A new season brings with it new ways of experiencing Southport, and for autumn this includes exciting indoor and outdoors activities to enjoy, and some spectacularly spooky ideas for Halloween.
Half Term Tricks and Treats
Southport Market is going all out for a fiendishly fun half term. School is out, but the doors to the Wizard School of Crafts will be creaking open on Wednesday 26 October so that young wizards can have an exciting time creating wands, spell books and much more. Each session incorporates a two hour wizardry workshop (10am and 1pm), costs £14 and tickets can be booked here. On Thursday 27 and Friday 28 October it is time to get your scariest costume out of the wardrobe and your dancing shoes on with a Halloween Monster Ball Bash (from 10:30am). Tickets are £7 (parents free) and can be booked here; as well as the disco there’s a fancy dress competition, goulish games and a goodie bag to take home.
There is also fun to have at the flicks with a free screening of Hocus Pocus on Wednesday 26 October (6pm) at Southport Market. Comfy sofas plus great food and drink mean this is guaranteed to be a brilliant family night out, with no booking required. And if you want to go big on cinema, then the Bijou Cinemas is showing all the Halloween hits with a line-up that includes Coco (Thursday 27 October), Ghostbusters (Tuesday 25 October), Goosebumps (Saturday 29 October) and Hocus Pocus (Sunday 23 October). All the booking details are here.
Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without a pumpkin, and at Windmill Animal Farm you can harvest your own in an exciting Pumpkin Picking Adventure (Saturday 8 October to Sunday 30 October) and with over 20,000 pumpkins planted you will be spoilt for choice! Tickets also include the Runaway Farm Train, Maize Monsters and all the animal interactions and activities at the farm. Wheelbarrows are provided and wellies are a must! Tickets can be booked here.
Southport Pleasureland will be open across each of the weekends of October Half Term (Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October / Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October) for big rides, family fun and unforgettable experiences. This will be followed by Day of the Dead on Saturday 5 November, inspired by the traditional Mexican celebration a fabulous fiesta atmosphere will be created featuring fireworks, drummers, dancing, live music and fire eaters. Tickets can be booked here.
A colourful autumn in Southport
At The Vincent when families share a room the children not only stay for free they receive the red carpet treatment with welcome cookies and milk, pancakes for breakfast, and for those enjoying lunch or dinner in the restaurant there is a free mocktail with their main course and April’s Flaming Smores Board for dessert. This special offer is available from Sunday 23 October to Thursday 27 October. Bookings can be made directly by calling 01704 883 800.
At Rufford Old Hall the annual Scarecrow Festival will be taking place with an array of incredible creations appearing around the Victorian and Edwardian grounds of the Tudor hall. All the work of the local community and volunteers, visitors can expect to see some flamboyant characters and imaginative ideas all exploring the theme of ‘creators and inventors’. The festival is fun for all the family and takes place from 15 to 30 October Friday–Tuesday (property closed Wednesday and Thursday) and is included as part of the normal admission (£9.50 adults, £4.75child, £23.75 family, free entry for National Trust members and under 5s). Further information is here.
At Crosby Beach there is also life-size artwork to be enjoyed, this time the work of one of the world’s most acclaimed sculptors. As you walk along the beach there are 100 life-size cast iron figures along the shore line – to spot or stop off to take a selfie with – all the work of Turner-prize winning Anthony Gormley.
Eagle eyes are also needed for one of the half term activities at The Atkinson, where a theatre production of I Spy With My Little Eye (Wednesday26 October) is part of a packed week of activities. Rapunzel (Tuesday 25October) and Construction Club (Saturday 29 October) are also a part of the calendar, with all of the details available here.
Bright autumnal days are fantastic for a family bike ride along the town’s celebrated cycling routes, with lots of spots to stop and enjoy a scenic stroll along the beach. The National Trust’s nature reserve and pine woods at Formby is probably one of the best welly walk spots around, where you can let the kids run free and do a spot of leaf peeping as well as red squirrel spotting!
Historic Kings Gardens will be bursting into shades of autumn colour, making it one of the best times to explore the pleasure grounds that make up the Grade II listed park and garden. For little ones there is the added excitement of the adventure playground, a place for princes and princesses to let a little bit of steam off and when it’s time for a warm up, the Kings Gardens Tea Rooms serves up a great hot chocolate! Follow this with a walk down Southport Pier and a visit to the Penny Arcade and you will put a smile on everyone’s faces, with the restored vintage slot machines a joy whatever your age.
On days when the weather misbehaves the fun still continues. For something quirky you cannot beat a visit to the world’s only Lawnmower Museum featuring 200 restored exhibits including ‘lawnmowers of the rich and famous’. And as a final nod to Halloween, a visit to the collection of Mummys that form part of the fabulous Egyptology section of The Atkinson is a must.
For the latest visitor information and ideas on planning your trip to Southport visit www.VisitSouthport.com
Header Image: Windmill Animal Farm/Sarah Glynn