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

Peace & Quiet Is Guaranteed, 30 Seconds From The Lakeside

Welcome to our new luxury self catering rural retreats. Unwind and escape from it all. Discover our idyllic lodges where time is your own. Spend your days fishing on our lakes, exploring the glorious surroundings, or just enjoying the view and a l...

Clovelly Cottage Z47, granite cottage with fine long views out to sea

A mile inland from Mousehole by hedgerow lane is the hamlet of Sheffield (cluster of sturdy granite cottages surrounded by farmland), perched high looking seaward. Recently discovered artefacts reveal this area has been inhabited since Mesolithic ...

The Queach Z45, traditional, stone and slate cottage with stunning sea views

150 yards up from Mousehole’s bustling little centre of shops, pubs, cafés and pretty harbour is The Queach, a very traditional, stone and slate cottage with stunning right-out-to-sea views. A few granite steps and a pretty bit of front garden rai...

The Old Watch Tower Z44, comfortable detached house with spectacular views

100 yards from Pendeen lighthouse, with spectacular views down the coast and right out to sea, The Old Watch Tower has been restored, spruced up and made into a comfortable detached house with a difference. Its sturdy frame has been a landmark sin...

Venwyn Manor Z442, single-storey, stone-built cottage, well-decorated

1½ miles inland from both Carbis Bay and St Ives but peacefully in farmland, a single-storey, stone-built cottage, semi-detached from the owners’ house. Plenty of space outside; own patio and garden area looking on large courtyard with fishpond an...

Courtyard Apartment Z429, ground floor apartment with sea views

One mile seaward of Rosudgeon is Acton Castle, commanding the peninsula between Stackhouse Cove (200 yards walk away, low-tide sand) and Prussia Cove, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While on St Michael’s Mount in 1772, the romantic but ...

Lamorna Studio Z432, ground-floor apartment, brilliant for a car-less holiday

In the historic heart of St Ives, a short walk from Porthgwidden and Porthmeor beaches and from the harbour, a ground-floor apartment for two, once the pilchard cellar of an early 19th cent. fisherman’s house. Neatly renovated; small, but an excel...

John Stackhouse Apartment Z428, extremely interesting apartment with sea views

One mile seaward of Rosudgeon is Acton Castle, commanding the peninsula between Stackhouse Cove (200 yards walk away, low-tide sand) and Prussia Cove, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While on St Michael’s Mount in 1772, the romantic but ...

Susannas Apartment Z414, apartment on the first floor with unbeatable views

One mile seaward of Rosudgeon is Acton Castle, commanding the peninsula between Stackhouse Cove (200 yards walk away, low-tide sand) and Prussia Cove, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While on St Michael’s Mount in 1772, the romantic but ...

Tregwynne Z41,semi-detached,19th cent.,slate and granite cottage with long views

In Rinsey, ½ mile from the cove beach and coastal path and ¾ mile from a good food pub, a semi-detached, 19th cent., slate and granite cottage with long views across farmland to the sea and along the coast. At the front, hedge and parking; at the ...
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