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Blogs » Mummy Blogger

Day Trips – Family fun on a budget

My eldest child is going to be nine in a matter of weeks. His birthday plans will be spread over a couple of weekends and will very likely involve a trip to the cinema with friends followed by a pizza, as well as a family celebration which may include a session at the local climbing wall and another meal out. That little lot will all mount up but it’s a special event so we’ll swallow the cost somehow.

What can be a BIG issue however is keeping a family of five amused at the weekend without bankrupting yourselves. Unless you’re highly organised, have your budget really well planned and are happily living to your means, thinking of weekend activities can be soul-destroyingly stressful.

A family trip to the cinema can easily amount to £50 once you gather the obligatory drinks, sweets and popcorn buckets. If you give in and go out for food afterwards then you can expect to be looking at very little change out of £75 for the day, even if you frequent the fastest of fast food restaurants.

Continually racking your brain for activities that don’t cost a fortune and that a family of different ages can enjoy is a really tricky business, but it is possible to avoid the soft play hell and horribly bored children with just a little imagination.

For those of you lucky enough to live in the cities, tap into the network of museums. They are simply brilliant spaces to enjoy, many are free to visit and there really is something for everyone. For London museums check out the Wikipedia page. As well as listing the obvious delights such as the Science Museum and the V&A it also provides details of treasures like The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury and a representation of the notorious prison ‘The Clink’ in it’s own Museum in Southwark.

If you prefer something slightly simpler and cheaper there are still plenty of sites that will help you plan your perfect day out. A really great resource is the Ready For Ten site with a dedicated Skillscape section that makes it possible to easily search for things to do in your local area. Here’s another great post from RFT on places to go for free days out.

Putting this subject out for discussion we received lots of great ideas that ranged from Farm parks to scavenger hunts in the forest - with a hot picnic in the winter. Another brilliant suggestion was to take yourselves off on a bus ride, not something that lots of children experience in our car-based age but actually a lovely thing to share on the most frugal of budgets. Town based treasure hunts were a big hit and geocaching was raved about as the ‘next big thing’. If you prefer more rural pursuits, have a look at the RSPB nature reserves, there’s loads of activities and all for the cost of parking and of course there’s the National Trust if you can afford the initial outlay. Finally, there’s always feeding the ducks in the park, which kids (of ALL ages) never seem to grow bored of.

Share your tips for family days out with us – how do you keep everyone happy?

Thursday, 17th February 2011

Tags:   Birthdays  /  parenting  /  Days Out  /  Museums  /  Parks  /  Things to Do  /  Scavenger Hunts  /  Treasure Hunts  /  Money
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