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Half-term day trips

Bored of the same four walls and fancy escaping for a day trip over half-term? You're not alone. Here's something to keep the sprogs amused, plus a couple for the grown-ups, too.

Norfolk Broads Boat Trip, Wroxham

All aboard! Get the family out for the day on the broads and see some of the county’s most beautiful landscape via the smooth (depending on your sailing skills) meandering of the waterways. Stop for lunch at a riverside pub and hop back on the boat for sundown.

Southwold beach and town

Miles of candy-coloured beach huts that cost more to own that the average flat in the UK. Yep, that’s Southwold, or Poshwold as some people like to call it. It might be expensive, but for good reason. The town is charming and full of cool indie shops and eateries (leave those soggy sarnies at home). And it’s home to Adnams Brewery so there’s a delicious whiff of beer about the place. All of this less than an hour’s drive from Norfolk.

Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, until 8 Nov

Ed Sheeran fan and desperate for a fix? Here’s your answer. Suffolk folk are rightly proud of their young Sheeran’s roots, so they’ve put on an entire exhibition about the lovely chap. The exhibition features portraits by artist Colin Davidson, photography by Mark Surridge and personal items portraying the journey from Ed’s school life in Suffolk to international stardom.

Harry Potter Event, Grand Arcade Cambridge, 31 October

Got a little witch or wizard in your coven? Take them to the Grand Arcade aka Hogwarts this Halloween for a magical Harry Potter themed event. Kids can dress as their favourite character and meet Dumbledore (at a Covid-safe distance of course) and even get sorted into the right house by a talking sorting hat! Sessions are taking place in 30 minutes slots and have to be pre-booked.

Spooky Audley End, Audley End House, Saffron Walden, 24 Oct – 1 Nov

Gather your little monsters, ahem darlings, for a ghoulishly good day out at Audley End House, which can be decidedly creepy after dark. There’s a trail with creepy clues to solve and the chance to gather round in a socially distanced fashion to listen to spooky stories. There’s a daily fancy dress competition too, so better get that sewing machine out pronto. 

12th Sci-Fi and Action exhibition, Moyse’s Hall, Bury St Edmunds, 24 Oct – 20 December

Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds strikes back with its 12th annual Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back. The exhibition will feature a display of props and memorabilia from the movie that introduced us to Yoda, AT-AT walkers and a shocking family revelation that set the world talking.

Halloween Ghost Punting Experience, Rutherfords Punting, Cambridge

On a dark and spooky night, down by the dark and spooky river you’ll find a fleet of ghostly punts ready to transport you into the unknown… Rutherfords are giving Cambs’ favourite past time a spooky makeover with a tour guides who are dead ringers for the Grimm Reaper telling spooky tales of the city’s most haunted happenings, while you cower under a blanket and keep warm with Whittard’s Tea. Don’t forget to bribe your ferryman!

Go Ape in the dark, Thetford, Suffolk

This autumn and half-term Sundown Adventures include an hour of treetop excitement and exploration for young adventurers over 1m (see here) and adrenalin-seekers can experience the thrill of zip wires in the dark, (see here).

 Ghost tours and spooky Framlingham Castle, Framlingham, 28 – 31 Oct and 24 Oct – 1 Nov

Something for the adults and kids this halloween at Framlingham Castle. Ghost tours for anyone 16+ start on 28 Oct where you can follow storytellers on a bone-chilling journey through the past around the castle recounting tales of ghosts, supernatural sightings and horrors from history, crikey! All you need is a torch. For the little ones things are a little less scary with a slightly less intense trail with creepy clues to be solved as well as a fancy dress competition.

 Shriek Week, Colchester Zoo, Essex 24 October-1 November

Hit the massive Colchester zoo for some fang-tastic (and socially distanced) Halloween-themed activities this month – but be sure to stay in your support bubbles/household to adhere to Tier 2 restrictions. From dinosaur dens, and pirate treasure trails to gruesome games your little (and big) ones will love (despite their screams!), they’ve got the holidays covered. Our pick? The pumpkin carving workshop, which starts at a pick-your-own path by spooky All Saints Church and ends (hopefully) in an edible masterpiece. There’s also a witches coven to join, too, which sounds positively spellbinding….

Gallery Visit @background_bob and his amazing friends, Firstsite in Colchester, from 24 October

Need a bit of a boost? Cue ‘@background_bob and his amazing friends’, a heartwarming project coming to Colchester’s contemporary Firstsite gallery from 24 October to 1 November. Featuring artworks from artists around the world, this thought-provoking project is curated by Noah (aka @background_bob) – a Dedham-based artist who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy and decided to reach out with international artists during lockdown to launch a collaborative painting project. Pulling in 220 artists from the world of street art and beyond, the project was an overwhelming hit on Instagram, so now Noah is exhibiting his vibrant collection at Firstsite, for free, to help others process their own lockdown experience – and rediscover a sense of joy through art. Oh, and all pieces will be auctioned off in January to raise money for the NHS. Now, that’s what we call ‘heart’ and design.

START Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 21-25 October

Hey Queenie, nice nose ring! This cool, contemporary art fair, which takes pieces from London’s top galleries, will go ahead this year with social distancing measures and an exceptional line up of artists including  Lincoln Townley,  Erika Navas and Nat Bowen. In addition to START Art Fair, Korean Eye’s 2020 exhibition Creativity and Daydream will be on show having travelled from The State Hermitage in St Petersburg after a six-month stay, featuring a wealth of emerging and established talent from South Korea. 

For stuff closer to home, check out my half-term guide here.

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