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Bumper Half Term Muddy Guide


It’s safe to peer above the parapet, here comes the bumper Muddy Half Term guide to what’s on in Somerset. It might be coming up to Halloween but not everything involves a pumpkin – we’ve got a Shark in the Park and hip-hopping dwarves, too.  There’s a day-by-day list of some of the best events, a list of places which have got stuff going on over the whole week, including few courses, and right at the end a ‘just for adults’ bit. It’s not all about you kids, you know…


Saturday 22 October

Nick Sharatt’s Shark in the Park books live on stage at The Brewhouse in Taunton. This is all three books – Shark in the Park, Shark in the Dark and Shark in the Park on a Windy Day – rolled into one fin-tastic musical show. 1.30pm &3.30pm.

A free day of music, family theatre, workshops, art installations, storytelling, food and drink to celebrate the 70th birthday of the Bridgwater Arts Centre, with presenter Laura James from Breeze radio on hand to compere the day. 10am-4pm.

Help with the annual apple harvest at Avalon Orchard – and sip freshly squeezed apple juice – at Glastonbury Tor’s orchards. 11am-3pm. Free, just turn up (also on Sun 23).

Fireworks at Sea at the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare – £5 tickets include entry to the pier and unlimited rides. Doors open 5pm; show at 6.30pm.

Shaun the Sheep will be opening a new 30,000 sq ft animal discovery barn up at Puxton Park, Congesbury.

Let the kids fill their faces with all the cheese, salami and choc samples on the stalls of the Burnham-on-Sea food festival.

Sunday 23 October

daisysaurusExplore fossils, dress up like a dinosaur, dino disco dancing and dino crafts at Dino Day at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton (10am-5pm).

Hallowe’en Fun day at the Helicopter Museum: a haunted chopper, a corridor of spiders, creepy crawly handling as well as a helicopter flight simulator or a real trip into the air (the latter is £40.50/person and you must call 01934 635227 to book). 10am-5.30pm.

Dirty Beasts and Revolting Rhymes workshop and concert from the Maynard Ensemble at the Wells Cathedral School in celebration of Roald Dahl’s 100th anniversary.

Monday 24 October

workshop_participantsMake a scary monster or creepy creature as a shadow puppet with professionals from The Armchair Puppet Theatre at Barrington Court (also Weds 26).

Patrick Lynch from CBeebies pulls the strings and turns the pages to bring the story of Pinocchio to life at the Merlin Theatre in Frome.

Tuesday 25 October


In a northern mining town during the miner’s strike of 1984/85, a young boy fights to make his dream come true as he journeys from boxing ring to ballet class – with music by Elton John. Billy Elliot is on at the Bristol Hippodrome (from now until Sat 26 November).

A little horror for your little horror: Little Frankenstein puppet show at the egg (also on Weds 26).

Giant inflatable and floats on the Olympic-sized pool at Millfield School in Street. 1.30pm-3pm. 01458 444519.

Make a willow witches hat or some willow cobwebs at Coates English Willow in Stoke St Gregory near Taunton. 10am-12 pm; 2pm-4pm. Ages 5+ Booking essential. 01823 490249.

Wednesday 26 Octoberleaves-1051937_1280Free family ‘art with leaves’ workshop at Wells Cathedral. 10am-12pm; 1pm-3pm. Short nature trails, too. 11.30am and 2.30pm. Just turn up.

Explore the Steart marshes near Bridgwater in a 4×4, visiting parts of the creek and saltmarshes not normally accessible to the public.  By arrangement from 10am. £10 per adult or £20 for whole 4×4 (max four people per trip).

Thursday 27 October

Geocaching – using GPS to find hidden clues, solve a puzzle and win prizes –  at Ham Hill Country Park (free, 1pm-3pm).

Giant inflatable and floats on the Olympic-sized pool at Millfield School in Street. 1.30pm-3pm. 01458 444519.

Celebrate Hallowe’en with the Exmoor ponies of the Exmoor Pony Centre near Dulverton (riding for aged 4+).

Friday 28 October

Giselle Poster A4

A beautiful princess, an enchanted mirror, an evil stepmother, a poisoned apple and some hip-hopping dwarves are all in the Vienna Festival Ballet’s new production of Snow White at The Brewhouse in Taunton (Fri 28 & 29 October).

Hallowe’en trail at Ninesprings (11am-2pm) or look for the Ham Hill Yeti (1.30pm-3.30pm)


Is it just me or is this genuinely scary? ‘Sleep crawling’ at the egg

Hallowe’en Theatre Sleepover at the egg (for ages 9-12), includes the ‘darkly charming’ puppet show Sleep Crawling, fantasy film Coraline, making ghoulish costumes, a night-time tour of the theatre at night and and a sleepover on the egg stage. Call the egg to book: 01225 823409.

Learn how to identify the birds visiting your garden and make a bird box to take home with the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project at the Fearne Animal Sanctuary near Chard. 10.30am-12.30pm. Free but you must book 01823 681937.

Creepy candlit tour (and more) into the depths of Gough’s Cave (home to Ice Age horse hunters and where Cheddar cheese is still matured) in Cheddar. 6pm tour (10 years+); 7.30 tour (15 years +).

Wrap up warm to watch the Backyard Cinema outdoor screening of Goosebumps (PG) at Woodlands Castle in Taunton.

Saturday 29 October

ssgb_halloween_55_580x340All aboard the Spooky Ship for a Victorian fright-fest. With the help of the Bristol Old Vic, the 173-year-old SS Great Britain comes to life for one spine-chilling evening up at the Great Western Dockyard in Bristol. With fangtastic food on the gore-met menu in the Halloween Cafe.

Families with children 13+ can solve a murder mystery up at Tyntesfield in an immersive murder mystery evening from touring theatre company The Pantaloons (includes an evening meal). Booking essential.

Drop in between 4pm-6pm on the pumpkin trail at the nature reserve RSPB Ham Wall (Sat 29 and Sun 30). You might see the incredible starling murmuration too if you’re lucky – they’re just starting to roost. For more info, call the Avalon Marshes Hotline on 07866 554142.

Sunday 30 October

Part of the Big Draw Festival – Halloween glow-in-the-dark art workshop at NT Brean Down.

A live barn barn dance and ceilidh music, fancy dress, pumpkin carving for children and adults (Iwan Wirth will be judging the adult’s extreme version), workshops and seasonal food from the Roth Bar & Grill  – all at Hauser & Wirth’s Pumpkin Festival. 10am-5pm.



Pick your own pumpkin (they’ve got thousands) to carve and decorate at the Spookly Pumpkin Festival at Farrington’s Farmshop in Farrington Gurney – plus other Halloween activities.

Come in fancy dress to get in free, carve pumpkins and go on the Ghostly Charlie Crow treasure trail – Haunted Haynes Week at the International Motor Museum.

Museums Week in Bath, masses of events in Bath’s many museums. You can download the leaflet here.

Hallowe’en fun for younger ones at Puxton Park, Congesbury .

Step inside Hestercombe’s potion laboratory to see what gruseome things line the walls and then venture into the ghastly gardens to collect the ingredients to make your own chilling concoction. Pumpkins and a Witch Hut are involved too.  10am-5pm.

Pumpkin rolling, a haunted trail and other spooky happenings at Forde Abbey near Chard.

Dragon trail around the Museum of Somerset with arts and crafts on Weds 26 and storytelling on Fri 28.

Venture down cobwebbed corridors (they really do need to get a cleaner) with spooky monsters and scary creatures entwined with Dr Who and Superheroes at the Hallowe’en Spooktacular, Montacute TV, Radio and Toy Museum – a huge xx of toys and TV memorabilia (closed Tues 27 & Weds 28).

goughs_cave_reflection_-_geograph-org-uk_-_994069Hallowe’en at the Cheddar Caves and Gorge – pumpkins, tales and a bat trail. Sat 22-Sun 30. 10.30am-5pm.

Lots of spooky stuff on at Dunster Castle this week, from creepy critters from Exmoor zoo, ghostly tours of the castle and walks in the gardens – and of course, a pumpkin trail.

Over to NT Barrington Court near Ilminster for Hallowe’en creepy creatures and scary faces trail, painting wooden pumpkins, making shadow puppets and den building.

Enter the witch’s lair in a cavern hundreds of feet below the Mendips at Wookey Hole – plus there’s a Hallowe’en circus show and a Dracula film in the 4D cinema. The Circus of Horrors is on Fri 21 and Sat 22.

Up in Wraxall, NT Tyntesfield‘s Hallowe’en fun includes pumpkin carving and lantern making.

Fed up with pumpkins? Come and meet robots, fly through the solar system and learn about the human body @Bristol instead. Check out The kinetic light sculptures in The Box,  gate a Tai Chi lesson from robot Nao and experiment with swarming Thymnio ‘bots’ – and stargaze the Autumn sky.


Sports courses: week-long, non-residential football camp at Millfield Prep in Glastonbury with the Head Coach of the Somerset Development Centre, Southampton FC. Girls and boys of all abilities welcome. Mon 24-Fri 28, 9am-4pm, £70. Swimming courses in Olympic sized pool, Mon 24-Fri 28, and hockey development courses (Mon 24 & Tues 25)  at Millfield School in Street. For more info, see Millfield Enterprises.

Create a new piece of theatre for performance at The Octagon in Yeovil. A week-long course of workshops, rehearsals and production work for 13+ with some experience in the performing arts. Mon 24-Fri 28. £50. To book contact [email protected].


laura-jurd-photo-dave-stapleton-3318Meh, those pesky children! If you don’t have ankle biters yourself or just want to do something without your heirs hanging off your ankles, check out these goodies. Rising star of the British jazz scene, award-winning trumpet player, composer and bandleader (and she’s only in her 20s, yikes) Laura Jurd is playing at the Cooper Hall, Frome on Sun 23.  The likes of Gok Wan, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Victoria Hislop and Kirsty Wark will be appearing at venues around Yeovil as part of Yeovil Literary Festival (Fri 21-Sun 23).

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset