The best Halloween treats in the UK
Let’s be honest, we’re all looking forward to and preparing for Halloween for weeks in advance. Decorated gardens, luminescent skulls and zombie body parts creeping from our front windows, scrupulously thought through costumes and shopping baskets full of sweets, chocolates and cookies. On the 31st October children will take to the streets in search of treats, while the parents relive the best time of their childhood, throwing a nice get-together with their friends, complete with costumes and themed cocktails of course. Yes, us Brits know how to celebrate Halloween in style. And with Halloween being one of the most awaited holidays of the year, there are various attractions across the UK to make this dreary, cold October night a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
Night at the museum – dose of local culture with a hint of fright
Culture junkies can definitely enjoy Halloween, as many local museums and galleries across the UK offer late openings and themed exhibitions and attractions. Just check out your local museum to see what tricks and treats they’ll have in store! These events are usually family friendly and make for a great Halloween experience in the comfort of your own city. On this occasion, the stunning Fairfax House decided to throw opening times and electricity out the window and offer a candlelit tour of the house. Lord Fairfay himself will lead you through the rooms and show you around his splendid home… even though he’s been presumed dead for centuries. You’ll have a chance to gain an insight into 18th century life in an appropriately strange and mystical atmosphere.
Tickets to this even are £14 for adults and half price for children, including refreshments. The spooky tour of the mansion will begin at 7.30pm and last until 8.45pm.
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The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford returns to the roots this year, and is putting on an exhibition on the Mexican Day of the Dead, complete with exhibitions on traditions and crafts of Mexican celebrations as well as on various customs and celebrations of the dead from across the globe. The event is limited solely to the 31st October, from 7pm – 10pm. There’s even a Halloween themed cocktail bar and chilli tasting challenge. The evening is topped off with a live band performance. So if you’re down for exploring some foreign cultures and having a blast with a blood red cocktail in hand, put on your costumes and head to Oxford and find the best hotel price in Oxford here.
Grave robbers lurking in Edinburgh Dungeon
The Edinburgh Dungeon can send a chill down your spine on a regular visit, not to mention during Halloween. This year, the Edinburgh Dungeon aims to go all out on spookiness and tricks with their brand new show Resurrectionists, running from 9th October until 1st November. This one of a kind tour through Edinburgh’s murky underground will take you to the dreary Street of Sorrows and past the infamous cannibal band of Sawney Bean, with the Green Lady watching your every step. There are numerous attractions awaiting you there, including two terrifyingly fun rides. This event contains some family friendly thrills, but if you dare to explore the Dungeon in the deep and dark October night, you can take part in the Dungeon Lates tour. Beginning with a moonlit graveyard stroll, this tour, reserved for grown ups, will take you through the Edinburgh Old Town and into the Dungeon, where you’ll have the chance to help your courage with a complimentary alcoholic shot, which I highly recommend before stepping into the gloomy depths.
The Edinburgh Dungeon is located on 2 Market Street, a short walk from Waverley Station and the city’s main attractions, with numerous buses stopping nearby. If you’re arriving in Edinburgh by car, there’s a promotion code which will get you a reduced parking fee at the Q-Park in Omni Centre! I definitely recommend snatching the tickets for your preferred date online, which will work out cheaper than buying tickets at the enterance and save you disappointment. An online family ticket is at a bargain price of just £20! The tickets for the adult-only late tour cost from £22.
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Monsters have taken over the farm – Tulleys Shocktober Fest
This event is definitely a must for every Halloween enthusiast! This spooky extravaganza measures up to the grandeur of those in the US, but is much closer and easier to reach. With special effects, scary surprises and live actors, the Tulleys Shocktober Fest is pretty surreal and guaranteed to make even the toughest zombie-slayers scream and hide. Visit the Cellar, the Colony and the Haunted House and just immerse yourself in this parade of dark creatures and monsters. The darkness might hide your terrified face, but nothing will be able to mask those screams! Apart from scares, this event serves a real festival vibe – it’s located on a farm, complete with two music stages, street theatre and some delicious snacks like burgers, noodles and hot dogs, so get your wellies on and you’re all set for a spooky festival!
The event is bound to be pretty packed, so depending on how you want to experience it, choose your dates carefully. For a more solitary experience it’s best to visit on a weekday, but if you enjoy the exciting vibe of the crowds, come at a weekend and enjoy the Shocktober Fest at it’s best and most intense. The ticket prices will also vary depending on the date, but better hurry up and book your preferred dates online to avoid disappointment. Although children over the age of 8 have to be accompanied by an adult and their access to certain attractions will be limited and you have to bear in mind that the special effects and live performances make this attraction particularly scary. You can reach the event by bus, route 84, from Crawley Bus Station and Three Bridges. Those coming by car can reach the event through the M25 and M23 from London and park their four wheels on site for free. And why not spend the night at the nearby Holiday Inn Gatwick Worth? They’re generously offering a 15% discount for Shocktober Fest visitors and late night check-ins at no extra costs!
Surrounded by monsters in the North – Manchester’s House of the Dead
Another Halloween attraction you shouldn’t miss is the brand new House of the Dead in the heart of the northern metropolis of Manchester. Monsters, horror movie sets and terrifying routes radiating with sheer panic and surprised screams – this experience will haunt you nights way into the Christmas period. Whether walking, crawling or running for your life, you’ll have to brave your way through the creepy corridors filled with the North’s most terrifying monsters. Excited already? Well, that’s not all of it. The House of the Dead also includes the beloved escape room experience. Trapped Up North includes three terrifying escape rooms. I dread to thing what happens when you don’t get out of the room in time. ;)
House of the Dead is perched in The Great Northern on Deansgate with parking available on site. It’s a short walking distance from Deansgate train station and the metro. There are many great and stylish hotels in the Manchester, so you can pick and choose where you want to stay. Depending on your budget, you can snuggle up after an day of horrors in cosy hotels like the Campanile Hotel from just £110 per night or let the more luxurious abodes like the Hotel Renaissance top your night off in style from £181.
Halloween horrors under the stars – Nomad Cinema, London
If you’re more of a couch potato than a monster-chaser and like to snuggle up watching a good movie, you should definitely check out the Nomad Cinema in London. This charity outdoor cinema will be treating you with horror classics including Beetle Juice, The Shining, The Cabin in the Woods and Psycho at the LookOut in London’s one and only Hyde Park. You can make group bookings and enjoy seeing you friends’ horrified faces and occasional screams. The dark October night skies and chilly breeze creeping down your neck will only add to the spooky Halloween feel. It’s just an experience you can’t miss!
October in Britain can be quite rainy and cold, but the screening will still take place during a light rain – the show must go on! So check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. A rug, mat or a chair to sit on, some snacks, snazzy blanket or two and a raincoat will be enough to keep you warm and cozy. If you find yourself in need of some liquid courage, alcohol is permitted on site and on-site catering is also provided. The tickets cost £27.50 – a reasonable price for such a unique experience!
Something wicked this way comes…
The Harry Potter fans better sit down for this, as I’ve saved the best for last. We’ve all seen the lavishly decorated Halloween sets in the Harry Potter films and the iconic Great Hall filled with carved pumpkins and floating candles. You now have a chance to enter the spooky world of Halloween at Hogwarts at the Warner Bros. Studios in London. Opening from 16th October until 1st November, the exclusive Dark Arts studio tour will explore the darker, thrilling scenes from the movie franchise. Explore the Malfoy Manor, take a midnight stroll through Diagon Alley and browse through the dark and cryptic wares in Borgin and Burke’s Antique Shop. Don’t forget to check out the famous Great Hall, which will be splendidly decorated for the occasion with pumpkins and cauldrons filled with tricks and treats! I’m personally really excited about the newest addition to the Studio Tours – Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express! It too, will undergo a transformation for the spooky October night – you do remember the Dementors boarding the train, right?
The Warner Bros. Studios are located 20 miles south-west of London and just under 3 miles from the M1 and M25 motorways. There’s free parking on the site where you can leave your car. The nearest train station in Watford Junction and from there you can just hop on the shuttle bus which will take only 15 minutes to bring you right to the Studios front door. A return ticket costs just £2. The nearby hotels include the Holiday Inn and Mercure London Watford Hotel offering a double room from £89. For a slightly lower budget I’d recommend the gorgeous, but located a bit further away, De Vere Venues Latimer Palace with a double room from just £62 per night. If you want to go all out for Halloween, why not complete the Harry Potter experience with a night at the luxurious Georgian House Hotel, famous for its Wizard Chambers? The price might be quite hefty – £209 or £199 per night in the Wizard and Enchanted Chambers respectively, but an overnight stay in one of these suites is bound to make your Halloween truly magical. :)
There are just so many ways to celebrate Halloween and whether it’s in your city or slightly further away, this night sure excites and terrifies many. And with such varied attractions, the memories of this year’s Halloween are bound to haunt you until next year! How are you planning to spend your Halloween? Will you spend the night running from zombies and vampires, or snuggled up on your couch watching horror movies? Leave me a comment :)