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Best family holiday destinations for October half-term

When it comes to planning half-term getaways, planning ahead is key. Here's our guide of the best family holiday destinations for October half-term to help you out.

By Karen Basnett | Last updated Jul 31, 2022

Halloween at Orlando Florida

Ever living up to its reputation, the UK's weather during the autumn months is just as unpredictable as it is for the rest of the year. As a result, we wouldn't blame you if you found yourself dreaming of autumn sunshine elsewhere. 

Whether your children are tots or teenagers, October half-term always provides a great opportunity for a family getaway. The prices are usually cheaper than summer, and as the darker nights draw in as winter approaches in the UK, there's no better time to jet-off for some well-earned family fun. You've survived six weeks of term time, after all?

To help you plan your autumn half-term getaway, we've rounded-up some of the best October half-term destinations for families looking to escape the UK.

From the magic of Disney to the sun-drenched beaches in Cape Verde and Alpine cycling in Austria - there's plenty of options to choose from. Take advantage of the last of the autumn sunshine in southern Europe, go further afield to fun-filled Dubai, or even jet off to a long-haul dream destination.  

Whatever your budget or entertainment preferences, we feel there's something on this list for everyone. These short-haul, mid-haul, and long-haul destinations will keep children entertained and parents happy. Bring on a change of scenery and the half-term escape!

What are the best holiday destinations for October half-term?

1. Best overall October half-term destination: Costa Adeje, Tenerife

costa adeje

Costa Adeje, Tenerife | Find a hotel

Tenerife is a top-rated family destination famous for its year-round warm weather, child-friendly activities, and family-friendly accommodation. At just over four hours from the UK by plane, you can touch down knowing there is something to suit all ages and tastes.

The most popular resorts are in the south, just a short trip from the airport. Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje are all firm favourites, with white sandy beaches and excellent family activities. Each resort has its quirks, so do your research before you book.

Where to stay

Check out the Fantasia Bahia Principe Hotel for a fabulous all-inclusive option offering the perfect base for your Tenerife adventures.

Top tip

Check out the Siam Park waterpark which all the family will love, and the nearby Teide National Park for exploring and mountain biking. 

What Mumsnet users say

“We went to Tenerife at half term Costa Adeje - was lovely. The high 20s. We were surprised by how nice the weather was.” voxnihili

2. Best for active families: Tyrol, Austria

tyrol

Tyrol, Austria | Find a hotel

Discover the beautiful Leutasch Valley on two wheels and by foot - from meadows to high mountain passes, you'll find some of the most picturesque valleys in Europe, with strings of pretty villages throughout. Temperatures aren't as high as other destinations like Dubai in the UAE, but highs of 10°C mean activities here don't leave you roasting. 

Mumsnetters recommend booking with Tyrol Adventure for cycling and walking adventures. Their self-guided family activity holidays offer two family-friendly hotels, both with an indoor pool. 

During your stay, you can explore a dramatic gorge, take a cable car into the high mountains, visit Innsbruck and swim in rivers and lakes. And best of all these are non-group holidays, so there’s no fixed timetable. Set off on the gentle terrain when you want, cycle at your pace, and rest when you want.

Where to stay

Booking with Tyrol Adventure for your stay is a must, but if not, there are plenty of accommodation options you can find on sites like Booking.com

Top tip

Tyrol has its own unique cuisine. Bacon dumplings are a Tyrol staple, best enjoyed in soup or with sauerkraut.

What Mumsnet users say

"We went through a stage of going to various parts of Austria and while Zell am See is definitely more beautiful - Saalbach is definitely more child friendly with lots to do (you should get the Joker Card included) and at the end of the valley is the hanging bridge and treetops bit. Lots of activities to do and walks that are for children." Quartz2208 

3. Best luxury family holiday for half-term: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Find a hotel

Situated on the coast of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai offers both a city break and a beach holiday combined into one. Parents can enjoy huge shopping malls and exquisite restaurants, family-friendly hotels with kids' clubs and popular attractions include KidZania, Dubai Aquarium, Ski Dubai, and the Green Planet.

Make sure to head out on a desert excursion too, activities like sandboarding and desert safaris are so much fun. Not forgetting the emirate's award-winning waterparks like Aquaventure and Wild Wadi, which everyone will love regardless of their age. 

In October, the average high temperature is 36°C, with plenty of sunshine and a pleasant, warm ocean. Evenings stay hot and it’s very rare for it to rain in October. All you’ll need to pack is your sunnies and swimwear.

Where to stay

Stay at the Centara Mirage Beach Resort. This brand-new hotel boasts a beachfront pool with waterslides and a lazy river as well as kids’ clubs and a family-friendly lounge. You can also check out our guide to the best family hotels in Dubai to help you plan your stay.

Top tip

October to March offer the coolest of temperatures for visitors. Aim to dress modestly and avoid PDAs. Try and choose a location that's close to a public transport option, like Dubai Metro, to help you get around the emirate easily. 

What Mumsnet users say

“We have stayed in Le Meridian Mina Seyahi 10 times now. It’s very child friendly and has just had a small water park built in its grounds.” ihearttc

“For winter sun it’s a great destination. Hotels are excellent , service is good and if it’s a beach holiday you are after it ticks the boxes. We’ve been as a family many times and my kids love it.” Anjo2011

4. Best for babies and toddlers: Paphos, Cyprus

paphos

Paphos, Cyprus | Find a hotel

Cyprus is the ideal destination as it has the perfect mix of culture, glorious beaches, scenic mountains and family-friendly accommodation all within a five-hour flight.

During October temperatures reach highs of 26°C. But once the sun goes down little ones can get chilly, so it’s worth packing cardigans or light hoodies. 

Tots will no doubt love exploring all of the ancient history there is to see in Paphos - all set within a small area, little legs will easily get around or if not, taking a baby carrier with you will help when they grow tired. Paphos is also home to the Aphrodite Water Park, which offers a play area designed for babies and tots. 

Where to stay

A great choice for a baby and toddler friendly hotel in Cyprus is The Olympic Lagoon Resorts, Paphos. It is a 5* luxury beachfront hotel and one of Cyprus’ leading child-friendly resorts. There are plenty of pools, a creche for babies aged 6 months+ with a soft play area, and fully qualified staff to look after them. Little Monsters Kids Club offers all-day and evening entertainment for older children, ages 3 to 12. So parents can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while their children play.

Top tip

The capital Nicosia is divided by a green line between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. It's an unmissable day trip, but if you cross the border from North and South you will need to show your passport.  

What Mumsnet users say

"Yes been a few times. Plenty of resturants down by the harbour - you can walk or get the bus to tomb of the kings and theres plenty of historical stuff to see round the harbour." chipsandpeas

5. Best budget destination: Antalya, Turkey

antalya

Antalya, Turkey | Find a hotel

Turkey offers an affordable family holiday. This applies to everything from hotels to cafes, restaurants clothes, and even souvenirs. Combine all of that with the current rate of exchange and your pounds will go a long way!

The country has some of the world's leading child-friendly hotels and resorts, and they sit alongside the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. When it comes to choosing an area to stay, a firm favourite by Mumsnetters is Antalya. The resort city is home to one of the largest aquariums in the world and the action-packed Lands of Legends Theme and Water Park.

Alternatively, Bodrum is a fantastic choice if you require a quick transfer from the airport. Or you can consider Fethiye for its crystal clear blue waters and sandy white beaches. Wherever you go in October in Turkey, the weather is gorgeous and offers temps of between 20°C and 25°C, depending on your location. 

Where to stay

Check out the all-inclusive Side Star Resort Hotel for a five star bargain break. 

Top tip

Take cash with you as you cannot rely on cards, most service providers prefer cash, and ATMs are unreliable.

What Mumsnet users say

"Antalya is lovely, there's a bus that goes on the front of Lara Beach straight to the old town with the ruins and harbour, a few lovely restaurants overlooking the sea." CustardGoodJamGoodMeatGood

6. Best for a laid-back escape: Sal, Cape Verde

sal cape verde

Sal, Cape Verde | Find a hotel

The archipelago of Cape Verde is made up of ten volcanic islands and is about a six-hour flight from the UK. Thanks to its location off the west coast of Africa, the destination offers sunshine all-year-round. 

Although the islands are an up-and-coming destination, they each offer fine white sandy beaches, lively surfing, and modern all-inclusive hotels. Plus, resorts here are incredibly child-friendly, making Cape Verde a must-try destination for Mumsnetters.

One particular island to visit is Sal. Known as a beach lover's paradise, Sal is the archipelago's most popular island for holidaymakers - and the easiest to travel to, and get around. Alongside golden, sandy beaches with azure waters, Sal is also home to Espargos and Santa Maria, and the latter offers hotels with everything you need within a 20-minute walk. Enjoy everything Cape Verde alongside a welcomed temperature of 30°C.

Where to stay

Ideal for families, experience world-class service at Melia Dunas Beach Resort & Spa complete with a water park, kids club, all day and evening entertainment.

Top tip

Pack baby necessities such as nappies, formula, baby food and wipes. Even though there are mini-markets in the larger towns, you may struggle to get these items.

What Mumsnet users say

"I loved it. Boat trips, a little island tour, swimming, long walks on the beach and not too crowded with people like the Med is. The sea is very clean too. I’d go again." HotSauceCommittee

"Most things are imported, the tourist industry is fairly new so dont expect the same service you might get at more established places, and it can be expensive. If you just want all inclusive and to laze around a pool it might suit. We like to explore, go out of the hotel, eat at different restaurants etc and this seemed very primitive on those fronts." Elouera

7. Best for non-stop, family fun: Orlando, Florida

Halloween at Orlando Florida

Orlando, Florida | Find a hotel

Discover the land of theme parks, attractions and some of the best beaches in the world, in the heart of the Sunshine State of Florida. Whether you're looking for thrilling rollercoasters or magical moments with Mickey and friends, Orlando keeps everyone entertained from morning until night and offers heaps of family fun.

October is a fantastic time to visit for non-stop fun. Mickey's not-so-scary Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom, the themed parades, the shows, and pumpkins everywhere, nowhere does Halloween like Disney! 

For October, Orlando sees highs of 29°C. Days are usually hot with balmy evenings, so visitors are advised to pack light and cool clothing.

Where to stay

A Disney resort hotel, a hotel near Universal Studios, a private villa, a hotel near International Drive… The choices of accommodation in Orlando are endless and depend on what suits you as a family. It’s worth researching different options and costs.

Top tip

If you visit before your child turns three you’ll avoid paying for park entrance at Walt Disney World - they're considered as 'special guests' of Mickey Mouse and do not need theme park admission. 

What Mumsnet users say

"You can buy day tickets for specific parks but if you are there for 2 weeks and you are doing the parks the multi passes are better value. If your children like Harry Potter then the Universal Parks are a must and absolutely magical. I never thought id like Florida at all, but the whole park experience makes for a great family holiday. Not relaxing as very busy but so much fun." OverByYer

"It is quite a rainy time of year depending - but then again you get Halloween so swings and roundabouts." ChristopherTracy

8. Best long-haul destination: Playa del Carmen, Mexico

playa del carmen

Playa del Carmen, Mexico | Find a hotel

Picture postcard beaches, clear turquoise waters, stunning scenery, vibrant culture and tequila and avocados galore! 

Mexico is one of the most popular family destinations in the world. Playa del Carmen is a big hit with families. 

There's so much to do outside your hotel for outdoor enthusiasts. With highs of 30°C in October, you'll enjoy cooling off after a dive into cenotes (freshwater pools) - you can swim, snorkel and even scuba dive in their remarkably clear depths. Catch the ferry to the island of Cozumel or for families with older kids check out the Mayan Ruins in Tulum or Chichén Itzá.

Not forgetting Xel-Há Park! A family-friendly aquatic theme park where the kids can snorkel, swim with dolphins and stingrays or explore the jungle.

Where to stay

Check out the all-inclusive Paradisus, a luxury resort designed with the entire family in mind. It has a nursery club for babies ages 12 months to 3 years old and a kids club.

Top tip

Avoid drinking tap water anywhere in Mexico. While the water is purified at the source, distribution systems across the country allow the water to be contaminated en route to your tap. 

What Mumsnet users say

"Playa del Carmen is 20/30 mins in a taxi (which the hotel will arrange) and has shops etc. Lots of great trips - Xel-ha, Xsenses, Xcaret. We love it!" sidsgranny

"Playa Del Carmen is nicer as you have the majority of the hotels behind a gated complex but anyone can enter and you can walk to 5th Ave where all the bars and shops and restaurants are and get the ferry to Cozumel." Sosayi

9. Best for a family city break: Lisbon, Portugal

lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal | Find a hotel

Lisbon is a charming, affordable city with fantastic food, quirky trams, and an impressive red bridge spanning the tidal River Tejo. It's a great city for families with plenty to keep kids and teenagers occupied, like the Oceanarium, Castelo Sao Jorge, and the urban street art.

It's worth noting that there are some steep hills with cobblestones in Lisbon that are not ideal for buggies, so child carriers are always a practical solution. Look out for the electric tuk-tuk city tour, which children of all ages will love. 

Temps reach highs of 23°C - a comfortable heat to enjoy the city without getting too hot. But if you fancy getting outside of the city to explore, you are only a scenic 35-minute train ride from Lisbon to Cascais for a day at the beach.

Where to stay

Following on from the success of Martinhal Sagres in the Algarve, the team behind the ultra family-friendly resort has opened its first city apartment-style Martinhal Chiado hotel in the heart of Lisbon in the happening Chiado district.

Top tip

If you are planning on visiting many sites and museums that charge an entrance fee and using public transport,  you should consider purchasing the Lisboa Card.

What Mumsnet users say

"Pastel de nata, wander on foot along the waterside to LX Market to eat, tram ride across the city (early to a oid the queues), day trip to Sintra on the train (ditto). I love Lisbon, have a fantastic break!" MayBeeMee

"Warm, easy to get around, beautiful city, loads to see and do, lovely food, train to seaside at Estoril /Cascais. Nicest city break I've had." borntobequiet

10. Best for families that can't sit still: Westerhoven, the Netherlands

center parcs-min

Center Parcs De Kempervennen Eindhoven, the Netherlands | Book now

For October half-term fun, why not book a classic this year - albeit, in a different location away from the UK? Center Parcs originated in the Netherlands and offers an alternative to the UK locations, which can be fairly expensive during school holidays. The country's school holidays usually fall on different dates than the UK, meaning prices are super reasonable for the October half term - plus you get the bonus of travelling abroad and experiencing a different country too.

Located in the heart of nature around two lakes, Kempervennen is a 5-star Parc near Eindhoven with a variety of activities indoors and outdoors. It’s perfect for families especially those with energetic teenagers. The facilities include a long zip wire, aqua dome with waterslides, a snorkel pool, climbing, an indoor ski slope, an escape room and VR gaming.

Getting here

Amsterdam Port and Schiphol Airport are both around two hours away. From London King's to Eindhoven Station, it takes six hours by train.   

Top tip

It can be costly to purchase food from an onsite Parc Market. Bringing supplies with you or stopping at a local supermarket away from the site can work out more cost-effective. 

What Mumsnet users say

"Compared with UK center parcs the villas were a bit run down. I'm sure they are different now.What I would say is that if you plan to use the ski place then obviously Kempervennan is the one to choose. However if you have very small children Hejderbos might be a better choice." Hortz

"Within the last two years we have taken teenagers to De Kempervennen (Eden VIP villa) and De Vossemeren (VIP villa).We enjoyed both. I preferred De Kempervennen, but that might be because the villa was more luxurious and spacious and the weather was more pleasant." TheFirstOHN

When is the October half-term in the UK?

It's best to double check exactly when your child's school term and half-term lands, as some dates vary across the UK. You can do this by using the www.gov.uk website. 

Generally though for this year, October half-term begins on Monday 24th October 2022 and ends on Friday 28th October 2022. 

Schools that do not follow these term dates include academies, free schools, foundation schools, and faith schools - so if you're unsure about your school's term dates, it's best to contact them directly. 

How to save money on a October half-term holiday

To help you save some extra pennies when booking your October half-term holiday abroad, it's worth keeping an eye on the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways websites for long-haul flight sales that take place throughout the year.

Alternatively, check out SkyScanner to find and compare different holiday destinations and flights to find the best deal for your budget. 

Where is the best short-haul place to visit in October?

October is an excellent month for a holiday in Europe. It’s hot enough in the southern Mediterranean to bask in the sun, and the sea will be lovely and warm. This time of year is perfect to explore Europe’s cities and you’ll avoid the crowds, higher prices and the sweltering heat of summer. 

Where is the best long-haul place to visit in October?

It’s always summer somewhere. Fly another couple of hours and you can find yourselves in the Arabian Gulf with 36ºC and 10 hours of daily sunshine. October is also the start of the tourist season across south-east Asia.

Across the pond, if you're looking for hot weather and relatively crowd-free sightseeing, October is one of the best times to visit Florida with an average high of 29ºC. Mexico also sees highs of up to 32°C in October. Elsewhere, Africa is warm, dry and sunny and The Indian Ocean is starting to come out of the wet season which is a fantastic time to visit.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations by real parents

Before choosing any destination for our roundups, we first consult the Mumsnet forums. With over 10 million users per month, there’s a lot of suggestions by real parents who have been there, done that when travelling during October half-term with the family. 

Expert guidance and traveller reviews

After we’ve collated our destination picks, we then turn to the experts and consult the likes of TripAdvisorBooking.com, and Expedia to see what their recommendations include for family holidays during October half-term.

Here we’ll also check what travellers are saying about each destination on these sites, taking into consideration both the positive and negative points of their trip to bring you a well-rounded and honest guide. 

Why should you trust us?

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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