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MAP: Feeling the pinch? Check out these free family activities in the north-east

A bag running in the woods with a golden retriever.
A young boy with a golden retriever. Image: Shutterstock

Our map of free north-east events and activities will keep everyone entertained this October holidays.

Whether you feel like wrapping up warm and escaping to nature, or settling down for some Halloween crafts, there’s plenty to do.

Browse our interactive map and discover lots of free family fun on your doorstep.


Escape to nature at Cambus o’ May, Ballater

One of the walks in the Cambus o’ May forests.

Take a refreshing autumn walk among the pine trees and heather of Cambus o’ May. This tranquil woodland is perfect for kids to explore, and rich with wildlife including red squirrels, dragonflies and the golden eagle.

Note – some trails are closed due to storm flooding, so check before setting off.

For more information, click here.

Get your skates on for free Aberdeen sports

Get swimming during the holidays or try your hand at ice skating or tubing. Image: Shutterstock

Sport Aberdeen is providing a range of free family activities throughout the October holidays. Whether you want to go tubing as a family, have a splash in the pool, or fancy gliding round the ice rink, there’s something to keep the little ones happy.

Make sure you book in advance, as spaces are limited.

For more information, click here.

Visit the dramatic Dess Waterfall

Parts of the Deeside way are well-shaded with leafy trees. Picture by Darrell Benns
Parts of the Deeside way are well-shaded with leafy that will be turning brown at this time of year. Image: Darrell Benns

A gentle walk from the picturesque village of Kincardine O’Neil will take you to this hidden gem waterfall.

Part of the Deeside Way, the path cuts through open fields, burns and woodland before arriving at the secluded but stunning Dess Waterfall.

For more information, click here.

Play in the dunes at Forvie National Nature Reserve

Look out for seals and ducks on the golden sands of Forvie. Image: Paul Glendell

Explore the expansive flat sands and sweeping dunes of this very special landscape. Forvie is also a haven for birds all year round, including diving terns, eider ducks and fulmars.

There’s a walk to suit every ability but check ahead for access information. And a few miles south down the coast, Balmedie Beach has long attracted families from far and wide.

For more information, click here.

Hunt down the creatures hiding at Aberdeen Art Gallery

The view of the new roof in Aberdeen Art Gallery - as the city council and its contractor look set for a court battle. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.
Hunt down all the animals hiding in the Art Gallery. Image: Kath Flannery

This free drop-in activity challenges visitors to find the animals hiding amongst the paintings, sculptures and jewellery in the museum.

A fun way to pass a day, and soak up some culture too!

For more information, click here.

Free events for ASN children – Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen

Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen. Image: Darrell Benns

Children with additional support needs can enjoy a great range of activities at Hazlehead park this October holidays.

There’s everything from drumming and messy play to Halloween crafts and therapy dogs at Pets Corner.

For more information, click here.

Discover Dracula at Slains Castle – Peterhead

Slain’s Castle near Cruden Bay. Image: VisitScotland

Get into the Halloween spirit with a late afternoon visit to the spooky Slain’s Castle on Cruden Bay. As the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula it’s sure to capture children’s imagination.

For more information, click here.

Soak up some history on the Old Aberdeen Trail

Old Aberdeen High Street showing Church Walk and Wrights’ and Coopers’ Place. Image: Kami Thomson

The countryside doesn’t have a monopoly on great walks! This trail explores the quirks and character of Old Aberdeen.

At 1.5 miles it’s a relatively short walk, but packed with interesting spots including a medieval cathedral, 15th-century college, Second World War pillbox, botanic garden and lots of public art.

For more information, click here.

Get sporty in the tattie holidays – Aberdeenshire

Inverurie Community Campus will have a number of events going on during the October holidays. Image: Kenny Elrick

Live Life Aberdeenshire is offering a huge range of free family sports events across the north-east as part of its ‘tattie holiday’ programme.

Head to one of their venues across the area and take part in football, badminton, swimming, inflatables, squash and much more. Booking required.

For more information, click here.

Watch the majestic red deer at Loch Muick – Balmoral

Look out for red deer sipping the fresh waters of Loch Muick in the Balmoral Estate. Image: Shutterstock.

Autumn is the perfect time to see the deer rut and discover the tranquil waters of Loch Muick, part of the Balmoral estate.

It’s a stunning day out at any time of year, but all the better as the autumn colours appear.

For more information, click here.

Head to your local library for Halloween crafts and activities

Set of materials for Halloween toys ghost from white paper napkin.
Halloween arts and crafts will take place across the north-east. Image: Shutterstock

Aberdeen libraries have put on a great range of free family events in the north-east. There are Halloween-themed craft events taking place at Cornhill, Cults, Culter, Mastrick, Northfield, Bucksburn, Dyce and Tillydrone. Meanwhile, Huntly library has its own escape room and Westhill is running a comic book workshop.

Register soon to avoid disappointment.

For more information, click here.

Wildlife trail at bonnie Bennachie

Enjoy the Bennachie trails during the holidays. Image: Kenny Elrick

Head to the Bennachie hills and discover the ancient Aberdeenshire landscape in its autumn colours.

Little ones will love the short discovery trail, with wildlife rubbing posts dotted along the way. Pick up paper and crayons from the visitor centre before you set off.

For more information, click here.

MAP: Free October holiday fun across the Highlands and Moray

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