Next Tuesday is Halloween, and yes, you’ve guessed it, your home is about to be burdened with children asking you for food (wouldn’t really fly on any other day of the year, but let’s get into the spirit of it). The third most anticipated day of the year (next to Christmas and Birthdays) for children and adults with a sweet addiction.
Normally, those houses that don’t want to accept trick or treaters will forgo the Halloween decorations and turn of the lights and electric (don’t want anyone thinking you’re home do you). Alternative to sitting at home in the dark in hushed silence, you could head out on one of our amazing days out for Halloween.
We’ve selected our Top 3 Events to keep you entertained on Halloween and all without having to hand out apples to see the confused look on trick or treaters’ faces.
Kicking off our spookily selective list is a unique and interesting event – and a good mini midweek break. Guests to Hever Castle on October 31st can enjoy an evening of food, ghosts and paranormal activity, all under one castle roof.
Starting the evening with a full course meal, visitors will then have the chance to hunt for ghosts and explore the paranormal goings on in the castle and its grounds, all hosted by Ciaran O’Keefe from Most Haunted. After an evening of chasing ghosts, you can enjoy a stay in one of the castles fiver star bedrooms, located in the Astor Wing – including breakfast the next morning.
There’s an option to just go along and enjoy the dinner and paranormal, with cheaper packages available. For more information and ticket prices, click HERE.
For the history buffs amongst you, you’ll know all about the origins of Halloween and how ‘American’ it has become. So how about some history that hasn’t been claimed across the pond? Some good ol’ fashioned British history – about everyone’s favourite, larger than life Tudor, King Henry VIII.
‘But, what’s it got to do with Halloween?’ I hear you cry! Well, the history is fairly gruesome, so we’re including that under the Halloween umbrella… At this exclusive one-off event at the Walker Art Gallery on October 31st, you can learn all about the infamous king and his exploits in Tudor England. This FREE, yes FREE, event will educate you about the life of Henry VIII, and you can test your ability to name all his ex-wives and what fates they met at the hands of the big king himself. Just remember DBDDBS…
For more information on the event, click HERE.
Luna Cinema’s has ventured to our favourite Tudor King’s Palace, to show an exclusive outdoor screening of one of the world’s best horror films. Yes, on October 31st, sit, relax and enjoy the outdoor experience. Make the most of the still mild weather before we hit the peak of winter, watch a scary film outside a Henry VIII’s palace. In true Halloween spirit, terrify yourself by watching the critically acclaimed classic, The Silence of the Lambs.
Films and food go hand in hand, so stuff your face and feast your eyes upon this classic film. Reverse roles with the kids, enjoy sweets and other treats, without the hassle of trick or treating. Put your feet up and watch the horror unfold before your eyes. (Obviously not suitable for Under 18s)
For more information on this event and to book tickets, click HERE.
That’s it! Our top 3 things to do this Halloween to avoid Trick or Treaters! For more events up and down the country, click HERE.
Half term is almost upon us! With only one week to go, parents up and down the country are all thinking the same thing… ‘Half Term, really? Already?’ The fact that dawns on us all, having your little angels (subject to opinion) back from the education system for the week. As well as realising, you’re going to have to keep them occupied somehow.
Luckily, we’re here so you don’t have to stretch your brain too far. Here’s our Half Term round up, of the top 5 things to do this October break. If you read carefully enough, we’ve got an exclusive giveaway and discount code somewhere in this post. So, keep those eyes peeled!
In the spirit of Halloween, Hampton Court Palace, in Surrey, is putting on an exclusive week of horrible history. Visitors to the palace can discover the most rotten parts of Tudor history, even joining in the fun and taking part as an apprentice. Performing the dirty jobs needed to make to the palace run smoothly, your precious ‘babies’ can get stuck in and do some gross Tudor jobs, while you kick back and relax.
Click HERE for more information on this horrible half term event. Horrible Hampton runs from October 22nd – 28th.
If you, or more likely your children, are a fan of kids’ TV characters, then boy do we have the event for you! Taking place at the ExCel Centre in London, Kidtropolis has a huge line up for 2017. Featuring live performances from acts such as The Next Step, Flawless, Peppa Pig’s, Fireman Sam and many many more! (Seriously I’d be typing forever if I listed everyone appearing) But, it’s going to be big! Live performances and activities run throughout the day, and ticket holders are free to book TWO live shows, with their purchase (included in ticket price).
For those of you that have read this far, thanks. You’re the lucky few who can use our discount code! Which we will provide… at the end of the post. Can’t have you not reading until the end, can we?
Get hands on in spooky Halloween fun at Hornchurch Country Park & Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre in Essex. With a whole ghost of Halloween events! (get it, whole host/ghost. Spooky puns) Between Monday 23rd and Sunday 29th October, Hornchurch Country Park will be putting on a special week of events. From spooky arts and crafts, to pumpkin carving there’s tonnes of Halloween related fun ahead of the holiday – which isn’t actually a day off, so, not really a holiday but hey ho.
For more information, times and prices for the Halloween fun, click HERE.
Fancy something out of this world? Well, Richard Branson hasn’t offered a trip in his spaceship as of yet, but fingers crossed. But, fear not! World Museum’s Planetarium in Liverpool is as close to the stars as you’ll get without ol’ Branson. Yes, more cost effective than a trip into Space, the World Museum is putting on not one, not two, BUT THREE fantastic and brand-new shows this half term.
From October 23rd until 29th, you will be able to see titles such as Earth, moon and Sun, Fly me to the Moon and From Earth to Universe. Running throughout the day, these fantastic shows will give you a glorious insight into the vast cosmos above, without Branson’s hefty price mark up.
For more information, click HERE.
Now, if the Red Sun on Monday got you excited about freaky weather, Cutty Sark in Greenwich have got the perfect event for you. If you love the sea, ships, sailors and storms, (and alliteration) you can learn all about the spooky tales from the ocean this half term.
Discover the tales from the sea as you learn about lucky sailors, gigantic waves and mysterious stowaways. And for the inspired audience members? There’s the chance to create your own pop-up book to take home as well as learning story telling skills, to create your own sea adventure.
For more information and ticket prices, click HERE.
So, there you have it. Our pick of the Top 5 things to do this half term. And congratulations for reading this far, that means that you’re entitled to our exclusive discount code.
For a DOUK exclusive discount to Kidtropolis 2017, simply add the discount code ‘PLAY’ when reaching the check out. To book your tickets visit the website, by clicking HERE.
To enter our competition to win a family ticket to Kidtropolis, visit our Facebook page by clicking HERE.
This week marks arguably the best week of the year, that’s right – its chocolate week. As if you needed a better excuse to stuff your face full of chocolatey treats, there’s an actual week dedicated to eating and celebrating it. Dark, White, Milk, Truffle, Praline, Caramel, Toffee, the list is mouth-wateringly long and is making me really hungry just talking about it…
Yes, if there’s one thing we love just as much as Days Out in the UK, it’s chocolate.
So, if you’re reading this, we’re going to combine two of your favourite things – Days Out and chocolate (because everybody loves chocolate). We’ll even chuck in a few chocolatey facts for you to wow your friends with.
Now for the religious chocolate lovers out there, there’s a few places you can worship. But, the Vatican of the chocolate world, is right here, in the UK. It’s only Cadbury World in Birmingham! Religious metaphors aside, Cadbury World is a must visit for chocolate lovers from near and far. You can tour the factory in true Willy Wonka style, and see the masterful process of how all Cadbury’s chocolate is made. Including the creation of white chocolate… which is a nice Segway into our first fact.
White Chocolate contains no cocoa at all. (hold for gasps) Yes, white chocolate is the product of fat and sugar… yum. White-sugar-fat bar doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though, does it?
For the chocolate connoisseurs amongst you, white and milk chocolate are merely low tier chocolate, not even present on your radar. You’ve been to a chocolate specialist in Switzerland, you’ve seen a professional chocolatier craft a seven-foot phoenix out of dark chocolate and a small funnel, forged with blood, sweat and tears, in a snowy blizzard… okay, we may be over exaggerating here, but some prefer dark to milk and white, for its high cocoa count.
And where I hear you ask can you get some top quality, high percentage, artisan dark chocolate in the UK? No, not Waitrose – farmer’s markets.
Some of the finest farmer’s markets across the UK, will almost definitely, have at least one stall selling beautiful, homemade chocolate/fudge/chocolatey treat. Markets like Holker Hall & Gardens in Cumbria and Swithens Farm in Leeds, stock some of the finest homemade treats to get your teeth into. From fancy fudge to high cocoa content chocolate, farmer’s markets are a fun and foody day out for everyone.
According to research, of the chocolatey kind, eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third, as long as you consume it daily – however, you may have a higher risk of contracting diabetes if you eat too much chocolate… everything in moderation – like constantly eating chocolate for only ONE week of the year. #chocolateweek
If you’ve ever wondered about the history of chocolate, we’ve got just the place for you. York’s Chocolate Story, located in York surprisingly, allows you to unwrap the secrets of chocolate. This fully interactive experience immerses you in the world of chocolate and allows you the fully explore the history of your favourite treats and learn the secrets of chocolatiers. York is the epicentre of the UK’s chocolate industry, and has been the home of chocolate in England for the past 300 years. With lots of sweet exhibitions, there’s so much to learn and taste at York’s Chocolate Story.
This next fact we consider more of a public service announcement than anything, it’s imperative for anyone partaking in chocolate week to read very carefully what comes next… A lethal dose of chocolate for a human is just under 10kg, yes chocolate can be lethal. So, in theory, you could eat around 50 bars of Dairy Milk Chocolate bars that weigh 200g – everything in moderation, right?
Whether you’re a Cadbury lover, cocoa historian or a chocolate connoisseur – it doesn’t have to be chocolate week to visit some sweet attractions.
Happy Chocolate Week everyone!
It’s official, October is here. And that can only mean one thing… Guy Fawkes Night is a month away! But also, Halloween is approaching. Yes, the age old pagan festival – more like painful, right? (hope that pun landed somewhere.) ‘Tis the season of pumpkins, sweets and ridiculous costumes, but Halloween is very much the marmite amongst all the holidays. Some love it, and others, well.
Depending where you fall, you may or may not know about the origins and traditions of Halloween. And because it’s a little early for us to tell you what you can do this Halloween, we’ve put together a list of Halloween facts, to quench your spooky thirst.
Believed to date back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtic times, ‘Samhain’ or Halloween as it is now known, is the festival that signified the end of the harvest and the start of the new Celtic year. (November 1st) The ancient Celts would adorn costumes and light bonfires in order to frighten off spirits and ghosts. However, when Christianity first arrived in England and Europe, November 1st became All Saints Day, a day for the saints that didn’t have one of their own. The night before this, Christians would partake in a mass - ‘All hallows mass’, just a big ol’ mass which eventually became known as Halloween.
Famed for being the holiday of magic and mystery, there are many myths that surround Halloween. Some believe that if you see a spider on Halloween, it may be a deceased loved one watching over you and black cats were believed to protect witches’ powers from ‘negative forces’. Whilst other myths state that if you met a witch, you should turn all your clothes inside out and walk away backwards. Also, that ringing a bell will frighten evil spirits away –we can only dream that this would work on unwanted trick or treaters.
Before American traditions were shipped over, the famous ‘Jack O’lantern’ pumpkin was a turnip (not quite as colourful). The original turnip carving tradition comes from Irish folklore, where a man named Jack, tried to trick the devil and was forced to wander the Earth with nothing but a poorly lit turnip, for eternity. Jack O’lanterns are lit to scare off Jack and other roaming spirits around the spooky season.
Adopting the carving tradition, Americans in the 19th Century chose to carve pumpkins instead of turnips. This is because pumpkins grow in a greater supply and are easier to carve than turnips. And they sent it right back to us, along with trick or treating… Unfortunately, Jack O’lanterns don’t ward off trick or treaters the same way they do evil spirits. Most homes use the lantern to signify they welcome trick or treaters. (seems daft to me) Speaking of which…
Whilst trick or treating has been imported from America, the true origins of the traditions remain unknown. Some suggest that the ‘delightful’ activity could date back to the Celtic Samhain tradition. When ancient Celts dressed up as ghosts and exchanging food around a bonfire. By 1000 AD, the tradition had changed. The poor would go to the houses of the rich, and exchange prayers for deceased rich family members, for food. Now, it’s children in spooky costumes and a few teenagers that probably should have stopped a few years prior.
For all the latest updates on Halloween events and attractions near you, make sure you keep an eye out for listings on our Events page and our next blog post. It’s going to be a spooky one…