Three tempting family day out options are on offer at Muncaster Castle. The first is general admission to the extensive Muncaster gardens and their various attractions, including the Meadowvole Maze, plus entrance to the on-site Hawk & Owl centre and the chance to watch the thrilling flying display put on daily by the resident birds of prey. Tickets for this cost £13.50 for an adult and £6.75 for a child. The second option is to add in the Sledgehammer House of Horror – a 30-40-minute Halloween spooky and suitably horrific performance in the castle drawing room. Tickets including this option cost £25 for adults and £12.50 for children (not suitable for under-7s). And the third option is the garden and Hawk & Owl Centre entrance, plus a guided tour of the castle (not Halloween themed), costing £18 for adults and £9 for children. Added to all, for an extra £5 charge, can be the chance to see an atmospheric Twilight Owls flying display, taking place at 7pm. All experiences require pre-booking at www.muncaster.co.uk
At Carlisle Castle – a fortress that once held Mary Queen of Scots – there is spooky Halloween storytelling that will make your blood curdle, if you pre-book tickets for one of the spinetingling sessions being staged between October 28 and 31. With ghost stories, tales of supernatural sightings and a few details of horrors from history, it’s a gripping experience for anyone aged 16 and over. Furthermore, it may spark your imagination when it comes to interpreting the incredible prisoner carvings that the castle boasts and which are well worth seeking out. Imagine what life was like for Mary whilst locked up in her tower, visit the adjacent Cumbria Museum of Military Life and have a great day out all round. Head to https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/carlisle-castle/ to book.
Meanwhile, at Brockhole, near Windermere, the message is ‘grab your Pumpkin Passport’ as doing so, at a cost of £24, will open up 4-5 hours of fun for anyone aged over 7, thanks to providing access to 13 spooky Halloween activities. Whether you wish to play Graveyard Golf or partake in Zombie Archery, join a Wicca Workshop of Art and Witchcraft, or just listen to the stories told by Professor Pumpernickel, this day out will be full of variety, fun and spookiness. Should families have younger children, they can buy a Mini Passport offering access to 10 of the activities and make their dreams of seeing their child become a Mini Pumpkin Farmer, come true, as they pick up little pumpkins with their pedal tractor in the most adorable way. A 10-activity passport costs £12 and activities can last 3-4 hours. Not to be missed, as part of all this, is the chance to get on the Woodland Faerie Trail and seek out the front doors of very many magical little folk, hidden between rocks, moss and trees. There are also 30 acres of grounds to explore at Brockhole, lakeside access to Windermere, picnic spots and an outdoor BBQ. Head to www.brockhole.co.uk to book.