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How to have a frighteningly fun Octob’aaargghhh!

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SCARE YOURSELF SILLY

It’s that spooky time of year again, and there are some great Halloween events to to get your blood curdling. Here’s our top pics for what to do in 3 scary cities

London

  • Get scared senseless at the London Dungeon, where the Master of Tricks will take you on a frightening tour with villains such as Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.
  • Experience the fear of all fears with Phobophobia at the London Bridge Experience. Offering a frightful thrill seeking experience for horror fans in the bowels of London Bridge (this one’s more for the grown-ups).
  • The Old Royal Naval College opens their doors for their Horrid Halloween Highlights tour, a trip through the haunting history of the college and the spooky Victorian skittle alley.
  • Head to Shocktoberfest in Crawley, West Sussex. This 18-night event offers an interactive Halloween experience and boasts a new haunted house and zombie paintball. Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.11.01

Edinburgh

  • Take a ride to the dark side with an Edinburgh Ghost Bus tour. Have fun on this theatrical
    Ghost bus tours operate around London, York and Edinburgh.

    Ghost bus tours operate around London, York and Edinburgh.

    sightseeing tour of the city with comedic horror theatre, all on board an original 1960’s Routemaster bus! Tours start from £15, and are also available in London and York.

  • Meet everyone’s favourite gruesome pair, Burke & Hare. At the Edinburgh Dungeon.
  • The National Museum of Scotland have tracked down scary, spooky, weird and wonderful artefacts for Octob-aargh! Featuring some rather scary pirates.
  • Take a City of the Dead Tour. ‘Voted Edinburgh’s best Ghost Tour’ by Lonely Planet, explore the spooky history the underground and graveyards of the city.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.34.27 Birmingham

  • Have a tasty Halloween at the Halloween Spook-tacular at Cadbury World. Show off your talents in live entertainment show ‘The Scream Factor’ with this year finalists competing to win the ‘mystery prize’, Presented by Dermot O’Scary. While you’re at it, why not tell us about your brilliant or rubbish talents to win £2000 train travel?  Enter here.
  • Take the kids on a boat trip at the Dudley Canal Trust Children’s Halloween event, featuring light shows, puppetry, and a prize for the best fancy dress.
  • We wouldn’t be thetrainline.com if we didn’t recommend a ghost train! Take a ride on the Severn Valley Railway Ghost Train at Kidderminster. There’s a children’s disco from 17:30, followed by a journey through some spooky stations, and goody bags for all.
  • If you’re feeling medieval, head for an encounter with the headless horseman at Warwick Castle. During the day there’s a pumpkin tour and story telling. For the adults, there’s after dark ghost hunting. Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.51.23

DISCOVER A CITY

Poppies at the Tower of London. Image: Boss Tweed, Flickr.

Poppies at the Tower of London

Manchester

  • Take a walk through knowledge at Manchester Museum. Tour the Vivarium, where you can see live reptiles and frogs in their natural habitat, and meet a fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex named ‘Stan’.
  • Go shopping in Trafford Centre, with it’s 280 shops and restaurants.
  • Get constructive with the kids at Legoland Discovery Centre, also in Trafford Centre. You can enjoy indoor rides, building workshops and a 4D cinema. For some spooky Lego fun, check out their ‘Brick or Treat’ event, until 2nd November. Nearest stations: Manchester Piccadilly & Manchester Victoria.
  • Visit Horonation Street. From 27-31 October, ‘Coronation Street The Tour’ is taking a Halloween twist! Walk the path of Coronation Street’s killers and victims with ‘Murder Walks’. Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.56.27

Bristol

This vibrant West Country city has a great selection of things to see and do this half term.

  • Step back in time on Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner. Don’t forget to see the impressive Clifton suspension bridge, also based on a design by Isombard Kingdom Brunel.

    Clifton Suspension Bridge. Photo: B. Sutherland, Flickr

    Clifton Suspension Bridge. Photo: B. Sutherland, Flickr

  • Bristol museum and art gallery hosts an extensive collection of art, nature and history, including a life-size replica of the Wright Flyer, the first powered aircraft.
  • In the evening, why not warm up with a meal in one of the city centre’s many bars and restaurants. If you’re a fan of top quality cocktails, make a reservation at The Milk Thistle, a prohibition themed bar across 4 floors, also offering a canapé and buffet menu. You’ll also be in the right place to enjoy Bristol Cocktail week, 20-26th October.

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London

  • It’s not all about Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral. Why not take a look at the Tower Poppies, an installation at the Tower of London by artist Paul Cummins. 888,246 ceramic poppies are gradually filling the tower’s famous moat up to November 11 (nearest station: Tower Hill). When you’re done, hop over the river to see some naval history on board HMS Belfast.
  • If you’re a fan of a mystery, you can discover the story behind Sherlock Holmes, ‘The man who never lived, and who will never die’ at the Museum of London, and If you’ve got a sweet tooth, The Chocolate Show is at London Olympia from 17-19 October. (Nearest station: Kensington Olympia)
  • Catch a show! If you’re a fan of theatre, you save up to 60% on your ticket price with a train and theatre deal from thetrainline.com. View the latest offers here.

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 GET YOUR COAT, WE’RE OFF TO THE SEASIDE!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The sun might have taken leave of us for a while, but there’s still plenty of family fun to be had at Britain’s beautiful seaside

Blackpool

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.09.44 Blackpool zoo hosts the Halloween Spooktactular from Sat 25th October – Sun 2nd November. Boasting pumpkin carving at the Pumpkin Grotto, a Blood-thirsty Birds Quiz trail, and scary story telling. Brilliant for the family. Tickets start from £11.50. While you’re on the seafront, you can even check out the supposedly haunted ghost train on the Pleasure Beach. Don’t forget to stay until it’s dark to catch the world famous Blackpool Illuminations, which shine up to 9th November.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.11.42Brighton

This classic Sussex city destination boasts a wide range of great restaurants, museums and events throughout October. The Booth Museum of Natural History houses exhibits including a killer whale skeleton and dinosaur bones. Brilliant for the kids. For the grown-ups, head to Brighton Marina for some outlet shopping and dining, or catch a laugh at the Brighton Comedy Festival, running throughout October.

Margate

The original British seaside resort isn’t just about sandy beaches and ice Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.11.55creams. Margate has developed into a buzzing hub of cafe culture, retro shopping and contemporary art. Grab lunch with a view at the Harbour Arm, go vintage shopping in the Old Town and get your fill of contemporary art at the Turner Contemporary Gallery. If you’re feeling particularly dramatic, you could call in at the Tom Thumb theatre, one of the smallest theatres in the world, which was formerly a Victorian coach house.

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Top UK days out ideas (by Train, of course!)

This is the perfect time of the year for a short break with spring in the air and summer fast approaching. With the late May bank holiday and half-term coming up, we thought we’d share some ideas to make this spring fun packed. So, we’ve picked some of our favourite theme parks, beautiful coastlines and castles around the country, which are accessible by train. Whether you prefer a relaxing walk by the coastline or a bit of adventure there’s bound to be something for you.

We hope this helps make your half-term and May bank holiday planning easier than ever!

Theme Parks

Alton Towers, near Stoke

Alton Towers is full of fun, thrill and adventure. With over 50 rides and attractions there’s plenty to do and see. The most visited theme park in the UK in 2012, Alton Towers has rides, a monorail, a spa, a golf attraction, a waterpark and two on-site hotels.

Nearest station: Uttoxeter Rail. Alton Towers also run a number of bus services which connect with trains from Stoke-on-Trent, Leek, Nottingham and Derby.

Theme Park

Cadbury World, Birmingham

Cadbury World is where chocolate comes to life. Learn the story of Cadbury through video, demonstrations and interactive displays.

Nearest station: Bournville. It is a pleasant 15 minute stroll from here, with Cadburys World being fully signposted via fingerposts and wall-signs.

Chessington World of Adventure, Southwest London

Chessington has lots to explore, from great rides to a zoo and a sea life centre. The theme park also boasts nine themed lands including the Land of Dragons and Transylvania, with rides from runaway trains to the Dragon’s Fury.

Nearest station: Chessington South. Regular services run from Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. From Chessington South Station, the theme park is approximately 10-15 minutes’ walk away and is signposted.
Chessington Zoo

Adventure Island, Southend

Adventure Island has 32 different rides and sits right alongside Southend Pier. Best of all – admission is free! With amazing selection of rides to choose from and great attractions, this place surely ticks all the boxes for a great day out for all.

Nearest station: Southend Central. This is just a few blocks from Adventure Island.

The Eden Project, Cornwall

With individual biomes hosting a variety of plants collected around the world, The Eden Project is a fun eco education experience for the whole family. Explore plants, displays, interactive exhibitions and art works.

Nearest station: St Austell Rail. The Eden Project can be found several miles from St Austell – which is on the main line from London Paddington. Bus services run to Eden from the station and take approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could also take the train to Luxulyan, which is roughly 2.5 miles from the Eden Project and offers a more scenic route from which to continue your trip on foot or bike.

Beaches

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

It’s the most famous pleasure beach in the UK and needs no introduction. An iconic British tradition Blackpool has something for everyone. Donkey rides, fish and chips, pier, arcades, sandy beach, kiss-me-quick stalls, candy floss and open-top trams. What more could you possibly want!

The nearest train station to Blackpool Pleasure Beach is unsurprisingly Blackpool Pleasure Beach station. However, you can also go to Blackpool South station which is just 0.6 miles away. The majority of trains go to Blackpool North, which is 2.5 miles away. Although this is walkable and involves a pleasant stroll along the prom, many visitors choose to take a taxi or a tram instead.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton’s pebble beach has been voted one of the top beach destinations, has blue flag status and is home to around 614 billion pebbles. Visit the famous Victorian pier for fish and chips and fairground attractions or soak up the atmosphere of pavement cafes as you stroll along the bustling promenade. Further inland, boutique-style shopping in the Lanes and North Lanes compliments the high street stores of the town centre.

Brighton station is in the centre of Brighton about 15 minutes walk from the beach and lanes. Trains run regularly from Gatwick, Croydon and London.
Brighton

Belhaven, Scotland

This long, curving, sandy beach is great for going on long walks; having picnics and has splendid views across the Forth Estuary. Belhaven’s wide sands are backed with a dune ridge, the perfect spot for building sandcastles and playing beach games.

The beach is near the small town of Dunbar in East Lothian just walking distance from Dunbar station.

Sand castle

Falmouth

For crystal clear water, stretches of sandy beaches and secluded coves Falmouth is the place to go. A short walk will take you to the third largest deep water harbour in the world. To explore the area climb aboard one of the many boat trips or walk from Falmouth to explore nearby coves and beaches.

Trains run to Falmouth Station and Falmouth Docks. First Great Western runs services into Falmouth, connecting at Truro with the Western Main Line.
Falmouth

Cromer Coastline, Norfolk

Cromer is a beautiful town on the Norfolk coast renowned for its history of the sea, fishing and crabs. Its lighthouse flashes a guiding beam when the North Sea rides high, while the 14th century church stands guardian over the town.

Cromer station is right in the centre of town, just minutes walk to the coast line. Change in Norwich for mainline services.
Cromer

Castles and cultural places

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a world famous icon of Scotland and is a part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. It’s one of Scotland’s major tourist attractions and has been voted to be one of the top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards. Not one to be missed if you’re visiting Scotland.

Nearest station: Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station. Edinburgh Castle is located in the centre of Edinburgh and is a short walk from Waverley train station – albeit up a pretty steep hill! The station is situated on the east end of Princes Street, whilst the Castle should be visible upon exiting the station.
Edinburgh Castle

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world and is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen. It is a popular choice amongst visitors who fancy a day trip out of London. The magnificent castle is a must-see for fans of royalty, art and history.

Nearest station: Windsor & Eton Riverside which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Castle. Windsor & Eton Riverside is easily accessible from Central London, being just half an hour from London Paddington and an hour from London Waterloo.
Windsor castle

Warwick Castle

With a history stretching back over 1,000 years there’s something for everyone at Warwick Castle. Enjoy sunning views, jaw-dropping history and an amazing adventure for a great day out.

Nearest station: Warwick station. The station is just 10 minutes walking distance from the town centre and Castle. A direct service into London Marylebone (1 hour 45 minutes) or Birmingham Snow Hill is available.
Warwick Castle

St Michael’s Mount

Immerse yourself in history and explore the amazing island word of St Michael’s Mount  near Marazion.  Discover legend, myth and over thousand years of incredible history. With dazzling views all across the castle come ashore for a family outing, a tour of the castle or a garden visit.

Nearest station: Penzance St Michael’s Mount is only 3 miles from Penzance. A regular train service runs to Penzance station from where you can travel by bus or taxi to Marazion (about 10 minutes away).
St Michael's Mount

Scarborough Castle

With its 2,500 year history, stunning location and panoramic views over the dramatic Yorkshire coastline, Scarborough Castle fully deserves its place as one of the finest tourist attractions in the North.

Nearest station: Scarborough rail station, which is just 1 mile away from the castle.
Scarborough Castle

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