DESPITE the new term having only just began, parents know all too well how quickly the weeks fly by.

With that in mind, Echo Families will dedicate the coming weeks to fun activities taking place in and around half term.

It’s full of fearsome frolics at Bolton Castle, near Leyburn in Wensleydale, with a good dose of fun and fresh air to make sure things go spookily this Halloween.

What better place to get spooked and find out how the lives of the castle’s inhabitants shaped our ghostly stories.

There’s lots to do for all the family this October and the spooky Halloween half term activities are free with entry. Alternatively, why not enjoy the castle during an evening with a ‘Castle by Candlelight’ event.

Halloween Family Fun and Spooky Activities: Saturday to Sunday, October 23 to October 31, from 10am to 5pm.

Get goosebumps on the Halloween trail for little ones and enjoy fresh air and fearsome fun along the way. Come across pumpkins and skeletons, and watch out for the witches. Make up a spell and the best spell wins a prize. Free with entry.

Castle by Candelight: Monday, October 25, 6pm to 8pm.

Flickering candlelight transforms the castle on our ‘Castle by Candlelight’ evening. Bring on the medieval, and hear all about the castle and its spooky goings on with our knowledgeable tour guide from 6pm to 8pm – all told by candlelight as you tour the castle. The evening closes with a glass of wine while you sit by the fire for more tales and chat, to get you in the spirit – no pun intended! Tickets cost £20 pp and booking is essential.

The castle, gardens, refreshed tea room and new kiosk are fully open. Falconry displays take place every day and are free with entry.

Events are free with entry unless otherwise stated, and take place from 10am to 5pm in-line with the garden and castle opening times.

Commanding outstanding views across the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Castle in Wensleydale boasts one of the most romantic settings in Yorkshire. Built as a luxurious home by Sir Richard Le Scrope 600 years ago, Bolton Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the country and uniquely remains under the private ownership of Lord Bolton, a direct descendant of Sir Richard.

The Castle provides a fascinating insight into life within its walls and gardens, with a range of opportunities to see, enjoy and learn how life – warts and all – really was at the castle across the centuries. The castle also holds a unique position in history as the host of Mary, Queen of Scots, purportedly held here in captivity for the longest time, and who enjoyed some luxury which the Scottish Queen will not have experienced at her previous residence, Carlisle Castle. Bolton Castle’s The Solar, the family’s well-appointed suite of rooms, held her and her many servants until her escape with the help of her supporters. Local history reveals that she was eventually recaptured nearby on a hill which today bears the name Shawl Hill, after her shawl was reportedly found revealing her whereabouts.

Daily tickets from £9 per adult, £7.50 concessions and £35 for a family ticket (two adults, up to three concessions including one child. Annual membership is available. Garden tickets start at £4.50 per adult.

For steam fans, enjoy an unforgettable half term break filled with fun family memories, at The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), which has announced a series of events and activities from October 23 to 31, 2021.

In addition to its unique Light Spectacular half term event – a 50 minute illuminated journey with carriages adorned with 17,000 LEDs departing from Pickering to Levisham Station every evening – the popular heritage railway, will also be operating its Bronze timetable services between Pickering and Whitby.

During half term, a family ticket can be purchased from £78, with children travelling for only £1 each.

Take a walk on the wild side with NYMR on Wednesday, October 27, when the award-winning attraction invites families to hop-on board to Levisham station for the NYMR’s ‘Wild on Wednesday’ from 9.30am to 3pm.

This nature-focussed session with NYMR’s Conservation Officer Kerry Fieldhouse features four nature activities, where families will learn all about the wildlife and nature along the line side.

‘Wild on Wednesday’ Activities include:

Skullduggery: Learn your herbivores from your carnivores. Who eats who and how are their skulls and teeth adapted to help them? Can you identify the skulls of some of the animals found around the NYMR? All the skulls are replicas – no animals were harmed in their making!

Pellets and Poos: Who has visited NYMR lineside and how do we know? Take a look at some real and replica animal droppings and find out about the fascinating world of owl pellets – what they are and what they can tell you.

The Nest Station: Buzzards have to make large and strong nests for their chicks high up in the trees and plenty have been identified near NYMR. Make your very own nest whilst learning all about the birds in the area.

Forest Folk & Tree Trail: Create your own Forest Folk character on the trees along the trail, leaving a friendly and funny trail for walkers to come by. As you choose your location, look out for the tree trail telling you more about the trees around us, what they are, how their wood can be used and which wildlife loves them.

For more information about October half term at NYMR and the Bronze timetable operating during this time visit:

Light Spectacular trains run from October 23 to 31 departing at 6pm and 7.45pm, tickets £25 per person. To find out more, or to purchase tickets visit:

Kiplin Hall and Gardens, near Scorton, between Richmond and Northallerton, is running a new, spooky Halloween trail this half term.

The outdoor trail takes visitors deep into Kiplin’s historic woodland, which was originally planted by Christopher Crowe over 300 years ago.

Visitors can expect to find skeletons astride a golden swan on the dipping pond, ghost dogs lingering beside their historic gravestones, showers of bats and rats, suspended witchy wonderment, and ghoulish characters lurking where one might last expect to find them!

Kiplin Hall was originally built as a hunting lodge almost 400 years ago. Over the last four centuries its owners have used the Hall and grounds as a place to entertain and enjoy the great outdoors hosting no end of creative spectacles.

Visitors are encouraged to dress up at Kiplin Hall and Gardens this Halloween.

Those brave enough to step inside Crowe’s Wood are advised to wear sturdy, waterproof footwear, and that the route isn’t accessible to most push chairs.

Standard admission applies, there is no additional charge, and there is no need to book.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale, is opening its Halloween trail on October 9 and runs daily until November 1.

The trail promises you’ll stumble across tombs and skeletons and many more Halloween frights.

All arboretum entry must be pre-booked in advance via general admissio), and trail maps can be purchased on the day. Standard entry prices apply. £2.50 per child for the trail which includes a gift.