16 articles Articles posted in Days Out

Best Family Days Out in Cambridgeshire

Best family days out in CambridgeshireEveryone loves a family day out, and it’s a great chance to bond and explore the world together. Cambridgeshire has a lot to offer in that regard, pleasing clans the world over decade after decade. There’re great transport links here too, so you can quickly get the train from Huntingdon to Peterborough, with very little fuss – you’re never cut off in Cambridgeshire.

However, if you need further inspiration as to what you can get up to here, here’re 3 good ideas for family days out in Cambridgeshire.

Punting in Cambridge

Punting is iconic of Cambridge, and Cambridge is iconic of Cambridgeshire. Even young kids can get involved if they’re positioned toward the middle of their parents’ flat-bottomed boat. You can explore all the small rivers of Cambridge this way, and ease into a serene and relaxing day spent drifting along the water with your loved ones.

Don’t want to do any of the legwork yourself? That’s okay! In Cambridge, you can take guided tours while punting, the same way you can clamber aboard an open top bus in most of the major tourist cities and have a guide inform you on your surroundings. It’s certainly a tranquil way to pass the time with your folks, so give it a go!

The Riverside Park

The Riverside Park can be found in Huntingdon, and here your family can enjoy a lot of different activities. These include walks along the river, hay meadows, canoeing, river cruising and there’s even an enclosed children’s play area for the day’s activities. The park has a nice and quiet atmosphere, so if you’re looking for somewhere to lay low and unwind, The Riverside Park is that perfect place you crave.

In the summer, you can also expect to find concerts and local bands showcasing their talents too. Therefore, there’s a nice laid-back vibe here that feels more like a gathering of village locals than a big bustling city park that’s teeming with strangers. In the end, you wouldn’t be the first person to swap a city for some country living, so pay a visit if it sounds like you’d all love it there.

Nene Park

Located in the heart of Peterborough, Nene Park is full of things to do for the whole family. It plays host to Ferry Meadows, which is one of the largest country parks in Cambridgeshire. Train rides, open water swimming, sailing, climbing and of course long walks, it’s all available here. There’s a lovely cafe to be found here too, so if you or your kids need a little rest at any point, you’re covered!

You can also tailor your day even further to your needs by utilising the Ferry Meadows events programme if you have a particularly big family on an ambitious adventure. Pick out what you want to do and get to it! In any event, there’s seemingly endless woodland, meadows and water to play in here, providing everything you need for a great family day out.

Planning a Day Trip for Every Generation

The summer holidays are almost close enough to touch, and we’re already thinking about things that we can do to fill up the six weeks holidays. There will be things that we do which are just for the four of us (and sometimes including Maureen!) But we also want to take the opportunity to use our summertime freedom to spend quality time with the whole extended family. With this in mind, we’ve been thinking about what we need to consider to make our day trips fun for every generation of the family and we thought we’d share some tips with you today.

Accessibility

Whether you’re pushing a buggy, a wheelchair or using a walking stick or crutches to get around, access is something that should be at the front of your mind. Choosing places to visit which are very hilly or have a lot of stairs is going to be a nightmare for anyone with less than perfect mobility check websites ahead of time to see if any provision has been made for disabled tourists or those with small children. Take a look at this post if you’re interested in accessible days out in Yorkshire. 

Refreshments

There is no such thing as a great British day trip if you can’t stop somewhere for a decent cuppa! This is especially true if you’re day tripping with older members of your family but everyone needs to eat, so you might want to check out whats on offer before you plan your trip, obviously a picnic is a good option for the whole family and you can take food to suit everyone, minimising the risk of someone going uncatered for.

Toilets

One of the most important things to think about on any family trip is whether there will be public toilets available. Don’t forget, if you’re planning a trip which includes several generations or family members with additional needs you will need to also consider if there are wheelchair accessible amenities as well as changing tables which can be used by both mum or dad.

Parking

If you’re going by car then parking is going to be something you need to think about, too. Is the parking close to where you’re going? Is there disabled parking? Is there family parking? Is there a park and ride? Do you need to pay for parking and does the machine take coins, notes or cards? Many places offer free parking to blue Badge holders, but there are some which still charge even for disable parking, so it’s all stuff that you’ll want to be prepared for in advance.

Entertainment

Often, the older members of the family make sacrifices when it comes to day tripping – if you’re going somewhere kid-centric, Nans and Grandads end up being coat-holders and buggy watchers while the youngsters have all the fun. Try to think about whether there’s entertainment for ALL ages so that the family coat rack doesn’t end up bored out of their mind!

Summer Holiday Money Saving Hacks

summer holiday money saving hacksWe’re now in July, which means the summer holidays are just a few weeks away and we’ll have six whole weeks of entertaining the kids to keep up with. It can be an expensive time of year, especially if you have to factor in childcare while you work, so I’ve put together a little list of money-saving summer holiday hacks for you to use, so you don’t bankrupt yourself by September!

Meal Plan

If your kids are anything like mine, your main role in the summer holiday is to keep them supplied with a steady stream of snacks, the cost of which really mounts up over the course of a month and a half. What we tend to do is meal-plan for dinners so that everything is sorted for the evening meal, and then let them graze throughout the day. Recipe boxes like Hello Fresh are a good way to keep organised and also get them trying healthy and exciting new dishes like their Chicken Laksa.

Vouchers

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in having a purse full of loyalty cards that I use each time I shop and some of the points really add up. Some cards will give you a monetary amount off of your shopping, which can be a massive help if you save them until the holidays, while others can be exchanged for days-out vouchers, saving you an absolute fortune in the long-run. Go through all of your loyalty cards and see what you’ve accrued.

Local Libraries

Your local library can be an absolute fountain of resources in the summer holidays, many of which are free or cheap. As well as being able to borrow books, DVDs and CDs, lots of libraries have reading challenges and crafting events which cost little, if anything at all. We usually allocate one day every week or fortnight to visit the library to see what’s going on.

Kids Eat Free

If you’re partial to a nice lunch as a family but don’t want to spend a fortune, loads of restaurants offer a Kids Eat Free menu during the holidays. Some of them are just walk-in deals but some of them require you to print a voucher, so do make sure you check before you go, or you might get hit with a much bigger bill than you expected!

Scour Facebook

Facebook might not be your cup of tea, but it can be a wealth of information at this time of year. Join a local parents group and you’re sure to see dozens of weekly posts regarding events that are happening near you, ideas for daily activities, reviews of the best parks and picnic spots and even selling posts for pre-loved toys that your kids might love.

Get £10 off your first delivery with HelloFresh, here: https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/plans/?c=OS10OFF

Days Out – Visiting Bristol

BristolGiven the fact that we’ve just got a new puppy, a foreign holiday is pretty unlikely for us this year. We are, however, planning a few day trips around the country (now that we’ve managed to rope some of our lovely family members in to look after Maureen for the day!) and one of the places I really want to visit is Bristol. I’ve got a fair few friends who live in or around Bristol, so I thought I’d ask them what the best things were to do on a day out in Bristol. Here’s what they said:

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies said “Visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain and have a lovely walk around the quayside. We were there two weeks ago and really enjoyed it.”

Stacy from It Takes a Woman said “We The Curious is really good. Loads of experiments and activities and you can scan your wristband and access your results/photos etc when you get home…”

Liz from Me and My Shadow said “Do the Banksy trail – there’s an app!”

Aly from Bug, Bird and Bee said “We like visiting Cabot Tower at Brandon Hill. The tower is over 200 ft tall and looks out over Bristol. It’s smack bang in the middle of a nature reserve. There’s a big kids play park.”

Carolin from Mummy Alarm said “The street art south of the river is amazing. There’s so much to see on your own or on of the many street art tours and there are some really cool and quirky restaurants along North Street in Bedminster.”

Rachel from Rachel in Real Life said “For parks I’d recommend St Andrews Park and Blaise Castle. From Easter until September (maybe October, can’t remember) St Andrews has a paddling pool. Blaise Castle is near us and we go regularly. It has two separate play areas and loads of open space. Excellent value for money is Avon Valley. Reasonably cheap to get in and lots to do. Though again, mainly outdoors so best on a nice day.”

Cass from Frugal Family said “I went to Hestercombe Gardens yesterday – it was beautiful!”

My friend Becky, who isn’t a blogger but is a displaced Bristol native, said “Go and see a Rovers game!”.

Lots and lots of wonderful options of things to do! If you need transport while you’re in Bristol, why not give AA Taxis Bristol a call?

Are You a Lover of #CulturalDrives?

When it comes to driving, I’ve done a fair bit – I know a lot of people who, even after years of driving, refuse to drive on motorways and I even used to know a lady who refused to drive around a certain roundabout, even though she’d had a driving licence for almost 30 years! That, however, is not me and I always say that if you’ve got a licence, you should be able to drive anywhere.

We live in the south of England, and I’ve done a fair bit of driving around London, I’ve driven to Liverpool, Cornwall, Bath, Cambridge and a few other places around the UK. The day we drove to Liverpool was bonkers; I drove up on the Friday night so that Husband, Sausage and I could go to a Saturday game at Anfield but the traffic on the M6 was absolutely HORRIFIC. A journey which should have taken four and a half hours ended up taking almost NINE…and did I mention that I was 5 and a half months pregnant with BB at the time?!

The truth is, I actually love being a driver. It allows us to live in a quiet rural location and still function in the real world, it’s allowed us to go on some awesome day trips and I just enjoy the freedom it gives us a family. Chill Insurance are asking bloggers to tell people about their favourite drives, calling them ‘Cultural Drives’ – you know, those times when you see breathtaking scenery and iconic landmarks, taking your drives to the next level.

Here in England, I loved driving to Longleat and seeing Stonehenge on the way as it’s one of my favourite UK landmarks. The mystery around what it is and how it came to be is so intriguing and I get a really powerful feeling when I’m there. Another trip which is high on my bucket list is renting a camper van and driving around Ireland as a family. I visited Dublin back in 2004 and totally fell in love with the place and I know that Ireland has some incredible scenery to offer, so it’s something I must do one day.

The Cultural Drives campaign aims to highlight some of Ireland’s best drives and they’re all themed – music drives, food drives, art, history and families – quite honestly, it would be impossible for me to choose, so it looks like we’ll have to take more than one trip to fit it all in!

Where is your favourite place to drive? Have you ever driven somewhere really exotic? Have you ever stumbled upon something totally unexpected while driving? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear about them.

Exploring London as a Family

Living where we do means that London is only about an hour away by train, which makes it really easy to get to for a day trip. However, London is so vast that it would be good to spend more than just one day at a time there. We’ve been a little bit London-phobic since the girls came along, not wanting to tackle the big city with changing bags and buggies, but both girls are probably big enough to need minimal luggage now and Burrito Baby has been stubbornly refusing to get in a buggy for about 18 months, so a weekend in London is definitely on the cards!

Urban Retreat Apartments offer short-stay, fully serviced apartments which would be the perfect base for a family wanting to explore London, because it would be like a home from home. You don’t have to worry about being crammed into one room with a tiny bathroom like you would be in some hotels, and you’ve got a full kitchen to allow you to make bottles or cater for small ones.

There are SO many places that I know the girls would love; the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are firmly at the top of the list, but the National Gallery is somewhere I love as well and I think Sausage would get a huge kick out of seeing paintings by some of the world’s most famous artists in real life. Visiting London doesn’t have to be all about learning – I’ve still not been on the London Eye after all these years so that’s definitely something that I feel I need to tick off of the list!

I also know for a fact that both of my kids are desperate to visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods; if you haven’t heard if it, it’s basically a magical beauty salon where kids can go and be transformed into a Disney Prince or Princess. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences that I’d love them to have before they’re too old for the magic to have worn off! I’m pretty sure they’d also love browsing some of the huge stores like Harrods…and definitely Hamleys!

Where would you do if you had a whole weekend to spend in London? We’d love to hear your recommendations, especially places to eat and things to see which might not make the mainstream guidebooks. Leave me a comment below!

Educational Days Out For You And Your Kids

Having fun days out with your kids is great, but you can make them even better by ensuring they are as educational as possible. Here are some suggestions!

Forest Days Out
Forest days out are great for nature based learning. This allows holistic based development, and you can take your child to a forest school or head out alone. These sessions can take place on any natural environment, and they will help your kids learn more about things like geography and science.

Science Centres
Why not take your kids to a a hands-on science centre? This is so much more exciting than a classroom! You can inspire a passion for science and technology at places like the Science Museum London and the National Space Centre Leicester.

The Zoo
The zoo is designed with families in mind. You can all see animals up close that will have everyone in awe! Make sure you set challenges such as grouping by animal type and seeing how many different animals they can find.

Stonehenge
This is one of the most famous historical sites in the world. There are many theories about how it came to be, and some even say that magicians created it. Studies have recently shown that there were parties held here! Some people even think it was used as an astronomical calendar. It’s educational, but there’s not that much to do here other than look, so you might want to plan a trip to explore nearby towns afterwards. You can learn more about it from the infographic below!


credit to Stonehenge Tour from London with Golden Tours

How To Beat The Queues At Theme Parks

Theme park season is now upon us so we’ve asked Liz Walsh from Topdogdays to put together a few handy tips & tricks to help you get ahead of the queues.

1. Early Access

A number of theme parks now offer early access to select guests.  This can provide you with the chance to enjoy a number of rides & attractions before the park even opens to the public. When searching for Alton Towers Tickets and Deals look out for early ride time available to some ticket holders or check out the early access perk available to hotel guests at both LEGOLAND Windsor & Chessington.

2. Early Bird

The quietest time at any theme park tends to be the first 60/90 minutes of the day.  The car parks & ticket booths are generally open in advance of the park so ensure you are ready to go as the gates open for the day.  Look out for any information on ride closures and head directly for an attraction where queues are likely to build throughout the day.

3. Parent Swap Passes

Parent Swap Passes allow parent/carers with young children a chance to enjoy the thrill rides without have to queue twice through the use of a priority entrance, (parent 1 will still need to use the standard queue).  This free pass is now available at a number of theme parks including Drayton Manor & Thorpe Park and helps you to fit more into the day.

4. Fastrack Tickets

A fastrack ticket is a paid method to bypass the queues and is in addition to your entrance charges.  There are a range of packages available but look out for single fastrack passes that are often available for just a few £’s allowing you to get a couple of more popular rides under your belt.

5. Queue Checker

Plenty of theme parks now provide apps/electronic boards that offer information on real-time queues around the park.  Use this information to plan your day, bypassing the worst of the queues at popular attractions.

6. Non Queue Attractions

As crowds begin to build, intersperse rides with non-queue attractions for some light relief.  Most parks today have a good range of playgrounds, themed shows or even zoo & aquarium experiences away from the crowds that can offer you all a much earned break.

Happy theme-parking!

A Mum’s Guide To What To Do With Kids In London

Children and huge cities often doesn’t sound like the best and safest of combinations. A lot of people move out of places like London to the countryside in order to give their kids a different sort of life, but at the same time we shouldn’t forget that London actually provides a whole lot of culture and some incredible experiences for kids. Here’s what you should do to make your trip to London a great time for you and your kids…

Introduce Them To Some Culture

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Like most capital cities, London has a lot of history and culture – take your kids to a museum like the Transport Museum, or the Natural History Museum, which is next door to the Science Museum and one of London’s most popular attractions for children. Check out the changing of the guard, and go to the half price ticket booth in Leicester Square to splash out on some cheap theatre tickets for an incredible West End experience.

Treat Them In The Shops

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London has some of the most incredible shops in the world. Depending on how old your kids are, different things will interest them, but there will absolutely be something for everyone. Hamley’s on Regent Street is the biggest toy shop in the UK, so you could give each of your children a small amount to spend in there. If you have older kids, you could spend an incredible afternoon browsing in the Selfridges beauty hall and shoe department with your teenage daughter. Alternatively, Forbidden Planet is perfect for any teenage boy who loves graphic novels and superheroes.

Find A Child Friendly Restaurant

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Finding appropriate restaurants to take your kids to is one of the ultimate challenges of having a family. Sometimes you get it horribly wrong, and get evil-eyed glares from the other diners if you dare to take your child to their favourite restaurant, even if your offspring is behaving like an absolute angel. On the contrary, there are some restaurants where the staff won’t bat an eyelid if your grumpy, tired toddler starts to have a tantrum on the floor. London is full of both of these kinds of restaurants, but it’s probably best to either stick to a chain that you know like Pizza Express or Zizzi’s, or to check out a restaurant guide like the Gourmet Guide to find a place that suits you.

Keep Them Safe

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One of the top reasons that parents don’t take their kids to London is the issue of safety. In a city that big, it’s easy to feel a little intimidated by the prospect of staying safe. But the truth is that crime rates are down in London, so if you keep your wits about you, you should be safe, unless you’re very unlucky. Keep your bag close to your side in case of any pickpockets, and make sure that you hold your kids’ hands tightly when you’re moving down packed streets or venturing onto the tube. Do your best not to use public transport in the rush hour – it’s incredibly crowded and you might get a few glares from commuters!

 

Win Four Tickets to Rave-a-Roo at Ministry of Sound!

Rave-a-Roo Ministry of Sound LondonI must admit, when it comes to kids events I’m definitely not your average ‘bunting and cake stands’ kinda Mum and I love to do things with the girls which are just a little bit different. That’s why, when I heard about Rave-a-Roo, I was very excited. Without even reading too much about the event, I came to the conclusion that ANY family event which is held at Ministry of Sound in London is probably ridiculously cool, and after reading more I definitely wasn’t wrong!

Here’s what the guys at Rave-a-Roo had to say about the events:

Rave-A-Roonies are in for a real treat, as the biggest and best family rave fest returns with a host of new dates! Taking place at London’s iconic Ministry of Sound club on Saturday 1st October and Saturday 15th October, Rave-A-Roo is back with an even more jam-packed line-up of family festival fun.

With live stage performances, madcap hosts and DJs including DJ Cuddles and Mr Ben, Rave-A-Roo focuses on the whole family partying and playing together. The incredible Jungle Jane and Tiger Tim (renowned comedy duo Kat and Matt) will also be performing their brand new hilarious show that’s not to be missed!There is also the chance for mini-clubbers and adults to take on the dance floor with resident artists Go! Go! Go! (Electro set) as seen on Nick Jr.

 The event is broken into three zones targeted at families with children up to the age of 12. Energy levels are set high in the Main Room with live music and entertainment, spectacular lights, Disco Ball Games, and an impressive confetti mayhem finale to top it all off.For mini guests who need a little time out from partying, the Glow Chill Room is the place to be! With neon crafts and a UV glitter tattoo station, this space provides the perfect environment to relax and take time out. Children under-three can also join the party in The Funky Softplay Room, featuring soft play, a mini ball pool, air jugglers and café del mar style music.

Jenny Kane, event co-founder said: “Since the first event back in February, Rave-A-Roo has gone from strength to strength and we’re delighted to be adding a host of new dates to the calendar.

“Rave-A-Roo gives kids and families the chance to let loose, be themselves and party together. From babes in arms to grandparents, the whole family is invited to Rave-A-Roo which is for everyone and all ages.”

With a fully licensed bar (and tea, coffee and snacks), spotless surroundings, a convenient onsite buggy park, baby changing with handy supplies, professional security and staff, carefully monitored sound levels and beautifully lit rooms, Rave-A-Roo offers a unique and safe environment for families. 

Sessions are 12pm to 2pm and 3pm to 5pm.

I absolutely love the sound of this – Husband and I spent a LOT of time in clubs in our youths and I definitely miss it at times so having the chance to convert that into something which is family friendly and can be enjoyed with the girls sounds like a stroke of pure genius to me. Now, here’s the good bit: I’ve got four tickets (two adult tickets and two kids tickets) to give away to the event on Saturday 15th October. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is complete the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! We can’t wait to pick a winner!

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