Official Visitor Website

Nature’s rolling out the red carpet this October half-term

Whether it’s the technicolour canopy of autumn colour, the rustle of leaves underfoot or the sight of toadstools among the fallen leaves, autumn is a feast for the senses.

Track down the best autumn colour you can find on a walk with your family this October. Have a family leaf hunt to find the biggest and brightest leaves, challenge your family to a game of Top Trunks, enjoy conker battles with friends or head off on a scavenger hunt to see what else you can find to create some wild art when you get home.

Discover the simple pleasures of being outdoors with the family this October half-term.

Sutton Hoo

Listen to Tales by Torchlight at Sutton Hoo (c) National Trust Images Richard Scott

  • Tales by Torchlight – Beowulf, 21-22 & 28-29 October, 6pm – 7.30pm & 6.45pm – 8.15pm.
  • Gruesome Graves, 25-26 & 29-30 October, 1pm – 2pm.*
  • Staffordshire Hoard Exhibition – last chance to see, daily 10am – 4pm*
  • Hands on at the Hoo, 25 October, 11am, 1pm & 3pm.*

Sutton Hoo’s Tales by Torchlight return this October half-term. As darkness falls, enjoy one the most famous Anglo-Saxon tales of heroes, dragons, feasts and battles: the epic poem Beowulf. Explore Sutton Hoo by torchlight and discover Anglo-Saxon storytellers waiting to share with you the story of Beowulf. Join the free Gruesome Graves family tour and hear some of the gruesome tales they leave out of their usual Sutton Hoo burial site tour. It’s first come, first served so arrive early to avoid disappointment. October half-term will be the last chance to see the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition before it leaves Sutton Hoo. Entrance is by pre-booked tickets only, available at time of booking site admission. You can get up close and personal with some of the Sutton Hoo replica items and learn about their connection to the Staffordshire Hoard at our Hands-on at the Hoo event. Each session lasts approximately 15 minutes. Tales by Torchlight tickets are priced at £12 for adults and £6 for children, family tickets are also available. Pre-booking essential. *Free but normal admission charges apply, free for National Trust members. All visitors, including members, are asked to book their visit in advance. There is no limit on length of visit and there is  often capacity to enter without a pre-booked ticket after 1pm, however, to avoid disappointment, we recommend booking tickets in advance. Without a booking, we won’t be able to guarantee entry.

Ickworth Estate – Scavenger Hunt, 22-30 October 

Go on a scavenger hunt at Ickworth Estate (c) Lucy-Perrior

Head to Ickworth Estate this October half-term and see what wonders you can discover this autumn? Join in a scavenger hunt to find animals and objects big and small as you explore the estate. See how many pumpkins you can find as you walk around, splash in puddles, or hire a bike and have a two-wheeled adventure. All the autumn activities are self-led to help you make the most of escaping into nature. Pick up a scavenger hunt sheet from the Welcome Point when you arrive anytime between 10am and 4pm.  The event is free but normal admission charges apply, free for National Trust members. The Cycle hire Hub is open daily during Suffolk school holidays 10am to 4pm, last hire at 2pm. Prices start from £3.

Dunwich Heath – Creepy Crafts, 22-23, 26, 29-30 October

Dunwich Heath and beachDunwich Heath (c) Malcolm Farrow

This October half term there are some ghostly activities to get involved with at Dunwich Heath! On both Weekends and the Wednesday between 10am and 4pm, there will be creepy crafts in Heath Barn, including scary lamps, paper plate ghosts, and pinecone bats to name a few… If you’re after more of a walk, then pick up our ghost story discovery trail from visitor welcome and discover some of the local ghostly goings on… That’s if you dare…

If spooky isn’t your thing, we also have three other trails, geo-caching, tracker packs, den building, Dunwich discovery walks, and Bug basement sessions, and of course miles of walks to wander! Free to take part, car parking charges apply, free for National Trust members.

Orford Ness – 22-23 & 29-30 October, 10am – 5pm

Enjoy a boat trip over to Orford Ness (c) National Trust Annapurna Mellor

It’s your last chance to visit Orford Ness this year so hop on board the boat Octavia and after a short trip across the River Alde explore this remote shingle spit reserve with its intriguing military history and abundance of wildlife. Pre-booking is required, and charges apply, even for National Trust members. See website for more information and booking.

Melford Hall

Transport yourself back to 1578 at Melford Hall (c) Dom-Thorby

  • Putting on a Progress 1578: An Immersive Experience, Saturday 22, Sunday 23 and Wednesday 26 – Sunday 30 October 2022, 12pm – 3.30pm

Join Melford Hall this October to discover ‘Putting on a Progress 1578: An Immersive Experience’. Using virtual reality headsets, you’ll be transported back in time to 1578 to discover how and why, in the summer of 1578, Queen Elizabeth I travelled from London through East Anglia to Norwich. The Royal Progress, which began on 11 July 1578, saw Queen Elizabeth I set off from her royal palace in Greenwich, alongside an immense throng of people, including her royal household and foreign ambassadors. They travelled north through Suffolk and Norfolk, paying a visit to Melford Hall. 360° film technology will take you in 10 different virtual rooms as Queen Elizabeth and her Court come to life. Embedded in the films are hidden images, and you’ll be challenged to become ‘Walsingham’s Watchers’, complete tasks, and take home an official ‘Watcher Scroll’.

The experience is free and there is no need to book (normal admission applies). The experience is designed for people over the age of 12 – younger participants may take part accompanied by an adult, please speak to one of the team on the day of your visit.  However, younger children can get crafty and design their own stained-glass window from brightly coloured papers, just like the window at Melford Hall that commemorates Queen Elizabeth I’s visit.


View the beautiful autumnal landscapes at Flatford (c) Justin-Minns

Grab your wellies and a warm coat and head out for an autumnal family adventure at Flatford. The purple and orange routes are perfect for little legs looking to explore further, and you’ll spot plenty of dazzling autumn colour and nature on the way. Look out for funky fungi on the bases of trees, hunt for the biggest and brightest leaves and keep your eyes peeled for birds and bugs as you make your way. The tea room, set along the banks of the River Stour, is open daily, so once you’ve finished your walk you can warm up with a hot chocolate and home-baked treat!