For many UK schools, in 2011 the Halloween weekend will come at the end of half term. If you’re going to be in Snowdonia at the end of October with your family, here are a few ideas for having some spooky fun.
It’s that time of year again. The nights are starting to draw in and the clocks will soon turn back an hour; the weather has turned chilly, and the cold night air turns every warm breath into a puff of steam.
Snowdonia in autumn and winter is just as beautiful as it is in the spring and summer, but in a different way. Lush green trees start to lose their leaves, covering the land in a blanket of red, gold and brown. Early morning frost glitters like millions of diamonds on paths and walls. And at this time of year – towards the end of October – spooks and ghouls abound, in time to celebrate Halloween.
If you’re going to be in Snowdonia with your children towards the end of October and would like to keep them entertained with ghoulish goings-on and autumnal adventures, you won’t be disappointed; there’s plenty going on in Snowdonia’s top attractions to keep your little demons occupied throughout the half term week.
1. Greenwood Forest Park
At Greenwood Forest Park there’s a whole week of Halloween-themed activities to keep children of all ages happy. Many of these activities are crafty – making masks, witches’ pets, ghosts and even Harry Potter-style broomsticks – but there are several extra-special activities, too. These include spotting Zelda the witch, magic shows, owl walks through the woods, lantern processions, spooky face painting and storytelling.
Even if your little ones don’t feel like taking part in these many wonderful activities and events, there’s not a hope in hell that they’ll be bored… award-winning Greenwood Forest Park is of course one of Snowdonia’s premier family attractions all year round, and with its people-powered rollercoaster and other exciting rides to keep them amused, you’ll have a struggle dragging the kids back home!
2. Penrhyn Castle
Just outside Bangor is Penrhyn Castle, a magnificent castellated mansion whose oldest parts date back to medieval times with striking Victorian neo-Norman additions. This is another of those Snowdonia attractions that always has plenty going on, but during Halloween week of course the focus will be very much on the spooky and mysterious.
During Halloween week in 2011 – the “Dark Happening season” – expect to be entertained by creepy night time tours, bat walks, ‘wild child’ tours where the darker, smellier side of nature is explored, lantern walks and spooky storytelling. There’s a very full calendar of events at Penrhyn this autumn, so you may find you’re spoilt for choice!
3. National Slate Museum
The National Slate Museum is in Llanberis, one of the most action-packed parts of Snowdonia. During half term week the museum will host special Halloween trails for all the family, plus something special just for the adults – an evening of storytelling, where some of the area’s traditional ghost stories will be told in gruesome detail. This is definitely an adults-only event, and advance booking is essential; call 01286 873707 to reserve your place.
4. Halloween steam trains
At least three of Snowdonia’s steam railway routes are putting on special Halloween trains during half term week 2011.
The first – Talyllyn Railway – has organised special events on 27th and 28th October. On these nights there’s a special train ride to the haunted woods at Dolgoch. All children on the train will be given a spooky goodie bag full of activities and treats, and there will be prizes for the best carved pumpkin lanterns. There’s also a three-course Halloween feast for all to enjoy.
The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways also have a few tricks up their sleeves this Halloween. Choose the Ffestiniog Railway trains from Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch for fun, fireworks, fancy dress and food; the special trains run on the 27th, 28th and 29th October. There’s more of the same on the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Waunfawr on the 27th and 28th October, culminating in a ‘fiendish feast’ at the Snowdonia Parc Brewpub.
5. Glasfryn Parc
Last but not least is Glasfryn Parc, one of the Llyn Peninsula‘s top visitor attractions. Glasfryn is hosting a family Halloween party on Sunday 30th October from 4-6pm, where the fun will include fancy dress and goodie bags for the kids, and loads of games, activities and prizes.
There’s a special family ‘bowl and bite’ offer for £10 a head, which includes free entry to the soft play area for your teeny tiny terrors. Advance booking, again, is essential – call 01766 810202 to reserve your place.