Halloween falls in the middle of October half term with a barrage of bewitching events marking the occasion. But if scary shenanigans aren’t what you’re looking for, fear not – there are plenty of spook-free things to keep your offspring entertained during the autumn break in Bristol.

Autumn Discoveries: October Half Term at Wild Place Project (26 October – 3 November)

Celebrate autumn and the changing season at Wild Place Project, where they are shining a light on what our British wildlife gets up to during autumn. Activities on offer include woodland art with leaves, pinecones and mud, and finding Cyril the sneaky squirrel’s hidden acorns. Admire the beautiful woodlands while you’re here, full of native tree species that will be cloaked in reds and oranges by the time half-term rolls around, and stop by new exhibit Bear Wood too.

Turn your visit into an overnight wildlife experience by booking a stay at Camp Baboon, sleeping among the animals in a luxury log cabin. Availability is limited and filling up fast, so book now to secure your stay.

Bear Wood at Wild Place Project

Image credit: Wild Place Project

Concorde: The World Shrinker at Aerospace Bristol (26 October – 31 December) 

The latest exhibition at Aerospace Bristol delves into the original aspirations of the world’s fastest passenger jet, with a chance to see memorabilia like tickets and crockery plus you can view archive photographs. Throughout half term week, there's also daily make-and-take activities where kids can get crafty creating their own Concorde, livery or badge.

On Tuesday 29 October, Aerospace Bristol are teaming up with Bristol Sport to put on a sports day where kids can have a go at games and activities with players from Bristol City, Bristol Flyers and Bristol Bears. There will also be storytelling sessions on the same day as part of the Storytale Festival.    

October Half Term at Brunel’s SS Great Britain (19 October – 2 November)

Get on board for Grisly Cuts and Gruesome Scars at Brunel’s SS Great Britain during half term. Professional special effects make-up artists will be creating seaworthy injuries on the kids, while adults can learn more about the illnesses and injuries that real passengers of the ship suffered with. There will also be a Trail of Tragic Tales, uncovering the ship’s darker side.

It’s not all gore and spooky stories though, as the Where’s Wally? Big Museum Hunt will be running over half term too. Pick up an activity sheet and then find the Wally figures hidden around the site.  

  • Also on at Brunel's SS Great Britain during half term: Sleepy Ship

Mr Brunel on the weather deck at SS Great Britain

Image credit: Jon Rowley 

Autumn Stargazing (3D) at We The Curious (4 September – 2 December)

Discover the sky you’re able to see on autumn nights in more detail than ever before on a guided tour with the presenters at the We The Curious planetarium. Gaze up in awe at planet Mars, constellations of stars, galaxies colliding and more.

Aardman: Animating Early Man at M Shed (6 July – 3 November)

Set at the dawn of time and featuring plucky caveman Dug, Early Man was released in 2018 by stop motion masters Aardman. This exhibition takes you behind the scenes and into the world of Early Man, from the initial drawings to the latest CGI technology that was used to create the film.

Early Man by Aardman

A-scare-ium at Bristol Aquarium (26 October – 3 November) 

Forget zombies and vampires and take a trip to Bristol Aquarium where they'll be putting the spotlight on mysterious creatures from the depths of the ocean instead. As well as learning about those deep-sea lurking animals, make your own fish slime and create a deadly Lionfish headdress. 

Forest Fun at Arnos Vale Cemetery (30 October)

Little ones can get stuck into some Autumn Forest Fun in the wonderful woodland at Arnos Vale, with activities such as creating plate plant gardens, digging in the mud, crafting seasonal creations with clay and other natural materials and more.

Meanwhile, bigger kids can spend an afternoon at the Forest School Survival Skills Workshop where they will learn practical outdoor skills of fire craft and den building, under the supervision of a forest school leader.

Aerial view of Arnos Vale Cemetery

Image credit: Paul Box

Disney's The Lion King at Bristol Hippodrome (7 September – 23 November)

The original animated feature following Simba’s journey to fulfil his destiny as King of the Pridelands has been reimagined into a breath-taking multi-award winning theatrical production. It’s back in Bristol for the first time in seven years, with tickets still available for half term shows.

Josslynn Hlenti (Nala), Dashaun Young (Simba) and the company in Disney's The Lion King

Image credit: Disney's The Lion King

Junior Drawing School at Royal Academy of the West of England

Suitable for children over seven, there are three drawing school workshops to choose from at the RWA. Make your own piece of fabric from scratch in Halloween Feltmaking (29 October), have a go at drawing autumnal produce and objects with textures and shapes in Autumn Observational Drawing (29 October), and design a colourful mask using printing techniques in Day of the Dead Masks (30 October).

Golden Tree Walks at Tyntesfield (21 September – 17 November)  

Walk among rare and beautiful trees on this series of self-guided walks around the National Trust estate, where autumn colours will be out in full fiery force. There is also the opportunity to travel back in time by taking a Victorian horse and carriage ride (26 October – 3 November).

Tyntesfield Estate

Image credit: Andrew Butler

Inspired by Autumn at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum (28 October – 1 November)  

Westonbirt is one of the most spectacular places to see trees in their autumnal shades – but why do they change colour at this time of year? Find out at the Inspired by Autumn event and create some autumn-themed artwork too. Over the half term weekends, there are also Autumn Spectacular Discovery sessions where visitors can find out about seeds, fungi and leaves as well as create an autumn bookmark.

The Great British Autumn at Longleat (26 October – 3 November)

From pumpkin carving and ride-on tractors to spectacular owl displays, Longleat are championing a host of harvest-season activities during half term, all of which are included in the price of admission.

Owl and handler at Longleat's Great British Autumn

Image credit: Longleat

Jurassic Weekend at Salisbury Cathedral (26 – 28 October)  

A pre-historic programme of fun events for all the family at Salisbury Cathedral. Be ‘wowed’ during a live dinosaur show and take part in a green screen experience with Jam the T-rex. There’s plenty more to see and do, including craft workshops, a special fossil trail and a dinosaur selfie spot!

T Rex at Salisbury Cathedral's Jurassic Weekend event

Image credit: Salisbury Cathedral

Mr Men and Little Miss on stage at Redgrave Theatre (26 – 27 October)  

Mr. Bump, Little Miss Sunshine, Mr. Tickle, Little Miss Inventor and many more characters from this classic series will take to the stage for this joyful live show, telling timeless stories using puppetry and music.

Enchanted Sudeley at Sudeley Castle & Gardens (26 October – 3 November)  

Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty are some of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales that will feature in this event. Follow the magical trail through the castle and gardens, discovering enchanted scenes from the iconic stories along the way.

Circus City 2019 (17 October – 2 November)

Circus City is the UK’s biggest festival of contemporary circus and prides itself on having events for all, including four family-friendly shows during half term this year. Acrobatics, live music, dance, technical juggling, aerial hoops – find all this and more among the performances.

Family-friendly performance at Circus City

Image credit: Circus City 

Storytale Festival (25 October – 3 November)

Join in with a week-long celebration of children’s books. The programme is crammed with exciting events such as creative writing workshops for kids, a picture book trail on Gloucester Road, storytelling in the atmospheric Arnos Vale woodlands and a Writing for Children panel at Watershed.  

Find a family-friendly stay

Whether you need a spacious family room or a breakfast buffet big enough to cater to everyone's tastes, you'll be able to find the ideal accommodation in Bristol. Here's some ideas for places to stay and don't forget to check out these great special offers on family breaks.

Make the most of autumn in Bristol:

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