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Plenty on offer in Shakespeare’s England during October half term and Halloween

16th September 2015 Print
Kenilworth Castle

There is plenty on offer in Shakespeare’s England during October half term from 24 October – 1 November with a host of spooky family events. Carve pumpkins, hear ghost stories, follow ghost trails, watch a puppet show, take a boat trip and see the resident ghost in the lock, or simply enjoy an autumnal walk. For the very brave there are plenty of ghost hunts as well as six new Halloween attractions at Warwick Castle!

At the Royal Shakespeare Company children can enjoy a spooky treat whilst decorating a Halloween inspired biscuit and join Peter Pan’s friends, the Lost Boys and Tink, to help them find their toys as part of a free trail around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. On 30 October children can learn a range of East Asian paper making-skills and techniques as part of a brand new workshop and create their paper cutting picture to take home.

Shakespeare's Birthplace is being haunted by spooky characters from his plays. Ghostly apparitions will be reciting creepy excerpts from Shakespeare's plays. At Mary Arden's Farm, carve a pumpkin and hear the Legend of Stingy Jack who was known as 'Jack o' the Lantern' after playing tricks on the devil. Plus make scented beads to ward off evil spirits. At Hall's Croft, hear ghost stories inspired by some of the objects found in the building. At Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens, design and create a scary woodland creature. Use the woodland as inspiration and create scary puppets to take home. On 31 October join in with an interactive Halloween puppet show, meet the three witches and help them brew up a potion to cause havoc. Over at Harvard House you can design a Tudor pie!

On 24 & 25 October explore the properties of different chemical elements such as cobalt, carbon, copper, neon and sulphur at Compton Verney. Find out about their colour, shape and reactions to each other. On 30 October the art gallery will be throwing open their doors afterhours to showcase their latest exhibition Periodic Tales. Enjoy a periodic table themed set from the resident DJ; view spectacular family-friendly demonstrations by The Royal Society of Chemistry and take an insightful personal tour of the exhibition by its curator, Penelope Sexton. Cost is £10, concessions £8, under 16’s £6.

At Ragley, take part in a ‘Halloween puzzle trail’ around the decorated gardens, hall and stables, collecting letters that will make a Halloween word which then needs to be dropped into special post boxes. Completed entries will be exchanged for a lolly and the prize draw for a correct entry will be a 2016 family membership. There will also be a story teller, the opportunity to find hidden Halloween items in the rooms, plus pumpkin carving, crafts and colouring. Spooky food will also be available.

Warwick Castle provides a fun and fire-filled full day out for all the family, boasting six new Halloween attractions. These range from The Haunted Hollows family trail and spooky storytelling in The Village for younger visitors, to the high-adrenaline after-dark Outbreak and Condemned. Don't miss the first ever fire-jousting - blazing horseback brilliance by twilight! Between 24 October and 1 November the Castle stays open until 9pm. Book online in advance for best prices.

At Kenilworth Castle children can be scared silly by terrifying Tudor tales and enjoy getting hands-on with creepy crafts and spectacularly spooky activities. From 29 – 31 October there are Halloween Ghost Tours for adults at 7pm and 8pm and for children at 6pm (5 – 15 years). Meet spine-tingling storytellers and discover tales of ghostly apparitions, dastardly deeds, and ghoulish goings-on. Tickets cost £16 for adults and £7.50 for children.

At Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum on 31 October at 6pm & 7pm celebrate the first ever Halloween themed Museums at Night. Explore the galleries by torchlight and listen to spooky local tales with storyteller Colin King. There is no charge but places are limited and need to be booked in advance.

Take part in a Halloween Banking for Victory Coin Trail at Upton House and Gardens from 26 October – 1 November (closed on the Thursday) from 11am - 4pm. Explore the enchanted gardens on the children's trail as you learn about wartime air raids and gain the next coin in your Banking for Victory trails collection. The cost is £2 per child.

Join Alan Ranger, an award winning photographer at Batsford Arboretum on a half or one day photography workshop on selected dates from 17 October – 1 November. Suitable for beginners and more advanced photographers, Alan will work with each person to capture the autumn colour in the Arboretum. There is something for everybody to enjoy and practise their photography skills. Half day workshops cost £79, full day workshops cost from £130. Bookings must be made in advance.

At the Stratford Butterfly Farm children can take part in the Jungle Explorers Trail to take them on a journey to discover interesting and gruesome facts about some of the inhabitants. Plus there are ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ sessions daily at 11:30am and 1:30pm when children can get up close and handle an array of insects.
Take a special Halloween boat trip with Canal and River Tours and see the resident ghost in the lock who will be making several appearances, even on normal trips! Younger children can also do a Halloween dot to dot and listen to spooky music.

Watch Moscow Ballet perform La Classique, Nutcracker on 26 October at the Royal Spa Centre. With its seasonal connection and joyous child's dream in which anything is possible, Nutcracker is one of the great classics of fantasy and a ballet for all ages. The cost is £23.50/£21.50 conc/£16 under 16/£65 family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children). On 28 October see Morgan & West's Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show. Mixing illusion and old-fashioned tom-foolery, Morgan & West present a show where magic and silliness abound! Recommended for ages 4+. Cost: £10, £9 conc.

Take part in the Stratford-upon-Avon Halloween Festival at Tudor World with lantern lit ghost tours of the building; ghost tours of the town; family friendly ghost tours; Halloween shows about the darker side of the Tudors; plus a trail and prizes for the children. For the really brave there are overnight ghost hunts. Halloween ghost tours take place at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm & 9pm on 30 & 31 October and cost £7.50. Family friendly ghost tours take place at 5pm on 30 & 31 October and cost £13.50 for a family. A Halloween Town ghost tour is on 30 October at 7.30pm and costs ££8.50 (with mulled wine). Overnight ghost hunts are on 24 October with 2HauntedVenues and on 30/31 October with Fright Nights from 10pm.

To support the new exhibition ‘Car Stories’ which opens on 7 November, the Heritage Motor Centre will be running family fun workshops to tell your own car stories. There are also 10 black cats hidden in the museum which need to be found and the colour of their eyes identified. Every completed trail earns a reward! Popbang Colour workshops run from 26 - 28 October from 10.30am – 3:30pm to create your own stories on paper. PopBang Colour artist, Ian Cook, paints with toy cars, remote controlled cars and tyres of all shapes and sizes. On 29 & 30 October create your own comic car story with the guidance of an artist.

For the first time, the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is running a day of children’s activities on 29 October, with craft and writing workshops, drama with Playbox Theatre and singing with Nick Cope. There’s also the chance to meet illustrator Chloe Inkpen, who has written a book, I Will Love You Anyway, with her father Mike Inkpen, creator of Kipper. There will also be a pop-up café and Waterstones Bookshop at the Artshouse throughout the day.

Extend your stay and stay overnight at The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. Children under 12 can stay free of charge when sharing their parent’s room or half the adult price when staying in their own room. Rates are from £199 including bed and breakfast when taking two interconnecting rooms. Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply.

For more suggestions and family friendly accommodation in Shakespeare’s England visit

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Kenilworth Castle