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What’s on in Cambridge for October 2020 half-term?

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With October half term looming and many of the usual ways to entertain the kids still unavailable in these socially distanced times, we’ve collected ideas for some family friendly days out that are open over the holidays.

Harry Potter day at the Grand Arcade

Harry Potter (42835132)
Harry Potter (42835132)

Calling all Witches and Wizards - the grand Arcade is being transformed into Hogwarts for one day on Halloween (October 31).

Grab your wand and join Dumbledore for a Covid-safe Halloween experience as you discover your Hogwarts house.

The one and only Hogwarts School Sorting hat will talk to you himself. Discover which house you belong to - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw. There’s no age limit on being a Harry Potter fan so anyone can attend.

The event will take place on the ground floor of Grand Arcade in the Atrium (next to John Lewis and Partners).

Saturday 31st October by sessions of 30 minutes:

  • 10-10.30am
  • 11.15-11.45am
  • 12.30-1pm
  • 2-2.30pm
  • 3.15-3.45pm

How to book:

In order to maintain the appropriate distancing, there will be 30 spaces available per session. Just visit the Atrium in Grand Arcade on the October to collect a ticket for the session you want.

Organisers recommend coming as early as possible from 9:30am to collect a ticket and then return for the session you chose, so they can limit the number of people queuing.

There will be socially-distanced floor vinyls where you will be asked to wait. Each visitor up to the stage to have their individual turn. The Sorting Hat will be floating up in the air so it won’t be directly in contact with your head.All visitors must wear a face covering.

Cambridge Science Centre Halloween spooktacular weekend

Try some spooky science this half term
Try some spooky science this half term

The Cambridge Science Centre is hosting a weekend of spooky, but scientific, fun. Each session will include ghoulish slime making, some screamingly-good Halloween demonstrations and a mix of other spooky activities. Organisers say the event is suitable for children aged 7-11 years old. Tickets are priced from £7 from Eventbrite.

Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 10:45 am 12.30pm http://www.cambridgesciencecentre.org/

Try a ghost tour around the city

Leigh Watson who is one of the Blue Badge Guides running Ghost Tour walks. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42835214)
Leigh Watson who is one of the Blue Badge Guides running Ghost Tour walks. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42835214)

Cambridge guides' scariest storytellers promise to “take you to the darker byways of our city, where the spirits of the dead still hover.”

They are running ghost tours every Friday and Saturday from October 2020 to April 2021 at 18:30 (6:30PM).They are holding additional tours in the half term week running up to Halloween. Tours last about an hour and are suitable for older children and teens.

Tickets are £15 for adults, £5 for children.Tours start at the front of Great St Mary's (opposite the Senate House). Visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/haunted-cambridge-tour-tickets-121332361359

Spooky woodland walk at Audley End House and Gardens

Ghost-hunting storytellers lead a trip through the shadows of Audley End's woodland trail. With well-told tales full of spooky, strange and silly goings-on, this Halloween walk is sure to get you into the spirit of the season.

This is an outdoor tour, so visitors are advised to wear suitable clothes and shoes. It lasts about 45 minutes, and it’s suitable for children aged 5-12.

Prebooking online is required, including for English Heritage members who will receive a discount.

Ticket prices:

  • Member (Adult) £6
  • Member (Child) £4
  • Adult £10
  • Child, 5-17 years £8

Book your tickets here.

Seasonal fun at National Trust Wicken Fen

Windpump at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire, in winter. (42835222)
Windpump at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire, in winter. (42835222)

Wicken Fen has updated its geocache trail to be Covid safe, so instead of searching for boxes, there are points around the fen for you to find, and questions to answer. Find the 12 points and answer the questions to complete the trail.

To complete the trail, visitors will need to hire a GPS unit. Hire is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am onwards, last hire at 2pm, and costs £2 per unit from the Cycle Hire. Units are thoroughly cleaned between each hire.

The Sedge Fen is open for pre-booked visitors so you can follow their Batty About Spiders trail on the Boardwalk or try some of the ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ in the Woodland Walk 50 Things area. Both routes are on buggy friendly paths and not too far for little legs to walk.

The Anarchist's Mobile Library

If it's a rainy day, why not stay home and try out The Anarchist's Mobile Library - an online interactive choose-your-own audio adventure for children. You can choose what happens next in the story by solving problems and meeting characters. There are lots of different worlds to explore, including an intergalactic space adventure, a deep-sea swim, meeting creatures that lurk in the depths and even an abandoned witch’s kitchen, with the cauldron bubbling away.

Having previously created theatrical experiences for children, in this time of lock down, Tessa Bide Productions have partnered with expert technologists to create an interactive, audio adventure to empower children to be masters of their own destinies, to be inspired by literature and to change the stories they see unfolding around them.

The narrated audio piece offers the audience a chance to dive in and choose what adventure they might seek and what ending they would like to see, choosing story options as they go. Bold and colourful animations will accompany the narration if needed, but otherwise children will be able to put down their screens and let their imaginations paint the visuals. While theatres are shut, the audio adventure takes children on an immersive theatrical journey of their own making.

Book tickets from just £2.50 at junction.co.uk.

Autumn craft ideas

The Cambridgeshire environmental charity PECT has expanded its range of learning resources in time for the October half term, to help enhance children’s understanding of the world around them.

The charity’s autumn-themed Nature’s School resources include everything from guides to making a Leaf Lantern, Mini Beast Hotel, Pumpkin Decorating, Tree Seed I-Spy and many more.

PECT’s Environmental Education Lead Heidi Latronico-Ferris says: “Our local environment is sometimes an unexplored natural resource, often overlooked for its wealth of possibilities, and not always appreciated or looked after as it should be. Take this time to turn that around and discover natural wonders, learn from Nature’s School, and in return protect it for future generations.”

To access the resources, visit https://www.pect.org.uk/projects/natures-school-in-autumn/ o r find PECT on Facebook @SustainablePECT.

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