Top spook-tacular things to do in the Stroud district this half term
By David Wood
Half term is almost here, so Stroud District Council has compiled a list of seasonal low-cost activities for families to enjoy during this period.
Join a friendly canal ghost hunt
For a spooky start to half term, step back in time to join the family-friendly interactive Ghost Hunters event along the Stroudwater Canal. You'll set off with a map, discovering the stories of people who lived nearby. Storytellers and actors will bring the event to life, but we promise it's suitable for primary school children!
Choose a time to suit you on Sunday 29 October. Tickets are £1 each and must be booked in advance. The event is suitable for people with accessibility issues, please see the separate booking section on the website. Find out more and book your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ghost-hunters-tickets-721164641857?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Museum in the Park
Pick up an i-spy quiz sheet throughout half term and hunt for items relating to Stroud's woollen history throughout the museum galleries.
Enjoy an afternoon of Autumn Adventures with the Museum in the Park and Stroud Valleys Project. Try Hallowe'en crafts, listen to storytelling, follow a pumpkin trail and take part in a carved pumpkin competition. Sunday 29 October from 1pm-6pm.
Entry to the museum, the I-spy quiz and Autumn Adventures are all free-of-charge and there is plenty of free-of-charge parking and an accessible route for visitors.
See the changing colours at Stratford Park in Stroud
Explore the spectacular colours at Stratford Park's arboretum. Don't forget to visit Stroud Valleys Project Sensory Garden too. Admission and parking are free of-charge. If you're visiting by bus, there is a bus stop near the park. There are accessible routes around the site and there are also some buggy-friendly paths. Bicycle parking is available too.
Hallowe'en activities in Dursley
Get your Hallowe'en groove on and join in the fun with a Hallowe'en Dance Workshop. Make new friends, have a 'wicked' time, and learn a new, spooky dance routine. Parents and guardians will be invited to come along and see the final performance before the children go home. A fun-packed, 90-minute dance workshop with a Halloween twist from 10:45am-12.45pm on 30 October. £8.50 per child.
The Pulse Hallowe'en Activity Days are jam-packed with sports challenges and Hallowe'en-themed activities and crafts. £20 per child. Suitable for children aged 5-11.
The swimming pool at The Pulse will be closed during half-term for the installation of a new renewable heating system so all activities will take place at the nearby Chantry Centre. The pool at Stratford Park will be open during half term.
The unfinished, gothic Woodchester Mansion in a wooded valley is open from 11am-5pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and also bank holidays, until 5th November. £9 per adult ticket and children go free-of-charge.
Join some scary spectres of all shapes and sizes in the Spooky Cellars. Find out who is watching the spookily glowing pumpkins, witness some rattly skeletons, find the Mummy, and what will you see floating in the swamp this year? Don't forget to view The Golden Pumpkin Trail which takes you around the Mansion.
And if that isn't scary enough, then this is your last chance to see one of the largest colonies of rare horseshoe bats - they'll go off to hibernate from late autumn until spring. State-of-the-art bat cams in The Roger Ransome Bat Observatory allow visitors to take a peek at the nocturnal creatures.
The Scary Spectre trail will take place from 11am-4pm on Friday 27 October, Saturday 28 October and from 10.30am-3:30pm on Sunday 29 October to Sunday 5 November. There will be a separate charge for the Scary Spectre trail; £5 for children under 16 and normal adult admission prices. Parking is free-of-charge for National Trust members or £3 for non-members.
Stratford Park Leisure Centre
Get your goggles at the ready, brush down those roller skates, and get yourselves to Stratford Park Leisure Centre in Stroud. There is a roller disco every Saturday from 2-3.30pm, family swimming sessions, adult and child swimming lessons for 19-36 month olds, and supervised gym sessions for 11-15 year olds. There is plenty of free-of-charge parking and bicycle parking, and a bus route that stops nearby.
Bring your creative flare and join in the spooks at a Homemade Magic Workshop at Kingshill House in Dursley. Create broomsticks, googly eyes and wands, and let the magic commence. The workshop will be held from 11.30am - 1pm on Friday 3 November. £10 per person. Pre-booking essential. Book here: https://www.kingshillhouse.org.uk/store/p230/HomemadeMagicWorkshop.html
Festive Dursley's Halloween Hunts
Can you find all the spooky items in Twinberrow Woods? How many broomsticks and pumpkins will you find around the town? Join in the spooky fun at Dursley Sculpture & Play Trail and town. From October 23. Pick up a free-of-charge hunt at Dursley library or Jacob's House.
Costume swap at Dursley Library
Find your perfect, scary Halloween costume at Dursley library. Swap costume clothes and turn into a mysterious black cat, a spooky ghost, or an orange pumpkin. Visit Dursley Library from the 9 October - 1 November.
Hallowe'en Fun in Dursley Market Place
Bring your decorated pumpkins and enter the competition to see if your creative, scary delight will be a winner. Watch Amy Addle's dancers and listen to some super spooky stories. Head to Dursley Market Place from 2pm-4pm on Saturday, October 28 and join the fun with Festive Dursley.
Pick your own pumpkin
There's only one thing better than buying your own pumpkin; picking your own pumpkin! From carving your finest scary creation, to creating a delicious pie, there are so many ways that families can enjoy these homegrown delights.
Cattle Country is hosting an annual pumpkin bonanza and reports a bumper crop for 2023. There'll be plenty of family photo opportunities on the farm and there is also a 'find the hats' trail to keep everyone busy along the way. Pick your own, starting at £1 including free pumpkin carving and decorating.
Priory Farm, in Leonard Stanley, has a pumpkin patch open from 28-31 October. No booking is required, cash and card payments will be accepted and well-behaved dogs are welcome. There will be free-of-charge parking onsite.
Nature Detectives Trail
Get your (woolly) thinking caps on, your winter boots ready, and head to Stroud Old Cemetery to discover the Nature Detectives audio trail. You'll be able to find out all about the headstones, become a lichen detective and listen to some super spooky sounds. All you'll need is an inquisitive mind and a smart phone that can scan the 10 QR codes dotted around the site. To find out more about the free-of-charge trail, please visit Stroud Town Council's website here: https://www.stroudtown.gov.uk/nature-detectives-trail
Join in the Halloween activities at your local library. In a fun outdoor session, you'll learn how to light a campfire at Quedgeley Library and make a cute, spikey hedgehog friend using clay and other natural materials at Dursley Library. Suitable for ages 3 and above. To find out more visit the Gloucestershire Libraries Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/GloucestershireLibraries/?locale=en_GB
Stroud District Council leader Catherine Braun said: "Many of the activities listed are low-cost or free-of-charge and it's great to see such a wide range of exciting things to do in the Stroud district."
Deputy council leader Natalie Bennett added: "The local area has some wonderful places to visit over autumn, from a spooky canal trail to picking your own Hallowe'en pumpkin; there's plenty to get involved with during October."
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