There’s lots to do with the family during the October half term in Dumfries and Galloway and south west Scotland.  Here’s some of our top tips, which are all great day out while staying at our self catering cottages in south west Scotland.

Head to the Galloway Forest Park – it’s a wonderful time of year to visit and see all the changing colours of the autumnal landscape.  Hire bikes at the Breakpad and get some serious exercise, unlike the two in the photo below,  on one of the 7Stanes mountain bike trails around Kirroughtree or Glentrool.

Mountain biking at Kirroughtree

Mountain biking at Kirroughtree

We did this last year and treated ourselves to a late lunch afterwards at the excellent House o’ Hill inn and restaurant at Bargrennan.  Indeed, we are heading back there shortly.

House o Hill at Bargrennan serves excellent food

House o Hill at Bargrennan serves excellent food

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre always puts on a good show for Halloween.  This year, on Tuesday, October 25 from 6-8pm, the six years and overs can come along to try their hand at pumpkin carving – so provided you keep it in the fridge, that’s the lantern sorted for this year. Join in the ghostly walks and there will be prizes for dressing up too.

Teenagers (14 and over) are challenged to the ‘walk of terror’ – the Galloway phantom forester will be stalking the woods around Kirroughtree.  It sounds a bit Blair Witch-esq.  If you survive, there’s a warming mug of hot soup waiting for you at the end.

We love our visits to Logan Botanic Garden – the gardens are properly inspirational at any time of year plus there’s the Potting Shed Bistro too (note to self: must treat myself to the cheese cake before the gardens close for winter).  This October half term at the Botanics on Thursday, 20 October, kids are invited to make a feathery pine cone bird and Thursday, 27 October, they can weave a woolly twig star.  Both events sound just up our children’s street and will be a lovely autumnal mementoes for them to keep.

Cream o’ Galloway is still very much open for business in October.  The Hedgerow Safaris will be running on Wednesday, 26 October giving children the opportunity to get up close and personal with all the creatures that hang out there.

Countryside ranger, Elizabeth Tindal, is hosting a number of events at Castle Kennedy Gardens, which is a short drive from both our estate holiday cottages and our Portpatrick self catering accommodation.  With fun activities from den building,  camp fire treats and star gazing to ghostly Halloween tours and a pumpkin trail make it a great destination for families in October.

Den building with countryside ranger Elizabeth Tindal

Den building with countryside ranger Elizabeth Tindal

We will be hosting our own ranger afternoon with Elizabeth Tindal at some point during the October half term and I’ll dedicate a separate post to this later in September.

The first weekend in October sees the last hurrah of the Wigtown Book Festival, (23 September-2 October 2016) so although not strictly half term, it’s definitely worth a mention.  With speakers including Menzies Campbell, Deborah Moggach and Prue Leith, Scotland’s most charming festival offers a wide and varied approach to the literary word.

Wigtown Book Festival

This year’s Wigtown Book Festival runs from 23 September – 2 October

We still have availability in our south west Scotland holiday cottages in October both on Corsewall Estate and at Cedar Lodge, our 4 bedroom house with beautiful sea views in Portpatrick and you can see up to date availability and book online on our website.

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