UK Half Term Holidays

Local holiday options for the October half term


Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert


Enjoy the best of Britain 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

Lake-side lodge, ideal for all ages to enjoy lazy or active holidays in a unique, peaceful location.

The lodge is a perfect base from which to enjoy the activities available within the Water Park and for exploring the delights of the numerous nearby picturesque buttermilk-coloured stone Cotswold villages - Bourton-on-the Water (with perfume facto...

Stunning Property Created From An Original Thatched Barn

Sleeps six (guest beds are available for small children sharing their parents' room). Galleried entrance hall with stone floor. Spacious, beamed drawing room with wood burning stove in inglenook fireplace and polished stone floor. Galleried din...

1BR - South Kensington - OS

A unique and vibrant 1 bedroom top floor apartment in the heart of South Kensington, London with generous private roof garden terrace, overlooking a well manicured private garden, great for sunset. If you like Art, you will feel right at home her...

1BR - Pimlico/Westminster - AM2

This is a comfortable and elegant one bedroom apartment situated on the sixth floor with elevator is located in the heart of Pimlico. The flat a balcony where you can have a sunbath and has large windows which enable the penetration of light. This...

1BR - Oxford Circus/Bond Street - HD

Delightful, peaceful, comfortable and large 1-bedroom flat on the sixth floor with lift is located in one of the most beautiful and stylish location in Mayfair, within easy reach of a number of transport links through Bond Street station along wit...

1BR - NottingHill/Paddington - JCV

Beautiful, modern one bedroom flat in Ivory House, a lovely period property in affluent Paddington. The centrally located apartment is lovely, very spacious, bright and quite in the trendy area of Royal Oak / Bayswater / Paddington. This very bri...

Tides Reach - a very pretty 2 bedroom coastal cottage

Tides Reach is a beautifully finished 2 bedroom property in the heart of the Conservation area in the popular seaside town of Deal. Located in Exchange Street and only seconds from the beach Tides Reach is also well located for all local amenities...

Seagull Cottage is a very pretty 2 bedroom seaside cottage seconds from the beach.

Seagull Cottage is a very pretty seaside cottage seconds from the beach. The owners have renovated it beautifully to make it a really comfortable seaside retreat all year round. It is in the heart of the conservation area in Farrier Street, minute...

Lapwing Cottage - a coastal that sleeps 4 guests in 2 bedrooms

Lapwing Cottage is an idyllic seaside holiday cottage located in a quiet and pretty street of York Road in Walmer. It has been extensively modernised to provide a delightful retreat for romantic weekends, short breaks or family holidays. The cotta...

Samphire Cottage - a coastal that sleeps 6 guests in 3 bedrooms

Samphire Cottage is a very pretty seaside property, less than 100m from the seafront , located on the edge of the Conservation Area. This comfortable, well-presented cottage sleeps six with a dining room, downstairs cloakroom and kitchen diner wh...
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