10 ideas for outdoor things to do in England this autumn 2020
Autumn is generally an awkward time to try to keep the kids entertained. The weather in England can be so changeable that we rarely leave the house without full on waterproofs and wellies, even if it is only to get us between the car and the entrance to whatever place we are visiting. Add a pandemic to the mix and everyone is looking for outdoor things to do in England this autumn.
So, what can families do to keep socially distanced and comply with the latest government guidelines while still having fun whatever the weather?
Read on for my ideas for fun outdoor things to do in England this autumn.
Please be aware that events and activities in 2020 are subject to change. Always check with the venue before you travel as advance booking may be required and closures may happen at short notice.
1. Halloween events near you in 2020
My girls have been talking about Halloween since about May – nearly as early as Christmas! This, and October half term, is the highlight of their autumn.
I’ve explained that we probably won’t be trick or treating this year but there are some outdoor events happening around the country that will allow us to dust off our witches outfits.
Here’s some round ups of events happening in different parts of the UK:
- Halloween and half term in Bristol
- Halloween events in Devon
- October half term events in the Peak District and Derbyshire
- Halloween in London with kids
- Pumpkin patches in Scotland
- Halloween in Surrey
- Halloween events in the West Midlands
- Halloween events in West Yorkshire
- Halloween events around the UK
- More Halloween days out in the UK
I’ve also written about what to do in our home county of Devon this Autumn if you are visiting the area.
2. Head to the coast
England has thousands of miles of coastline to explore and visiting it doesn’t just mean sitting on a beach.
Walk a stretch of the coast path, visit a picturesque harbour town, go crabbing or book a water sports lesson with a coastal adventure company. Yes, it is still possible to get in the water around the English coastline in the autumn. We’ll be using our paddle boards for as long as we can.
Visiting a beach is one of our go to outdoor things to do in England. My girls love a beach day and want to get in the water whatever the temperature.
If you have water babies too then always go prepared with a towel and a change of clothes. I’d also recommend a flask of something hot and a wet suit!
If you are looking for holiday destinations by the coast, here’s some that would be great for an October half term break.
3. Try a high ropes course
High ropes courses are a great family activity to do outdoors in the autumn. In 2020 lots of courses staying open on the weekends and school holidays right up until December.
We love the exhilaration of high ropes and have been doing them with the kids since they were a few years old. The youngest kids can to do courses in England is usually around three – that’s when we first took Baby to Go Ape.
The rules are actually more about your child’s height than their age and they must be able to understand instructions. Check with with your high ropes course when you book.
4. Outdoor things to so in England this autumn: a woodland adventure
Treat yourselves to lungfuls of fresh air with a woodland walk. We particularly like woodlands and forests that come with adventure trails, family-friendly cycle paths and a good cafe.
Forestry England sites are brilliant for this. Find your local Forestry England woodland or forest.
If you fancy something a bit more frightful around Halloween, English Heritage is conjuring up six spooky woodland walks suitable for five to 12-year-olds taking place at Audley End, Belsay Hall, Walmer Castle, Brodsworth Hall, Witley Court and Wrest Park from 29 to 31 October 2020. Don’t forget to book in advance.
5. See stars in a National Park
Fun after dark can happen a lot earlier in the day during the autumn months, so why not try a bit of stargazing with your kids? Of course you can do this anywhere where light pollution is low. But the very best spots are England’s remote National Parks.
Here’s where to find them:
- The Broads
- Lake District
- New Forest
- North York Moors
- Peak District
- South Downs
- Yorkshire Dales
These are also superb places to go for an autumnal walk in the day time.
6. Outdoor things to so in England this autumn: outdoor theatre
Outdoor theatre and performances are going ahead this autumn. I’ll add to this list as I spot events. Please get in touch if you know of more.
A historical reenactment at Battle
Relive the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex with a visit to Battle where there will be a 30 minute open air performance on 10 and 11 October 2020. There’s also a new, specially-created trail across the battlefield to learn more about what happened during the conflict and what life was like during the eleventh century.
Find out more on the English Heritage website.
7. Let loose at an adventure playground
Let the kids scramble, climb and ‘wheee’ their way around an adventure playground this autumn. Bring coffee and don’t forget the spare clothes for those wet slide moments.
Below are some adventure playgrounds that come highly recommended by followers of Tin Box Traveller on Facebook.
Please check whether you need to book your day out in advance to avoid disappointment!
- Heartlands in Redruth, Cornwall
- Tatton Park in Knutsford, Cheshire
- Chatsworth House in the Peak District, Derbyshire
- Geoplay Park in Paignton, Devon
- River Dart Country Park in Ashburton, Devon
- Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest, Hampshire
- Hever Castle in Hever, Kent
- Bedgebury in Goudhurst, Kent
- Belton House in Grantham, Lincolnshire
- Holkham Hall in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
- Bewilderwood in Norwich, Norfolk
- Pensthorpe Natural Park in Fakenham, Norfolk
- Godstone Farm in Godstone, Surrey
- Sandwell Valley Country Park in West Bromwich, West Midlands
- Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire
- Bowood House in Calne, Wiltshire
- Wilton House in Wilton, Wiltshire
- Castle Howard in York, Yorkshire
If your favourite adventure playground in England is missing from this list, let me know and I’ll add it.
8. Meet animals outdoors at a farm park
Could there be a more outdoorsy thing to do in England than visit a farm? Many are open this autumn but pre-booking is essential.
Here’s some farm parks that are open this autumn:
- Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, Avon – open weekends and school holidays until November 2020
- Gullivers Dinosaur and Farm Park, Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire – open weekends and school holidays until November 2020
- Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire – open all year round
- Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, Newquay, Cornwall – open all year round
- Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire – open until the end of September 2020
- Lakeland Maze Farm Park, Kendal, Cumbria – open weekends in September and first weekend in October 2020
- Matlock Farm Park, Matlock, Derbyshire – open all year round
- Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon – the farm is releasing tickets in blocks each week
- Farmer Palmers, Poole, Dorset – open daily until the start of October 2020
- Down on the Farm, Houghton Le Spring, Durham – open weekends and school holidays in 2020
- Barleylands Farm Park, Billericay, Essex – open until 20 September 2020
- Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park, Gloucestershire – open until 20 September 2020
- Lancaster Park and Animal Farm, Greater Manchester – open Friday to Sunday until 9 October and then daily until 9 November 2020
- Newbridge Farm Park, Ledbury, Herefordshire – open Friday and Saturdays (tickets released weekly)
- Willows Activity Farm, St Albans, Hertfordshire – open weekends until 4 October 2020
- Butser Ancient Farm, Waterlooville, Hampshire – open until 30 September 2020
- Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, Ipswich Suffolk – open every day until 9 December, 2020
- Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight – open daily
- Kent Life, Maidstone, Kent – open daily until 1 November 2020
- Smiths Open Farm, Bolton, Lancashire – open all year round
- Gorse Hill City Farm, Leicester, Leicestershire – open all year round
- Tattershall Farm Park, Lincolnshire – open all year round
- Hall Farm Park, South Kelsey, Lincolnshire – open daily until 29 September 2020
- Church Farm Wirral, Merseyside – open Wednesday to Sunday in September and Wednesday to Friday in October 2020
- Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Norfolk – open until 1 November 2020
- Whitehouse Farm Centre, Morpeth, Northumberland – open Tuesday to Sunday until the end of October 2020
- Farmer Gow’s Activity Farm, Farringdon, Oxfordshire – open weekends until early October 2020
- Rutland Farm Park, Oakham, Rutland – open all year round
- Hoo Farm, Telford, Shropshire – open until 23 December 2020
- Windmill Hill City Farm, Bristol, Somerset – open all year round
- Lower Drayton Farm, Penkridge, Staffordshire – open all year round
- Fishers Farm Park, Brighton, East Sussex – open until the end of September 2020
- Cholderton Charlies, Salisbury, Wiltshire – open on selected dates throughout the autumn
- Piglets Adventure Farm, York, North Yorkshire – open selected dates until 1 November 2020 and for Christmas events
- Aston Springs Farm, Rotherham, South Yorkshire – open all year round
9. Visit a zoo or safari park
England’s zoos are open all year round and need your support to continue their conservation work and caring for their creatures. Please check opening times in advance and book your tickets before travelling.
Here’s where to find a zoo near you:
- Woburn Safari Park in Woburn, Bedfordshire
- ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire
- Chester Zoo in Upton-by-Chester, Cheshire
- Newquay Zoo in Newquay, Cornwall
- South Lakes Safari Zoo in Ulverston, Cumbria
- Paignton Zoo in Paignton, Devon
- Dartmoor Zoo in Sparkwell, Devon
- Exmoor Zoo in Barnstaple, Devon
- Colchester Zoo in Colchester, Essex
- New Forest Wildlife Park in Ashurst, Hampshire
- Marwell Zoo in Winchester, Hampshire
- Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire
- Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown, Isle of Wight
- Blackpool Zoo in Blackpool, Lancashire
- ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park, London
- Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in Battersea, London
- Knowsley Safari in Prescot, Merseyside
- Banham Zoo in Banham, Norfolk
- Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens in Burford, Oxfordshire
- Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Somerset
- Bristol Zoo in Bristol, Somerset
- Wild Place Project in Bristol, Somerset
- Twycross Zoo in Atherstone, Warwickshire
- Dudley Zoological Gardens in Dudley, West Midlands
- Longleat Safari Park in Warminster, Wiltshire
- West Midlands Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire
- Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, Yorkshire
10. Visit a National Trust garden or English Heritage site
The National Trust has been reopening its parklands and gardens over the summer and many will be extending their usual opening times over the autumn.
Some properties are also now offering limited and time controlled access to their country houses. Search and book your National Trust day out this autumn.
The majority of English Heritage sites have now reopened and many have lots of outdoor space for you to enjoy with your family this autumn. Here are the ones with the most outdoor space around England. Booking ahead is essential.
If your kids are looking forward to Halloween they will love a visit one of English Heritage’s creepy castles that will be open in October.
So there’s 10 ideas and hundreds of suggestions for outdoor things to do in England this autumn. What takes your fancy?
If you are interested in planning further ahead in 2020 take a look at my post about Christmas events happening in the UK this year.
Planning your autumn days out? Why not save this post about things to do this autumn on Pinterest.