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Fantastic Half Term Activities in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Family

Take the kids on an adventure the whole family will enjoy this half term.

Sarah and Duck's Big Top Birthday

Wondering how you’ll keep the kids entertained during the school holidays? Fear not, because there are loads of family activities in Leeds this half term…

The October half term is nearly here, and there are a host of events taking place all across Leeds that will help keep the little ones entertained during the school holidays. From family-friendly theatre to eye dissections, arty workshops and life-sized dinosaurs, there’s absolutely loads to do. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your half term adventures.

Jurassic Kingdom

Jurassic Kingdom

One of the highlights of this half term indsaraah Leeds is Jurassic Kingdom. Temple Newsam is set for a dinosaur invasion in October with 30 animatronic dinos taking over the estate. You can get up close and personal with them on an hour long trail as part of the UK’s first ever outdoor dinosaur experience. Look out for their moving eyes, wagging tails and huge roars, with dinosaur documentaries to watch and a visual reality experience to check out as you go.

Jurassic Kingdom takes over Temple Newsam from Friday 13th until Sunday 29th October 2017.

High School Musical

What better way to start the school holidays than with an evening of singing and dancing as The Northern Youth Theatre bring their take on High School Musical to Leeds. You’ll join Troy, Gabriella and the students of East High on the first day back after the Christmas break when auditions open for the new school show – watch as they attempt to balance their classes and rehearsals with first loves, friends and family.

High School Musical comes to Carriageworks from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st October 2017.

The Halloween Adventure

Halloween at Stockeld Park

If you’re looking for some Halloween activities this half term, Stockeld Park will do the trick. Its Halloween Adventure will turn the massive estate into a spooky extravaganza. You can don Nordic skis as you make your way through the Illuminated Enchanted Forest and head off on a scary woodland trail. They also have a couple of special events on this year – check out Eerie Science and Witches in the Forest. For older kids, they also offer a series of seriously scary haunted house activities in Fright Nights – are you up for The Farm House, The Cabin and A Dead End?

The Halloween Adventure takes place at Stockeld Park from Friday 20th until Tuesday 31st October 2017.

Scareycrows Festival


Every year, without fail, the Leeds suburb of Calverley is transformed for its Scareycrows Festival and this year it falls during the school holidays. Take a day trip and hunt out every scarecrow that’s dotted around the village, whether it’s in someone’s front garden or sticking out in the churchyard. This year, the scarecrows are inspired by songs, but you’ll find the more traditional ones here too. Look out for the pumpkin growing competition and scarerow making workshops they’ve got lined up.

Scareycrows Festival takes place across Calverley from Saturday 21st until Tuesday 31st October 2017.

Spooky Scarecrow Trail

Scarecrow trail at Lotherton Hall

It’s a popular annual attraction in the run up to Halloween and the Spooky Scarecrow Trail is back at Lotherton Hall during half term. The entire Leeds country house and gardens will be taken over by a slew of spooky scarecrows, and your job is to find every one. On arrival, you’ll get a pile of clues to take you around the whole place. But that’s not the only way to keep the kids entertained, they’ve also got a Witches’ Cottage and you’re encouraged to show up in your best fancy dress.

Spooky Scarecrow Trail comes to Lotherton Hall from Saturday 21st October until Sunday 5th November 2017.

Eye Dissection Workshops

Thackray Medical Museum

Thackray Medical Museum are getting all gory with their half term activities this month. Their Eye Dissection Workshops will see you working with an expert who’ll show you how to dissect an eye, helping you to understand how the images we see are created. You’ll find out about each part of the eye, from the lens to the cornea, iris, optic nerve and retina. By the end of it all, you’ll know about the blind spot, why we blink, the purpose of tears and how to look after your eyes.

Eye Dissection Workshops takes place at Thackray Medical Museum from Monday 23rd until Friday 27th October 2017.

The Ugly Duckling

Ugly Duckling

Credit: Martin Bell

Northern Ballet’s incredibly popular show, The Ugly Duckling, is making its come back during the half term holidays with its first shows since 2013. The 40 minute, family-friendly show breathes new life into Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale about a duckling who believes she’s too ugly to fit in. As she tries to make friends with frogs, cats and foxes, she goes on an amazing journey to overcome her problems – and you can go along with her.

The Ugly Duckling takes place at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre from Monday 23rd until Saturday 28th October 2017.

Otley Molecular Trail

Now, this is a fun way spend a day during the school holidays. The Otley Molecular Trail will see you hunting out 15 different molecules that are hidden around Otley with the help of your tour guide. When you’ve ticked off all 15, all you need to do is return it to the Courthouse and every one will be gathered up for a special prize draw to win a molecule modelling kit – the winner will be drawn at the Otley Science Fair in November.

Otley Molecular Trail starts at Otley Courthouse from Monday 23rd October until Thursday 9th November 2017.

Day at the Museum: Bones

Deer at leeds City Museum

Got budding scientists in the house? Take them to Leeds City Museum during the half term. The Day at the Museum: Bones Workshop will see them don their white lab coats and get hands-on with a bunch of cool CSI activities that even you grown ups can get involved in. You’ll find out about excavated skeletons and study the human body, before going on a time travellers’ quest around the museum with the chance to be entered into a prize draw.

Day at the Museum: Bones takes place at Leeds City Museum on Tuesday 24th October 2017.

Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday

BAFTA Award-winning CBeebies show Sarah and Duck is coming to Leeds with a brand new stage show this half term. Big Top Birthday blends puppetry, storytelling and music to take you on a magical adventure as the duo are joined by The Ribbon Sisters, The Shallots, Falmingo & John and Umbrella to plan a special birthday party for Scarf Lady in their garden.

Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th October 2017.

Blood, Guts and Ghosts

Royal Armouries, Leeds

Since its that time of year, Royal Armouries have a week of gruesome activities and gory tales in store for the school holidays. Blood, Guts and Ghosts is a perfect Halloween-themed treat. You’ll help their ghost hunters to rid the museum of the forces of darkness, as well as having a go at pumpkin carving and trying out their animation workshops. There’s more – The Surgeon needs a hand as he performs operations and there are pumpkin paper crafts for little kids.

Blood, Guts and Ghosts takes place at Royal Armouries from Tuesday 24th October until Wednesday 1st November 2017.

Time Machine

Clock at Leeds City Museum

Spend a day at Leeds City Museum to make the most of their half term activities. Time Machine will get you imagining what it’s like to step into an actual time machine and arrive in a different era. You’ll visit their craft area to build your own time machine, before travelling around the museum on their special time travellers’ quest.

Time Machine comes to Leeds City Museum on Wednesday 25th October 2017.

Spooky Tour and Beastly Beasts

Leeds Discovery Centre

This half term, Leeds Discovery Centre is opening up its doors with a Halloween-themed day of fun. The Spooky Tour and Beastly Beasts kicks off with a family-friendly workshop, which is followed by a tour of the centre. On the tour, you’ll use battery-powered candles to investigate the activities of the museum monsters. The little ones are encouraged to dress up for their day out.

Spooky Tour and Beastly Beasts takes place at Leeds Discovery Centre on Wednesday 25th October 2017.

The Clean as Possible Comedy Show

Rob Rouse

Fear not the F word – The Clean As Possible Comedy Show is a swear-free zone that allows the kids to see three top stand-up performers live in Leeds this half term. You’ll start the night with the hilarious MC Tony Vino, before fast-rising Canadian comic Allyson June Smith takes to the stage. The night ends with a headline show from Rob Rouse, who comes to Leeds after appearances on shows like of The Friday Night Project, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Celebrity Juice.

The Clean as Possible Comedy Show comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Wednesday 25th October 2017.

The Magic Fish

If you’ve got little ones who are fans of dance, don’t miss The Magic Fish at Carriageworks Theatre during the school holidays. Mayor Boonham’s ATMA Dance will blend dance, storytelling and beatboxing to tell you the story of Vishnu, a shapeshifting Supergod. Vishnu wakes up after thousands of years sleeping to discover that No-Knowledge, a greedy demon, has taken control earth’s most precious treasures. Well, he can’t have that, so Vishnu teams up with King Manu to save the world, changing form into something very unusual.

The Magic Fish comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Wednesday 25th October 2017.

100 Ways to Tie a Shoe-Lace

For a piece of theatre that all ages will enjoy this half term in Leeds, try 100 Ways to Tie a Shoe-Lace. It’s a new show from the Associate Artists, and it brings together witty dialogue, puppetry, original music and laugh-a-minute comedy to tell Kat’s story. Kat has an accident, and in the aftermath, we see her trying to realign her mind as she gets lost in a crazy world of mix-ups, mayhem and musical memory. It’s touching, funny and clever all in one go.

100 Ways to Tie a Shoe-Lace takes place at Stage@Leeds on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th October 2017.

What’s My Afterlife?

Royal Armouries Half Term

It’s not just blood, guts and ghosts at Royal Armouries in the school holidays. The Leeds museum will also be hosting What’s My Afterlife? It’s an interactive family game show with a difference. You’ll put your heads together to try and work out who the lost warrior’s soul belongs to. Each one died in an untimely fashion and they’ll be lost in limbo until you can reunite them with their soul.

What’s My Afterlife? takes place at Royal Armouries on Friday 27th October 2017.

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur

Michael Morpurgo's King Arthur

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur has reinvigorated the legend for a new generation of readers and you can see it this half term in Leeds. This adaptation is an epic story packed full of magic, heroism, love and betrayal. It starts with a boy stranded at sea who’s rescued by a man who claims to be King Arthur Pendragon. The little boy is taken back to the days of Camelot and goes on some incredible adventures as King Arthur tells him his stories.

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur comes to Carriageworks on Friday 27th October 2017.

Day of the Dead Family Scrap Crafty Workshop

Day of the Dead skulls

Scrap Creative Re-use are getting into the spirit of the season during the school holidays. Their Day of the Dead Family Scrap Crafty Workshop will see you creating your own felt decorations and adorning them with sequins and other scrappy embellishments. Whether it’s wall hangings, funny skulls or something else entirely, they’ll have everything you need to make your designs out of scrap.

Day of the Dead Family Scrap Crafty Workshop takes place at Scrap Creative Re-use Project on Friday 27th October 2017.

Halloween Hocus Pocus Outdoor Cinema

As ever, Kirkstall Abbey will come alive this Halloween thanks to Sneaky Experience. This half term, the little ones can watch classic film Hocus Pocus. Follow three mistakenly resurrected witches from the Salem Witch Trials who make it their mission to suck out the souls of of Salem’s children. Since it’s a Sneaky Experience event, it’s not just the film – you’ll have the chance to meet the three witches, take part in their witchy quiz and dress up as a witch or wizard yourself.

Halloween Hocus Pocus Outdoor Cinema takes place at Kirkstall Abbey on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th October 2017.

Pumpkin Stew and Witch’s Brew Trail

Pumpkins, Halloween

Skelton Grange is getting a Halloween makeover and it’s going to be packed full of cool half term activities. Their autumn trail takes you all around their site, with a slew of seasonal treats to enjoy – there’s apple bobbing, craft activities and mini games. That will lead you on to the end where you’ll be able to tuck into some of their pumpkin stew and wash it down with their witch’s brew.

Pumpkin Stew and Witch’s Brew Trail takes place at Skelton Grange on Sunday 29th October 2017.


Pumpkins, Halloween


End the half term holidays with a trip to Leeds City Museum as it goes pumpkin-crazy a few days before Halloween. Pumpkintastic! features a pick-up-a-pumpkin trail, which will take you all around the building to find the pumpkins. Afterwards, you can take part in their craft activities which will see you design your own pumpkin – the best ones will be carved into real pumpkins later on and displayed in the museum. Oh, and they’re encouraging your best pumpkin fancy dress too.

Pumpkintastic! takes place at Leeds City Museum on Sunday 29th October 2017.

Feature image copyright Pamela Raith