Autumn Activities: 50 family days out
For getting out and about with the kids, the seasons don’t get much better than this - autumn activities bring changing colours, welly walks, conker collecting and a feast of Halloween events.
So whether you’re on the lookout for the best place to toast marshmallows, carve pumpkins or simply enjoy the great outdoors this autumn, then we’re on hand to help with some brilliant activities from around the UK.
For the first time we’re bringing together 50 of our absolute favourite autumn days out - we’re excited to share our top picks for autumn activities and family days out with you - and we’d love to hear about the attractions you love too.
Looking for activities near you? Click below to jump to your region:
Best for picking pumpkins
Willows Farm, St Albans
21st - 29th October
Our top pick is the Willows Farm Pumpkin Festival in St Albans. Pick a pumpkin, carve it and join in the fun with arts and crafts, pumpkin Olympics and even a pumpkin show.
Don’t miss! The Peter Rabbit adventure playground while you’re there.
Best for supporting a charityThe Trick or Treat Run, London
Want to do something amazing and raise some money for charity? Join the Trick or Treat Run in Southwark Park, London and choose from the 2.5k or 5k route, suitable for all ages and do your bit for Breast Cancer Care.
Best for a spooky sleepoverScience Museum, London
October 7th and November 11th
This is a sleepover with a difference. Book onto one of the Science Museum’s Science Nights where 7 to 11-year-olds can try out some fantastic hands-on experiments, watch shows and sleep over amongst the exhibits. Breakfast and a movie in their iMAX theatre conclude the trip the next morning.
Best for the biggest fright
Chessington World of Adventures, Kingston-upon-Thames
October 20th - 31st
Brand new for 2017, only the brave (and over 10’s) will venture into the Creepy Caves. Secret Agents lead their team through this quarantined exhibit, but strange things are bound to happen… See if you can keep your wits about you!.
Best for seeing birds of preyLeeds Castle, Kent
Daily during half-term at 2pm
See the daily flying displays during half term; hawks, falcons, owls and vultures all take to the skies in the free-flying demonstrations next to the maze. It’s definitely one to get in a flap over!
Don’t miss! Come and dance at the Monster Mash Ball during half term.
Best for learning about the new season
Earth Trust, Oxfordshire
It’s time for a woodland adventure! The Earth Trust invites 5 to 8-year-olds to use their detective skills in the woods and get involved with exploration, play and some brilliant building activities. It’s a great educational trip, plus the whole family is welcome.
Best for going to a haunted house
The abbey ruins of Battle Abbey, East Sussex
October 21st - 29th
If your brood can’t get enough of ghosts and ghouls, this is the spook spectacular for them. Join this historic Halloween adventure at the location of the 1066 Battle of Hastings and keep your eyes peeled!
Best for autumn Afternoon Tea
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Renowned for its awesome family events, kids will love their lineup of gross and grizzly activities. Tuck into a Halloween afternoon tea complete with ghost meringues, blood jelly, eyeball cupcakes and pots of worms - no grownups allowed!
Don’t miss! Also during half term, visit for pumpkin carving and painting, and the creatures of the night trail.
Best for going to a Halloween circus
Frosts Garden Centre, Milton Keynes
With a whole host of new acts, the John Lawson’s circus transforms for Halloween and is filled with spine-tingling spectacles! Suitable for all ages, this is the perfect way to spend a rainy half term day.
Find more day out ideas in London and the South East
Best for celebrating Apple Day
Tewin Orchard, near Stevenage
As well as tasting delicious apples and juices, take a guided tour around the orchards and send the kids off on a scavenger hunt. Plus if you’re a keen gardener, there will be experts on hand to offer advice on fruit tree care.
Best for becoming a witch or wizard
Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Isle of Wight
It’s Wizard Week! Whether you fancy a leisurely journey along the tracks or simply watching the magic shows, there are plenty of tricks - and treats - ahead. Dress up as witches and wizards and you could even win a prize.
Best for a big bonfire
Lewes Bonfire Celebrations, Lewes, East Sussex
The biggest bonfire night in the world comes to Lewes every year and this time will be as impressive as ever. The evening starts with a procession through the town followed by the lighting of no less than six bonfires, hosted by each of the Lewes Bonfire Societies. This is all before the star of the show: a multicoloured fireworks display!
With the bonfires spread across the town, some can be a lot busier than others and therefore aren't suitable for young children or pushchairs. We recommend sticking to the lower end of Cliffe High Street or Southover Street for a little slice of the fun.
For something super family-friendly, we love Chailey Bonfire Night, which always takes place the Saturday after Bonfire Night!
Best for visiting a maize maze
Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucestershire
Pay a visit the Spooky Scarecrow Maize Maze and enter if you dare! The maze is brand new for 2017 and is suitable for all ages, with a mini-maze for your little ones as well.
Don’t miss! A brand new indoor play barn has just opened with three adventure areas to explore, as well as a new cafe.
Best for seeing animals this autumn
Brownsea Island, Dorset
Many children have never seen a red squirrel before, and this is the place to spot one! autumn is the perfect time to see these furry fellas dashing around the forest floor burying their nuts - in fact keen wildlife spotters might also see sika deer, wood ants, green woodpeckers and migrating birds stopping off at the lagoon.
Best for a rainy day
The Big Sheep, Devon
The Big Sheep prides itself on its all-weather autumn activities so would be a great choice for a family day out, whatever the weather. Whether you want to ride the roller coasters or watch the famous sheep races, there’s lots of fuzzy fun in store
Don’t miss! This Halloween The Big Sheep has lots to look forward to including a ‘Halloween Phantomime’ and after dark fun for bigger kids from 5-10pm.
Extend your day out to a weekend away
Crealy Adventure Park, Devon
How about ending a day of theme park fun with a soak in a hot tub? On the terrace of your very own luxury lodge no less?! Well Crealy has lots on this autumn including a stop at the Crealy Hotel, as well as a chance to meet the Treehouse Trolls. Scooby Doo will even be visiting from October 24th-28th.
Don’t miss! Have a look at all of the accommodation on offer at Crealy including their fantastic new glamping pods.
Best for foraging
Take in the beautiful Cornish countryside and beaches while hunting for tasty treats. From watercress and seaweed to wild mushrooms, you’ll be amazed at what you can find in the wild. We suggest you do it with someone who knows their stuff, like the Fat Hen Wild Cookery School.
Best for Halloween fancy dress
Wookey Hole, Somerset
October 21st - November 5th
Come dressed in your spookiest outfits because each day there’s a fancy dress competition with a chance to win a family ticket. But that’s not all; there are 20 bonkers Halloween activities running in half term, so it’s well worth a day trip.
Don’t miss! Hook out your pointiest hat as there’s a brand new witches laboratory!
Best for finding sycamore ‘helicopters'
As well as their world-famous gardens, Stourhead is home to a huge variety of trees, including sycamores. Send your little squirrels off collecting fallen helicopters, and see who can make theirs fly the furthest.
Best for seeing deer
Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
This National Trust property is an ancient deer park and the perfect place to spot these beautiful creatures. Every October sees the bucks battle it out for top spot in the herd; you’ll often see them under the horse chestnut trees, eating conkers and getting as much fuel as they can before they lock antlers.
Best for half term events
Lyme Slime, Dorset
Lyme Regis has been overrun by witches, ghosts and zombies - oh my! See if you can spy a few by following the local trail and stop off for some beastly baking or creepy crafts. Then if you’re feeling sporting, take part in the fun run with Halloween themed obstacles, placing this among our spookiest autumn activities.
Find more day out ideas in the South West
Best for fireworksBillericay Fireworks, Essex
Get set for a spectacle! What we love most about this display at Lake Meadow Park, is the synchronised quieter fireworks display for children at 7pm ahead of the main display at 8pm. Also enjoy the live entertainment, fairground rides, food stalls and mulled wine and cider tents.
Best for going to a Harvest Festival
Harvest Past, Suffolk
Welcome the new season with lots of autumnal family fun at Peak Hill Farm. You’ll find engines, vintage cars and motorbikes on display, plenty of delicious grub to sample, as well as demonstrations, donkeys and the best tractor competition around!
Best for seeing a wildlife spectacle
Holkham Geese migration, Norfolk
This is a truly magnificent sight to behold! From October onwards, tens of thousands of pink-footed geese leave their roost at Bob Halls Sand at Wells each day, heading to their feeding grounds. You’ll definitely hear them before you see them - a treat for the budding wildlife watcher or photographer.
Best for stargazing
Sacrewell Farm, Cambridgeshire
Come along for the bi-annual Star Party at Sacrewell Farm and set your sights on the solar system! Armed with telescopes to view the stars and planets, along with expert advice and talks, it’s an out of this world treat. Get your tickets for the early evening sessions if you have young children.
Don’t miss! There are lots of autumnal activities on offer during half term including bushcraft pursuits and pumpkin carving.
Best for going on a lantern trail
October 14th - 29th
We want you to come and meet the BeWILDerbats! With only your torch to hand, explore the mystical woodlands and see tonnes of spooky decorations throughout the park. You can then create your own beautiful lantern and join the magical light extravaganza
Find more day out ideas in the East
Best for going to a food festival
Hamper Llangollen Food Festival, North Wales
October 14th & 15th
Now in its 20th year, we love the feast of local producers on offer at this foodie event, as well as their live demonstrations and workshops. Enjoying fantastic food has to be one of our favourite, family autumn activities. Kids can carve pumpkins and see some incredible designs on show too.
Best for rock pooling
Dunraven Bay, Llantwit Major, South Wales
We have it on good authority from our brilliant writer, Harriet - from Toby & Roo - that rock pooling is far better in autumn. Head to Dunraven Bay which is sheltered and safe for your little ones and explore the many pools between the rocks. Just make sure to snap a picture of what you find, no matter how slimey!
Find more day out ideas in North Wales or South Wales
Best for seeing the autumn leavesChatsworth House, Derbyshire
With gardens that have evolved over 450 years, this is a perfect place to enjoy the Autumn colours. Stop for coffee and cake and let the kids run wild in the woodland playground - there’s plenty of fun with the rope park, trampoline, slides and sandpit.
Best for getting a great autumn photo
Bradgate Park, Leicester
This suitably spooky backdrop is great for an autumn family photo - the gnarled and haggered oak trees look like they might come to life and some are over 500 years old! Follow the River Lin through the park, watch the deer and find the perfect spot for a family photo.
Best for toasting marshmallows
Take a walk on the wild side with a bushcraft survival skills adventure. You’ll journey deep into the woods, build a shelter, as well as a proper fire with just flint and cotton wool. Finally, reward yourselves by cuddling up and making delicious marshmallow s’mores. Yum!
Find more day out ideas in East Midlands
Best for collecting conkers
Charlecote Park, Warwick
Leave the tech behind for a while and wander through Charlecote Park. The trees are turning from green to gold and there are plenty of conkers to be found - head towards the pop-up play area and the spinney for the biggest and best. Did you know there are conker world championships held in Southwick, Northamptonshire on October 8th?
Don’t miss! The Charlecote Park Halloween trail from October 21st to 29th
Best for an autumn family walk
Birches Valley, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire
Breath in the smell of the rich pine trees as you wander through the woods. There’s plenty on offer for families if you want a little more than a stroll - check out the Gruffalo Trails, bike routes, orienteering, horse riding, an adventure playground and for the really adventurous, the Go Ape treetop rope courses.
Best for seeing scarecrows
Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival, Worcestershire
30th September-1st October
Now in its 22nd year, and with a fables and fairytales theme, see an array of brilliant scarecrows on show alongside a feast traditional fairground rides and games - that includes splat the rat and welly wanging! All this with live music thrown in; what’s not to love?
Photo by Grace Bee, 2015.
Best for stepping back in time
Warwick Castle, Warwick
From the Bowman show to the bird of prey displays in front of the castle walls, this is a magical step into the past. We absolutely love the Mighty Trebuchet - the largest working siege machine in the world; the 150m firing of a giant fireball is nothing short of jaw-dropping!
Best for a sunny day
Park Hall Countryside Experience, Shropshire
Surrounded by acres of beautiful countryside, Park Hall is great for a packed day of outdoor activities. Meet the animals, watch the pig racing and if it does rain, the indoor play barn is brilliant too. There are also lots of half term events on this Halloween to get stuck into.
Find more day out ideas in the West Midlands
Best for drinking hot chocolateYork's Chocolate Story, York
Take a guided tour and learn all about York and its yummy history. Try fresh handmade chocs and polish them off in the cafe with a beautiful mug of the best hot chocolate you’ll find.
Don’t miss! You can book onto the ghoulish trick or treat walking tour from October 21st to November 5th!
Best for watching a family film
Kinema in the Woods, Lincolnshire
Who you gonna call?! Ghost hunters get ready for an adventure into the woods and an outdoor screening of this classic film. Showing at their Jubilee Park location, things may get a little spooky... Just remember, do not cross streams!
Best for listening to spooky stories
National Coal Mining Museum, West Yorkshire
October 28th & 29th
Listen to ghostly tales about the coal shed’s spooky history told by miner’s wife, Peggy. These are real miner’s memories so this free event is both educational and perfectly Halloweeny… the only question left is what’s in the shed? Eek!
Best for a welly walk
Sandall Beat Wood, Doncaster
Grab your wellies, pack a picnic; you can even bring the family dog along for a trample through the woods. The wildlife in the area is ever changing and you can even enjoy a spot of pond dipping before a trip to the visitors centre and play area.
Find more day out ideas in Yorkshire
Best for learning about bats
Northumberland National Park, NorthumberlandThis is a great chance for kids to learn about these nocturnal, and often unfairly treated creatures. See them in their natural habitat and realise that they’re not that scary after all. You can then make your very own bat box to welcome these newfound friends.
Best for Harry Potter fans
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Until October 29th
Take flight from the very spot that a young Harry Potter first took to his broomstick and learn the fundamental skills of flight that all wizards need. Learn from the resident professors and soak up all that’s wonderful about the films. It’s the the perfect day out for Potter fanatics.
Don’t miss! From October the 21st to 29th, come and join in the Halloween fun and don’t miss the daily Dragon Quests!
Find more day out ideas in the North East
Best for watching an autumn sunset
Blackpool Beach, Blackpool
Our top pick for watching the sun go down this Autumn is Blackpool Beach. Watch the sun melt into the horizon across the water, and be sure to wrap up warm. Plus for the perfect accompaniment, tuck into some fish and chips.
Don’t miss! For the biggest and bravest amongst you, did you know that you can ‘walk the Big One’?! Scale one of the world’s largest roller coasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and watch the sun go down from a mere 235ft up!
Best for collecting pinecones
Formby Nature Reserve, Merseyside
A variety of winding routes will lead you deep into the woods where kids can collect cones to their heart’s content. There’s nothing better than being out in the fresh air with pine needles crunching underfoot; it’s also home to the rare red squirrel so see if you can spot a few.
Best for an autumn picnic
Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Whether you’re travelling on foot or two wheels, once you’ve found all 40 sculptures in the forest you’re sure to have worked up an appetite! Find a sheltered spot for a picnic and if you want to add hot drinks and cake to the spread, there’s a cafe and visitor centre too.
Best for flying a kite
Heaton Park, Manchester
The most simple days out are often the best. Wrap up warm and take a kite to Heaton Park to master the art of controlling the strings and flying high. Be sure to explore some of the 640 acres of parkland, visit the play area and stroll around the boating lake during while you’re there.
Don’t miss! There are lots of autumn activities on at Heaton Park including a lantern trail on October the 15th and Halloween fun run on October the 29th.
Best for learning spells and making potions
Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Are you ready to visit one of England’s most notoriously haunted castles?! Bring a torch - and your bravery - for a spells and potions workshop with the Black Monk in the Scary Dairy.
Don’t miss! There’s so much on this Halloween including a scary maze, circus, cannon firing, ghostly grotto and scary stories.
Find more day out ideas in the North West
Best for autumn make and do activities
Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway
From 11am kids can get involved with this crafty autumn activity - make a heart shaped bird feeder and fill it with tasty treats. Choose whether to take it home or hang it in the gardens for the local birds to enjoy.
Don’t miss! Campfire treats on October 25th and moon gazing on October 28th.
Best for seeing autumn illuminations
The Enchanted Forest, ScotlandIn the depths of the Perthshire Highlands, you’ll find something very special: an awe-inspiring show of lights, sounds and colour await as you stroll through the forest at night. This is nature and technology combined in the most magical way.
September 28th - October 29th
Find more day out ideas in North Scotland or South Scotland
Best for seeing the Hunter’s Moon
Anywhere - October 5th
Take your team on a totally unique day out to see The Hunter’s Moon. It was said to have guided hunters ahead of the winter and is even creepily known as the Blood Moon. It will be at it’s brightest at 7.40pm so make sure to get there with plenty of time.
There were so many wonderful options to choose from for this list of 50 autumn activities. We hope you enjoy the days out we picked, but if you are interested to find out even more and see the great family days out in your area, start by entering your location in the search bar on the homepage to find great things to do near you.