It’s vital to spend time together doing interesting and fun things as a family. After all, you didn’t become a parent just to spend all your time away from your children when you are at work and they are at school.
It isn’t always easy planning family days out thanks to the economic crisis and how it has effected most people’s financial situations. However, it is not impossible. While a visit to the cinema, bowling or a theme park is nice occasionally, it is not the most cost-effective and if you have a particularly tight budget these kinds of activities might be completely out of the question.
On a positive note there are still many things you can do in the UK that cost very little or nothing at all.
Local and National Parks
The majority of local and national parks in the UK are completely free to enter at any time of the year. Although many parks are nothing more than glorified swing parks and playgrounds with a small body of water and some ducks; there are still lots that are vast and often have wildlife centres or sanctuaries, petting zoos, bike lanes and skate parks as well as many other activities and facilities.
It doesn’t really matter what facilities, amenities and activities are available at the local or national park in your area, because you can turn it into an enjoyable day out with very little money. Pack a picnic basket, hamper or food box with lots of food and bring a ball, Frisbee and kite (weather permitting) and take in that fresh air.
You may not have realised it, but, most national galleries in this country are completely free to enter. If you are unsure what’s in your local area, a simple search online will get you the information you need. Even if the only galleries nearby are ones you have visited before, you could still go along with a more specific theme or goal in mind. Perhaps you could visit one in a neighbouring town or one that requires a longer journey to get to it and turn it into a full day trip.
National museums in the UK are also free to enter and even if you do not have one of the bigger ones in your local area, there will be little, interesting ones that may feature displays and exhibits important to the history of your town, village or city.
Geocaching, for the uninitiated, is a new and improved version of those scavenger and treasure hunts we used to enjoy when we were kids. The twist with geocaching is that you need a GPS device to find the treasures, or caches. All you need to do is decide whether you are going to use a satnav or a GPS app on your smartphone, look at the Geocache website and find items in your local area or anywhere you intend on visiting. Put those co-ordinates into the GPS device of your choice, get out there and get on the hunt. This is a great way to spend time together without breaking the bank as the only thing you will have to spend money on is fuel for your car and some food to eat.
Visiting A Nearby Beach
Another great idea is to visit a nearby beach –– many beaches are free and some may charge for parking, but it will still be relatively cheap to get there. You can spend the day relaxing in the sun or paddling in the sea. Take a ball, frisbee, or kite with you and make a day of it. Don’t forget sun cream, hats, and water too!
Events, Festivals & Markets
Whilst events and festivals often come with an entrance fee (which is usually quite affordable), they also represent excellent family days out that provide entertainment as well as lots of fun activities. Have a look online to see what’s happening in your area throughout the year – from music concerts to food and craft markets, there are usually plenty of things to get involved in.
Hiking & Walking Trails
The UK is full of walking trails and paths so why not take advantage of it? Take a map or download a trail guide from the Internet, pick your route and discover some beautiful areas as you explore with friends and family. Not only will you find stunning scenery but also many fascinating places to visit along the way. Plus, depending on the length of your walk, it can make for a great day out too!
Besides the above suggestions, there are many other things you can do in the UK that are almost completely free. Obviously it depends on what your interests are as a family but you could try rambling, hiking and nature trails which don’t cost anything or even just a day out at the beach.