Ahead of the Christmas break, we asked travel curator and author The Worldly Mum (http://www.theworldlymum.com/) to put together a list of things we can do with our families that don't cost a fortune! Here are her suggestions...
1. London – Kensington museums day! The major London museums like the Natural History, Science Museum and V&A are all within a short walk of South Kensington tube station and all free entry. Have a museum day if the weather is horrid and visit one or more of these amazing institutions, all are child friendly and will easily absorb endless energy with their special exhibits and treasure hunts. If an overnight stay is possible, Sunday nights are the cheapest nights to stay in the capital and hotel chains like Premier Inn offer one price per night for a family room, for up to four people!
2. For those of you who to escape anything further to do with Christmas, why not immerse yourself in another culture and experience the far off lands of the Orient, right here in our own back garden. Spend the afternoon in China Town (Nearest Tube Leicester Square) and immediately see the difference as London Street signs are translated into Chinese characters. Wander the streets whilst revelling in the intoxicating aromas of the food being cooked in the myriad of restaurants. Visit the shops selling Chinese clothing and incense with the delicate sounds of Chinese music ping pinging away.
3. Again, for those of you escaping the Christmas machinery, try a self-guided London history walk, visit the city of London website and pick a relevant homework topic to immerse the children in and bring history to life. Whether it’s the Romans or Dickens, London has a story to tell.
4. Avoid London theatre prices and buy pantomime tickets in a city outside the capital. Ipswich is easily accessible from around the country due to the fantastic road and rail networks and this year the Ipswich Regent & Corn Exchange Theatre is showing a performance of Snow White and with tickets starting at just £13. Visit the council website for show times and ticket availability.
5. A special one for me as I was always taken to Harewood House as a child, Harewood House, just outside Leeds is hosting a magical Christmas event all through the school holidays. “Its Christmas Eve 1928 and two little boys are looking forward to the morning ahead. Whilst they sleep their dreams start to come to life” Family tickets are £45: visit the website or full details.
6. Walk in the shoes of Romans with a visit to Roman Vindolanda in Hexham, Visit the archaeological site and Roman museum to experience life, first hand as a centurian. A family ticket costs £32.50 and for opening times visit http://www.vindolanda.com/experience/opening-times.
7. Lake District: blow off the advent cobwebs by escaping to the Lake District for a family friendly fell walk. Explore Beatrix Potter country and see how many creatures you can spot that inspired the stories. The Worldly Mum found these 9 family friendly walks on this useful blog site: https://www.sallyscottages.co.uk/blog/9-family-friendly-fell-walks.
8. Westonbirt Arboreatum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, Enchanted Christmas woodlands. One adult and one child admission prices are £21, but we feel that the pure magical enchantment of the mystical forest is worth every penny. For information and opening times check https://www.forestryengland.uk/Westonbirt/enchanted-christmas.
9. Bristol and Brunel’s masterpiece the SS Great Britain: visit the ship that changed the world, restored in dry dock in all its glory a family ticket for up to five (2 adults / 3 children) costs £42.75 and this ticket is then valid for unlimited return visits within a year. “When she was launched in 1843 she was called 'the greatest experiment since the Creation'. By combining size, power and innovative technology, Brunel created a ship that changed history. His vision for the SS Great Britain made her the great-great-grandmother for all modern ships”. For full details visit https://www.ssgreatbritain.org/story.
10. New Forest, Dorset. Escape the Christmas band wagon and take the bikes down for a cycle through one of Englands oldest forests. The Worldy Mum found these family friendly routes, plus details of cycle hire, should you need it on this website https://www.forestleisurecycling.co.uk/new-forest-cycle-routes/.
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