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Top 10 Half-Term Escapes

Half Term

Looking for something to do over Whitsun, May half-term or those lovely long bank holiday weekends? Without further ado, here is Essential Travel's pick of activities.

1: Monkey Around

Embrace your inner-ape at one of Go Ape's giant forest obstacle courses. Kitted out with harnesses and pulleys, this is your chance to swing from tree to tree using strategically placed ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels. It's safe but exhilarating - and you'll look at David Attenborough with a whole new level of respect.

Details: Go Ape has 22 sites around the UK. Suitable for 10 years up (all children must be accompanied by an adult). Cost £25 for adults, £20 kids.

2: Glamping

If you associate camping with huddling under rain-soaked canvas, grimly eating cold baked beans out of a tin, you clearly haven't discovered Glamping ... Glamorous Camping! From a restored gypsy caravan in Dorset, England, and a tipi in Anglesey, North Wales to an airstream trailer on the Isle of White many come ready-stocked with feather beds and goodies.

Details: Go Glamping has a brilliant selection of imaginative glampsites both in the UK and overseas

3: Turrets Syndrome?

Always wanted to be king of the castle? Us too. But opportunities to storm the battlements and lay siege are not what they once were - these days you have to make do with buying a ticket and going round in an orderly fashion. The good news is that there are over 180 to be explored in the UK, and some of them you can even stay in.

Details: Find a turret near you at and a turret you can sleep inat

4: Step back in time

Be a Roman soldier at Hadrian's Wall, get medieval at Beeston Castle (Cheshire), or become a time-travelling sleuth at Scarborough Castle ... English Heritage has a nationwide programme of events designed to take you back to the past, from guided tours to full-on re-enactments. Dress up and join in.

Details:Roll back the years with a variety of historic-themed days and events

5: Meet the animals

Spring is in the air - and down on the farm they've been busy adding to their broods. At White Post Farm, in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, there are chicks, and ducklings, and lambs ... and literally thousands of other animals - from cows, to wallabies to llamas. You can get up close and give most of them a cuddle - and should you wish to take one home with you - there's a pet shop, too.

Details: Find all the fun of the farm at

6: Going underground

Are your kids fascinated by a land downunder? Get there cheap - pot-holing and caving in the company of an expert guide! The UK is riddled with caves, from the Peak District to Pittenweem - once the haunt of witches - in Scotland. Claustrophobics need not apply.

Details: For a general introduction to caving visit

7: Georgey-porgey pudding and pie

Fish cakes, chocolate cakes, gourmet pizzas ... Pudding and Pie teaches everyone from tots to teens how to cook. The school is in Banbury, Oxfordshire, but Pudding and Pie will also teach people in their own homes within the Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire areas.

Details: Find out about courses and what else is cookin' at

8: Kids' own adventures

There comes a time when your kids are going to, you know, be a bit embarrassed to be seen with you... Give them an early taste of independence with a PGL holiday, aimed at seven-17 year olds. The activities on offer are practically endless - from abseiling, to mountain biking, motor biking to water sports - and there are 12 PGL centres across the UK.

Details: For information on what availability is left for the half term visit

9: Horsing about on the river

It's rare you get to please horse-y types and budding-mariners all in one go, but that's the beauty of horse-drawn canal boats. Take a leisurely cruise along the beautiful Llanogollen canal in North Wales, or, if you've got a head for heights, along the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct - 126ft (38m) above the River Dee.

Details: Cruises range from £5-£11 for adults and £2.50-£8 for children. For details on both kinds of cruises see

10: Learn to surf

Dude, like everyone knows Newquay (in Cornwall) is the surfing capital of Europe. Which makes it a brilliant place to learn how! And the sooner you start, the better (and lets face it, cooler) you'll be. Choose between luxury courses - surf and a massage anyone? - at the Adventure Centre or go Official with the BSA Surf School.

Details: Lessons range from a couple of hours to a full week. Find out about schools in and around Newquay at

Last Updated: October 2008