The South East boasts many world class museums and attractions which will be offering a programme of activities for families to enjoy and to learn together this October Half Term. This month is the perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors before the winter sets in with walks in the stunning countryside. For days when the weather is not so good, the region offers historic houses and castles to explore and many will be hosting craft and other activities. Visitors can explore their own ‘back yard’ or take a short break and visit somewhere new, just a short journey away in the region. Accommodation in the South East ranges from self catering cottages to holiday park lodges or boutique B&B’s to 5 star luxury hotels.

Indoor activities this Half Term

Totally Tudor will explore the Men of War on the Mary Rose. The crew on Henry VIII’s flagship were all highly trained. Visitors will learn more from demonstrations of archery, and daily talks from experts whilst on Saturday 27th, archery demonstrations will showcase Tudor equipment, weaponry and skills. Craft activities include making shields and archery wrist guards, contributing to the colossal Lego brick mosaic of Tudor Portsmouth and taking home your very own Lego brick  model. (20th – 28th October).

Magical Beasts a themed games event at The Micro Museum, Ramsgate will feature a range of games based on dragons, werewolves and other magical creatures available to suit all ages. In addition the museum features hundreds of items on display from the digital world, the history quiz, the toy hunt and the other games to play on the classic consoles. Tickets adult £5, child £4 and includes unlimited game play (20 to22 and 26 to 28 October, open 1pm to 4pm).

Half Term Puppets and Masks, a series of workshops inspired by the current exhibition of the 19th century artist James Henry Pullen: Inmate – Inventor – Genius at the Watts Gallery, Guildford. Fantasy Ships invites visitors to make a fantasy ship using weird and wonderful materials, inspired by the curious ships carved by Pullen (23 to 28 October, drop-in, free with gallery admission).  Amazing Inventors will involve cutting and sticking illustrations of 19th century machinery to create bizarre machines of your own invention (23 to 26 October, drop-in, free with gallery admission). Mini Cyborgs will encourage visitors to make themselves into a mini mechanical cyborg figure that moves and lights up, inspired by Pullen’s giant animatronic puppet (23 – 28 October. Pre-booking required, child 8 to 12 years £9.50). The week will end with Watts Late: Imaginarium featuring family events and imaginative performance as part of the UK-wide Museums at Night Festival (Saturday 27 October, 10am – 8pm). Free with gallery admission, adult £11.50, child 16 and under FREE.

Live theatre at Winchester Theatre Royal will include Shakespeare in a Day, a workshop for those aged 12 to 18 years. Participants can become a master of the Bard as they take a Shakespeare play from page to stage in just one day and enjoy workshops with leading Shakespearean practitioners to explore the original text through a variety of performance skills and techniques. (26 October from 10am with performance at 5pm).

Long Shot mixes circus, physical theatre and clowning for a catapultastic performance clowning, contraptions, comedy and courage, as one man’s belief in the near impossible is put to the test. PanGottic is an international award winning company who perform on the street, in theatres and wherever there is an audience and aim to make shows that are accessible for all. Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts (27 October, 3pm and 7pm) Adult £10.85, child £800.

Spending time outdoors in October

Visitors can enjoy a weekend on the South coast this autumn and take their pick from a 5k, junior and mini events or one of the world’s leading 10 mile events in The Great South Run. Runners pass the iconic sights of Portsmouth, including the Historic Dockyard, home of HMS Victory, past the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, and finish on the seafront at Southsea (21 October). Adult £42 to enter.

During October Half Term Family Fun at Brooklands Museum, the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, families will be able to: explore Concorde; take a trip in a vintage-style car up Test Hill or along the Members’ Banking of the old Race Track; enjoy a bus ride on a London Bus Museum ‘double decker’; and help the museum team build a poppy exhibition to mark 100 years since the end of WW1 by designing and making their own poppy. A special exhibition of the entries to the museum’s Young Photographer Competition 2018 will run throughout the week. (22 to 26 October) Adult, £13.50, child aged 5 -16, £7, Families £35

Fossil Hunting. Head down to the beach at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters to take a glimpse into the past. The whole family can hunt for fossils in the chalk falls on the beach. Grab a tracker pack from the visitor centre and start the detective work. The best time of day to look is at low tide, so check out the tide times before you set out.

The Rural Life Centre at Tilford in Surrey brings history to life with demonstrations, crafts and fun activities during half term week. In the Step Back Together sessions families will be able to try their hand as a farm worker, help with the washing ‘Victorian style’, play with vintage toys and have a typical lesson of the period in the schoolroom. (25 October).  Normal Museum admission charges apply. Adult £10, child £7.

Jack on the Green will be a lantern lit trail around Beach House Park near the seafront at Worthing between 6pm and 8.30 pm). Free lantern-making workshops on both days between 2pm and 4pm at the Palm Court Pavilion, and lanterns made by visitors will then form part of the trail. Free entry, donations welcome on the door (27 and 28 October).

 This autumn the Festival of Light Inspired by Diwali, set in the glorious ancient woodlands at Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight will celebrate the diverse aspects of Indian culture, from historical and spiritual India, to decorative and wild India, through stunning, creatively themed light, colour, sound and entertainment. Visitors can also enjoy the enhanced authentic Indian menu of curries and kebabs, Asian sweets, and traditional teas in the setting of an Indian bazaar. Every evening from 29 September to 4 November (6pm – 10pm).  

 Explore the historic, tree-lined Long Walk at Windsor Great Park which occupies 4,800 acres of rolling countryside and is home to an ancient forest, horticultural installations and a number of important monuments. Start at Cambridge Gate and finish 2.5 miles later at the top of Snow Hill and enjoy spotting herds of deer and stunning views of the castle and London.