Half term has finally arrived, but how can you make the most of a week off with your little ones?
As the nights draw in across Wales, National Trust Cymru has a whole host of events and activities planned to keep your kids entertained.
From ghoulish tricks for Halloween, to wonderful autumnal walks, here are some activities you can sink your teeth into at National Trust Cymru sites next week.
Half term fun in North Wales
With 80 acres of dazzling autumn colour, Bodnant Garden is the perfect place to let your little explorers run wild this half term. Jump across stepping-stones to play pooh sticks in the Dell, build a den or visit the willow worm at the Far End, and explore the little Play Park with zig-zag walkways, a mini suspension bridge, and rope walks.
As autumn sweeps across the landscape, step into nature and discover Chirk Castle’s historic estate with its veteran trees and quiet bird hides – it’s the ideal spot to tick off some ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4’ activities. If that’s not enough, let off steam as you explore the two play areas, or discover more about the creatures who make the parkland their home on a self-led nature trail.
Make family memories together as you try your hand at campfire cooking, enjoy some spooky storytelling, or follow the self-led Welsh folklore trail around the garden. If your little explorers still have energy to spare, then fly on the rope swing, climb over obstacles and balance across beams in Wolf’s Den, Erddig’s natural play area.
Visit the dramatic Penrhyn Castle where you’ll find lots to keep the whole family entertained. Explore the Victorian Kitchens where the contents of the cupboards will reveal more about the castle’s worldwide connections, and on October 30 and 31, visit the Dung Tower and listen to some Stinky Stories. Outside, explore the extensive garden and estate and discover more about its historic trees on a self-led family trail.
Whether it’s kicking through leaves, learning about nature, or searching for Red Squirrels, there are plenty of family activities happening at Plas Newydd this half term. Venture into the garden and explore autumn colour with a nature bingo guide, join one of the daily Red Squirrel walks, or hunt for willow animals on the hibernation trail.
Half term fun in Mid Wales
From the October 27 to Halloween, follow a magical hare on a family Halloween adventure through the garden. Can you and your little adventurers escape the clutches of Mari Berllan Biter by making a protective charm from the ingredients you find along the way? To find out more about Mari Berllan Biter, the local witch of Llanerchaeron, join the spooky storytelling session on October 27, from 11.30am.
Dust off those wellies, wrap up warm, and see how many family fun activities you can complete at Powis this half term. Hunt high and low along the terraces on the Halloween Pumpkin Trail, explore the sights, sounds, and smells of the season on the Sensory Autumn Trail, or learn fascinating facts on the Fun Fungi Trail through the woodland.
Half term fun in West Wales
Colby is the perfect place to run wild and tick off some of your favourite activities so get ready to build dens, create some wild art, and discover what’s hiding in a pond. If that’s not enough, follow the ‘I Am a Seed’ self-led exhibition to find out more about the historic trees that grow in this fascinating place.
Follow the autumn trail through Dinefwr’s estate this half term and learn more about nature as you collect leaves, make bark rubbings and lots more. Inside, try shadow theatre or enjoy the Shadow Box Branches installation as you explore beautifully decorated rooms, full of autumnal atmosphere.
Half term fun in South Wales
Follow the Autumn All Around family trail at Dyffryn and use each of your senses to explore autumn. There’s more than just bright autumn colour to see – hear the crunch of leaves, smell the rain on damp ground, touch the bark of the trees and learn about the seasonal foods you can eat at home. During half term, celebrate the humble hedgehog by making your own spikey friend and see if you can spot the signs of real-life hedgehogs as you explore the garden.
Discover the parkland in a different way this autumn by following the free, self-led, autumn sensory trail. Feel the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet, smell the crisp autumn air and listen to the birds as they gather to fly south for winter. If that’s not enough, spark your creativity at a pumpkin carving workshop in the Riding School from October 29 to October 31.