The Peak Venues Blog

Things to do in the Peak District In Autumn

Halloween Season is here!

The beginning of a new season is always a great sight to behold, but Autumn is, without a doubt, one of the best times to visit the Peak District. Not only can you watch the fabulous amber hues come into being as the countryside slowly turns to thoughts of winter, but because of the hive of activity and events you can experience from mid-September through to October Half term and all the Halloween fun.

October Half Term

October Half Term in the Peak District is always a great time to visit the area and there are loads of family-friendly events happening, here are a few not to miss

1. Fang-tastic Halloween Festival Fun!

A week of Halloween festivities is planned, including pumpkin picking and carving, a daily Spooky Trail to follow in the enchanted forest. From Saturday 21st to Tuesday 31st October, there will also be brilliant live fun (not scary) Halloween characters to meet. They’ll also be Witch Wendolyn’s Craft Workshops for the children and Matlock’s legendary headless horseman making an appearance late afternoon as the light goes down.

From Saturday 21st October-Sunday 5th November, there will be all the usual animal delights of Matlock Farm Park including Sheep Racing, Small Animal Handling, Meerkat Talks, Wallaby Encounters & Ferret Racing, as well as Daily Pony Rides for children. Lots of opportunities to play too, including the Enchanted Hamlet multi-zone play area, marvellous indoor play centre, the Rainforest and the outdoor Jumping Pillow!

More Details

2. Matlock Bath Illuminations

A fun-packed family event featuring a spectacular parade of illuminated and decorated boats along the River Derwent from 9 September to 29 October.

During the 7-week season, Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders' Association decorate themed models with coloured lights. The models are mounted on rowing boats and paraded on the River Derwent each Saturday (from around 7.45pm in September and from around 7pm in October) and Sundays (from around 7.30pm in September and 7pm in October) in Derwent Gardens, giving a unique and luminous display. The boats can only be viewed on admission into the gardens.

There are also fantastic fireworks displays on selected evenings. The fireworks light up the skies around Matlock Bath in multi-colours.  The firework displays begin at 9pm.

Both Saturdays and Sundays have themed nights and there's also entertainment including stilt walkers plus the fabulous parade of decorated boats on the River Derwent. Sundays are "family nights", when entertainment starts and finishes earlier, running from 6.00pm-8.30pm to take account of younger visitors having school the following morning.

3. The Village Screen Pop Up Cinema at The Devils Arse (Peak Cavern)

Go to the movies - in a cave! Wrap up warm and take the family to a truly unique cinema experience! The Devils Arse (Peak Cavern) is one of the famous Castleton Caves and each they host a wide range of concerts and events in the cave. This Halloween scare yourselves silly watching a selection of classic spooky films. Choose from 

  • Thursday 26th October: The Silence of the Lambs (18) doors at 18:00, film at 20:00
  • Friday 27th October : The Conjuring (15) doors at 18:00, film at 20:00
  • Saturday 28th October: Hocus Pocus (PG) doors 14:30, film at 1600
  • Saturday 28th October: The Craft (15) doors at 18:45, film at 20:30
  • Sunday 29th October: The Addams Family (12A) doors at 14:30, film at 16:00
  • Sunday 30th October: Beetlejuice (15) doors at 18:45, film at 20:30

Tickets sell fast so we highly recommend booking soon!

4. Scarefest at Alton Towers

Tiptoe into Alton Towers Resort for all sorts of creepy scares and shocks as its award-winning Scarefest returns for 2023 with live entertainment for all ages and our award-winning spooktacular scare experiences for the bravest of souls.  Open until 9pm each day daring guests can face our head-spinning, hair-raising rides and attractions in darkness including Wicker Man and The Smiler!

5. Frightful Folklore Trail at Ilam Park

Be inspired by local legends and stories and create your own frightful folklore as you explore Ilam Park this October half term, 28th October to 5th November 2023. £2 per child, no booking required. NT members park for free, for non-members it is £5 for 4 hours or £7 for all day. Trails are available from the welcome hut or second-hand bookshop.

Enchanter’s nightshade, witch hazel, dead man’s fingers, stinkhorn.... what will you find? 

Wear sturdy footwear, walking boots or wellies and wrap up warm - the weather changes very quickly across the Peak District! Ilam Park is also a great base from which to explore Dovedale and the famous Stepping Stones

6. Halloween Week at Thornbridge Hall

A week of Spooktacular activities planned, 21st October - 5th November, fancy-dress competitions, ghost stories in the secret library, Halloween hunts and freaky food!

Workshops and pumpkin patch are an additional charge with garden entry included in the ticket price. Access to the garden trail and other kids activities are included with garden entry tickets. This popular site also has a fabulous cafe serving homemade food and cakes. Booking is recommended and if you book online you save 20% on your ticket.

All-day garden access:
Family ticket - £18 - 2 adults and 2 children (3-16yrs)
Adults £7 (17yrs+)
Children £3 (3-16yrs)
Children of Thornbridge Club members are free.
Under 3s - Free.
Save 20% by booking your Garden entry in advance!

7. Pumpkin Picking with Village Pumpkins

Let's face it, it's not Halloween until you have picked your own pumpkin! Head to Oak Tree Farm in Barlow and pick as many pumpkins as you can! 

9:00am – 5:00pm Every weekend in October and then everyday from 16th-31st October​

No booking needed, cash and card accepted! 

There is no entry fee, just pay for the pumpkins you pick. Prices range from 50p-£10 depending on size and variety.  Please wear your wellies/appropriate footwear and wrap up warm. Free parking during the week and £1 parking fee per car at the weekends. There are also lots of farmyard animals to see. and refreshments available on site

8. Half Term Halloween Fun at Chatsworth

Take your little monsters to Chatsworth farmyard to meet the animals and join in with creepy Halloween-themed activities this Autumn half term.​​​

As well as their usual fun activities, such as animal feeding and milking demonstrations, you can join in any of these spook-tacular Halloween-themed events:

  • visit the pumpkin patch and choose your own pumpkin
  • carve and decorate pumpkins to take home
  • Halloween themed face painting
  • spooky Halloween themed crafts​​

There is also a mysterious journey on our spooky tractor and trailer ride - who knows what lies in store?

Activities are available each day, please check the noticeboard on arrival for specific timings. There will be a small charge for pumpkins and the tractor and trailer ride.​

Need Somewhere to Stay?

Make the most of all the half-term fun and why not book a stay with us. We still have a few properties available in October so head to our special offers page for more details. 

Special Offers

Don't Miss These Early Autumn Events

If you plan on visiting the Peak District in late September or early October, be sure not to miss out on the following events:

Autumnal watercolours: painting the harvest with Pam Smart

Wednesday 18 October | 10am to 4pm

Join Peak District Artisan Pam Smart for a creative session where we'll explore the art of painting still-life autumnal harvest produce, selected from the Chatsworth Garden.

2. Pumpkins and Presents 

7th & 8th October 11am - 4pm

A lovely event that last year was held in the village of Sheldon, near Bakewell and is a celebration of all things autumnal. The weekend event champions all things made and sold locally, so expect lovely shopping, delicious food and drinks and a chance to support their chosen charity Dogs Trust. Everyone is welcome, including four legged friends. 

Check out our blog from last year's event to give you an idea of what to expect and watch out for our Pumpkin & Presents 2023 social media post soon!

Published on September 20, 2023 in activities Whats On