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Peak District October half term 2023 and Autumn events

Peak District October half term 2023 and Autumn events

Looking for some spooky spectacular fun this coming Peak District October half term and over the Autumn term? Then read on…

Autumn is such a wonderful time of year anyway in the Peak District with long walks amongst Mother Nature’s rusty hues and hot chocolates in cosy pubs and cafes. And when you add in the excitement of Halloween and Bonfire Night for October half term 2023, it really does make it our favourite season in the UK’s oldest National Park.

October half term 2023 dates for schools in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and South Yorkshire are:
30th October to 3rd November

with the last school day being Friday 27th October, and most schools going back 6th November (unless there is an inset day)

From the fireworks and bonfire at Chatsworth and Eyam and the stunning displays of Matlock Bath Illuminations, to pumpkin picking and Halloween trails, there is a lot going on in an around the Peak District October half term 2023, and we’ve rounded up all the events right here for you.

As half the country in on October half term holidays the week before local schools, some Peak District attractions and businesses are holding events for the week 21st to 28th October too.

Please note that most of these Peak District October half term and autumn events need to be pre-booked, so don’t leave it too late!

Fireworks and Chatsworth

Peak District Bonfire Night and Fireworks events

Grab your wellies, woolly hat and gloves, and glow sticks, and remember, remember the 5th of November! Here are the details of Bonfire Night and Firework events in and around the Peak District this year. 

As always, we’ll be keeping this page updated as much as possible with news from these events. But also keep an eye on the Peak District Kids Facebook Group and also our Instagram for up-to-date announcements.

If you are looking for ideas for general days out, rather than specific events, please check out our guide to Family Days Out in the Peak District, which provides lots of inspiration. Also, not much beats a long family walk in the Peak District armed with hot chocolate in your flask during Autumn.

Camping this October half term? Click here to see which of our Peak District family friendly campsites are open.

1. Chatsworth Estate

From printmaking and garland-making to their epic bonfire and fireworks display, Chatsworth always put on some lovely events over the Peak District half term holidays.

Chatsworth Bonfire and fireworks

27th and 28th October, 6.00pm – 9.30pm
£19 adult, £13.50 child (age 4–16 inclusive) 

Click here to pre-book tickets

Chatsworth’s annual bonfire and fireworks in the garden is back this year with a blazing bonfire and two spectacular firework displays, including an early display for little ones. This year both evenings will be Halloween themed, with spooky entertainment and music providing ‘frightful’ fun for the whole family. You can also tuck into a selection of delicious food, from tasty hog roasts to churros and sweet treats. Round it off with a seasonal glass of mulled wine or cider – the ultimate winter warmers.

Gates open: 6.00pm
Lighting of the bonfire: 6.45pm
Children’s firework display: 7.45pm
Grand finale firework display: 8.30pm
Entertainment finishes: 9.15pm

For those wishing to make the evening even more memorable, there is the opportunity to add a delicious meal served in the Cavendish Restaurant to your bonfire and firework tickets (Adults: £49.00 | Children: £24.00). The Cavendish Restaurant will be open between 5pm and 7pm, advance bookings only.

Children’s autumn paper garlands

27th October and 3rd November (10.30am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 3pm)
£7 per child | £2.50 per adult

Click here to pre-book tickets

Using special paper folding and cutting techniques as well as a range of materials to make leaves, pumpkins and bats, children will create an autumn mobile or garland to take home.

Suitable for children ages 4+. Children must be able to use scissors and glue. Processes may require adult assistance.

Sessions will take place in the Old Potting Shed in the garden. Please park in the main car park – parking is included with your ticket – before meeting a member of the learning team at the top garden entrance next to the Stables 5 minutes before the session starts. Please have your booking confirmation ready. 

Children’s printmaking

23rd and 31st October (10.30am to 12pm)
£7 per child | £2.50 per adult

Click here to pre-book tickets

Discover monoprinting – a one-off technique that uses a flat plate and ink to transfer a unique design onto a sheet of paper. Use images provided or create your own design to produce an autumn inspired print, while experimenting with collage that can be overlaid to produce fantastic colourful images.  

Suitable for children ages 4+. Workshops involve processes that may require adult assistance. We will be using water-based printmaking inks which can get messy – please wear suitable clothing and/or bring an old t-shirt or apron.

2. Halloween half term fun at Heights of Abraham

26th to 31st October
Click here for our Height of Abraham review

Take an exciting cable car flight to the ‘Frights’ of Abraham this October half term for a day filled with frightful family fun!

The Halloween Grotto returns for its third year, this time it’s spookier than ever before! Join Belinda Broomsticks the world-famous witch, and widely renowned monster hunter from the 21st to 31st October. Young adventurers are invited to help Belinda on the ultimate quest to collect ingredients for her latest potion, by capturing… a troll! Head deep into the troll’s creepy cavern lair and see what mischief awaits…

The ‘Monster Mission’ Halloween Grotto is suitable for children aged 3-10 and includes a gift for every child. The twenty-minute experience is an additional cost of £4.50 and includes a theatrical performance inside the Rutland Cavern at the Heights of Abraham, with lighting, sound, and special effects. Tickets for the Halloween Grotto are limited, and it is advised to book in advance as previous grottos have sold out!

Frights of Abraham

Elsewhere on the 60-acre hilltop estate, a Halloween i-spy trail is available for everyone to take part in. Children (and fun-loving adults) are invited to find items that Belinda Broomsticks has lost around the estate. She needs them to make a special potion in time for Halloween! Collect your free trail sheet at the ticket office with your cable car tickets.

Across the ‘Frights of Abraham’ the Spooky Pumpkin Scarecrows are out on display, dressed to impress! Enjoy a warm hot chocolate at the hilltop park whilst the kids let loose on the adventure play areas. With indoor exhibitions and yellow, orange and red woodland walks, enjoy the beauty of Autumn from high above Matlock Bath.

3. Cave Cinema at Peak Cavern

26th to 31st October
Click here to pre book tickets

This Halloween in the Peak District, The Village Screen are returning to the spectacular Peak Cavern (aka “The Devil’s Arse”) in Castleton for a spooktacular cinema experience. Classic Halloween films are being screened over the Peak District October half term, alongside delicious take-away food options, a drinks delivery service inside the cave, DJ entertainment and epic décor. 

Unfortunately this year, there are no U certified films for all the family. There is one PG-rated film (Hocus Pocus on Saturday 28th October) and one 12A-rated film (The Addams Family n Sunday 29th October)

4. Matlock Farm Park’s Halloween Festival!

21st to 31st October
Click here to purchase online tickets although you can just turn up on the day
Check out our review of Matlock Farm Park

Over October Half Term, get involved in some spooky goings on at Matlock Farm Park! Activities include:

  • Pumpkin patch for children and grown-ups to pick their own pumpkin using. Carve at the carving station or take home. A small charge applies to pumpkin picking.
  • A daily spooky train to follow in the enchanted forest, with prop based sets and riddles galore.
  • From Wednesday 25th to Tuesday 31st October, there will also be brilliant live fun (not scary!) Halloween characters to meet on your way through the spooky trail at set times of the day. They’ll be pottering around the park too to meet with visitors and even offering a broomstick flying workshop.
  • Daily Witch Wedolyn’s Craft Workshops in the Ark for the children, so they can take goodies home.
  • Matlock’s legendary Headless Horseman will be making an appearance late afternoon as the light goes down.
  • On the spot prizes for best fancy dress!

There will be also all the usual animal delights of Matlock Farm Park too, including Sheep Racing, Small Animal Petting, Meerkat Talks, Wallaby Encounters & Ferret Racing, as well as our daily Pony Rides (small extra fee) for children.

Lots of opportunity to play too, including the fabulous covered Enchanted Hamlet multi-zone play area, marvellous indoor playcentre The Rainforest and outdoor Jumping Pillow!

5. Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock

Every weekend in October, and then every day from 28th October to 3rd November (10:30am to 4pm)
Click here to purchase online tickets
Check out our
tips for Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock

Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock will celebrate the spookiest season of the year with a family festival of fun and frights.

Highlights include exploring the creepy cave, entering the haunted house, joining Gully’s Halloween Show and hopping aboard the Silver Mine ride. In addition, mini zombies and little witches can showcase their fancy dress in the spine-tingling street parade or delve deep into the resort to discover hair-raising rides.

Guests can extend the fun with a Spooky Sleepover from a selection of unique themed accommodation such as a Pirate Suite, Princess Suite or Wind in the Willows inspired options.

Check out our top tips for visiting Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock and if you’re planning to spend more time in Matlock, our guide for things to do in Matlock and Matlock Bath.

6. Matlock Bath Illuminations

9th September to 29th October 2022 (Saturdays and Sundays only)
Fireworks finales every October Saturday and the final night, 29 October.
Click here for more information
Click here to book tickets – they are on sale now and sell out quickly!

Every year between September and October, the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders’ Association decorate their boats with an array of coloured lights and parade them along the River Derwent for the Matlock Bath Illuminations. Thousands of people line the banks of the river in Derwent Gardens, giving a carnival atmosphere to this unique display.

Matlock Bath Illuminations

This annual tradition has been going for since 1897 years, and the firework displays are fantastic!

This is a ticketed event; £7.50 for adults on firework nights and £6.50 on non-firework nights if booked online. Kids under 16 are free. Your ticket gets you entry into Derwent Gardens (the only place where you can view the illuminations) where entertainment will take place throughout the night including jugglers, fire shows, brass bands and children’s activities.

7. Autumn Fun at Crich Tramway Village

30th October to 3rd November
Gates open: 10am and close at 4.30pm (last admissions 3.00pm).
Click here for more information

Join in the half term activities with Autumn Fun at Crich Tramway Village:

  • Ghostly family theatre show for Halloween with ‘Notice this Notice Theatre Company’ on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Puppet shows with Pinxton Puppets Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Climb aboard our tram for storytelling on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Woodies Wings Owls and Parrots, plus Face Painting and Crafts each day.

No need to pre-book, you can pay on arrival. Visitors with return ticket can use them for this event.

8. Scarefest at Alton Towers

7th to 8th October, and 13th – 31st October
Click here to pre-book tickets.

As the nights get longer, Scarefest beckons. On October’s spookiest dates, tiptoe into Alton Towers Resort for all sorts of creepy scares and shocks as its award-winning Scarefest returns for 2023 with live entertainment for all ages and the award-winning spooktacular scare experiences for the bravest of souls.

Open until 9pm each day daring guests can face head-spinning, hair-raising rides and attractions in darkness including Wicker Man and The Smiler! 

An Alton Towers visit fits nicely into a family holiday to the National Park, and is certainly an enticing end-of-the-holiday reward after all those family walks. However, if your kids are between the ages of 6-9 (where they’ve outgrown CBeebies and are too small for Nemesis), we recommend reading our guide to visiting Alton Towers with kids as their height will depend on how much they get out of it; 140cm is the magic height for all rides at Alton Towers.

9. Carsington Halloween Trail

28th October to 5th November (10am to 5pm)
No booking required.

Click here for more information

Trick or treat yourself with a spooktacular Halloween trail for all the family to enjoy at beautiful Carsington Water!

Willow the Witch has left a trail of questions for you with clues hidden in the Halloween scenes. Collect your spooky trail sheet from reception in the Visitor Centre to start your Halloween adventure. Follow the route and find the answers to her questions; don’t despair, clues will be there! Once you’ve completed the trail, head back for a prize (non-dairy prizes available).

Don’t be afraid to dress up for this unmissable Halloween event.

Combine your visit with a bike ride around Carsington Water or follow the pram friendly loop walk.

10. Frightful Folklore Trail at Ilam Park National Trust

28th October to 5th November (10:30am – 14:30pm)
Trail £2 (cash preferred), no booking required
Click here for more info

Be inspired by local legends and stories and create your own frightful folklore as you explore Ilam Park this Peak District October half term.

To start your trail, go to the second-hand bookshop in the stableyard at Ilam Park.

The route involves some short slopes and uneven terrain.

You may want to check out our pram-friendly Ilam Park walk, or perhaps combine your visit with our Dovedale Stepping Stones walk or Thorpe Cloud walk.

11. Longshaw Spooky Lantern Walk

21st, 23rd, 28th and 30th October (1pm-2:45pm and 2pm-3:45pm)
Booking essential (adults £3, children £6)
Click here for more info

Create and decorate your own lantern and use it to light your way through the spooky woods, led by a mysterious guide with some tall tales to tell.

Ghoulish treats and spooky snacks included for all parents, children and little monsters!

Booking is essential. Adult (Walk and refreshments) £3. Child (Lantern, walk and refreshments) £6.

12. Halloween week at Thornbridge Gardens and Café

21st October to 5th November (10am to 4pm)
Click here for more information

Thornbridge Hall and Gardens  have a fun-packed half-term of Spooktacular activities planned, including:

  • Fancy-dress Halloween trail
  • Freaky food!
  • Fun workshops for kids…and big kids
  • Pumpkin patch 28th & 29th October

Workshops and pumpkin patch are an additional charge with garden entry included in the ticket price. Access to the garden trail and other kids activities are included with garden entry tickets. Pre-book to save 20%

13. Village Pumpkins PYO

Every weekend in October, then everyday (weekdays & weekends) from Monday 16th October (9am to 5pm)
£3 per person over 12 for entry (under 12s are free)
Click here to book tickets online (new for this year!)

The only place in the Peak District that offers pumpkin picking (and technically it’s a mile outside of the National Park boundary) is Village Pumpkins Barlow, just on the eastern edge of the Peak District. Entry is free and you just pay for your pumpkins.

What can you expect from your visit? Read this.

Village Pumpkins PYO has got very popular in recent years, so an online booking system has been introduced this year to ensure the patch doesn’t get too busy. Indeed at weekends, it is ticket booking only. You cannot gain access without a ticket. During the week (Monday to Friday) no booking are necessary, but there will be an entrance fee on arrival.

Entry tickets are £3 and include:

  • Car parking & entry to farm
  • Entry to the pumpkin patch
  • Farm animals to see
  • A fleet of wheelbarrows for you to use.  To help you choose your perfect pumpkins from over 30 different varieties! 
  • Sit on tractors
  • Photo opportunities
  • Colouring sheets for children
  • Picnic area with benches & grass to sit on
  • Our hay bale slide is staying for our pumpkin event! Along with tunnels & Sheldon the Snail 🐌

Please note that your ticket does not include a pumpkin.

There are also pop-up food vendors throughout the season (not available everyday)

If you are based in or around the South of the Peak District, then Pumpkin Corner, near Ashbourne is your best bet.

14. Lego build sessions at Brick Corner, Buxton

28th October to 3rd November
Click here for session details and to book online

If your kids are Lego fans, then a visit to the family-run Brick Corner café in Buxton is an absolute must. Here there are boxes galore of Lego for your kids to play with and let their imaginations go wild, whilst parents sit back with a coffee and slice of cake in peace (although by all means, there are no age limits if parents want to get involved!)

Brick Corner café

And over the Derbyshire October half term, there are Lego robotic and coding sessions to get involved in. These are 90 mins (approx.) sessions where kids follow a guided Lego build, and then code their build to move!

This is one of our top things to do in Buxton with kids.

15. Family Rock Climbing and Weaselling Adventure Day 

Click here to book

Join Peak Lines for a day of adventure! Kick things off with a morning of family rock rock climbing and an abseiling session, followed by an afternoon of weaselling.

Wondering what weaselling is? It’s all about squeezing, crawling, and exploring boulders, perfect for kids who love exploring hidden caves and gaps!

For a full day of fun, it’s just £220 for up to 6 people. If you prefer a half day, it’s available too, at £150 for up to 6 adventurers.

16. LEVEL Centre

Explore digital creations at the LEVEL Centre, Rowsley. There are three exhibitions over the October half term holidays. Entry is free, but please book in advance.

Please note that LEVEL Centre is only open Monday to Friday and closed at weekends.

The Big Draw

28th October 2023 (11am-3pm)
Click here for more information

The Big Draw Festival is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can’t! You will be exploring ‘Drawing with Senses’ as this year’s theme. Find some inner calm by sketching zentangles, share your best qualities with a hand portrait or create an alien with all kinds of senses – get your imagination and your pens working!

Water Portals

8 Sept – 5 Jan 2024
Click here for more information

Explore an interactive digital journey into the microscopic world of water with the brand new exhibition, Water Portals. Discover the beautiful microbes that live in our rivers, lakes and oceans, and understand the crucial roles they play in creating a healthy world.

Be Happy With Who You Are

8 Sept – 5 Jan 2024
Click here for more information

A joint visual art project between Level and Little Canyon Collective from Wirksworth, exploring the concept of being happy with who you are and what happiness can look like. 

17. Shine a Light, Cromford Mills

Thursday 26th and Friday 27th October, 6 – 9pm
Click here to book for Thursday
Click here to book for Friday

Be captivated as Shine A Light transforms the historic Cromford Mills with a brand-new audio-visual display reflecting on the Mill’s transformation and rebirth since Arkwright’s time, through fire, paint, poison and hydropower. Celebrating the return of waterpower, today’s community and the remarkable nature the wider UNESCO world heritage site the show is not to be missed.

18. Skylarks Musical Nature Trails 

23rd October, at 9:30am – 10.45am and 11.15am-12.30pm
Hope Valley Icecream, Thorpe Farm, S32 1BQ
£7 (snack included)
Click here for more information and to book

A unique outdoor music group for babies and young children (approx 0-3yrs) and their grown up in the form of a short walk (half a mile) at Hope Valley Icecream farmyard and surrounding fields led by Laura.

Farm, tractor and animal songs, enhancing props and musical instruments, autumn and weather songs, lullabies, knee bouncers and songs to encourage physical movement! The lovely little café sells food drinks and Hope valley ice cream at the farm which is well earned after the session!  

19. FUSE Festival in Buxton

Sat 28th Oct to Sun 29th Oct, 10am start, duration 7 hours
Various locations across Buxton

For ages 12-18 (School years 7-13)
£15 (day tickets) weekend ticket £20
Click here for more information and to book

Join Platform 3’s first ever Youth Theatre Festival! Lined up is an exciting programme of theatre practitioners who will inspire, challenge, and encourage you to take part and try something new.

On the Saturday, kids will be split into groups and will take part in three workshops throughout the day giving them the chance to try different art forms and work alongside other young people who love theatre as much as them!

On Sunday kids will be split into three groups and will be assigned one of three professional directors/theatre makers who will work with them to create a short piece of theatre for a sharing on the Opera House stage at the end of the festival.

Kids will have the chance to develop devising, ensemble, and performance skills in a safe space where they can share ideas, explore new ways of working and push the possibilities of what can be created.

Groups will be split evenly between artists. Please note if booking multiple tickets, there is no guarantee that friends/family members will be placed in the same group. Artists to be announced soon!

20. Model Stage, Set and Lighting Workshop in Buxton

Mon 30th October (2pm) and Tues 31th Oct (10am & 2pm), duration 3 hours
Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton
For ages 12-18 (School years 7-13)
Click here for more information and to book

Join a collaboration between the Buxton Opera House’s Technical Department and Not Just Bricks (Buxton’s STEM Activity Provider) to experiment with a model of the Opera House stage built from the world’s most popular construction bricks and the chance to light a set of your own design.

Build a model set, light it with a professional lighting desk and record the result on your phone. Ask questions, experiment, build and learn with the support of our Technical Department and Dave from Not Just Bricks.

Please bring a mobile device with you that you can record on. Once you have purchased a ticket, you will be sent a participant form to complete before the workshop date.

21. TrYumphant October Holiday Camp

Monday 30th Oct – Friday 3rd November
Baslow Sports Field
£29.75 per day
Click here for more information and to book

Join the TrYumphants for their ever-varied mixture of creativity and creepiness, movement and messiness, sports and spookiness!

Use code PDK10 to get 10% off or FSM to get 50% if you qualify for free school meals based on benefits.

22. Drive-in Halloween Movies at Hopton Hall, nr Carsington Water

Friday 27th and Saturday 28th October
£30 + fees Price Per Car – Max 5 people
Click here for more information and to book

A Halloween experience like no other in the spectacular gardens of Hopton Hall near Carsington Water. There is a café and food truck on site selling everything from popcorn, candy floss and toffee apples to a full menu provided by Bear’s Street Food trucks. Hot and cold drinks as well as alcohol are available.

They are showing two classic Halloween movies each night at 17:00 and 20:30. With a state-of-the-art audio system, you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. Tune in to the designated radio frequency and let the spooky atmosphere engulf you.

So mark your calendars, gather your loved ones, dress up if you like and prepare for a Halloween event you won’t soon forget! Book your spot now and get ready to scream, laugh, and enjoy the Drive in Halloween Movie at Hopton Hall!

Friday 27th October
17:00 – Hocus Pocus – Earliest Arrival, 16:00
20:30 – Ghostbusters – Earliest Arrival, 19:30

Saturday October 28th
17:00 – Coco – Earliest Arrival, 16:30
20:30 – Rocky Horror Show – Earliest Arrival, 19:30

So that everyone can see the screen, vans, minibuses or high sided vehicles are not allowed.

This article is kept regular up-to-date with Peak District October half term and Autumn events. If there is an event happening that you know about and isn’t listed here, please email us.