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Kent October half term things to do for the family during the school holidays

By Angela Cole

Looking for half term fun for your little horrors this October? From circus delights to puppetry and beasties to the Gruffalo - here's what's on offer across Kent for you and your family.


October half term fun runs until Tuesday, October 31, with a Little Monster Hunt when 12 spooky little monsters, including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy, will be on the loose. Visitors can take part in the trail for free by picking up a map from the concierge desk outside M&S on the lower mall - and there's a prize at the end.

The Monster Hunt this October half term
The Monster Hunt this October half term


Half term fun at the Faversham site runs from Monday, October 23 to Thursday, October 26. On the Monday, keep the kids entertained with Brogdale’s Beastie Day when young visitors can hunt for insects in the orchards and then get crafty. On the Thursday, learn about the effect the weather has on the orchards, ride the tractor trailer, and make a human sundial on Wild Weather Day. There will also be walks in the orchards. For details visit brogdalecollections.org or call 01795 536250.


The park is open daily between 8am and 6pm, and the Gruffalo Trail is on offer for little ones with the Gruffalo sculpture and his child to spot. Details at forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury

The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo

More Halloween fun for families this October across Kent.


Step in to the Historic Dockyard's Enchanted Garden this half term, for a week of magic, myths and captivating fun. The grounds of the Commissioners House will be transformed in to an Enchanted Garden from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29 with pumpkin carving, storytelling sessions and plenty of hands-on fun. Also included in your annual ticket, there's the chance to explore the dockyard, including three warships and 10 museum galleries. For more details visit thedockyard.co.uk


Young visitors can learn how to scare grown-ups silly in the Tales’ Ghoul School, meet Professor Sprig and learn the cures for disgusting diseases and write spells. After all your lessons, there will be a graduation from Spook Academy. The fun runs daily throughout half term between noon and 4pm from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29. For details go here.

It's not just little ones who can get their faces painted at The Forum in Sittingbourne this Halloween
It's not just little ones who can get their faces painted at The Forum in Sittingbourne this Halloween


The attraction is holding its first ever conker competition this half term, which kicks off activities at the Margate amusement park on Saturday, October 21. The conker contest is just one of dozens of free family activities as part of Get Spooked at Dreamland, which run through to Sunday, October 29. Daily activities for kids will feature alongside the vintage rides, pop-up entertainment, roller disco and arcades at the free-to-enter attraction, including a visit by the Gruffalo on Thursday, October 26. Daily activities also include going on a ghost hunt looking for Gus the Ghost. The park is open throughout half term, between 11am and 5pm, with after dark Screamland events for adults. There are all the usual rides, Octopus’s Garden and the roller room. For details visit dreamland.co.uk

October half term fun across Kent includes plenty of Halloween happenings
October half term fun across Kent includes plenty of Halloween happenings


There will be an Edwardian themed trail at the garden between Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29, between 10am to 4pm daily. It costs £1 per trail, normal admission applies.


There will be free family fun throughout October half term at the Gillingham shopping centre with the kmfm street team from Monday, October 23 to Sunday, October 29. From 11am to 3pm daily there will be free Halloween-themed events including face painting, arts and crafts and a colouring competition. Shoppers can turn up on the day as there is no pre-booking needed, though children must be supervised. Parking is free at Hempstead Valley. For details go to hempsteadvalley.com

Hempstead Valley is teaming up with kmfm for this October half term
Hempstead Valley is teaming up with kmfm for this October half term


Carve a pumpkin with a face to frighten or amuse at the castle during half term on Sunday, October 29. For special events, admission is £10 and children under 15 are free. For details call 01322 862114 or go to lullingstonecastle.co.uk


Young creators can make a paper owl family, a clay leaf bowl, an autumn wreath and a mini scarecrow at daily workshops between Tuesday, October 24 and Friday, October 27, between 10.30am and 2pm. There will be three sessions a day, at a cost of £3. Suitable for ages four and over. Details at museum.maidstone.gov.uk


Giant spider webs will be appearing around the gardens – follow the trail daily between Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 29, between 10am to 5pm. A trail costs 50p, with normal admission. There will also be crafts from noon to 3.30pm, on Thursday, October 26. There is a suggested donation of 50p, normal admission costs apply.


There will be shows for all the family to enjoy with The Owl And The Pussycat from Let’s All Dance on Monday, October 23 and Tuesday 24 October and a new sensory puppet show, The Dream Factory on Thursday, October 26. To book, visit marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury will stage puppetry show, the Dream Factory this half term
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury will stage puppetry show, the Dream Factory this half term


Family fun and making lanterns are on offer at the Sevenoaks historic site for half term. Family Monday on Monday, October 23, between 11am and 3pm will feature free arts and crafts with a leafy hedgehogs and leaf sun catchers theme. Suitable for ages five to 12. A paper lanterns family workshop will be held on Wednesday, October 25 and Thursday, October 26 at 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. For Museums at Night, on Saturday, October 28 from 6pm to 8.30pm, young visitors can don their spookiest costume and hop into the giant picture frame in the Orangery to snap a frightful photo to take home, or join a bat walk with a hot drink afterwards. Details at nationaltrust.org.uk/knole

Things are going to get spooky at Leeds Castle this half term
Things are going to get spooky at Leeds Castle this half term


Half term activities run from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29, with trails from 10.30am to 5pm and crafts from noon to 4pm. Follow the Halloween Garden Trail to discover bygone stories and traditions and head to the Old Coach House for creepy crafts from a hanging bat and spinning spiral snake to ghoulish ghost.
New this year will be a Mummification Stitch Up on Sunday, October 29 between noon and 4pm. Hands on History will give hourly talks about the practice of mummification through the use of a ‘dummy mummy’ – including organ removal and preservation techniques employed by the ancient Egyptians. Running hourly from noon to 4pm. The Wicked Witch of the Wild Wood will be in the woodland from Monday, October 23 to Friday, October 27 at 2pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm. Find the witch in the bell tent and visit the coven for cups of hot chocolate and a spooky tale around the fire with toasting marshmallows. There will also be (Not too) Spooky Storytelling and a fancy dress contest on Saturday, October 28 at 2pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm – come dressed in your spooky finest. Activities are included in the standard grounds admission price. Details at penshurstplace.com/whats-on/events-and-activities.


For half term, Involve will be running pumpkin carving and slime making in Maidstone Mall. Each activity costs £2.50 for each activity, with materials provided. There will be a prize for the best pumpkin. Workshops run from Monday, October 23 to Saturday, October 28, between 1.30pm and 3pm daily. Suitable for ages five and over. To book call 01622 235833.


Roll up, roll up, for half term at the garden centre in Staplehurst. One of the UK’s oldest circus families, Paulos Circus, makes a welcome return visit from Wednesday, October 25 and Sunday, October 29.

Performing since 1816, the Paulos family have been touring with their unique family entertainment. Paulos Circus brings clowns, acrobats, aerial skills, magic, wire walkers and jugglers among its acts, promising an unforgettable circus experience for all the family. There’s also Halloween fun at Millbrook on Saturday, October 28, with a family pumpkin carving session at 2pm, including a demonstration and the chance to take your carved pumpkin home. The session costs £5 per family. Th centre is in Staplehurst Road, Marden, TN12 9BT. Call 01622 832299.

Paulos Circus is coming to Millbrook Garden Centre in Staplehurst
Paulos Circus is coming to Millbrook Garden Centre in Staplehurst


There are Autumn Adventures on offer between Tuesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 26 when they can get hands-on with den building along the woodland walk, enjoy the fruits of harvest and discover the garden’s wildlife. For more details visit english-hertage.org.uk/walmercastle or call 01304 364288.


Half term fun runs from Tuesday, October 24 to Friday, October 27, between 11am and noon and 1.30pm and 3pm. As part of the Big Draw festival, young visitors can try drawing Victorian toys and spinning tops, and then see them come alive. For entry and more details, call 01843 842168 or email enquiries@quexmuseum.org


Birds of prey will be on site between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, October 22, with displays at noon and 3pm, and pumpkin carving daily between Monday, October 23 to Sunday, October 29 between 11am and 3pm, at £5, to include pumpkin and carving kit. There will be a Really Wild Wooders Forest School Holiday Club for four to 11-year-olds from Tuesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 26 between 9am and 3pm daily at a cost of £25 a day.

Woodland Witches and Wizards runs from Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29 between 10am and 1.30pm, for four to 11-year-olds when there will be friendly forest spirits, broomstick making and toasting sticky marshmallows on an open fire, at £12.50 per child and £5 per adult. To book go to betteshanger-park.co.uk/halloween


How would your little ones fancy trying a Creepy Carnivore tour with some wolves for half term?

The reserve near Hythe is holding the tour of the wolf enclosure along with baboon talks, gorilla talks and a dinosaur trail of Dinosaur Forest for half term. The spine-tingling activities running from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29 include an eerie enrichment workshop, treat-making for the animals and, for Halloween, pumpkin carving sessions too. During the visit jump on board a safari truck and journey through the Asian and African Experiences, and see the spectacled bears, giraffe and the new Bactrian camels. The activities run through the day from 10.45am to 4pm. To book, and get a 10% discount online, go to aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne


Half term fun from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 29, includes spooky games and activities including exploratory trails to win prizes, creepy crafts, pumpkin carving and face painting. For Halloween young visitors are invited to dress to impress on Sunday, October 29 and enter the frightening fancy dress competition to win a goody bag. During your visit, see the largest herd of African elephants in the UK and see baby lemur Baobab, and enjoy a special twilight trek with the education presenters and see the park in a different light, at £15 and £10 for children, which needs to be pre-booked. Daily activities run from 10am to 4.15pm when the Twilight Trek heads off. To book and get a 10% online visit aspinallfoundation.org/howletts


Half term fun starts on Saturday, October 21 with a witch's broom toss contest hosted by the centre's chosen charity of the year, Demelza Hospice Care for Children and a free treasure hunt by ArrivaClick, Sittingbourne’s new on-demand minibus service. On Saturday, October 28 there will be a free creepy crawly roadshow between 11am and 4pm when shoppers can get up close with a number of critters including giant spiders, snakes and snails. The centre’s annual Safe Trick or Treating event will also be held during the day and a fancy dress competition. And parents aren't forgotten: there will be an adult’s face painter on hand from 2pm to 4pm. Throughout half term, from Saturday, October 21 to Saturday, October 28, the centre's Facebook followers can snap a photo of themselves by The Forum’s spooky backdrop and upload it to facebook.com/TheForumCentre to be in with a chance of winning a £20 voucher, courtesy of Peacocks.

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