‘Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons’
The most colourful season of all
We’re almost into week 4 of the new school year already, and the weather has definitely taken a downward turn. Whether you love it or hate it – Autumn is well and truly underway. Mornings are getting chillier, the trees have turned shades of orange, yellow and red, and the leaves have started falling. Weekends are now filled with collecting shiny brown conkers and indulging in seasonal crafts. Leaf painting, salt dough creating and homemade bird feeders are top of the list at this time of year. It’s time to wash off the slow cooker ready for some hearty casseroles and dumplings.
Not going to lie – I come alive at this time of year. It is my absolute favourite season. The colours, the weather, the foods, the bonfire spiced coffees, crafting with the kids, walks with the big coats on and welly boots, warming up at the end of the day in a hot bath, scented candles and great TV! You can even get away with eating more because you’re hidden under wooly jumpers and coats.
On top of all of this Autumn greatness is the fact that so many places now get involved in the seasonal action by holding events, Halloween Spook Fests, Craft and Food markets, pumpkin carving and so much more. There is tonnes going on this time of year and that’s because businesses know that during the Summer months everyone goes away or takes off to parks and beaches. Now is the time to entice everyone out of their cosy homes before the winter arrives and we are all too cold to go anywhere at all.
Bring on the Fun
Halloween in the UK is becoming bigger and better every year. Not an issue I say – bring it on!
It’s fun, it’s short and you don’t have to spend lots of money. Kids love dressing up in costumes and it is the perfect opportunity for them to get some use out of the stash at home. Mum and Dad get a chance to dress up and look silly, and with the cost of decorations so low you really can go crazy as it won’t break the bank.
Starting from now I have gathered together a bunch of family days out and activities to fill up your seasonal calendar, making sure to cram in as many memory-making days as possible.
If you want apples you have to shake the trees
Sunday 30th September
Come down and join us at Crook Hall and Gardens for some seasonal apple picking – between 11am-2pm. Normal entrance fees apply. Me and my two kiddies have had this on the calendar for months!
If you haven’t already been – then pop along to Beamish for the final day of their Harvest event from 10am-5pm. They also have a Classic Car event running over the same weekend, so you could fill your entire Sunday.
Sunday the 30th Sept is also the final day at the Botanic Gardens to take part in the Terrific Trees spotter activity. Perfect opportunity to have a walk around the beautiful gardens and see them as the season changes and the trees show off their Autumnal hues.
Back to the Botanic Gardens in October from the 1st to the 31st for ‘Signs of Autumn’ – a self led exploring activity using spotter sheets provided.
Durham Book Festival is arriving on the 6th October and running until the 14th. Download the Book Festival Brochure 2018 for all the information on talks with well known authors and other connected events.
Kids can also get involved at the Durham Book Festival if they come along to the Rebel Kids & Mini Manifesto’s event on the 6th October from 10:30-12. A hands-on session for kids at the Gala Theatre Studio.
Time to get your creative hats on at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on the 9th October from 10:30-12:30. Decorate some Spooky Pumpkin Tea Light holders.
Back to Durham on the 18th October for the Farmers and Produce Market open from 9:00-16:30pm. Also running on November 15th and December 20th so you won’t miss out.
If you would prefer to visit by moonlight then experience one of Durham’s Full Moon Markets being held on October the 19th, November 16th or December 14th.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground
North Pennines Star Gazing Festival 2018
October 20th – 4th November
This years Star Gazing Festival is crammed with events for all those keen to get involved and interested in the many aspects of the stars above us. Most events are being held in the North Pennines, AONB, but there are more locations on the schedule should you prefer. Visit the official website here for all the important information so you don’t miss a thing.
On the schedule you will find overnight star gazing camps, solar system walks, diorama workshops and pop-up planetariums. Guided sky watching, rocket workshops and help on how to use the telescope you have at home.
With talks from leading professionals and Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock MBE – British Space Scientist, science educator and TV Co-Presenter on The Sky at Night.
For all those budding astronomers or wonderers of the Universe this is something to make room for on the calendar. If you can make just one of the events on the North Pennines Star Gazing Festival 2018 it will be totally worthwhile.
Half Term Halloween Fun
Half term already? You have to be joking!
Luckily it’s only a short one and there is something running every single day in County Durham for you to take the kids to that will keep them occupied and tire them out.
Raby Castle will be open for the first time this Halloween half term and they have a timetable full of Autumn and Halloween themed children’s events, as well as Room on the Broom trails, guided castle tours, themed games and crafts.
Not only are Raby Castle planning spooky fun for the kids but they also have some events planned for adults too. Ever wondered what’s behind some of those locked doors in the castle?.. Book on to one of the ‘Behind the Scenes Tours’ and get a look at some of the areas that are not normally open to the public. Closer to Christmas they are holding seasonal craft sessions for adults too – fresh wreath making being one, and the gift shop is having a seasonal overhaul ready for some present buying.
Adventure Valley have their Pumpkin Festival running from October 20th until the 31st. Visit the pumpkin patch for the ultimate Autumn day out and pick you own pumpkin! Discounted tickets available when booking online and a pumpkin is included with your entry.
Do the Monster Mash
See if you can conquer the Gallery of Monsters Park Trail at Hardwick Park between the 20th-28th October. Hardwick Park have a whole timetable of themed events and workshops running as well as a Halloween party for the little ones. Visit their Facebook page for all up to date information here.
Visit Hall Hill Farm between the 20th-28th October for their own Spooktacular Halloween fun for all the family. Make your own scarecrow, carve a pumpkin lantern, have your face painted and see the puppet show as well as all the usual fun on the farm.
Ever fancied trying out your Wizarding skills? Hardwick Park are holding a Wizard School for ages 6+ on the 22nd and 23rd October. No muggles allowed.
If Witchcraft and Wizardry is what you are in to then Lanchester Garden Centre are holding a Halloween Hogwarts Day on October 23rd. Find out all you need to know here.
Wharton Park will be holding Arts & Crafts Workshops with the Halloween theme in the education room on the 23rd and 25th October. And Autumn Spook Camp on the 24th October for ages 6-11. If you think you’re brave enough this is a full activity day, outdoors and needs booking prior to ensure space.
Back to the Botanic Gardens on the 24th for the Haunting Halloween spooky mask making from 13:00-15:00pm.
Or, Hardwick Park again for some Frightful Family Crafts on October 24th starting at 11am.
Spooky Family Fun Day
Come along to make a witch’s broom, create a potion and take part the magicians trail at the Bowes Museum on October 25th. A fun day for the whole family running from 11am-4pm in a fantastic setting.
How about a Kids Halloween Banquet at Lumley Castle? On October 25th – enjoy a 3 course banquet feast, entertainment, a spooky fancy dress competition and a gift bag for everyone that attends. This needs booking in advance so that everyone can be catered for.
It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus
Get ready to party till the witching hour at one of a selection of adult Halloween bash’s in truly terrifying locations like never before.
- Crook Hall and Gardens Adult Halloween. Can you handle it?
- Beamish Hall Hotel: Hotel of Horror. Dance with the demons
- The Bowes Museum: Connections with the Supernatural
- Gala Theatre: Halloween Horror Double Feature. Back to back horror
- Halloween Hoedown at Easington Colliery
Check online for times and ticket information to save yourself a space.
Where to begin?
There is too much planned that I cannot possibly add it all, so make sure you visit ‘This Is Durham‘ for all the information you need or read your Raring2go mag posted through the door. Raring2go has some money saving coupons inside along with a whole lot more information.
If you are anything like me you will be filling your calendar and trying to do as much a possible. It’s easy, fun and local and doesn’t cost and arm and a leg.
Kids love nothing more than running around like wild animals collecting conkers and leaves whilst dressed in Halloween garb.
Don’t forget! The clocks go back on OCTOBER 28TH.
Make sure you stay safe and visible when out Trick or Treating. And if you hear of any other events being held locally then let us know so we can get involved and come along.