Half term is a great time to drag kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors.
Except when it comes to outdoorsy attractions as exciting as these, there will be no dragging involved.
Turn this half term into a thrilling adventure with woodland walks, mountain-top surfing lessons and hair-raising biking trails.
Plus we pick out some of the UK’s most exhilarating adventure playgrounds, and some of them even have special events on for Halloween.
There’s even a magical walk in the Forbidden Forest for Harry Potter fans…
Chatsworth Explorer Walks
Make the most of fresh air and woodland views in a series of autumn hikes alongside the rangers at the Chatsworth Estate. Explore the new trails through Stand Wood in a two-mile walk, suitable for children aged five and over.
Or head to the farmyard to meet the animals and join in with creepy crafts throughout half-term, and dare to ride the Halloween trailer into Warlock Wood. Look out too for seed-collecting walks, with a session collecting and potting seeds.
Various dates, Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire, chatsworth.org
Sundown Sessions at Go Ape
The forest comes alive at twilight for the treetop attraction’s Sundown Sessions. This month the evening sessions begin at centres around the country.
Tackle high platforms as the sun sets or brave the zip wires under a blanket of stars in the enormous adventure playgrounds.
Daily, nationwide, goape.co.uk
The Lost Castle Adventure Playground
In the grounds of real-life ruin Lowther Castle, one of the largest adventure playgrounds in the country is perfect for blowing off steam in the woods.
Built by the Curious Adventure Play company, the lost castle is an architectural echo of the main building itself, built from 18,000metres of sustainable timber.
There are ramps and steps and a maze of turrets, zipwires, walkways and slides. Check out the castle too, and the exhibition telling its story.
Daily, Penrith, Cumbria, lowthercastle.org
After dark there’s a Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade in both the Cheshire and Norfolk sites this October, where you can craft your own Boggle Bindle Lantern to help light up the woods.
Or, during the daytimes, the magical tree houses and huge wonky wooden play towers are a great place for a woodland adventure.
BeWILDerwood is based on the magical book series by creator and author Tom Blofeld, with giant slippery slides, zip wires and massive muddled mazes to get lost in. There are also storytelling shows, crafts, den building and forest activities.
Daily, Cheshire and Norfolk, bewilderwood.co.uk
Adventure Parc Snowdonia
Brave the waves this October and learn to surf in the mountains. Consistent, perfect waves of harvested Welsh rainwater roll every 90 seconds at this purpose-built site, designed to be the perfect environment for all ages and abilities to learn how to surf safely.
Join the friendly surf academy – with sessions for Little Rippers (ages five to seven) and Groms (ages eight to 12). There’s wetsuit and board hire, and toasty changing facilities to warm up afterwards.
Daily, Dolgarrog, North Wales, adventureparcsnowdonia.com
Almost 3,000ft above sea level, in the beautiful eastern Cairngorms, the Lecht Activity Centre is a natural playground. They offer ski-school from beginners to expert level, as well as snowboarding lessons and riglet snowboarding, suitable for younger children.
There’s also areas for beginners, intermediates and a black slope for advanced skiers, and mountain bike tracks with dirt jumps and riding features build from rock.
Daily, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, lecht.co.uk
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Adventure
Join the wizarding world on this new after-dark woodland trail populated by mythical creatures and spooky incantations from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.
Enjoy the spectacular sounds, lights, and special effects that bring the magic of the forest to life. Look out for centaurs, a hippogriff, and a patronus on this adventure, suitable for all ages.
From Tuesday, Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire, hpforbiddenforestexperience.com
The longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District has views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite, Helvellyn and Skiddaw and goes to an altitude of 500m above Keswick.
Built for experienced riders with good off-road skills, the 12-mile trail is divided into the north and south loop, running through Whinlatter Mountain Forest. Bike hire is available on-site.
Daily, Whinlatter Mountain Forest, Keswick, forestryengland.uk
Few castles look as striking as Kelburn, home of Earl of Glasgow, and it’s a brilliant day out.
Covered in beautiful Brazilian graffiti, the grounds, too, are a riot of play opportunities, including this weekend’s Freaky Forest alien hunt in the secret woodland. There’s also Halloween-themed games to join in with. Costumes are encouraged.
Daily, Ayrshire, Scotland, kelburnestate.com
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