Oh yes, it’s that time of year again, where kids and adults alike get to shed the confines of the everyday garb and don a Halloween costume of their choosing.  All Hallows’ Eve is celebrated in style in Winchester, with so much history mixed with modern influence it’s the perfect setting for your mini break, October half term or a weekend to blow away the proverbial cobwebs!  It’s going to be a great Halloween, we can feel it in our bones!

What does Winchester offer this October?

This is a wonderful opportunity before Christmas to recharge the batteries, enjoy the harvest colours and partake in some well-deserved merriment all in your luxury private lodge ensconced in tranquil woodlands.  Here, you can choose to be a part of the action or to embrace your inner hedgehog and hibernate with your feet up and simply Be.  We do have a few suggestions if you fancy dipping your feet in the abundant activities on your doorstep…

For the kids:

How about a fun-filled Halloween trail for the kids to follow, they can enjoy the fresh air, find the hidden words, and of course win a prize at the end, trail starts at the Winchester Visitor information Centre.  Winchesters Science Centre is hosting Not So Creepy Critters so you can get up close and personal to the creatures that go bump in the night (snakes, lizards, tarantulas, and the like), or take part in the Science Spooktacular full of fun things to do; a monster disco (dressing up encouraged), shows, exhibits, demos and of course some Trick or Treat!

Your little ones can also try their hand at some spooky Halloween lantern making at The Arc Jewry Street, and channel their inner magic maker at Wizard Week at the Watercress Line as they meet the owls, learn some magic, and even take part in a flying lesson!  Fort Nelson is holding spooky tours with underground tunnels to explore and of course National Treasures to feast your eyes upon in the museum itself.

If the kids are not so big on Halloween, there are plenty of Autumnal activities to enjoy during half term.  How about Autumn Nature Explorer Day at the Field Studies Centre in Gilbert White’s House?  Exploration, scavenger hunts, craft making and games – not to mention plenty to see and do outside before the wind really gets chilly.

For the Adults:

Are you brave enough for an adult only A Halloween Tour of Winchester?  The tour takes place in the backstreets and lesser-known ally ways of the city.  Will you face the ghostly goings on, the supernatural, the folk lore and laugh in the face of the spooky facts?  The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is holding its annual Halloween Cinema Nights.  A grown-up scary movie complete with sweets, popcorn and a complimentary cocktail upon arrival.  Try not to scream!

Be sure not to miss the Chawton House: Gothic House Tour!  Dive headfirst into some Gothic literature – discover the spooky books and hidden tales behind the portraits that seem to be watching you.  Do you dare?

If you would rather get away from Halloween and have a romantic break for two, then we have just the thing; cream teas in your lodge, a spot of golf on your doorstep, cycling trails, cosy pubs, award winning Michelin star restaurants, a huge selection of independent shops and boutiques for some retail therapy, historic buildings to visit like the cathedral, the college and the old city mill.  Not to mention some stunning walking tails and hikes to get some fresh air in your lungs before dining and then returning to the comfort of your lodge with wind-kissed cheeks and a bottle of fizz and homemade biscuits awaiting your arrival.

You know we can’t resist some fun facts:

Winchester’s spectacular backdrop with all its intrigue, history and stunning architecture has been the much sort after location of many a movie maker.   Quite a few of them have just the spooky edge to tempt you with Halloween looming on the horizon.

For the movie lovers:

  • Wolf Hall (2015) – positively brimming with mystery, treachery, and danger.
  • Royal Deaths and Diseases (2003) – this miniseries documents some of the more gruesome facts.
  • The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1987–2000) – who doesn’t love a who-done-it at this time of year.
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006) – murder, secret societies and missions shrouded in brain teasers!


For the fact finders:

  • Halloween dates back 2000 years – it was originally a festival that celebrated the end of summer. Pope Gregory III marked the 1st of Nov as All Saints Day and Oct 31st was celebrated the night before – All Hallows Eve, which later became known as Halloween.
  • The concept of trick-or-treating is not a modern-day American way to sell candy, it has, in fact, existed since medieval times.
  • Samhain was a day believed to blur the boundaries between the living and the dead, where ghosts were free to wander the earth for one day each year.
  • Halloween is now the second larges commercial holiday.
  • The State of Illinois now produces five times more pumpkins than any other state – though people used to carve potatoes and turnips before the pumpkin (perhaps not as easy to make look scary!)
  • What do you suppose is the favourite costume for children to wear at Halloween…witches? Ghosts?  No! Princesses and Superhero's!


Just for fun – How are your Halloween movie quotes?  Think you know your stuff or is this just witchful thinking? (answers at the bottom)

  1. Which movie is the quote from the title of this blog from?
  2. “Do you like horror movies?”
  3. “The power of Christ compels you”
  4. “In space, no one can hear you scream”
  5. “What’s the good of being a ghost if you can’t frighten people away?”
  6. "You'll float, too.”
  7. “To die – to be really dead. That must be glorious”
  8. “It’s alive!”
  9. “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep”
  10. "Here's Johnny!"


We really hope you will join us this month to celebrate half-term and Halloween, to make a booking go to this page and spine on the dotted line. Whether you want to relax, take your pick of the delicious restaurants (Bone appetit!), join in with activities or shop at the local boo-tique…sorry we know Halloween puns are so (candy) corny!  Whatever you choose to do, we know you will have a gourd time, we aim to lift your spirits and leave you feeling like you don’t have a scare in the world!

Witch-ing you all a very Happy Halloween!


Answers: how well did you do?

  1. Hocus Pocus
  2. Scream 1996
  3. The Exorcist
  4. Alien
  5. Beetlejuice
  6. IT
  7. Dracula
  8. Frankenstein
  9. A nightmare on Elm Street
  10. The Shining