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Nine of the best budget-friendly activities across Suffolk this October half-term

With the October half-term hurtling towards us, many families might be trying to find ways to entertain the children without spending too much.

Well, look no more, as we have found nine budget-friendly activities this school holiday which should not break the bank.

With activities ranging in cost from free to £15, we hope there is something here to suit every bank balance.

The award ceremony was hosted at the Food Museum in Stowmarket. Picture: SuffolkNews
The award ceremony was hosted at the Food Museum in Stowmarket. Picture: SuffolkNews

From pumpkins to films to den building and themed trails, read on for nine inspirational half-term ideas across Suffolk.

We will start our round-up with… apples.

Apple week, The Food Museum, Stowmarket, October 21-29, open daily 10am-5pm

A week of apple pressing, juice making, baking workshops and apple-themed activities for all the family are on offer at Stowmarket’s Food Museum this half-term.

Increase your apple knowledge and taste a variety of apples and juices from local orchards, there will be apple pressing workshops and apple-based food and drink tasters in the Bone Building, along with special activities throughout the week and a whole day of activities on National Apple Day (October 21).

Entry costs from £10 (child entry) and £15 (adults) which makes it the most expensive of our activities, however tickets to the Food Museum can be upgraded to annual passes at no extra cost, allowing unlimited visits for 12 months.

Some apple week sessions need to be booked and cost extra – see website for information.

Lowestoft Film Festival, October 20-27

Family-friendly screenings feature on the line-up for half-term’s Lowestoft Film Festival, with tickets available at bargain prices.

Festival passes – costing £3 each – allow visitors to book tickets to any of the ticketed screenings at no extra cost, or non-passholders can buy individual tickets for £1 each.

This is Lowestoft’s second annual film festival and this year, 130 short films from film-makers across the UK have been selected to be screened at venues across the town.

Family-friendly offerings include Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Asteroid City, The Big Knights plus Wawel Dragon, Pure Imagination and the ‘Animated Feast’.

Abbeygate Cinema
Abbeygate Cinema

Family matinées, Abbeygate Cinema, Bury St Edmunds

Film fans can also get excited about seeing some of the latest releases at the independent Abbeygate cinema, in Bury St Edmunds, this half-term.

Not only is the venue offering its regular weekend family matinée screenings on Saturday and Sunday mornings, it also offers specially-priced family tickets to any of its latest releases, with tickets for four or more people (including at least two children) costing £5 each.

Half-term family matinée showings include Elemental at 10.30am on October 21 and 22 and The Nightmare Before Christmas at 10.30am on October 28 and 29. All family matinée tickets cost £2.50.

Meanwhile, Cineworld venues usually offer cut-priced ‘Movies for Juniors’ screenings costing £2.50 per person daily throughout half-term. At the time of writing, these had yet to be confirmed.

Budget-friendly half-term activities this school holiday in Suffolk
Budget-friendly half-term activities this school holiday in Suffolk

Brandon Country Park Autumn Trail, daily

If you need to blow off a few Hallowe’en cobwebs, then Brandon Country Park’s latest trail might be just the ticket.

Pick up a £1 trail sheet from the café (open 10am-4.30pm), follow the route, solve the clues along the way to decipher the special word and then return to the café to collect a small price.

The trail is running daily from October 21-29.

Daffodils in Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Bury Free Press
Daffodils in Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Bury Free Press

Devilish Dens and Fiendish Firelighting, Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, October 25, 10.30am and 1.30pm

Can you build a shelter to survive the zombie apocalypse? That’s what children (aged eight and over) will find out during the Devilish Dens session on October 25.

The rangers will be on hand at the Walled Garden for a spooky den building session, when youngsters can also cook brains and eyeballs (marshmallows and popcorn) over an open fire.

But once they have survived the zombie apocalypse, how will they cook their dinner?

That’s what will be discovered at the Fiendish Firelighting session, with rangers teaching children how to make fire.

Sessions cost £5 each.

Little Scare-lings, Dobbies garden centres in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge, October 26-29

Children aged three-10 can have a ‘frightfully’ fun pumpkin-themed afternoon with terrifying treats, themed activities and games before choosing their own pumpkin to take home and carve, at Dobbies garden centres in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge.

They can also choose from a food menu (offering fish fingers, chicken nuggets and more), with £9.99 child tickets including all the activities, a pumpkin and a meal (adult food options are also available).

This will be the third year that the festival has been at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
This will be the third year that the festival has been at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

Memories: Family activities at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, October 24, 26, 10am-noon

If you are on a super tight budget this half-term, then how does free sound to you?

If you need to save the pennies, then get booking for the ‘Memories’ sessions at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, with activities inspired by participants’ memories.

Memories is aged at children aged four-11 – all children must be accompanied.

Hallowe’en Trail, East Town Park, Haverhill, October 27

Another free event is Haverhill Town Council's annual Hallowe’en Trail, which returns on October 27 with no need to book – just turn up at East Town Park.

The annual spook-fest will see the park filled with weird, wonderful and ever-so-slightly scary creatures and characters.

See sights and sounds never encountered before during sessions at 5.30pm (not that scary), 6.15pm, 7.45pm and 8.30pm.

Rougham Pumpkins PICTURED: Picture: Mecha Morton
Rougham Pumpkins PICTURED: Picture: Mecha Morton

Pumpkin patches, across the county

As Hallowe’en approaches, pumpkin patches across the county offer some of the best seasonal budget-friendly outings (if you can avoid buying too many pumpkins, that is).

Pumpkin patches open across Suffolk (and just over the border in Norfolk) this year include:

Rougham Pumpkins

Ruffins Farm, between Whepstead and Chedburgh

Frogs Farm, Thwaite

Siam Hall Spooky Pumpkins, Boxford

Wrentham Pumpkins, near Beccles

Windolphs Farm Pumpkin Fest, Stansfield

Woodbridge Pumpkin Patch

Mrs Gs Pumpkin Patch

Many offer more than pumpkins and gourds, with play areas and animal encounters available at some of the best-established sites.