Ahh, the smell of wet leaves, muddy boots and bonfires – it must be nearly time for an Autumn Family Day Out!
Ok, summer picnics are over, but I love getting out with the kids to see the changing of the seasons and there are so many great family days out in autumn in the Midlands. Try visiting local autumn fetes, scarecrow festivals and apple days; collecting conkers and crunching through golden leaves; taking part in spooky Halloween activities and ending the pre-Christmas season with a big firework night.
So, I am not really sure why this autumnal, but I have seen a few of these village scarecrow festivals around over the summer and haven’t managed to visit any, so we are planning to try a local Autumn Fete & Scarecrow Festival near Tamworth to get us in the autumn mood!
Hints Village’s Autumn Fete & Scarecrow Festival takes place on Sunday 18th September 2016
Next on my list, is a family day out looking for horse chestnut trees for conkers. If you are looking for a great spot to find conkers this autumn, then head to Packwood House in Warwickshire (National Trust). There is an avenue of horse chestnut trees opposite the house and there is also a woodland walk. The house is a lovely place to visit with a great café, gorgeous gardens and a short walk around the lake.
Tips for the perfect conker:
- Conkers rotten inside will float in water so test them first
- Drilling a neat hole without splitting the edges will help stop them breaking when hit
- Storing conkers for a year, baking in the over or pickling in vinegar can produce a tough conker, but surely this is cheating!?
Apply Day is an annual celebration of apples and orchards and in 2016 falls on 21st October 2016. This isn’t something I had heard of until last year when my sister invited me to her village Apple Day in Donisthorpe. It was great fun with local produce and games for the children. I will be looking out to see if there are any more Apple Days near me this year!
Click here for Apple Day in the Ironbridge Gorge on Saturday 8th October 2016
You have to time this right – too early and the leaves are not in full glory and too late and it looks a bit miserable. But a woodland walk is the best thing ever in Autumn, especially with a flask of hot chocolate! We are planning to head to Arley Arboretum to complete the fairy trail again in October when the trees should be at their red and golden best.
Another arboretum on my list is Westonbirt near Bristol – probably a bit too far away for me to really visit on a day trip, but apparently it is the best autumn woodland arboretum to visit. Another on my list is Batsford Arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswold which we have visited previously to see the snowdrops.
I know every year we wonder how Halloween has become so commercial, but I love getting in the, ahem, spirit of the season. Great family days out to Halloween events in the Midlands include:
Tamworth Castle: Ghostly goings on during the half term
Warwick Castle: look out for witches, fire jousting, ghost stories and much more
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: Halloween Funday on Sunday 30th October
Ash End House Children’s Farm: Spooky craft sessions and pumpkin carving
Ghostly Gaslight at Blist Hills Victorian Town: This might be a bit too scary for younger children but looks fun for older children.
The fireworks at Tamworth Castle are amazing and this year are being held on Saturday 5th November. The fireworks start at 8pm. If you are heading here, remember not to park on the roadside as you will get a ticket! We always park in Sainsburys / TK Maxx and walk over to the castle which takes about 10 minutes.
Other fireworks events in Birmingham can be found here (although I think Visit Birmingham have not updated this page for 2016 – so just check, however, a good starting point).
So let me know if there’s any autumn family day that I have missed off the list! I love to hear about new events or places to visit 🙂