Quick Book

Best rates
I want to book a room

October Holiday Family Activity Breaks

16th - 18th October and 22nd - 24th October

Get back to nature and get involved in some family activities with the help of our Forest Ranger.   Build shelters and dens, cook over a campfire, do a spot of moon or star gazing .. and then go back to the warmth and comfort of the Cally Palace for a swim and dinner!

Your break wil start with a spot of star or moongazing depending on the visibility.  We are all fascinated by the night sky and this is an opportunity for you to explore it with a Dark Sky Ranger. The best and darkest stargazing is found around the Galloway and Southern Aryshire Biosphere and Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, these are superb areas for stargazing because it is so dark with very little light pollution. 

After a leisurely breakfast the Ranger Activities will start at 11am. The day with the Ranger will be packed with shelter and den making and a camp fire with some tasty cooking too. You will start off hunting for good site to set up camp and collect all the materials that you need for making a fire. Then your Ranger will show you how to make some quick and easy shelters using tarpaulins and ropes then make your den using natural materials. You can then use all these ideas to design and make your own fantastic creations. We will start the camp fire to sit around while we eat our picnic lunch. Our camp fire will be great for doing some cooking too, everyone knows about cooking marshmallows but we will make some bread and other fun things, you will finish at around 4pm to get packed up and get cleaned up before enjoying dinner in the hotel.


  • 2 nights accommodation & breakfast
  • 4 course dinner each evening
  • An evening of moon or star gazing complete with hot chocolate
  • A full day of activities with your Forest Ranger.
  • Complimentary use of the leisure facilities
  • Complimentary wi-fi

Prices start from £499 for 2 adults and 2 children with all activities included.  Please note this is a family break where families take part in the activities together.

To book this break, please contact Josephine McCombe 

t:  01557 814 341  |  m:  07858 437 092  |  e:  josephine@callypalace.co.uk

About the activities on offer:


Shelter building:

The skills used when learning to make shelters are useful for all other kind of things too - it's always good to know how to tie knots. Everyone all works together to make your shelter which make a great base to do other things such as making camp fires or den making.


Den building:

Den making is a great family exercise. Using natural materials imagine how you can use them to make a den that you can fit inside. It is great to see children and adults alike using their imaginations about why they have created their den, some are shipwrecked on a deserted island, some hunting pirates and some hiding from dragons!


Making Fires Safely:

Once you’ve made your den or shelter the next fundamental thing in outdoor learning is how to make a fire!  Learn how to make a fire using flint and steel - our ranger will make sure that you are safe around it and show you how to protect both yourself and the environment.   Once your fire is started there is no better way to celebrate than to cook marshmallows - they definitely taste better when you cook them on a fire you have had to light yourself.


Mud Art:

Mud is great to experiment with!  This a great family activity where everyone can get really creative using natural materials. Your tree faces will be left behind at the end of the day for other people to see however you can take a mud head away to remind you of your day! 

Water, towels and wipes will be provided to help you clean up after the activity.


Stargazing or Moon Watching:

If you live in a big town or a city you might not have really seen a dark night like we have here in Dumfries and Galloway, however we are all fascinated by the night sky and this is an opportunity for you to explore it.  The best and darkest stargazing is found in and around the Galloway and Southern Aryshire Biosphere and Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park,however the rest of Dumfries & Galloway is great too and our ranger can help you identify stars, constellations and finding our galaxy, the milky way using our ranger’s astronomy binoculars to give you a closer view. 

The moon is something that you can see even in the brightest towns and cities, it is something that we are all used to  but what do you really know about it? Using our ranger’s astronomy binoculars will give you a closer look. They will allow you to see the Sea of Tranquillity, the area where Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. you can see the craters in greater detail. Moon light nights are also fantastic for being able to pick out the brightest stars and constellations which helps if you are a star watching beginner. These prominent stars are the basis of a sound knowledge of a nigh time sky and once you know them you can start navigating your way around finding other stars and constellations.  Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided.


About our Ranger:

All activities are being run by Elizabeth Tindal who has been working as a Countryside Ranger for over 20 years and have recently become a Biosphere Dark Sky Ranger at the gold standard Galloway Dark Sky Park as well as setting up her own Freelance Ranger business.  She mainly concentrates her activities within Dumfries and Galloway and her specialities are delivering outdoor learning for families, and mud!   She is also an artist and loves to bring that creativity and fun into all of her activities.  

Activities in the outdoors are never risk free but the Freelance Ranger activities and events have the risk managed so that you can enjoy them safely.  Elizabeth carries a first aid kit with her and has a current Paediatric and Outdoor First Aid certificate as well as one for First Aid at Work.

Her PVG check allows her to work with with children and vulnerable adults. She is also trained in risk assessment and has over 20 years experience successfully organising and delivering activities and events. For outdoor learning she has a level 3 Beach Schools leader qualification using this she has created outdoor classrooms on beaches, woods, fields, playgrounds and even parks.

Den building
Campfire Cooking
Cally Pond Startrails
Swimming Pool 2
Forest Wing with a View

Family Activity Break