Crunchy autumn leaves, hot chocolates and pumpkins galore! This time of year is filled with spectacular colour and spooky treats. There are no tricks, we really do have a whole host of Halloween and Half term treats for you here in Shakespeare’s England.
From ghostly trails to treetop adventures after dark and new shows there is magic in the air this autumn with so much to enjoy at the region’s top cultural and tourism destinations.
Halloween, the October half term break and Bonfire Night are just around the corner with spine-chilling events and comforting autumnal staycations on offer to all to mark the changing of seasons.
Members of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management Organisation for South Warwickshire and the surrounding areas, are inviting everyone to an array of activities and events including a cosy Cotswolds pub and local brewery tour, Halloween family brunch bingo and Gunpowder Gala feast with fireworks.
Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England, said: “It is fantastic to see the return of so many Halloween and autumnal events across our region this year – for the first time since March 2020 for some businesses.
“There are a really varied range of festivities on offer ensuring the whole family can get into the spooky spirit and enjoy the October half term break.
“2021 continues to be a challenge for tourism and hospitality businesses, which were hugely affected by the pandemic. I would urge people across the region to show their support and enjoy the brilliant events on offer.”
The full list of events includes:
The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest, October 23-31
Head to Kenilworth Castle for a fantastical day out this Halloween half-term. Explore the grounds on a brand-new adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s bestselling Wizards of Once series. Children can also get up close to a host of real-life ‘beasts’ with Zoolab and meet some amazing animals – including snakes, spiders, and more – and learn all about these creepy crawly creatures. Find out more: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/Kenilworth-castle-halloween-quest/
Ghost Tours, October 28-31
Do you dare explore Kenilworth Castle in the dark this Halloween? Join storytellers as they guide you on a bone-chilling journey through history. With tales of ghosts, supernatural sightings, and horrors from history, this is not a night for the faint-hearted. Suitable for ages 16+. Find out more: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/kenilworth-castle-ghost-tour-28—31-october/
Warwick Castle – The Haunted Castle – October 23-31
Join ghosts, ghouls, wizards and witches and prepare for a Halloween adventure brimming with spooky tales, scary fun, and daytime themed attractions for all ages, including Upscares Down Scares, witches, wizards and troll hunter schools and The Dead Centre Stage packed with brand new live performances. Returning favourites include the Haunted Hollows, The Witches Tower, and Wizards Schools, https://www.warwick-castle.com/explore/events/halloween/
The Castle After Dark – October 24, 29, 30 and 31 – Two new Halloween-y attractions at this festival-themed evening event include Hunted and the Massacre-ade Ball – with jump scares and surprises they are not for the faint-hearted! Among other thrills there will also be the Haunted Hallows, the Castle Dungeon, live music and entertainment along with street food from local vendors at The Open Arms, https://www.warwick-castle.com/explore/events/castle-after-dark/
Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon – The Magician’s Elephant, October 18 – January 1 2022
A brand-new family-friendly musical production for ages six+ adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s prize-winning children’s novel, directed by Sarah Tipple (Associate Director of The Boy in the Dress) and designed by Colin Richmond (Wendy & Peter Pan). This production, postponed due to Covid, marks the re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the return of audiences to indoor performances at the RSC for the first time since March 2020. Find out more: https://www.rsc.org.uk/the-magicians-elephant
Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry – Gunpowder Gala Banquet, November 5
Following a sell-out Haunted Halloween Banquet, the hotel is hosting a four-course feast with wine and mead, while actors reveal the story of The Gunpowder Treason, and the danger it presented to Coombe Abbey. After dinner look forward to a firework display over the lake followed by a post-banquet disco. For more information visit https://www.coombeabbey.com/product/gunpowder-gala-banquet/
Go Ape, Coventry – Sundown Sessions
For a spooky adrenalin rush turn up the thrills this autumn with after dark adventures in the grounds of Coombe Abbey Park at one of 20 selected Go Ape’s UK locations. Limited sessions will be available for the Treetop Challenge Xpress, Treetop Adventure – traversing wobbly crossings before a spine-tingling thrill as you zip through the crisp autumn evening; Treetop Adventure Plus – providing all the fun of the Treetop Adventure at a higher level and longer and solo zip wire along; plus, Axe Throwing in the twilight. For more information visit www.goape.co.uk/sundown
Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa, Leamington Spa – enjoy a comforting Autumn Pamper Espa Break https://www.mallory.co.uk/news-and-offers/one-night-espa-break/ or an Autumn Staycation https://www.mallory.co.uk/news-and-offers/autumn-staycation/
The Arden Hotel, Stratford – book an overnight boutique stay and be one of the first to see The Magician’s Elephant, the first new production inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre since the pandemic started, with exclusive RSC Theatre package – https://www.theardenhotelstratford.com/news-and-offers/rsc-theatre-package/
Or spend a few days with the family exploring historic Stratford-upon-Avon and beyond this October half term. Kids stay free/half price when sharing a room with two adults (valid until October 31):https://www.theardenhotelstratford.com/news-and-offers/uk-october-half-term-break/
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park
Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making, until January 30 2022 – A critically-acclaimed exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of woodcarver Grinling Gibbons death which first opened at Bonham, London this summer. The Dutch-born sculptors decorative work is usually only seen in situ in Britain’s royal palaces, including Windsor and Hampton Court, its most important churches, including St Paul’s Cathedral and York Minster, and the grandest of stately homes, but now, fine examples can be seen together, including items rarely on public display, curated from national, international, and private collection. https://www.comptonverney.org.uk/
Half term family events – Celebrating the spookiest time of the year Compton Verney sees the return of the Pumpkin Trail in the grounds, October 16-31; a half term holiday club with Warts and All Theatre Company on October 26, 27 and 28 and Wild Wednesday: CSI Nature Detectives on October 27 with Warwickshire Badger Group. For more information visit https://www.comptonverney.org.uk/thing-to-do/autumn-family-activities/
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry – The Turner Prize 2021
For the first time The Turner Prize 2021 lands in the West Midlands exhibition showcasing the work of a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives and artist-run projects: Array Collective, Black Obsidian Sound System, Cooking Sections Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works. The winner will be announced on December 1 at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral and be awarded £25,000 with £10,000 given to each of the others shortlisted.Entry is free and ticketed. For more information visit https://www.theherbert.org/
Brewery, Pub Lunch & The Cotswolds tour – the day includes a tour and tasting at Purity Brewing Co, lunch, a drink at the cosy Fleece Inn in Bretforton, plus visits to Chipping Campden, and Ebrington, home of the multi-award-winning Ebrington Arms. The tour has just resumed following the reopening of Warwickshire’s award-winning Purity Brewery and take place every Saturday.
Led by a designated driver-guide in an executive minibus, pick-ups from Stratford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh or Chipping Campden make it ideal for a car-free autumnal adults’ day out particularly if are travelling from Birmingham, Oxford or London. £75 pp. Find out more: https://www.gocotswolds.co.uk/product/brewery-pub-lunch-the-cotswolds-pub-tour/
The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, arrives in Coventry from Tues November 2 – Saturday November 6 with a new production. Book now to get the best seats at the best prices.
The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe, November 3 – Lizzie Wort (RSC’s The Magician’s Daughter, Animal Farm) stars in a one woman show, which picks up on August 5 1962, the day after Marilyn’s death. It tells us the story of Hollywood’s biggest icon as we’ve never heard it before.
First Time, November 6 – Nathaniel Hall, star of Channel 4’s hit show It’s a Sin, comes to the Belgrade with his play. This critically-acclaimed piece is autobiographical exploration into growing up HIV positive in a negative world. Written and performed by Nathaniel Hall and directed by Chris Hoyle.
SeaView, screenings of the new digital TV series from Belgrade Film and Digital for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, November 11 – 13, following a red-carpet premiere on the Belgrade’s Main Stage on Wednesday November 10.
Created by the Belgrade’s newly appointed Creative Director, Corey Campbell, SeaView is a ground-breaking family drama with a supernatural twist, centring on the working-class Black communities of the West Midlands.
For more information and to book tickets visit www.belgrade.co.uk
FarGo Village, Coventry – Halloween and half term are covered with events including a Halloween Makers Market (October 23), Dabbers Halloween Family Brunch Bingo (October 24), Trash Film Club’s 2006 remake of The Wicker Man (October 31) for over 16s and Fargo Lates on October 29 with late night shopping, DJs, performances and food. Children aged 7+ can also make their own Halloween-themed LEGO Brick stop frame animation book here or animated clay monster film from plasticine book here at the Let’s Animate studio.
For a full line up of events this autumn/winter visit https://www.fargovillage.co.uk/whats-on
Stratford Butterfly Farm – During half term families can also see plenty of creepy crawlies and pumpkins from October 23–31 including the Pumpkin Patch Spider from Colombia. A new space has been created for the birds living at the Farm and several new Crested Pigeons will be released in time for Halloween. On October 30 and 31 October staff will be dressing up in Halloween costumes and encouraging visitors to do the same.
Tickets must be booked online at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk
Magic Alley Halloween Spooktacular, Bell Court, Stratford-upon-Avon – Nightmare! A spine-tingling family-friendly quest for ages 6+ around the haunted Enchanted Manor. It includes sound and lighting effects and a magician performing age-appropriate magic. During October half term week there will be a 45-minute Nightmare! quest for those over 8 performed with an actor. One group per session, as social distancing in operation.
Magic After Dark, October 9 – Jester Styles, a delightfully dark magician sought after across the UK, will be infusing street magic and mind reading in a thrilling concoction. Tarot cards, voodoo dolls and witchcraft will be the topics of the evening. He will be joined by a second magician, Sylvia Spectre, in her parlour of paranormality for ghost stories laced with magic and mirth. Suitable for anyone 13+. Small group entry from 10.30am.
Talking to the Dead: A Séance, October 22 & October 26 – Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Griffin and Jones intend to find out. Face your fears, and join them for an intimate, fully immersive 45-minute experience as they use techniques from Victorian séance rooms to peer into the ‘great beyond’, and ask the question ‘Is anybody there?’ Sceptics and believers’ welcome. Suitable for anyone 18+. Timed entry from 7pm to 9pm.
Nightmare – After Dark, October 28 – Take a terrifying journey into the unknown as you make your way through Magic Alley’s Halloween scare attraction after dark. Sound and lighting effects will be used and there will be actors in the experience. Expect the unexpected and there is a glass of prosecco or equivalent soft drink included if you make it out alive. Suitable for over 18s only at 7.30 and 9pm.
Timed Entry and socially distanced groups.
Teaser Video Links:
For more information visit: https://www.magicalleystratford.com/halloween
The British Motor Museum, Gaydon – Spotlight on Science, October 23-31
This half term the Mad Scientists will be shining a light on headlamps and the science behind them. There will be illuminating hands-on sessions with the amazing Lucas Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of historic lamps. A Spotlight on Science Show will run from October 26 – 28 with a 30-minute live spectacular full of cool interactive demonstrations and light inspired science.
Object handling, October 23-25; 29-31 – Professor Pickle or Doctor Pumpkin will share stories and the science behind the fascinating lights and mirrors in the Lucas Collection. Children will learn how they work, how they were made and what powered them. Every day children can go on the Museum Black Cat Trail looking for hidden black cats and, with a torch, to discover the colour of each cat’s eyes. In a take home activity – Make Your Own Optical Illusion – children can make their own Phenakistoscope, an early animation device.
Great British Model Railway Show, October 30 & 31 – Dedicated to model trains and layouts, this family-friendly show is one of the biggest model railway shows in the Midlands and will feature more than 30 top-quality railway layouts.
For further information visit https://www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk/whats-on
Contemporary Arts Fair, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, November 6 & 7
More than 40 artists will be exhibiting more than 500 pieces of original art, offering an exciting and eclectic mix of paintings, illustrations, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, glasswork, textiles, collage, sculpture, and book binding at the first live Arts Fair Discover:Gather:Give #Cafdgg in 18 months.
The Arts Fair also hosts the Golden Cup Café, where tea and Monsoon Estate coffee are served in gold vintage china in the chandelier lit ballroom, with handmade cakes. Entry is free with donations to local charity LifeSpace, supporting young people. Times: Saturday November 6, 10.30am to 5pm, Sunday November 7, 10.30am to 4pm, at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, 1 Sheep Street, CV37 6EF. For further information visit: www.discovergathergive.co.uk
For further information about Shakespeare’s England and its members visit www.shakespeares-england.co.uk