This is my personal guide to cheap October half term and Halloween days out in and around Milton Keynes for 2020. I’ve included a list of pumpkin patches local to Milton Keynes too. Due to covid-19 measures in place things are a bit different this year. You may need to travel further afield; book in advance; and check to see if they’re still going ahead before travelling. If an activity is ticketed and you do want to go I’d suggest booking as soon as possible, although do bear in mind this year that it’s a changing situation. You may find by the time you read this some have sold out. If somewhere isn’t ticketed but is on social media it’s also worth checking their pages before going in case of any changes – for example adverse weather conditions or car parks being full. I’ve also included some of our favourite cheap days out that are not Halloween related. This website is run independently with no advertising. If you do find it useful and enjoy my recommendations please do consider buying me a coffee to help with the running costs of the site and creation of content. Thank you.
Halloween themed activities
Spooky Screenings Drive-In Cinema
Drive-in cinema in Central Milton Keynes. Only £5 per car – that money is a donation for the Food Bank. Lots of children’s films including Hocus Pocus, Corpse Bride, Hotel Transylvania. 26th October – 1st November – need to book in advance via this link. Tickets go on sale 19th October.
JORDAN’S MILL – SPOOKY TRAIL
21st October – 1st November, 9am – 3.30pm. 3D Spooktacular trail at Jordan’s Mill, Biggleswade. Costs £2.50 per child. We’ve been there before. There are pretty gardens, a cute woodland area and a nice cafe. It’s not that big though so I would imagine it’s only a short activity and will appeal more if you’re reasonably local or are looking for somewhere to meet with friends. It’s free to park. Cost includes trail entry, 3D glasses and a prize. The address is Southill Rd, Broom, Biggleswade SG18 9JX. It’s about 35 minutes from where we live in Milton Keynes. Check their Facebook page for any changes before travelling.
Fancott Miniature Railway
Fancott Miniature Railway – Evening of 24th October. Spooky train ride. £3 each. Book in advance. Located at the country’s oldest pub miniature railway. It’s at the Fancott pub, Luton Rd, Fancott, Toddington, LU5 6HT
Harpenden Halloween Trail
There’s a Halloween trail taking place on 25th October in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Collect items to make a mask. Free to do but you have to book in advance.
Ferry Meadows Country Park – Peterborough
There’s a big country park in Peterborough called Ferry Meadows Country Park – it’s about an hour’s drive from Milton Keynes which is free to go to – you just pay to park. There are three play areas, two cafes and an excellent miniature train that you sit in. During half term they are running an Autumn Festival which includes a trail and some payable activities including broom making which you need to book. Here’s my previous review of the country park so you can read more about what’s there.
Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire
Most years they do a Halloween themed trail. They have told me they will be doing some kind of event this year but nothing announced as yet. Keep an eye on their facebook page.
Forest of Marston Vale
Halloween trail – £3 per child plus parking charges. 26th October to 1st November. Includes a certificate, trail sheet and prize. Book online or arrive on the day but avoid going on the hour. Forest of Marston Vale is a nice place to visit just off the A421 in Bedfordshire with a play area, cafe, good walk and huge wind turbine.
Houghton Hall Park, Bedfordshire
There’s going to be a Halloween trail at Houghton Hall Park in Bedfordshire. The Monster Villain safari runs 19th – 31st October and is free to take part in. Houghton Hall park is in Houghton Regis about 25 minutes from where we live in Milton Keynes. It’s a nice park with some play equipment, gardens and a nice walk. Having looked at their facebook page I don’t think the loos are open so I wouldn’t recommend going if you’re travelling from some distance if you have small children. If you want to see more of the park have a look at my previous review. There’s also a story trail taking place there on 31st October.
Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury
Normally free to visit but currently closed. Their website says they’re opening on 30/31 October for a spooky experience so keep an eye out. Events are often chargeable.
Stanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire
Stanwick Lakes in Northamptonshire is a fab place to visit with a huge climbing frame, assault course and trails. Its well worth a visit at any time of year and you only pay to park. Have a read of my previous review. They’ve announced on their Facebook page there’s going to be a heritage and halloween trail from 27th October to 1st November – keep an eye out for more details.
North Crawley Pumpkin Trail
There’s a pumpkin trail taking place in North Crawley 26th – 31st October. £2.50 for a map from the village shop. See below for details.
Cheap Outdoor adventures
Irchester Country Park, Northamptonshire
One of our go-to places this year has been Irchester Country Park in Northamptonshire. Free to visit, you just pay to park. The installation of some awesome play equipment including an ants nest climbing frame and an eagle themed climbing frame, both located around a woodland walk have become a great addition to this fab country park. There’s also a look-out platform as well as dinosaur bones in the woods and a large play area. The address is Gipsy Ln, Little Irchester, Irchester, Wellingborough NN29 7DL. It’s about 35 minutes from where we live in Milton Keynes. Do read me full review (in blue above) before you go for lots of tips. It’s not that well signposted.
Rushmere Country Park, Bedfordshire – just turn up
Rushmere Country Park in Bedfordshire is lovely whatever time of the year you visit. There are fairy doors to find as well as a giant chair and spider. Explore further into the park to find insect sculptures too. In the Autumn it’s especially worth visiting for all of the orange and yellow leaves. Also… around Oct / November time last year we also managed to spot some Alice in Wonderland style red toadstools as well as some edible chestnuts – I can’t guarantee them this year but you never know what you might find. Do have a look at my previous review before visiting. It’s £3 to park which is payable on exit and there’s no other entry fee. The address is Linslade Rd, Heath and Reach LU7 0EB.
Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
Wendover Woods is a pretty good place to visit at any time of the year. There are excellent walks and some great play equipment. You only pay to park. Do have a look at my previous review for everything that’s there. New for this Autumn is an augmented Gruffalo trail. We did one a couple of years ago. Essentially there are signposts to find. When you scan them on your phone a character appears. You can find out more about the Gruffalo Spotters Trail 2 before you go and I definitely suggest you read it.
Pumpkin patches and pick your own pumpkin farms have becoming increasingly popular over the years. They’re often not the cheapest places to buy the pumpkins themselves, plus some have additional chargeable activities on site as well as entry charges – factor in the cost of petrol driving to them and a couple of pumpkins may end up costing you a small fortune. You may even find that by the time you read this those which are ticketed have already sold out on certain dates. That said it’s fun to choose your own, you may get some awesome photos, and you may want to make a day out of it. It’s really down to personal preference and budget. So if you do want to go then do your research first before setting off as to whether you need to book, and if you do just turn up it’s worth contacting them on social media to find out whether they have pumpkins left – they often sell out before Halloween. Here’s a list of the ones I know about – we haven’t been to them all.
Windy Willows Christmas Tree Farm – Pumpkin patch in Houghton Regis with a free trail, activities and food to buy. Free entry but you need to Book in advance via their facebook page. Selected dates in October. LU5 5NP. Combine it with a visit to Houghton Hall park where there’s a free trail. See details further up.
The Patch MK – the closest pumpkin patch to Milton Keynes and was new for 2019. You have to pay an entry fee – £6.45 for a family of four. You have to book in advance. Various activities and food available as well as thousands of pumpkins to buy. MK19 6DG.
Lillingstone Pick Your Own – located between Buckingham and Towcester. Book in advance. You have to pay £5 entry fee per car. Various activities including pony rides and grooming which are extra as well as the cost of pumpkins. MK18 5AF.
The Pop up Farm – located just off junction 9 of the M1 in Hertfordshire. Book in advance. I think it’s £2.95 pp although I can’t see the details on their website. They’re gradually releasing tickets. Hay bale maze and refreshments as well as pumpkins to buy. AL3 8HT.
Saxby’s Farms – PYO pumpkin picking every day from 17th October to 31st October at Saxby Farms, home of Saxby’s Cider. £2.50 entry is for one car and ALL the occupants. Pumpkin prices start at £2. Book in advance. Grange Farm, Wellingborough, NN29 7HJ.
Farmer Paul’s Pumpkins – Pick from the barn rather than the field. Free to visit. No booking required. See their facebook page for details. Weedon Hill Farm off the Buckingham Road, HP22 4DP,
Cheap and indoors – bookable
Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, North London – NEED TO BOOK
If you’re look for a free indoor day out this is one of the best we’ve discovered in recent years. The Royal Air Force Museum is in North London – about 50 minutes from Milton Keynes. You do pay to park. It’s easy to get to by car and the car park is large. There’s lots of aircraft exhibits indoors as well as a cool aeroplane themed outdoor play area. Do have a read of my previous review. The review was written before covid-19 but a number of you have told me you’ve still had a great time visiting since. You do need to book in advance.
The Natural History Museum, Tring Hertfordshire – NEED TO BOOK
The Natural History Museum in Tring is a weird and wonderful collection of about 4000 stuffed animals. It’s free to visit and free to park. We have been since covid-19 measures were put in place. You get 90 minutes to explore which is more than enough time. You do need to book in advance. Like many places tickets go quite quickly, so look asap. If you can’t get tickets for half term check back for future weekends. They release more tickets on Mondays. It’s about 40 minutes from where we live in Milton Keynes. The address is The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman St, Tring HP23 6AP. We went to the excellent Wigginton play area on the way back.
Milton Keynes Gallery Cinema
There’s an independent cinema in Milton Keynes Gallery. The screen is not as big as the larger cinemas, but it’s big enough to watch a film with the kids. It costs £4 adult, £2 child. That’s slightly more than before covid-19. You do need to book in advance. The cinema is located near Milton Keynes Theatre. There’s also an arty kind of play space outside.
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