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Fam­ily days out for Oc­to­ber half-term and beyond

The Guardian - Travel - - Front Page -

The Shrop­shire Hills Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre has de­vised six cy­cling routes which al­low vis­i­tors to ex­plore the coun­try­side on quiet lanes, stop­ping at at­trac­tions. Leaflets de­tail the routes, which range from 14–30 miles. One of the eas­ier op­tions is a 16-mile loop tak­ing in the 24-me­tre high Floun­ders’ Folly, Wen­lock

Colin Glen For­est Park is a wooded val­ley at the foot of North­ern Ire­land’s Belfast Hills, which has out­door ac­tiv­i­ties from moun­tain bik­ing to bub­ble foot­ball, and the SKYTrek Ae­rial Ad­ven­ture Cen­tre, with high and low ropes, climb­ing wall, power-fan de­scen­der and 90-me­tre zi­plines. For halfterm, it will be tar­get­ing younger vis­i­tors with its Ghouls & Gruf­falo’s Welly Walk. Chil­dren can lis­ten to a read­ing of Ju­lia Don­ald­son’s book, be­fore wan­der­ing through the for­est on a guided walk, look­ing out for ghosts. They can then pick their own pump­kin and carve it into a lantern back at the vis­i­tor cen­tre.

Stretch­ing be­tween Con­is­ton Wa­ter and Win­der­mere, Grizedale For­est is a great day out at any time of year, but in au­tumn the fiery colours of the larch, oak, el­der and beech trees make a stun­ning back­drop to the fa­mous sculp­ture trail. Forty art­works across the for­est are linked by a

The Holkham es­tate on the north Nor­folk coast is fa­mous for its fal­low deer. Au­tumn is rut­ting sea­son, and on cer­tain dates in Oc­to­ber a deer sa­fari by trac­tor-trailer gets vis­i­tors up close to the herd. There are also bikes to hire to ex­plore the 3,000-acre park’s cy­cle trails, and a wood­land ad­ven­ture play area with a tree­house, rope series of cy­cle and walk­ing routes, rang­ing in dif­fi­culty from the pushchair-friendly Mill­wood trail to the chal­leng­ing North Face moun­tain bike trail. Which­ever you choose, keep an eye out for wildlife such as red deer, red kites and barn owls.

born last year that is a pos­si­bil­ity), head south to the new North Sea Ob­ser­va­tory (lin­colnshire.gov.uk/nso), which opened at Chapel Point, just north of Skeg­ness, this sum­mer. Ad­mis­sion is free to this strik­ing, glass-fronted build­ing, which makes an ex­cel­lent base for wildlife spot­ting, bird­watch­ing, brac­ing beach walks and warm­ing hot choco­lates.

Half-term events at the Na­tional Botanic Gar­den of Wales at Lla­narthne in­clude a Harry Pot­ter-themed week (27 Oct-4 Nov) when chil­dren can make wands and learn how to cast spells, and its pop­u­lar Ap­ple Week­end (20-21 Oc­to­ber), with tast­ings, quizzes and ap­ple­bob­bing. The new Bri­tish Bird of Prey Cen­tre of­fers en­coun­ters with hawks, kites and a golden ea­gle, and the glasshouse is a re­treat from in­clement weather.

abil­i­ties, with Ex­plorer routes (1-3km) of­fer­ing a gen­tle op­tion, and Ad­ven­turer routes (6-9km) for more ex­pe­ri­enced run­ners. The trails are traf­fic-free, and open to run­ners and walk­ers. Up­com­ing runs are at Foun­tains Abbey and Stud­ley Royal Wa­ter Gar­den in North York­shire on 16 Oc­to­ber, and Blick­ling Es­tate, Nor­folk, on 27 Oc­to­ber.

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