm

Follow the trail through the haunted woods and hunt the spooks through the Castle rooms.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01691 777701.

Holiday cottage

Located within the Castle grounds, Chirk Home Farm Cottage is one of a semi-detached pair standing close to the old farm buildings. Just a few hundred metres from the Castle, it’s the perfect base for families wanting to explore the estate and other National Trust properties in the area. Erddig country house and gardens are a twenty minutes drive and the medieval Powis Castle is just under an hour away.

Sleeps four.

Find out more at www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk


Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Discover page one of English history at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, where over 70 years ago excavation uncovered the one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time – the incredible ship-burial of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king, including weapons and priceless royal treasure. Explore the award-winning exhibition, featuring the full size reconstruction of the burial chamber and stunning replica treasures.
Get crafty, 25-27 October 11am – 1pm

Drop in and make an Anglo-Saxon shield fit for a warrior.

Normal admission charges apply

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01394 389700.

Holiday cottages

Family groups will enjoy staying at the heart of the estate in the three holiday apartments within Tranmer House. All the apartments are wonderfully light and airy with stunning views of the open heath and woodland on one side, boats gently swaying in Woodbridge Marina on the other.

Apartments sleep from four to six people.

Find out more at www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk


Brownsea Island, Dorset

Brownsea Island is an unspoilt natural haven with a colourful history. Throughout its history it has been a coastguard station, a Victorian pottery, a daffodil farm and was once the perfect haunt for smugglers who used to hide their booty in the castle.

Outdoor activity day, 25-27 October 11am – 4pm

Join the outdoor activity team for an action packed island adventure. Choose from archery, low ropes and den building. Children must be 6 plus.

Normal admission charges apply, plus £7.50 per child.

Booking is essential for this event, please call 01202 492161.

Holiday Cottage

Quay cottage is the only holiday cottage on Brownsea Island. A waterside terraced cottage it has its own private garden, and lying just three metres from the sea, this cottage is ideal for families with budding David Attenborough’s keen to spot the marine wildlife.

Sleeps four.

Find out more at www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk


Cragside, Northumberland

Discover the world of Lord Armstrong – Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. Built on a rocky crag, Cragside is crammed full of ingenious gadgets and was the first house in the world to be lilt by hydro-electricity. Families can look out for Armstrong’s inventions to help his servants, including an early version of a dishwasher and an electric gong. There’s also the chance to generate electricity using interactive models in the power house. Outside, get lost in Nelly’s Labyrinth – a network of paths and tunnels cut out of a huge rhododendron forest. The adventure playground is not to missed either, and take a peek from the wildlife hide.

Nelly Moss’s magical emporium, 25-30 October 11am – 3pm

Budding young witches and wizards can enter the magical emporium for a lesson in the art of wand-making and potions. Select the ingredients, perhaps a newt’s eye or old man’s beard, and create a potion to banish the homework blues.

Normal admission charges apply, plus £1 per child.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01669 620333.


Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire

Enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful Yorkshire manor house nestled on the quiet banks of the River Rye. Explore period rooms whilst hearing the Hall’s many tales and discover one of the finest collections of miniature rooms in the attic.

Famed for its picturesque location, organic walled garden and flamboyant resident peacocks, Nunnington is also home to a programme of exclusive and high profile art and photography exhibitions, with recent exhibitions in 2011 including work by musician Fyfe Dangerfield and his band, Guillemots.

Autumn Festival, 22-30 October 11am – 4.30pm

Fill your half term with autumn fun and festivities, with children’s trails and apple themed fun.

Normal admission applies.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01439 748283.


National Trust cottages are ideal for a week or short break. Short breaks for October half term may only be booked from 9am, four weeks before the holiday.

For more information about days out with the National Trust, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit


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