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After trawling this thread have come up with these two ideas for cheap and fun days out: www.treasuretrails.co.uk/ and www.geocaching.com/ - anyone any experience of them? I have dds aged 14,11,4 and ds aged 7. Have no money. Live in middle of a backwater (Lincolnshire) so no lively museum/gallery/stately homes to visit we haven't already done to death.
Geocaching is fantastic fun. Do you have a gps? It is suppoed to be done with a gps, but many of the caches can be found just with an os map (or a computer printout of the os map). I found my first 60 or so just using a map and compass. For your first few pick some of the easier ones, just till you get the hang of it, and use the clues. Once you have done a few you soon get the hang of where the most likely hiding spots are.
Have some friend who are really into geo-caching and have done loads. They tell me that through geo-caching they have discovered quite a few places (often very close to where they live) that they wouldn't otherwise have known about.
Geocaching is fab. We've discovered some amazing spots we'd never know about and had some ace days out for free. Packed lunch, waterproofs and some tat to exchange and you're sorted. Highly recommended.
I've done some treasure trails - none in your area but loads in Cornwall. You buy them from their website (£5 each) then download the trail and print them out.
You are given a starting point and full directions with some clues to find along the way.
Even at places you think you know well it will take you to some little back lane or footpath you hadn't been to before. So great for exploring your local area further.
My dd 8 loves doing them - my ds 12 pretends he doesn't when we start off, but soon gets into the swing of it.
They usually take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or one we did around Bodmin moor took us about 4 as you drive in between each location.
No prize as such at the end, but you can submit your answer on the website (eg who the murderer is and which weapon they used). If correct you get entered into a prize draw at the end of the year, which I think is for cash prizes.
Well, we did our first geocache today and loved it, feel sad at how exciting I found it gallomping through nettles with four children in tow. Don't have a GPS but used the free iPhone app - it took a while to update our position, but that just kept us running up and down more (free exercise). We will definitely do more, you could organise a whole day, with picnic, around them. And thanks Cornishpasty - will definitely give treasuretrails a go now - I was worried you paid a fiver and got a rubbish map of the high street and some dodgy clues.
I'm another Treasure Trails convert. We stumbled across one on holiday in Cornwall about a year ago, and have since purchased quite a a few all over the place. You can choose from Murder Mystery Trails, Spy Trails and Treasure Hunts, and they are brilliant! Lots of fun, challenging for children and grown-ups alike, and you learn heaps about the local area. Thoroughly recommend them.