This is my personal guide to FREE and CHEAP days out within an hour of Milton Keynes during October half term 2019. Rather than simply list all of the activities on in the local area and you have no idea whether they’ll be any good, I’ve picked out places which I would take my sons – aged six and four to – and those which are great if you’re on a budget. I know many of you might like to take your kids to pick your own pumpkin, there is a separate guide to pumpkin patches in and around Milton Keynes. This is a mixture of new date-specific activities; indoor days out in case of bad weather; and places I’ve previously featured which may have an additional trail on. Several things to bear in mind… I am completely independent of everywhere I’ve featured and don’t keep any eye on all of these places, so PLEASE before going, check the destination’s website, social media, or ring them to check they’re open – torrential rain can stop some places opening and activities can change; Take a packed lunch wherever you go! We rarely have lunch out so I don’t focus on food or cost of it in reviews so be prepared for a cheap day out and take lunch with you; Prepare for the weather – anywhere outdoors may be really muddy so wear wellies and waterproofs; Depending on where you live the dates for half term vary – hence why I’ve covered both weeks. If you’re still looking for even more places to take your children once you’ve gone through these then here’s my summer holiday survival guide – you can still go on most of the days out featured apart from those which are seasonal like the splash parks which are now closed. Make sure you’re following Milton Keynes Kids on facebook and Milton Keynes Kids on Instagram for up to date information and more reviews. I run this website for free so if you find any of the ideas I’ve featured useful all I ask is that you take a few photos of wherever you visit and write a few lines about what you enjoyed and post the information in the Milton Keynes Kids Discussion Group.
Wendover Woods – Shaun the Sheep Glow Trail, HP22 5NQ – on now probably until 2020
There’s a new interactive Shaun the Sheep trail at both Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire, and Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire. It’s cool! There’s an AUGMENTED REALITY photo opportunity. You have to download the app before you go. You can also buy a trail pack for £3.50 which includes a UV pen. Salcey Forest has lovely woodland and a play area but isn’t quite as good as when the tree top trail was open. It’s also more expensive to park than it used to be. So we decided to go to Wendover Woods as there’s some fab wooden play equipment there too as well as the Gruffalo statue. Make sure you only stay up to 4 hours though as the parking cost shoots up. Wendover is about 40 minutes from Milton Keynes. The person I spoke to at Wendover Woods thought the Shaun the Sheep trail would be there until next year. You must read my Wendover Woods glow trail review before you go for loads of useful info. Take wellies.
Milton Keynes’ Scariest Halloween House?! 28-31st October 2019
There’s a Halloween house in Milton Keynes. The address is 16 Wood Lane Great Linford. Darren and Lisa Smith transform their garden every year into a Halloween scaremaze to raise money for charity! This year you can visit 28th-31st October 2019 from 6.30pm usually finishing around 8.30pm. There is no fixed fee just for people to make a donation to Milton Keynes Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal. You get a treat at the end. These photos are from last year and were taken in daylight, apparently it’s even more spooky at night – so perhaps one for those who aren’t easily scared. Make sure you take some cash with you to donate. We haven;t been before so enter at your own risk.
Paw Patrol Brick Trail, ‘The Mall’ shopping centre in Luton 19th-28th Oct
There’s going to be 21 Paw Patrol brick models located around ‘The Mall’ shopping centre in Luton. The trail is on between 19th – 28th October. The models range in size from 75cm to 120cm high. The trail will also feature a 2 metre tall Lookout Tower using over 65,000 bricks; and a selfie-zone of Marshall’s Fire Truck using 141,000 bricks. You can’t see the models yet – but I imagine they’ll be the same as the ones in the brick trail event in Blackburn. Thank you so much to Mummy on a Budget for the photos so I ‘think’ this is what it’ll look like. You can find out more information about the event here.
Autumnal Walk – Stockgrove Country Park, Bedfordshire – LU7 0BG
Put your welly boots on and get the kids out for a walk and a splash in muddy puddles. Earlier this month (October 2019) my 6 year old and I went off for a proper explore, parking at Stockgrove Country Park near Heath and Reach in Bedfordshire which for those of you familiar with the area is the opposite end of Rushmere. There are some stunning Autumnal backdrops for lovely photos, a lake, sundial, cafe, loos and muddy woodland. Just a warning though – we attempted to walk to the other end and the park is MASSIVE – we had to ask for directions because it’s quite easy to lose your bearings. I think they could do with some better signage unless of course my sense of direction is totally useless so we ended up eventually walking in a big loop. Anyway if you want to go an approximate postcode is LU7 0BG – but a bit further on if you’re coming from Great Brickhill as the postcode doesn’t quite get you there. Take £3 in coins to park which is payable on exit.
Peterborough Museum, PE1 1LF (good indoor option)
With prehistoric creatures, Napoleonic prison & one of the only Victorian operating theatres in Europe, Peterborough Museum is a fascinating FREE place to take kids. PE1 1LF is the best postcode – read my review for what to expect. The cathedral is fabulous too and a short walk from there. A great cheap option if you need somewhere indoors. There is a treasure hunt on 21st-25th October although it’s £3 child, £4 adult and families are £12 and I’d see what it’s like when you get there – there’s plenty in the museum to see without doing it if you’re looking to keep costs down.
RAF Museum, Hendon, North London, NW9 5LL + extra STEM activities.
Kids love planes?! This is such a fab day out – most people can’t believe it’s FREE to go in. The RAF Museum in Hendon, North London is a big collection of aircraft, aviation artefacts and memorabilia. There’s loads to see and there’s a really good interactive area which is great for children. And there’s an indoor picnic area – whoop! The address is RAF Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL. It’s about an hour from Milton Keynes – most of the journey is down the M1 before coming off at junction 4. SinceI wrote this review a new outdoor play area has opened as well. The cost of parking did go up over the summer and now the minimum is £4.50 for up to 3 hours, £6 for up to 6 hours – pay on exit. But it’s still worth it! And between 21st -25th October there are extra stem activities on – check their website if you;re thinking of going to see what’s on – there’s a couple that are free and one is bookable.
Milton Keynes Museum, MK12 5EL – extra science and more events 21st October – 1st November.
Milton Keynes Museum in Wolverton is one of the best value indoor days out in Milton Keynes. You pay once then can go as many times as you like all year. Current prices for 2019 were £10 adult, £7 child and under 5s go free. During October half term it looks like they’re open every day instead of the usual Wed-Sun. There’s a big telephone gallery there, transport area, Victorian high street and you can cook toast on an open fire. According to their website there’s some extra science events on for half term although I can’t find any details about them. We’ve been going to MK Museum since 2016, you can read my previous review and see more photos.
Rushmere Country Park, Linslade Rd, Heath and Reach LU7 0EB – extra activities 24th and 27th October.
Rushmere Country Park is a fab place to visit anyway for a fun walk – it’s the other end to Stockgrove above. There’s a big spider, big chair and fairy doors to find. There’s also a play area with a huge slide. You just pay £3 to exit the car park. During half term there’s a few extra events on – 11am 24th October – explorer challenge – Xplorer is a family fun activity which involves being outside while map reading and marker finding. All the family can join in and its free. Register for the event next to the visitor centre. There’s a feed the birds event 11am 3pm 27th October – Get messy making a bird feeder, fun crafts including badge making, guided bird walk, make a bird box and bird ringing demonstration. Extra charge may apply for some activities. See their facebook page for details.
Jordan’s Mill, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 9JX
Spooky train at Caldecotte MIniarure Railway, MK7 8HP – 26th October
There’s a lovely miniature railway that runs at Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes. On 26th October they’re doing a special Halloween train 4.30pm – 9pm so you can ride on it in the dark! Next to Caldecotte Lake. MK7 8HP. £1 each, under 2s FREE. More info here.
Dunstable Downs Pumpkin Hunt, LU6 2GY – 19th – 31st October
There’s a pumpkin hunt at Dunstable Downs. You pay £3.50 to park (if you’re not a National Trust member) & then £3 per child for the trail. The trail is in Chute Wood, a relatively HIDDEN natural play area that people often miss. If you’ve not been before then the downs are essentially a big open space that offers lovely views of Bedfordshire. It’s best enjoyed by taking a kite as it’s always windy. You can also watch the gliders and go for walks and there’s an excellent cafe. That’s about it. This year the trail is on 19th-31st October between 10.30am and 3.30pm LU6 2GY. No need to book, you just turn up. EDIT – Since writing this up my husband took my two sons aged 6 and 4 to do the trail. He said he was fairly basic with a number of posts and pumpkins to find in the wood. It’s not decorated as it was last year and the trail didn’t take long to do. They only bought one trail map. I have contacted Dunstable Downs about who who said “Due to damage to the features last year we have scaled it down a bit this year. As the wood is accessible 24 hours a day unfortunately damage was cause and the cost to repair was high and time consuming. We will look into it again next year” – so perhaps if you’re thinking of going think of the trail as an additional extra in the woods rather than specifically for it. The prize for completing it is chocolate buttons.
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