Top 50 autumn activities to do with the kids | Day Out With The Kids

Autumn Activities: 50 family days out

Catherine Warrilow

20 September 2017

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8 minutes
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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:

London & South East South | East | West & South West | Wales | East Midlands | West Midlands | Yorkshire & Lincolnshire | North East | North West | Scotland

50 best autumn family activities

LONDON & SOUTH EAST

  1. 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.

  2. Best for supporting a charity

    The Trick or Treat Run, London
    October 28th

    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.

    Trick or Treat run in London with kids this autumn

  3. Best for a spooky sleepover

    Science 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.

  4. 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!.

    Halloween at Chessington World of Adventures

  5. Best for seeing birds of prey

    Leeds 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.

  6. Best for learning about the new season

    Earth Trust, Oxfordshire
    October 25th

    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.

  7. 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!

  8. Best for autumn Afternoon Tea

    Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
    October 21st-29th

    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.

    Halloween themed afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor

  9. Best for going to a Halloween circus

    Frosts Garden Centre, Milton Keynes
    October 23rd-29th

    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

    SOUTH

  10. Best for celebrating Apple Day

    Tewin Orchard, near Stevenage
    October 8th

    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.

  11. Best for becoming a witch or wizard

    Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Isle of Wight
    October 23rd-27th

    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.

  12. Best for a big bonfire

    Lewes Bonfire Celebrations, Lewes, East Sussex
    November 4th

    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! 

    SOUTH WEST & WEST

  13. 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.

    Maize Maze at Cotswold Farm Park

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    The Big Sheep is great for rainy days out

  16. 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.

  17. Best for foraging

    Penzance, Cornwall

    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.

  18. 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!

    Kids Halloween fancy dress

  19. Best for finding sycamore ‘helicopters'

    Stourhead, Wiltshire

    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.

  20. 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.

  21. Best for half term events

    Lyme Slime, Dorset
    October 21st-29th

    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

    EAST

  22. Best for fireworks

    Billericay Fireworks, Essex
    November 4th

    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.

    Family firework displays are a must-do this autumn

  23. Best for going to a Harvest Festival

    Harvest Past, Suffolk
    September 24th

    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!

  24. Best for seeing a wildlife spectacle

    Holkham Geese migration, Norfolk
    From October

    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.

  25. Best for stargazing

    Sacrewell Farm, Cambridgeshire
    October 7th

    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.

  26. Best for going on a lantern trail

    BeWILDerwood, Norfolk
    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

    Bewilderwood Lantern Festival autumn event

    Find more day out ideas in the East

    WALES

  27. 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.

  28. 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

    EAST MIDLANDS

  29. Best for seeing the autumn leaves

    Chatsworth 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.

    Chatsworth House is the best place to see autumn leaves

  30. 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.

  31. Best for toasting marshmallows

    Conkers, Derbyshire

    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

    WEST MIDLANDS

  32. 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

    Collect conkers with the kids this autumn

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

    Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival
    Photo by Grace Bee, 2015. 

  35. 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!

  36. 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

    YORKSHIRE & LINCOLNSHIRE

  37. Best for drinking hot chocolate

    York'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!

    York's Chocolate Story named best hot chocolate in the UK

  38. Best for watching a family film

    Kinema in the Woods, Lincolnshire
    23rd September

    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!

  39. 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!

  40. 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.


    Autumn welly walks

    Find more day out ideas in Yorkshire

    NORTH EAST

  41. Best for learning about bats

    Northumberland National Park, Northumberland
    October 25th

    This 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.

  42. 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

    NORTH WEST

  43. 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!

    See the sunset at Blackpool beach this autumn

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

    See autumn colours at Heaton Park in Manchester

  47. Best for learning spells and making potions

    Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
    October 26th-31st

    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

    SCOTLAND

  48. Best for autumn make and do activities

    Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway
    October 18th

    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.

  49. Best for seeing autumn illuminations

    The Enchanted Forest, Scotland
    September 28th - October 29th

    In 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.

    Find more day out ideas in North Scotland or South Scotland

    The Enchanted Forest Scotland

    ANYWHERE!

  50. 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.

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Catherine Warrilow

20 September 2017

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Catherine is a mum of two boys from Oxford. She is also Head of Brand for Day Out With The Kids.

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