Treat the kids – and yourself – to a half-term break. From forest adventures to exciting city escapes, there are loads of great staycation opportunities in the UK to choose from. And with our range of hotels, you can enjoy them without breaking the bank. So, sit back, take five, and let us tell you about some of the best October half-term deals we have to offer.
A half-term holiday in Dorset
Spanning 95 miles of shoreline, the Jurassic Coast makes Dorset one of the most popular holiday destinations in England. Although Lulworth Cove, Chesil Beach, and West Bay are three of this world heritage site’s most recognisable landmarks, we have a soft spot for Old Harry Rocks.
One of the finest geological wonders you’re likely to see, Old Harry Rocks is a chalk formation caused by millions of years of sea erosion. Suitable for hikers of all abilities, the circular walking route that takes you right up to the rocks offers sightseers spectacular views over Poole Harbour, Bournemouth, and the Isle of Wight.
Dorset also has some wonderful National Trust sites. The dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle are an inspiration for children. Steeped in history, Clouds Hill was the rural retreat of T. E. Lawrence. Godlingston Heath is an unspoiled heathland that includes striking landscapes and a diverse range of flora and fauna. And Kingston Lacy made our list of the seven best gardens to visit in the county.
After you’re done exploring, check out Dorset’s best family attractions. Monkey World is a rescue centre that saves and rehabilitates badly treated apes and chimps from around the world. They have given a loving home to 11 species of primate, including chimpanzees, spider monkeys and orangutans. Another great attraction is Splashdown, a water park with plenty of indoor flumes, it’s the ideal place to make waves as a family, even when the weather starts to cool.
Bournemouth offers a great base from which to explore Dorset and is located within driving distance of all the attractions listed. Recently voted the UK’s best beach, the seven miles of sumptuous sand remains a great place to visit outside of the summer months. Stretching between Southbourne and Boscombe, Fisherman’s Walk winds past the town’s iconic brightly coloured beach huts up to the delightful nature reserve, Hengistbury Head.
Hallmark Hotels has two places to stay in Bournemouth: Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton and Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth East Cliff both overlook the beach and are within walking distance of the town centre. What’s more, up to two children under the age of 12 can stay for free when sharing a room with two adults, making us a great choice for half-term family holidays.
Visit the Peak or Lake District
Summer might be the most popular time to visit the Lake District, but autumn is arguably the most magical. In the months between summer and winter, the region glows with the reds, oranges, and yellows of the season. Plus, the trails see fewer visitors and the cycling routes are quieter and more suitable for families.
The Lake District National Park’s website features a downloadable map of easy cycling routes. Choose from five fantastic trails, including Langdale and Windemere. The former combines fabulous fells, crystal-clear lakes, dry stone walls, and old cottages. If you’re after something a little more adventurous, the latter requires a ferry trip to explore gorgeous lake shore trails, a visit to Wray Castle and panoramic views back to Windemere from Claife Viewing Station.
The Lake District will spoil you for choice for family-friendly walks. Buttermere Walk is a one to two-hour stroll around one of the country’s most breath-taking lakes. Orrest Head is the easiest of five recommended walks around Windermere, featuring marked woodland trails and viewpoints that are awesome for watching alluring autumn sunsets and sunrises.
Hallmark Hotel Carlisle is a great place base for your Lake District break. Book using our two-night walking package and you get a great value stay, a full breakfast each morning, and water and snacks for your daily treks. Up to two children aged 12 and under can stay for free, too.
The Peak District is another great October half-term break for families. Monsal, Tissington, High Peak, Thornhill and Manifold are traffic-free cycling routes with gentle climbs that make them ideal for young cyclists. These trails include undulating hills, atmospheric moors and enchanting forests, encapsulating the best scenery the area has to offer.
If wandering around beautiful homes is more your thing, then pay a visit to Chatsworth House, one of England’s finest stately homes. Available from each of our two hotels in Derby, our Chatsworth House Break allows you to discover its gorgeous gardens, fun farmyard and awesome architecture for less.
Family thrillseekers will be pleased to hear our Derby hotels are only a forty-minute drive from Alton Towers. During selected dates over October half-term, the resort is hosting Scarefest. A spooktastic occasion to plan your stay around, this unmissable event includes a House of Monsters maze, live shows, and the CBeebies Monster Ball.
A half-term city break in Manchester
Combining museums, days out, and unique attractions, a city break is a popular choice for culture vulture families. During the October half-term, Manchester is stacked full of fun things to do.
First off, the Science and Industry Museum is a must-visit for the inquisitive. Once the biggest fabric and textile manufacturer in the world, there are exhibitions celebrating Manchester’s industrial legacy. But for little ones, the 25 hands-on exhibits, which include watching a skeleton ride a bicycle and creating a tornado, will probably be the highlight.
Manchester is a popular choice for footy mad families. The National Football Museum is a shrine to the beautiful game, its players and greatest stories. This half-term, the Bands FC exhibition brings music and football together by way of the Beatles, Joy Division, Madness, and more. Tours of Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium are always a fave with young fans, too.
Ideal for cheap half-term holidays, Hallmark Inn Manchester is a brilliant budget hotel. Setting you up for sightseeing and adventure, comfy rooms, free access to super-fast Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service are all part of the package. Hallmark Hotel Manchester provides the same service but is handily located next to the airport.
Need more October half-term and weekend break inspiration? Take a look at some of our other travel guides, weekend itineraries, and things to do near a Hallmark Hotel: