UK Half Term Holidays

Local holiday options for the October half term

Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert

Enjoy the best of British this October

Family holidayWhen the October half term holiday is upon us again, I'll know what you're thinking – but, sssh. Sssh. Listen: Spain all sunny and friendly, packed with tourists, chilling out next to Portugal, being all magnificent – it's still gonna be there in summer. It is. It's not going anywhere. Because it's land and it can't. I promise.

And trust me, I understand its allure – few things so readily lend themselves to romanticization as sunlight does during one of the UK's famously mild and refreshing autumns. As a California native, I am acutely aware of this. But if you open your mind, and temporarily – just temporarily, mind you! – shelve those Mediterranean dreams to consider less trodden paths, you may be shocked by the number of excellent (and uncrowded) half term holiday opportunities available here in the UK.

In fact, there's a very good logistical case to be made for holidaying – staycationing, if you will – within the UK for the October half term break: since you won't need to travel far, you'll be able to maximize your leisure time by minimizing your travel time (which, when travelling with kids, is a blessing in its own right). Even better, you'll likely minimize your expenses, too. And those are two very good things. Still need persuading? Read on for HomeAway's guide to local October half term holidays.


Top destinations for October half term holidays in the UK


October half term breaks in Scotland October half term breaks in Scotland

There's good reason that no one mentions Scotland without mentioning its stunning scenery – the scenery of the Highlands is genuinely, well, stunning; and perfect for tiring out springy little legs. Its beautiful lochs offer excellent boating opportunities (weather permitting) – and what kid, or adult for that matter, wouldn't like a chance to hunt for Nessie? Loch Ness is three to four hours' drive from Scotland's beloved capital, and European cultural heavyweight, Edinburgh – itself a perfect place to eat well, or take in some theatre. King's Theatre, for example, located just off the Meadows, Edinburgh's large and lively central park, regularly hosts fantastical children's plays.

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October half term breaks in Wales October half term breaks in Wales

Snuggled up to England's western flank, Wales is a criminally overlooked source of October half term family fun – especially for more active families. For example, Pembrokeshire, Snowdonia and Mid Wales offer excellent pony trekking opportunities through picturesque landscapes; pony rentals are also available all along the coast. If pony riding sounds a bit ambitious, hiking and walking is available throughout Wales. And there is always the celebrated Welsh coast, of course. There are also almost too many castles to name, many of them some of the best examples of their type in the UK: Raglan in Snowdonia, Laugharne in Carmarthenshire and Powis in Mid Wales are all highly recommended. And if you want something really unforgettable, try hot air ballooning through the Tywi valley!

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Urban October half term breaks in England Urban October half term breaks in England

Merry 'ol England presents two distinct faces to the potential holidaymaker: the first of these, its (to let a questionable metaphor ride) urban face, which offers some particularly tantalizing holiday prospects. London's got theatre, shopping, museums and some of the best people watching in the world. And less than an hour away? Alton Towers, which hardly needs an introduction. Brighton's got lovely beaches, a very kid-friendly sea life centre and a famous pier. Manchester's got an array of museums spanning art, football, and science – and nearby, Legoland. England's diverse and bustling cities are brimming with activities of every possible variety – perfect for a holiday spent, as I like to spend them, absolutely avoiding nature (so overrated) in favour of exquisitely climate-controlled pleasures.

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Rural October half term breaks in England Rural October half term breaks in England

As I have recently hinted, my favourite way to enjoy nature, generally speaking, is not to. That said, some people just love the singular combination of dirt and fresh air that typifies a hiking holiday – to each their own. The Lake District seems especially ideal for this. Even I can't argue with the views of the Lake District National Park. The area includes any number of walking trails, suitable for every mobility level – and photo ops till your heart will burst. Alternately, Cornwall's extensive coastline boasts windswept trails aplenty, through remote moorlands and over the tops of cliffs. And the Peak district has horseback riding and cycling; excellent for active families, and those with older children.

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October half term breaks in Northern Ireland October half term breaks in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland presents some can't-miss October half term holiday options. Any of your family members Game of Thrones fans? Many of the show's most iconic locations were filmed here (Winterfel castle, for example, is actually Castle Ward, in County Down)! Touring them all – there are over a dozen all together – can make for a trip in and of itself. Nerdry aside, Northern Ireland also provides ample chance to walk, hike, cycle, beach comb – or even more exotic activities like archery or kayaking. And then there's Belfast, which you may be surprised to hear has many family-friendly activities, ranging from bowling to the myriad interactive experiences of the W5 Discovery Centre.

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UK October Half Term Cottages

Luxury accommodation in peaceful and secluded setting amid rolling hills and just 3 miles from Looe

The three 18th century, grade II listed barns at East Trenean Farm were converted in 2010 to the highest standards. They offer comfortable accommodation in a modern 5* interior. All have a "reverse level" layout with vaulted living rooms (Water M...

Only 5 Mins Walk From The Stunning Camber Sands

Cottage Summary Sleeps 6 people Baby friendly Dog friendly 3 min walk to beach 5 miles from Rye Quiet location Modern contemporary furnishing Fully enclosed garden Luxury leather sofa & chairs Off road park...

Cosy Cottage Just A Short Stroll To The Iconic Camber Sands

This pretty white weather boarded fisherman's cottage really lives up to its name, 'The Beach Retreat'. This stunning two bedroom cottage is beautifully furnished in a fresh, bright, light and airy style. Everything you could need for a relaxing s...

Garden Flat in Central London - Calm Oasis in the Heart of London

Ponsonby Terrace is a quintessential London basement flat. Comprising of an open plan kitchen/breakfast room, comfortable living area, separate bathroom and bedroom. It has the addition of a secluded, pretty courtyard garden. Can comfortably accom...

Spacious apartment, on 3 floors in very central London

Right in the Heart of London. Close to Big Ben, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace. 3 minutes Walk to Pimlico Underground (Victoria Line) and just next to the River Thames. Sleeps up to 8 people

Self catering; high spec; child & dog friendly;totally refurbished for 2010

A gem of a holiday home totally refurbished to a very high spec for the 2010 season,Pebbles is presented with all new furniture to include beds, bedding and soft furnishings.A newly fitted en suite loo and wash basin to the double bedroom leaves t...


A FANTASTIC BASE IN A GREAT POSITION WITH NO SCHOOL HOLIDAY PREMIUM With 5 meters square raised decking with views of the harbour and estuary from our private courtyard. A great place to eat and watch the world go by. Situated directly on the Har...

Romantic Cornish Cottage Just For Two.

Swallow Barn: Fresh Air, Starry Nights, Log fire, Super Comfortable Bed. Occupying an ivy-cloaked farm building dating back to the 16th century, Swallow Barn now offers distinctive cottage accommodation, liberally decorated with art and photograp...

'The North Berwick Go2 4 Golf,Beach/Sea,Shops,Castles,Edinburgh!' Now Look in !

Parked outside on Westgate, North Berwick or to the rear in reserved parking, walk up the path between two manicured lawns to enter the imposing large ground floor apartment through its impressive traditional central doorway. Welcome ! Now kick...

Well Furnished And Fully Equipped Four Bedroom Town House.

Well furnished and fully equipped four bedroom town house. Minutes from Bath City Centre Garage and additional off street parking available Wi-Fi Internet access Pets welcome Short breaks a speciality Ground floor: Lounge/dining room/kitchen, tw...

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