Often overshadowed by the giant that is Christmas, autumn celebrations in Britain are seemingly forgotten about and neglected.
However, despite popular belief, there are actually a range of fantastic traditions we have, which can make your transition into shorter days and colder nights, far easier. Alongside a visit to one of our fantastic UK attractions, of course.
Take a look at the ways in which you can celebrate this season:
Of course, we all know and most likely commemorate this holiday, which falls on October 31st every year. But do you know or understand the history behind it?
The origins of Halloween can be traced back to an ancient Celtic festival, marking the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. Back then, it symbolised the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The Celts also believed that, on this night, their dead would revisit the mortal world. Spooky!
Nowadays, we typically celebrate Halloween by attending themed parties and events, going trick-or-treating, and carving pumpkins.
There’s also a fantastic range of Halloween events to enjoy at your favourite UK attractions.
Alton Towers Resort: Scarefest - On selected nights throughout October and November, the park transforms into a spook-tacular destination. Expect terrifying scare mazes, chilling street theatre, and loads of family shows in the freaky fun-zone, including a CBeebies Land ‘Monster Ball’. There’s also the chance to experience the rides in the dark!
LEGOLAND Windsor Resort: Brick or Treat - Another fantastic family-friendly Halloween event, Brick or Treat includes a huge range of themed activities for kids to enjoy. These include the Creepy Cobweb Castle, a Monster Rocker’s Dance Party, the return of the Brick or Treat trail, and a NEW Haunted House Monster Party Ride.
Thorpe Park: Fright Nights - Dubbed ‘the home of fear’, this surely is the most horrifying destination to be this Halloween. Enjoy seven scare mazes and loads of other attractions, including the return of the popular Platform 15, The Walking Dead themed mazes, Blair Witch, and new additions like Terror at Amity High. Do you dare to take on the challenge of surviving Fright Nights?
All Soul's Day
Sometimes confused with Halloween, All Soul’s Day is actually a separate tradition which follows Halloween, taking place on November 2nd this year. Again, this is an ancient festival which was thought to release the souls trapped in the mortal world, to heaven. Historically, it was customary for poor Christians to offer prayers and songs for the dead, in return for spiced ale and soul cakes (a hot cross bun, but without the currants or cross on top) from their wealthier neighbours.
This All Soul’s Day, Warwick Castle is the best place in the UK to be, to learn more about this fascinating tradition. On selected dates throughout November, Medieval folk will be telling the story of All Soul’s Day, and you may even be invited to learn and sing a souling song, in return for a free traditional soul cake.
In some areas of the UK, November 4th was known as ‘Mischief Night’ - a time when all sorts of naughty things were done! The main ‘act’ was pretty harmless, as people simply put things in the wrong place. Phew! The night inspired much of the modern lore surrounding Halloween, as when the Scots and Irish settlers brought the custom of Mischief Night to North America, it then became known as ‘trick or treat’.
How about seeing what the cheeky characters at Shrek’s Adventure have been up to this Mischief Night? It looks like Donkey and Shrek put a stop to Sleepy Beauty’s beauty sleep, when they moved all the alarm clocks in Far Far Away into her Princess Tower. Of course, the Muffin Man was in on it too...he never passes up a practical joke! Get yourself to Shrek’s Adventure to see what else they’ve been up too.
Another big one, typically celebrated across the UK, Bonfire Night (sometimes known as Guy Fawkes Night) is marked on November 5th. Guy was a member of The Gunpowder Plotters group, a group of Catholic nobles who conspired to blow up the King and both Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. However, the plot was revealed and he was arrested, tortured, hanged, drawn and quartered.
Nowadays, British people celebrate with Bonfire Night, usually consisting of a festival of fireworks and a symbolic bonfire. But did you know you can also take part in the Guy Fawkes Experience at The London Dungeon during November? This unique experience will see you coming face-to-face with Guy Fawkes and his plot, and you’d better hope for your sake that he doesn’t succeed! Browse our London Dungeon ticket options here.
Every year, the UK marks the end of the First World War and remembers those who died in the line of duty, during Remembrance Day. And this year, The London Eye will be commemorating this important day by using its lights to transform into a poppy - the symbolic emblem of the occasion - against the London night time sky. Have a look at our London Eye ticket options here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the various British traditions that help to make autumn such a great season to celebrate. Ready to have your own UK adventure? Browse our UK attraction tickets here.