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Go here instead | October half term holidays to book NOW

By Rebecca Miles –21st August 2020

We have high hopes for the October half term holiday this year. After a summer of chaos and frustration and uncertainty for travel, could the October half term break be the best time of year for family holiday fun, adventures and escapades?

We think so, and we’re spoilt for choice for ideas – as this list of suggestions shows.

There are holidays close to home and around the country, but also ideas further afield, in Italy, Portugal and Crete. There are active holidays, lazy holidays, spooky holidays (it is Halloween after all), and sunny holidays, so whatever you and your family fancy, you’ll find it here.

For active holidays in the UK…

Charter a boat for a sailing adventure

Hire a boat from Click&Boat and explore the Norfolk Broads

The AirBnB of the seas, Click&Boat matches up boat owners with sailing enthusiasts who can rent a boat at surprisingly low costs. With a community of over 400,000 worldwide, there’s plenty of choice – and in the UK a couple of eye-catching options, available over October half term, are a four-person classic 1930s wooden boat on the Norfolk Broads, or an eight-person Bénéteau Oceanis 37 yacht from Hamble Marina on the South Coast. Both are available to hire with or without a skipper, meaning they’re ideal for families with no previous sailing experience.


Lullaby on the Norfolk Broads is available from £152 per day, and more information can be found here; the Bénéteau Oceanis is available from £193, and more information can be found here

Drive through the wilds of Scotland

The stunning Loch Linnhe near Fort William

Sign up to Pettitts’ self-drive tour of Scotland and explore its epic west coast and the pine forests of the Cairngorms National Park at your own pace. Pettitts will take care of all the accommodation on the seven-day tour, as well as organising sightseeing tours, a return trip on the Jacobite Steam Train, otherwise known as the Hogwarts Express, a day of sea kayaking, a day of guided hiking and geocaching, and a half day of guided mountain biking. It’s an ideal holiday for families with children between the ages of eight and 15.


The seven-day tour starts from £1,420 per person, based on two sharing a double room, and includes all accommodation, breakfasts and activities as outlined in the itinerary. Find out more here

Take a canal through the Calder Valley

Canal boat holidays are all about taking it easy

Canal boat holidays are ideal for families – the sense of setting off afloat on an adventure together, learning how to work the locks, steer the boat and get the hang of the boating lark provides for plenty of bonding moments. So hire a boat from Drifters’ canal boat rental base at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire and prepare to float away from the real world.

The leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation meanders through the Calder Valley to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge, nestled in a fork in the hills. It’s the simple life, done well.


The 48ft ‘Suffolk 4’ narrowboat for up to four people is available for a midweek break (26-30 October) for £617. Price includes damage waiver, fuel, diesel, parking, bed linen, life jackets, first pet & tuition. Find out more here

Spooky times at the Headland Hotel, Newquay

Join the Grand High Witch for afternoon tea at The Headland Hotel

Made famous in the 1990 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, this Halloween the Headland Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, will be hosting the Grand High Witch for a string of creepy activities.

There’ll be broomstick riding, black cat hunting, spooky storytelling and pumpkin decorating, plus there’ll be a Witches afternoon tea served in the ballroom with the Grand High Witch, complete with white chocolate and coconut mice, chocolate witches’ hats with pumpkin mousse and meringue ghosts.


A double room with bed and breakfast starts from £155 per night, while cottage breaks start at £140 per night with a minimum three-night stay. Find out more here

Sun-seeking further afield in Europe

A little indulgence in Sicily

Casa dei Sogni is a wonderfully welcoming refuge in Sicily

Catch the last rays of sunshine in Sicily in October, where temperatures are still in the high teens and you can be sure of having the beach to yourself. Our pick of Wish Sicily’s properties is Casa dei Sogni, a stylish five-bedroom villa new Acireale on the north-eastern coast of the island, just up from Catania. It comes with its own fabulous children’s playground complete with slide, climbing frame and trampoline, plus stylish pool and striking works of art. Activities on offer include climbing Europe’s largest most active volcano and playing on the sandy beaches of the Timpa Nature Reserve.


One week in October costs from £3,111, to sleep 13. Find out more here

Keep it simple at Lake Garda

The Al Fresco holiday park of Bella Italia with Lake Garda in the distance

Al Fresco Holidays offers family mobile home holidays at some of Europe’s best holiday parks, and the five-star Bella Italia site at Lake Garda is top of the pack. A lively park with several bars and restaurants plus an action-packed animation programme and lots of watersports on offer, it’s great value. Close to the town of Peschiera, it’s well placed for exploring both the lake and the area’s picturesque towns.


A seven-night, self-catered stay at the Bella Italia park, arriving 24 October 2020, is priced from £420 for a three-bedroom Da Vinci Lounge mobile home with air-conditioning, which sleeps up to six (was £493, saving 15%). Price excludes travel although transport can be arranged with Al Fresco Holidays. Find out more here

Something for all the family on Cyprus

The chic Polis hotel is surprisingly family-friendly

Head to the town square of Polis Chrysochous on Cyprus for some stylish R&R, and very family-friendly accommodation, that’ll keep everyone happy. Originally built over 100 years ago, the Polis 1907 opened in 2019 and has prime position in the village. With family rooms sleeping up to four, the hotel marries luxury with tradition, and is a five-minute drive to the beach.


Available through our resident Girl About Travel Agent Kate, seven nights B&B plus flights is £1,759.41 for two, departing Sunday 25 October. Contact Kate to book. 

Kids go free at the Algarve’s Magnolia hotel

Yes, you read that correctly – this autumn kids can stay and eat for free when adults book into one of the Magnolia Hotel’s cottages. Part of the Quinto do Lago resort in the Algarve, the Magnolia is a new addition, bringing a taste of Palm Springs design complete with neon signs and 1950s aesthetic, to this beachfront resort.

Mere moments from all the facilities of Quinto do Lago and its state of the art elite performance centre the Campus, but without the price tag to match, the Magnolia Hotel is the smart choice.


Rooms start from €97 a night. Find out more here

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