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Where to Head on Holiday in October

Lauren Curd

The autumn weather is slowly filtering in, the days are getting darker and the nights longer, but you don't have to hide away in your house just yet. Check out our list of where to head on holiday this October.

Churchill, Manitoba for Polar Bear Safaris

The self-confessed ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’ is situated in northern Manitoba, one of Canada’s Prairie Provinces. The nickname comes from the vast quantity of polar bears that head to Churchill every October to wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over, meaning they can gather on the ice and feed. The best way to see the bears is by tundra buggy, whereby you leave the town on a specially adapted terrain vehicle and drive around in search of the magnificent creatures. As Churchill is home to the largest concentration of polar bears in the world during October, the chances of sightings are very high, so be sure to have your camera at the ready.

Cyprus for Family Getaways

If you fancy a slice of sunshine but don’t want to travel too far away from home then Cyprus is perfect for you. This Mediterranean island country boasts spectacular beaches, historical architecture and a great nightlife scene that is perfect for family holidays and couples, as well as young and older travellers alike. Divided into two distinct regions – the North and the South - the Island is still drenched in sunshine at the end of the month, so if you missed out on a holiday this summer or fancy taking the kids away from the early stresses of the school year, the half term break is the ideal time to visit.

Arizona for Ranch Resorts

Equine enthusiasts should head to Arizona, where fantastic ranch experiences and desert mountain trails can be found. Choose to stay on an authentic working ranch or indulge in a little luxury on a resort ranch, such as Tanque Verde Ranch outside Tucson. Here you will find over 180 well-trained riding horses, experienced wranglers and a plethora of pathways to follow. October sees the countryside surrounding the ranch turning a spectacular orange, creating a colourful landscape that merges with the desert, mountains and prairie. It’s not too warm and it’s not too cold, ensuring the right weather for you to relax and enjoy the company of the horses and your fellow travellers. Outside of the ranch, golfing at many of the luxury resorts in Scottsdale could also tempt you to hit the USA.

Istanbul for Cultural City Breaks

A city break might be the superb remedy for the autumn blues, when the drop in temperature might see you hide under a mountain of blankets. Fortunately, it’s this temperature change that makes the historic Turkish city of Istanbul such a popular choice for a trip in October. The scorching sunshine of the summer months has dimmed, creating a balmy atmosphere which is excellent for meandering the many streets and markets. With history ranging from the Roman Empire, Byzantines, Latin Empire and the Ottomons; Istanbul has maintained an important role throughout millennia, and its strategic position of the Silk Road rail networks between Europe and the Middle East has helped foster an eclectic populace. Key sights are the Golden Horn harbour, Maiden’s Tower, the nostalgic trams of Istiklal Avenue, Domalbahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, and Hagia Sophia.

Oman for Guaranteed Sunshine

Oman sits on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, maintaining a more laid-back yet cultural vibe than its more well-known neighbours of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The sunshine here is almost guaranteed with fantastic beaches galore to enjoy it on. Come here for a different type of holiday, just a 7 hour flight away from the UK. The capital Muscat lies on the Arabian Sea along the Gulf of Oman and is mostly dominated by the rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains. It’s a beautiful city with an easygoing lifestyle and multicultural atmosphere. Check out the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre, Bait al Zubair, as well as many other museums, palaces and landmarks, including the Muscat Gate which serves as the grand entranceway to the city.

Japan for Natural Beauty

In March, the cherry blossoms of Japan paint a perfect picture of the country, broadcasting the natural beauty that directly contrasts the modern and technologically advanced cities. In October, this beauty is still prominent as autumn kicks in, turning the leaves a lovely orange and creating another perfect canvas. The weather remains warm but it’s not hot or humid anymore. There are a number of festivals through the month, in which you can experience the culture and traditions of Japan that have become so famous worldwide. Head to Tokyo for the big city feel; Osaka, known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’; Kyoto, with its geisha heritage in Gion; and plenty of other towns and cities. Or you could combine them all and learn about the famed cuisine on a cooking tour of Japan.

Mexico for Quirky Traditions

Hallowe’en was originally a Christian feast used as a day to remember the dead, including saints, martyrs and the faithful departed believers. Nowadays, it has taken on more of a secularised status, with costumes, bonfires, trick or treating, and jack-o’-lanterns forming an integral part to annual proceedings. However, in Mexico, the famed Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is still widely honoured. October 31st sees families around Mexico praying and remembering friends and relatives who have died. It has been granted as a bank holiday, and people head to private altars, cemeteries and graves to leave food, gifts, and possessions of the deceased. Many other countries around the world celebrate the dead in their own way but Mexico is the most famous due to its long history of the day, which stretches back as far as 3,000 years.

 

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**

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