Monthly Archives: August 2016

Great days out that don’t break the bank!

Finding things to do in the summer holidays can turn out to be incredibly expensive so one of the things I’m particularly chuffed about this summer is that I’ve managed to organise a fair number of days out that were either free to do or at a reduced price. It took a little advance planning but really wasn’t all that difficult – we’ve done a huge range of things including splash swimming sessions, dry ski slope toboganning, outdoor adventures and there is still more to come!

How did we do this? Well you could argue this post might have been more helpful before the summer holidays but now I’ve tried and tested these methods AND it’s a reminder for next school holidays, so here are my top ways to have great days out that don’t break the bank…

1. Keep an eye on those discount websites. In the 2 months leading up to the holidays I frequently looked at both Groupon and Wowcher – both have great discounted days out. You do need to check the small print to make sure it’s valid for the dates you want and also sometimes you need to phone and pre-book by a certain date.

2. Check out those supermarket points – Tesco and Sainsbury’s both offer the opportunity for you to swap your points into days out, usually including a considerable uplift in value.

3. Register your email address with places you’d like to visit. Most places will send you updates and crucially discounts or special offers on a fairly frequent basis. With most of those I registered with this year I got between 30% and 50% off.

4. Find the local tourist board site. Most tourist boards have a website for their area and these sites frequently have special offers and discounts for local tourist places. (A lot of the websites are called the same thing such as visitcornwall or discoverdudley etc.)

5. Grab that Blue Peter badge. The kids had great fun a couple of months ago creating things to send into Blue Peter to try to get themselves a Blue Peter badge. They were excited to get their badges and I was excited because once you have a badge you can apply for a card that gives each child free entry into a huge range of attractions around the UK.

6. Save your packets. Well specifically your cereal and choccy packets when they have buy one get one free offers on them. (I note I seemed to have more choccy packets than cereal ones!)

7. It’s probably a very obvious point but …. picnic picnic picnic! Most places you go for a day out now have areas where you can picnic and lots even have under cover areas in case it rains. It saves you money and crucially means you can pack what you know the kids will eat.

So there you go – that’s how we found our way to a fun packed but reasonably priced summer! I will leave you then with a few pics of some of the great places we’ve been and I’ve included links to their websites. (Please note these are all Midlands based because that’s where we are!)

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Swadlincote Ski Slope (booked via a groupon voucher)

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Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield (free)

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Conkers (booked via a Wowcher)

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Dovedale (car parking costs only)

This isn’t a list of all the places we’ve been and sadly I didn’t get any suitable pictures of a couple of our favourites but I wouldn’t like to sign off without mentioning just three others… Rosliston Foresty Centre, Snowdome Tamworth (specifically their splash swimming sessions) and The National Memorial Arboretum.

That’s it for this post – but do comment if you’ve any other top tips for finding great days out that don’t break the bank. It’s good to share! 🙂

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#randomthoughts 12 August 2016

This week’s #randomthoughts… (if you haven’t heard of #randomthoughts before then have a quick look here.)

1. I thought I was a morning person but at 6am when Finn usually wakes I’m definitely NOT. (By 7am I’m a lot less grumpy and have reminded myself that we are incredibly lucky with Finn sleeping so well!)

2. I thought the summer holidays would fly. They are.

3. I don’t enjoy cleaning the house but I do like admiring it afterwards. Well at least for the 60 seconds it lasts before it gets messed up.

4. Swimming is brilliant – everyone in the family enjoys it from Finn at just over 6 months to Richard at a little over 40.

5. Despite loving swimming though I can’t stand the paddling pool – it takes forever to set up, is freezing cold, entertains for a tiny amount of time and is a nuisance to pack away.

6. I’m not good at making picnics – my picnics are boring. (Any ideas are welcome – please comment below!)

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