With the October half term coming fast around the corner and Halloween shortly afterwards, now’s a better time than ever to find the best scary sights up and down the country to celebrate. Halloween is a festival with something for everyone – whether you enjoy witches and wizards, ghost walking, or jump frights at every corner, attractions tend to offer several events all at once to accommodate families and horror fans alike this time of year. We’ve taken a look through some of the more interesting sights and sounds of this spooky time of year and compiled them in the list below. Whilst you’re deciding what you want to do for Halloween, take a look at travel and hotel deals in the area to see if making your day trip a week’s break is worth it.
Isle of Fright – Isle of Wight
October 25th – November 2nd 2014
The Isle of Wight has a reputation for being haunted, and has been named as one of the Top 10 Scariest Islands in the world by paranormal experts. It’s therefore the perfect place to host the annual Isle of Fright festival, celebrating all things Halloween – there’s plenty to do to suit all ages and in fact many local hotels are offering good half term deals, meaning you can turn a day out into a supernatural break. In fact, South West Trains are running an October half term discount, allowing buyers to save 50% on adult and child off-peak day returns.
Some of the highlights of the event include Spooky Castle at Carisbrooke Castle; reputed to be full of ghosts and phantoms, children and adults alike will have fun with creepy crafts and going ghost hunting – there’s even a prize for the best costume! With Dark Nights celebrating the end of British Summer Time on October 25th, the cliffs at Shanklin will play host to a beautiful illumination show. Finally, the Halloween Walk at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on October 31st is sure to have to perfect blend of daytime beauty and night time horrors – the same walk on November 1st finishes with a spectacular bonfire to finish.
House of Halloween – Dickens’ World, Kent
October 31st – November 2nd 2014
What better place to spend Halloween than in the world of the king of ghost stories? Charles Dickens’ works feature some of the most famous phantoms to grace literature, and the House of Halloween attraction this year promises to be as frightening as any novel. The attraction combines two separate events – The House That Jack Built, and The Ministry, which are mazes where participants can walk through and observe the action, whilst being terrified by live actors in the various roles.
Full details of the events are under wraps so as not to spoil the surprise, but previous years’ events have been raved about in both local and national press. However, the organisers have released some details about both events to whet the appetite of those eager to go. The House That Jack Built tells the tale of an old house inhabited by cutthroat convicts by the order of a wealthy benefactor, known only as ‘The Man In Black’. Meanwhile, if you choose to explore The Ministry you’ll encounter the mysterious brotherhood of the Crimson Wax, who are preparing for their annual Ceremony of the Crimson Cull in the heart of the Ministry. But be wary; those who witness this ceremony tend to disappear without a trace…
Halloween at York Maze
October 17th – November 1st
We don’t know about you but the thought of getting lost in a maze fills us with fear at the best of times, so to try and attempt to navigate the UK’s biggest maze in the dark surrounded by 5 unique ‘haunted attractions’ makes us a little reluctant to book tickets for ‘Hallowscream’. If you’re braver than us then the nights between 17th October and 1st November are probably just the ticket to get your pulses racing.
Halloween days at York Maze are a little more family friendly with pumpkin carving, treasure hunts, a haunted house, face painting, crazy golf, a special maze attraction and much more to entertain younger visitors. Halloween by Day runs from 25th October until 1st November.
Blackpool Tower Dungeon & Pasaje del Terror – Blackpool
Blackpool Tower Dungeon is probably one of the most famous attractions on this list, and for good reason – it’s had rave reviews from critics and visitors alike, and can give your Halloween holidays a hint of horrible history. The attraction is a live show that covers over one thousand years of history in the Lancashire region and delving into some of the legends about the area – there’s even an exciting drop rid in the attraction where you might not expect it. It’s a great attraction for those with children as it’s an educational and funny exhibit for the family.
As for the Pasaje del Terror, this Spanish attraction is famous across the world with branches in Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo and Rome – however, the Blackpool attraction in the deepest basement of the Casino is one you certainly don’t want to miss. Like other exhibits on this list, you’ll enter a walkthrough maze with live actors, but it’s filled with the most famous horror characters from fiction, rather than history – it might be the best chance of catching all your old favourites in the flesh, but be wary of jump scares!
All of these events are easy to arrange and visit, as they request payment on the door and can be visited to suit you. They can also be planned into a much longer trip should you wish, meaning that they can be the perfect half term break if you have children. However, if you’re already planning for Halloween 2015 without youngsters (or perhaps with teenagers) then might we suggest one final attraction to whet your appetite…
Zombie Experiences – Across the UK
If you’re looking for something unique and thrilling for the holidays, it might be worth looking up Zombie Experiences to take the next step into the world of horror. These experiences are different from the usual live mazes and walk through shows listed above, as it requires audience participation – you’ll be right in the thick of action, fighting zombies and trying to become the last survivors in your group experience. It’s a great activity for either couples or larger groups who want to connect and become closer, but the organisers are just as welcoming to single runners as well.
The experience can vary depending on where in the country you’re based and what sort of activities you prefer. For example, the Zombie Experience in Reading is based in an abandoned shopping mall, after a mysterious attack cut communications from the rest of the world and you must investigate what has happened to the survivors. However, for those who prefer camping in the open air, a trip to The Desolate Lakes in Cumbria could be a future adventure to consider. Believed to be starting up next year, this one is a full camping weekend with additional zombie hunting on the side – perfect for those who love the great outdoors and the sound of axes in the morning.
The places on these experiences fill up very quickly – although there are a few places left for this Halloween and you might get lucky, it may be best to consider preparing for this experience next Halloween – at least you’ll have plenty of time to prepare!
Check out our website if you fancy booking a holiday cottage this Halloween. We offer castles, cabins and an assortment of historic hideaways to make for a very memorable stay!
@cottages4you Definitely Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh (an old subterranean street). Very spooky #HalloweenAttraction
— Karen Cameron (@K_S_Cameron) October 9, 2014
Adele Pawson: York Maze
Dawny Chalmers: Warwick castle pretty scary!
Samantha Ridley: Tulleys farm in turners hill. Absolutely brilliant x
Andy Holden: Try farmaggedon!
Matt Watson-Power: Dracula Experience, Whitby – the end bit at least!