3 Cool things happening in London this weekend

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It’s getting colder out there, but that’s no excuse to batten down the hatches! There’s always a great selection of things to do in the Capital. Here’s our 3 favourite picks for the weekend.

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3. Hyper Japan Christmas Market, Kensington Olympia

Dive into the best of Japanese culture at this unique take on the Christmas market. Browse unique toys and gifts, or bop along to some live music, including J-Pop and traditional drumming. Tickets from £8, nearest station: Kensington (Olympia)

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2. Ja Ja Ja Festival

This Nordic festival showcases the best music that Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland have to offer (not to mention some traditional tasty food). Enjoy a full day of quirky live electro-pop at Queen Mary University of London on Saturday. Tickets from £25, nearest station: Mile End.

1. Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Rides, Scandinavian Cider tents and a Christmas market, all with a beautiful view of the River Thames. Get your gloves on, entry is free! Nearest station: London Waterloo.

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5 Awesome Ways to Celebrate this New Year’s Eve

1. The Traditional

Fireballs festival, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

B Campbell, Flickr

Image: B Campbell, Flickr

Goodness gracious, blazing balls of fire! Stonehaven’s Fireball festival sees a parade of participants swinging flaming balls above their heads. Following the parade, the fireballs are cast into the sea at the harbour, and the stunning firework display at the Bervie Braes begins. This traditional welcome to the new year has been part of Aberdeen’s Hogmanay celebrations for over four hundred years. If you’re looking to end the night in a more contemporary setting, head back to the market square for a disco until 2am.

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2. The Wild Night

Newquay

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If partying into 2015 is what you’re looking for, then heading to Newquay this New Year is for you. The street party and midnight firework show are local traditions, and local bars and clubs offer tempting specials on food and drinks. Bar Help will even hose you down with ‘snow’ to welcome you to 2015.

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3. The Family Outing

Winter Wonderland, Cardiff.

Jon Candy, Flickr

Image: Jon Candy, Flickr

Get your skates on and spend the new year on ice at the Admiral ice rink in Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland. Those of us with less balance can enjoy a great selection of rides and attractions, as well as live music and a free bus service.

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4. The Wild Card

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Image: Stephen Harper, Flickr

Stephen Harper, Flickr

Fancy toasting the new year 500 feet in the air? You can do just that at Portsmouth’s Spinnaker tower. DJ’s, great views and the world’s largest glass floor make for a one-of-a-kind new year experience at Portsmouth’s world-famous landmark. Tickets are £45 and must be pre-booked here.

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5. The Big Bang

London

Matthias Rosenkranz, Flickr

Image: Matthias Rosenkranz, Flickr

Who can forget the Capital’s explosive welcome to 2014, and this year’s celebration looks to be just as epic! The midnight skies light up with increasingly innovative pyrotechnic displays, using the world famous landmarks along the River Thames. The event draws over 500,000 visitors each year, more than any other new year celebration in the UK, so turn up early to guarantee a good viewing spot. Tickets for the event are £10 and are available here.

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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.

Half Term Ideas for February

Stuck for half term entertainment ideas this February? Fear not! We’ve got suggestions from city-breaks to outdoor adventures (for the brave) plus a few sneaky offers to help make your budget go further.

City-breaks: Museums and Attractions

Whether you get up early for a day trip or find a hotel and make a stay of it, half term’s a great opportunity to show the whole family the sites and sounds of the UK’s great cities. Here are a few ideas that will help you decide which escape is right for you.

London

  • Visit London this Half Term

    Visit London this Half Term

    The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern both have events for kids this half term and both are open daily. Check out the Tate’s Kids and Families page for more info.

  • The Imagine Children’s festival at Southbank Centre has enormous sculptures, drawing and LEGO® activities, plus a dazzling Light Showexhibition. Children visit free outside of school hours and there are tours on 19th or 21st February.
  • The Natural History Museum in South Kensington is perfect for kids with its interactive displays. For more information visit the Museum’s website.

Edinburgh Half Term AttractionsEdinburgh

  • Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is open daily and has family facilities.
  • Visit the UK’s only Koala’s at the Edinburgh Zoo.
  • Great for kids and parents, the Museum of Childhood showcases toys and games from across the ages, with hands-on activities, a puppet theatre and a dressing up area.

Manchester

  • Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to crawl through a victorian sewer, watch a 4D theatre or stand on the oldest surviving railway platform station in the world. The nearest station is Deangate, or a 20 minute walk form Manchester Piccadilly. Find out more at http://www.mosi.org.uk.
  • The National Football Museum has something for kids of all ages, including games and displays and a Discovery Zone. Admission is free and the Museum is right next to Victoria Station.

Be brave: venture outdoors

There’s nothing worse that couped up kids. Our advice, keep an eye on the weather and when there’s a break in the weather, be brave: make a go of it! We’ve found a bunch of ideas, accessible by train, to help you get out of the house and keep everyone sane.

National Wetland Centre, Wales

National Wetland Centre in Llanelli

National Wetland Centre in Llanelli, Wales.

The National Wetland Centre in Llanelli, Wales has a special half term family fun programme. There’s even an Estuary Café and a heated viewing tower, just in case you end up needing shelter.

Access via Llanelli Station, where you can get a bus or do the 2 mile walk if you’re feeling energised. The centre is open every day between 9.30am, and 5.00pm.

Visit http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/llanelli/ for more information.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

With space to run around, and many gardens, including a rock garden to explore, these gardens are a delight whatever the season.  Even in the chilliest weather, there are always the heated Glasshouses, in fact the gardens have more than 25 of them, hosting flora from warmer climates, all over the world.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh are open daily during half-term, from 10am to 5pm. For more information visit http://www.rbge.org.uk/the-gardens/edinburgh. The nearest rail station is Edinburgh Waverley, which is only 1.5 miles away and is connected to the Garden by Lothian Buses service 8.

Beaches in Winter

The beach in winter? Sounds crazy? Well, not if you rug up! On days when there’s a break in the weather there are great activities to enjoy, from walks to crabbing, amusements to rock hopping. Take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the nature you can take in along the UK’s coasts.

  • Ayr Beach: One of the best in Scotland, Ayr beach is great for picnics and sandcastle building and is easily accessible via Ayr Station for services from Glasgow.
  • Bristol: Take the Severn Beach line to Severn Beach, enjoy magnificent views of the estuary and imposing bridges.
  • BrightonWith regular trains from London and around the south coast, it’s easy to get to Brighton, where you can enjoy the famous beach, bustling lanes and the grand pier.
  • Formby: a glorious beach with dramatic sand dunes and sweeping coastal pinewoods. The beach is a 1 mile walk from Formby station with services to Liverpool.
  • Southend-on-Sea: With services from London Liverpool street in around an hour, visit Adventure Island amusement park, cliff gardens and several beaches.

Pssst – Did you know you can buy tickets less than 10 minutes prior to travel on our mobile apps? 

Offers to help your half term budget go further

It wouldn’t be trainline.com if we weren’t trying to help you save.

East Coast: Save when 3 or more travel

Save 22% when 3 or more travel on East Coast

Save 22% when 3 or more travel on East Coast trains

If you live along the East Coast line (routes from London to Yorkshire and Scotland), then our friends at East Coast have a deal for you! Anytime you book a journey of between 3 to 9 people on thetrainline, we’ll discount the fare by 22%.

So if you’re in London and fancy a break away to York or Edinburgh, or maybe you’re up north and want to visit the sites of London, taking the family just got a lot cheaper.

Find out more and book today.

£10 off at brilliant attractions, right across the UK

From duck boat rides

From duck boat rides to ghost and goul tours, save on attractions right across the UK.

From duck boat tours in London to ghost and ghoul tours in Edinburgh, our partner Getyourguide provides tickets to more than 624 attractions in towns and cities all up and down the country. This special offer to trainline.com customers mean you get a £10 discount whenever you buy £50 worth of tickets.

But hurry! This offer expires 31st January 2014.

To take up this great offer, click this link.