What’s on: October
Hello October, old friend. On the roster this month we have lit fests, live shows and plenty of Halloween antics. You ready? Let's go!
KIDS: Horrible Histories Pirates: The Exhibition, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, daily until 30 Oct
We know kids love toilet humour, so if you haven’t already, don’t miss the UK’s first Horrible Histories exhibition. Let your own little landlubbers loose as they captain their very own pirate ship and design their own flag. Touch-screen games and role play activities aplenty.
OUTDOORS: Rogate Pumpkin Patch, Petersfield, daily through October
Pumpkin patches are highly Instagrammable right now. Petersfield’s popular PYO is back this autumn, ready for your mini-mes to carve back at home. It’s all very American, Thanksgiving-style fun, and to tell you the truth, we kinda love it. Now, where’s my pumpkin chai latte?
EXHIBITION: Bodies: Inner/Outer Worlds, Winchester Discovery Centre, from 2 Oct
Would you believe that this sculpture is made of paper? Artist Andy Singleton’s speciality is large scale sculptures, cuttings and installations in paper, and he’s been commissioned by brands such Burberry, Harrods, Liberty London and Kensington Palace (to name a few). You can see 10 years’ worth of his amazing work in his first solo exhibition at The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre.
HALLOWEEN: Halloween Week at Paultons Park, Romsey, 15 Oct-2 Nov
Theme park ‘fright nights’ can terrify you for all the wrong reasons – but not at Paultons Park. Labelled the ‘friendliest’ of them all, it’s home to Peppa Pig World, so expect Peppa and George suitably clad in pumpkin attire. Spot-on for the little people in your life, they can enjoy Halloween without the gruesome stuff.
TRANSPORT: Autumn Steam Rally, Alresford, 16-18 Oct
Take a trip back in time when you hop onto one of The Watercress Line’s steam trains as part of their Autumn Steam Gala this month – what better way to see the changing leaves? Tickets cost £40 per adult and £20 for 5-16 year-olds (under 5s go free!), and there is a buffet available at the Alresford station.
SHOW: Live Science Show and Flight Through The Universe, Winchester Science Centre, 17-29 Oct
Crash, bang, wallop! Nope, it’s not your clumsy kids knocking over a museum display – it’s the Live Science Show. This year, the focus is on sound, complete with real flames and cannon blasts. Don’t leave without watching Flight Through The Universe in the planetarium cinema, an insight into the true magnitude of our galaxies. They may even learn something!
OUTDOORS: Autumn Evenings, Robin Hill Country Park, Newport, 17-31 Oct
Explore Robin Hill’s stunning 88 acres in style with their Autumn Days and Evenings. From 17 Oct the park will be open 10am to 5pm (ideal for exploring in the sunshine), and then on six selected dates (21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30 Oct), it’ll stay open until 9pm. Expect illuminated woodlands, a live band and DJ across two stages, street performers and soloists, all with food and drink served up from the Woodland Pond Bar. Tickets will sell out, so get booking quickly.
EXHIBITION: The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, until 17 October
Travel back in time with this kitsch Ladybird book exhibition. After all, who can forget Peter and Jane? Dating from the Second World War, their distinctive rainbow spines and vibrant imagery are a key part of our childhoods. If you haven’t already, check out the hilarious modern Penguin versions here – from The Ladybird Book of Donald Trump to The Midlife Crisis. Free with entry, open Wednesday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm.
ANIMALS: Wolves Awareness Week at New Forest Wildlife Park, 18-24 Oct
Ahhh-ooooo! Werewolves might be mythical but these real life moon-howlers have just been brought back from the brink of extinction. For just £1.50, you can take part in a wolf awareness quiz with a medal awarded on completion. After all, kids love a medal.
HALLOWEEN: Spooky Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, 24 Oct-1 Nov
Gather your little monsters for a ghoulishly good day out at Carisbrooke Castle this half term. Follow the creepy clue treasure hunt and listen to spooky tales of the castle. Fancy dress is in order – dig out your scariest costume for a chance of winning the competition.
HALLOWEEN: Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton, 26-30 Oct
Get spooky, pagan-style, where the team at Butser Ancient Farm explain Samhain, the ancient version of Halloween. Fairies, hobgoblins and elves will be out in force, alongside craft workshops and storytelling sessions. Space lovers won’t want to miss the stargazing evening on 23 October too.
HALLOWEEN: Owl-O-Ween at The Hawk Conservancy, Andover, 30 Oct
Cosy up with a hot chocolate and listen to ghostly stories (don’t worry, they’re not too terrifying) before watching the mesmerising moonlit flying owl display. How very Hogwarts. Dressing up is thoroughly encouraged and tickets cost £17.50 – which includes a hot dog or burger, chocolate apple and hot drink.
KIDS: Supersized! At Marwell Zoo, Winchester, daily until 1 Nov
Giant bugs might make your skin crawl, but no doubt your kids will go wild for them. From assassin bugs to three-metre tall tarantulas, Marwell Zoo is dotted with these larger-than-life creatures, made from colourful bricks. Think LegoLand vibes. Spy on the 1,200 real-life animals while you’re at it, including giraffes and snow leopards.