Fall for autumn: our pick of the best seasonal events
Golden leaves, the crisp morning air, roaring log fires, pumpkin trails and long walks bundled up in thick woolly jumpers are just a few of our favourite things about autumn. If you’re planning a seasonal or October half term getaway in our glorious corner of the world, then you can find all these things – plus many more exciting events to delight and entertain the family – in abundance. From spooky Halloween trails through spectacular castle grounds to Viking warrior schools where your young can hone their sword skills and accompanying battle cry, these exciting experiences are sure to get your imagination – and your child! – running wild.
If you’re looking for a more grown-up retreat, we’ve pulled together a selection of fantastic seasonal events to suit the more discerning mind. Whether you fancy taking in some culture at the Berwick Literary Festival, would prefer to immerse yourself in the beauty of autumnal nature or simply fancy sniffing out some of the best local cheese, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover the best autumn events across Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and Yorkshire.
Halloween Trail at Floors Castle | Scottish Borders
If your little monsters deserve a little treat, then a visit to Floors Castle is most definitely in order. From the 22nd – 31st October the formal grounds and enchanting woodland at Floors Castle will be transformed into a frightfully fun Halloween trail for all ages. Follow the perilous path, if you dare, to find pumpkins and solve clues before warming up with a delicious hot chocolate or a non-alcoholic mulled wine – complimentary for C&C guests, sign up to our newsletter for more details.
STAY NEARBY AT: The Mill House, Campsie Cottage, Linen House
Half term activities at Alnwick Castle | Northumberland
If your little ones love learning about history, Alnwick Castle is the perfect place to let their imaginations run free in the world of knights, princesses and troubadours this autumn. Whether they’d prefer to listen to medieval music and learn traditional dances (27th – 29th October), watch a majestic birds of prey display inspired by the falconry of the Middle Ages (22nd – 25th October) or hear the gruesome tales of a medieval surgeon (24th – 30th October), this historic castle has something to keep everyone entertained.
STAY NEARBY AT: Number One Clayport Street, The Star Barn
Wild Tree Adventures at Traquair House | Scottish Borders
Get the adrenaline pumping with a fun and adventurous tree climbing experience in the leafy grounds of historic Traquair House (15th and 16th October). Following expert instructors, children (age 6+) and adults alike can climb over 20 metres into the canopy of a towering oak tree and admire the fabulous views from a whole new perspective. If you’re staying closer to Berwick-upon-Tweed, this exhilarating tree climbing experience will also be on offer at magnificent Paxton House on the 8th and 9th October.
STAY NEARBY AT: East Lodge at Ashiestiel, The Clock Tower, Bowhill
Thorp Perrow Arboretum | Yorkshire
One of the best things about October is the magnificent autumn colours. Home to 100 acres of beautiful arboretum and woodland gardens, Thorp Perrow is the perfect place for a stomp through the trees to admire nature’s glorious display of glowing red, orange and yellow leaves. If you have any young ones in tow, part of the arboretum will also be transformed into a spooky Halloween trail from 8th October – 1st November. Complete with scary skeletons and eerie tombstones along the way, it promises to provide fun for all the family.
STAY NEARBY AT: Heatherdene, Partridge Lodge
Halloween potion making at Paxton House | Scottish Borders
Tucked away in the West Wing of gorgeous Paxton House, the traditional Georgian kitchen gives a glimpse into how food was prepared in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This autumn, children can try their hand at potion making (11th and 25th October), in the eerie kitchen surrounds. Decked out for the occasion, there will be caldrons and flasks of brightly coloured liquids galore, which you’ll learn how to combine to make your own spectacularly spooky concoctions.
STAY NEARBY AT: West Mill Cottage, The Forge, The Old School House, Ancroft
Berwick Literary Festival | Northumberland
With a wealth of captivating events spanning the weekend of the 13th – 16th October, the Berwick Literary Festival is one for the avid readers. Giving a strong focus to writers based in the northeast of England and the south of Scotland, the programme offers everything from illuminating poetry readings and tours of local printing works to drawing and writing workshops. Several well-known authors will be delighting audiences with stories and readings during the festival, including Ann Cleeves, Chris Brookmyre and Alexander McCall Smith.
STAY NEARBY AT: Lions House, The Meeting House
Uhtred’s school of warriors at Bamburgh Castle | Northumberland
Fancy trying your hand at being a Viking Warrior? If this sounds like your idea of half term fun, then look no further than Bamburgh Castle’s brilliant Viking warrior school (20th and 26th October). Led by Ragnar, a real Viking warrior, your young will be given a foam sword, which they will think up a formidable name for, before being put through their paces learning to how to fight like a real Viking warrior! The winner will be crowned king or queen of the north on the castle’s stone throne.
STAY NEARBY AT: Greengate, Windley, The Rushes
Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival | Yorkshire
Taking place in various locations throughout the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival (7th – 10th October) celebrates the very best of local produce, with cheese as the star of the show. Follow the wonderful cheese map to farm shops, cafes, creameries and pubs to sniff out the very best cheese while sampling everything from artisanal ice cream to Yorkshire pudding wraps along the way! If you’ve had your fill of local delicacies, there are plenty of fascinating ‘meet the maker’ events, which offer the opportunity to meet local artists and to learn about their work – all of which is inspired by the glorious Yorkshire Dales.
STAY NEARBY AT: Heatherdene, Partridge Lodge
Seal spotting boat trip around the Farne islands | Northumberland
Just off the Northumberland coast, the dramatically beautiful Farne Islands are home to some of the most important colonies of seabirds and grey seal pupping sites in the UK. While visitors aren’t currently allowed on the islands themselves, boat trips in the area are a fantastic way to get up close to the islands and their wildlife. In the autumn grey seal pups are born on the island, making it one of the best times to visit and see the ever-growing colony. While there keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and shags, which also call the Farne Islands home.
STAY NEARBY AT: Wild Rye, Lyme Grass
Foraging at Dalkeith Country Park | Midlothian
If immersing yourself in nature and learning about the wonderful flora we have on our doorstep sounds like your cup of tea, why not try your hand at foraging this season? Held within the grounds of idyllic Dalkeith Country Park, these monthly foraging courses (15th October and 19th November) run by local experts ‘Coeur Sauvage’ make the perfect introduction to the world of edible and medicinal plants. Enjoy a leisurely two-to-three-hour stroll while learning how to recognise and identify plants and gather specimens.
STAY NEARBY AT: Fordel Cottage, Hawthorn House
Halloween Trail at Jackson's at Jedburgh | Scottish Borders
Get outside and close to nature on a visit to Jackson’s at Jedburgh. This family run farm is a great spot for little ones to get their wellies on and meet lambs, goats, Highland cows, and the rest of the farmyard animals. Every weekend from the 1st – 30th October, Jackson’s Halloween trail will get you in the seasonal spirit, with broomstick making, a potion making station and pumpkin carving (pumpkin carving is only available on the 21st – 23rd and 28th – 30th October).
STAY NEARBY AT: The Laurels, Shiloh Cottage, Fairnington East Wing
Fountains Abbey by Floodlight | Yorkshire
For a magical evening spent among the glowing ruins of this spectacular historic site, the Fountains Abbey by floodlight experience is a true feast for the senses. On every Saturday throughout October (as well as Friday 21st and 28th October), grab your torch and explore the ancient abbey as it lights up under the night sky. Enchanting choral music will ring through the abbey between 7pm – 8pm as choirs perform in its atmospheric cellarium, and you’ll be able to warm up afterwards with delicious hot food from local vendors.
STAY NEARBY AT: Heatherdene, Partridge Lodge
Fancy a seasonal stay?
If these events have got you all excited about a cosy autumnal break in the North of England and the South of Scotland, why not browse our October half term availability?
We also have some great seasonal offers, if you're not tied to travelling during the school holidays.
Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival ©Stephen Garnett.