Traditionally Dorset has finished its holiday season by now, however, the number of events and things to do for the whole family during October half term in Dorset is increasing all the time – it seems as if every day I notice an additional event or spooky tour for this October week. Here’s a list of some of those that have been brought to our attention for this year…
Purbeck Film Festival – 12th–27th October
The Purbeck Film Festival, now in its 22nd year, is the longest running rural film festival in the UK. Its aim is to bring films to areas of rural Dorset with little access to cinemas and is run by the Purbeck Film Charitable Trust, a not for profit organisation which also runs the much-loved, art deco Rex cinema in Wareham. The Rex is the centre of the festival, but there are now over 30 different venues including outdoor screenings at Corfe Castle and Studland beach.
Dorchester Literary Festival – 17th–21st October
The Dorchester Literary Festival is an exciting cultural event for a town rich in literary associations. Picturesque Dorchester and the unspoiled countryside and dramatic coastal scenery surrounding it have inspired many of Britain’s best-loved writers. The festival’s fourth year sees a programme of events with more than thirty speakers including Vince Cable, Joanna Trollope, Orla Kiely, Jeremy Vine, Lynne Truss, Judy Murray, James Le Fanu and Mark Austin. Authors will be talking on subjects as diverse as escaping a survivalist Mormon family; food foraging; improving your health in later years; the suffragette movement and seeking the abominable snowman.
Half-term at Corfe Castle – 20th–28th October
Explore our spooky All Hallows quest, learn about mysterious natural creatures & find all the missing pumpkins.
The Great Escape (11am-3pm): Bring your own brave teddy to rescue one of our knights from the clutches of King John & help them escape down the zip wire from the Castle Keep.
Trebuchet missile launch (11.30am & 2pm): Come and see how far a missile launch from Corfe Castle’s resident medieval siege engine, ‘Warwolf 11’ will go.
Half-term at The Tank Museum – 20th–28th October
See Tanks roll into action at 1pm every weekday, starting on Monday 22nd October. Realistic lifelike explosions and expert commentary. Learn how tanks have evolved and how they are used in battle in this action. Experience for yourself the thrill of riding in an M548 tracked vehicle. This working example of military hardware seats 16 at a time – so the whole family can jump on together. Available every day, 11.30am–4.30pm, during half term.
Creatures of the night at Knoll Beach, Studland – 20th–28th October
Take part in a nature-themed Halloween trail. 10:30am–3:30pm, meet at Knoll Beach Visitor Centre. Also mulled cider and sausage casserole at the beach after dark on 27th October.
Spooky fun at Lulworth Castle – 23rd–26th October
Lots of themed activities to enjoy – meet Merlin the magician, play in the leaf pile, hunt the bats or make a spooky mask! There will be plenty to do for all the family. Also Witches, Brooms & Bats on 24th October.
Halloween Half Term at Farmer Palmer’s
Low-key spooktacular family fun for little witches and monsters! Fang-tastic fun activities added to the daily timetable, including; dancing, face painting, fancy dress and more!
Halloween Bistro – Swanage Railway – 26th October
A special Halloween inspired menu including gory delights such as Twisted Intestines and Hellfire Chicken. If that’s not enough, the tasty desserts are bound to tempt the devil in anyone!
Enchanted Illuminations – Abbotsbury Gardens – 18th–23rd October
See the gardens in a new light as a large section of the gardens will be lit with a wonderful array of colour this half term.
From Wednesday 24th – Saturday 27th October, 4:30pm until 9:00pm, children are encouraged to don fancy dress for the Halloween Family Fright Nights, featuring free face painting, meet the Bugs and don’t miss scary wounds surgery.
The walk around the gardens takes about 45 minutes with a shorter route which is also suitable for wheelchairs. It is advisable to wear sensible footwear and bring a torch. The gardens are sheltered and have their own microclimate, meaning it’s often dry even when rain falls elsewhere in Dorset.
Halloween half-term at Forde Abbey – 20th–31st October
As the days get shorter and the nights get darker, all sorts of things come out of the woodwork for Halloween half term. Enjoy some spine-tingling fun in the grounds of this 900-year-old Abbey. Try your hand at pumpkin rolling on the main lawn. It’s great fun for all the family, just pick a homegrown one to suit your style and size and have a go! There’ll be lots of hands-on Halloween craft for younger visitors and ghoulish bites to sink your teeth into.
Enjoy a family getaway in Dorset with an October half-term break in one of our cottages.