Don’t hibernate this Winter
After the holiday season is over, the long and blistery winter settles in, beckoning us all to stay indoors until spring unveils its first bits of sunny weather and greenery. I don’t know about you, but the thought of staying indoors all winter long gets me a bit stir crazy, and even though cash is always tight after Christmas, I get the itch to take the kids for an outing every now and then. Exploring the free and affordable activities in your local city is a great way to get out of the house without wrecking the family budget. Here’s what I recommend:
Step back in time with a castle visit
Here in the UK, we’re lucky to have a rich history, and exploring that history via a castle visit can make for a truly enchanting outing with the kids. Many of the castles are open year-round, feature family-friendly programming, and offer extremely affordable rates for a family of four. Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, for example, offers family admission starting at £16.90, while Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire prices family admission at just £12. Other big hits with kids are the child-sized furniture and play area at the Osborne House (Isle of Wright) and the Grand Medieval Joust at St. Mawes Castle in Cornwall.
Get educational at the museum
Bleak winter days are the best time to visit a museum, as the kids won’t complain about forfeiting their time outdoors. There are plenty of UK museums geared toward kids, and the best part is that many of them are free to visit. The Science Museum in London is free (though its IMAX is not), and so are the kid-friendly planetarium, aquarium, and bug house at the World Museum in Liverpool. The Snibston Discovery Park in Leicestershire, Techniquest in Cardiff, and W5 in Belfast will all cost you, though they all offer family admission for around £20.
Spring ahead at the botanical gardens
If you can’t wait for the budding trees and growing flowers of springtime, plan a family day out at the botanical gardens. Kew Gardens in London offers free admission for children under 16, and has kid-friendly activities like the Climbers and Creepers play area, Xstrata Treetop Walkway, and aquatic displays. Sheffield Winter Gardens is free as well, and the Eden Project in Cornwall and Edinburgh Botanical Gardens where both offer affordable admission, especially if you book online or take advantage of family discounts.
If you’re really anxious to get out of the UK this winter, consider heading to France or Belgium via ferry with the little ones. This alternative method of transportation will be a big adventure for the kids, and will allow you to cross over to Calais, Zeebrugge, or Ostend to check out the family-friendly offerings there. Shop around to find deals, keeping in mind that booking online early may be your best bet for making the crossing affordable for the whole family.
Looking for ways to save up for a family outing? Sell your mobile phone and take advantage of the great activities mentioned above.
Don’t hibernate this Winter