10 ideas for outdoor things to do in England this autumn 2021
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. If you’re looking for outdoor things to do in England this autumn I’ve got some ideas for you.
1. Halloween events near you in 2021
My girls start talking about Halloween in about May – nearly as early as Christmas! This, and October half term, is the highlight of their autumn.
As well as trick or treating but there are 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.
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 do in England this autumn: outdoor theatre
Outdoor theatre and performances are super atmospheric at this time of year. 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.
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
- Gullivers Dinosaur and Farm Park, Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire – open weekends and school holidays until November
- 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
- Lakeland Maze Farm Park, Kendal, Cumbria – open weekends in September and first weekend in October
- Matlock Farm Park, Matlock, Derbyshire – open all year round
- Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon – open until the end of November
- Farmer Palmers, Poole, Dorset – open daily until the start of October
- Down on the Farm, Houghton Le Spring, Durham – open weekends and school holidays
- Barleylands Farm Park, Billericay, Essex – open until the end of September
- Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park, Gloucestershire – open until the end of September
- Lancaster Park and Animal Farm, Greater Manchester – open until the end of October
- Newbridge Farm Park, Ledbury, Herefordshire – open Friday and Saturdays
- Willows Activity Farm, St Albans, Hertfordshire – open weekends until the start of October
- Butser Ancient Farm, Waterlooville, Hampshire – open until the end of September
- Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, Ipswich Suffolk – open every day until the start of December
- Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight – open daily
- Kent Life, Maidstone, Kent – open daily until the end of October
- 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 the end of September
- Church Farm Wirral, Merseyside – open until the end of October
- Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Norfolk – open until the end of October
- Whitehouse Farm Centre, Morpeth, Northumberland – open until the end of October
- Farmer Gow’s Activity Farm, Farringdon, Oxfordshire – open weekends until early October
- Rutland Farm Park, Oakham, Rutland – open all year round
- Hoo Farm, Telford, Shropshire – open until Christmas
- 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
- Cholderton Charlies, Salisbury, Wiltshire – open on selected dates throughout the autumn
- Piglets Adventure Farm, York, North Yorkshire – open selected dates until November 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 take a look at my post about Christmas events happening in the UK this year and the best places to find egg hunts and Easter trails in England and Wales.
Find more days out in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in my big round up of 101 UK attractions for families.
Planning your autumn days out? Why not save this post about things to do this autumn on Pinterest.