Halloween fun in Kent

Misty Ightham Mote

Misty Ightham Mote - Credit: Archant

Hallowe’en falls at the end of half term, offering the perfect reason to get into the spirit of things (pun intended)

The National Trust has a range of exciting events happening in Kent this month that offer a fun alternative to ‘trick or treating’ and a great chance to get out and enjoy the last of autumn’s fresh air.

Here are five suggestions for a Kentish Hallowe’en to remember.

Terrific trails at Chartwell

Chartwell in Westerham is the perfect Hallowe’en location, with its looming house walls and extensive garden, full of hidden corners to explore.

Every day of half term (Monday 27 to Friday 31 October), follow the trail around the grounds to hunt for scary mini-beasts, track wild animals and discover some horrifying Hallowe’en facts along the way. Trails sheets are free after normal admission.

Pumpkin perfection at Ightham Mote

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Ightham Mote near Sevenoaks is also joining in the frightful fun with a pumpkin-themed trail around the garden from 25 October until 2 November.

Ightham Mote has a long and varied history, with plenty of spooky tales to discover, including shoes found hidden in a chimney, apparently left there to ward off evil spirits.

In 1953, however, it seems the shoes were not enough to keep danger away, as the owner claimed to have been woken in the night by the hands of a ghost around his neck. The house was duly exorcised by the Bishop of Rochester and no further unexplained incidents were reported.

Ghostly goings on at South Foreland

Standing in solitude on the Dover coastline, South Foreland Lighthouse already has a mysterious feel. Yet the scare factor increases this Hallowe’en with a range of after-dark activities available on

All Hallows night itself.

Explore the lighthouse by torchlight from 6pm if you dare, before listening to ghost stories and enjoying family activities. Warm clothing is advised - fancy dress is optional.

Later on in the evening, adults can

tour the lighthouse and learn about its history (8pm until midnight).

Places for the night’s activities cost £10 each and must be booked in advance on 01304 853281.

Spooky stargazing in the lovely Kent countryside

Stargazing has been a popular pastime for centuries. On a clear night, the skies can reveal some fascinating constellations.

The Kent countryside is the ideal location to indulge in a spot of Hallowe’en star gazing, as it has minimal light pollution and a wide expanse of sky to study.

If you are not quite brave enough to go out on Hallowe’en night, the shorter days and darker evenings will offer plenty of opportunities throughout the month.

Find 50

Stargazing is just one of the 50 activities included in the National Trust’s popular ‘50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4’. Available throughout the year, the list of 50 outdoor challenges include plenty of activities suitable for October, and the many houses and gardens in Kent offer plenty of chances to tick them off the list.

Autumnal activities include star gazing, taking a walk at night, catching a falling leaf and running around in the rain.

The full list is available online at: ww.50things.org.uk. n