Summer Staycation ideas

(14 Posts)
rhh2011 Thu 10-Jul-14 15:59:25

As we embark on our 2014 Summer Staycation, we plan to do numerous long day trips with an occasional single night spent in new areas within our region. However, I'm curious to learn how others entertain children, and specifically, how you go about finding inexpensive family activities, when visiting a new location that you're unfamiliar with.

For example, what resources, apps, websites or books do you use to prepare before leaving or use when on the road?

What types of free activities do you seek out beyond any 'known tourist destinations', e.g., how do you find a safe playground or swimming pool in an unfamiliar region or city? You know, the things that kids really enjoy and makes them happy that you need to locate in a flash!

Thanks in advance for your guidance.

foxdongle Thu 10-Jul-14 18:27:50

Hi when ours where 6ish they got Blue Peter badges which means that they get in loads of places free all over the U.K. You can't guarantee you'll get one, but perhaps you could try for next school holidays? they last until they are 16.

Ask them! We sit down with our dcs around the beginning of May and we all have to write down things that we would like to do over the summer/holidays.
This year between us we have got Alton Towers (dcs free with BP badges, we will use the kelloggs bogof offer), go Ape, Snowdome, various country parks/picnic places etc.

I also look on daysoutwiththekids website, you put in the area and it has loads of ideas. sometimes local papers have special offers on too.

tbh our dcs (now 12 and 14) still like nothing better than a picnic by a river that they can paddle in. so we will be doing that lots.

Heels99 Thu 10-Jul-14 19:41:15

Tesco clubcard vouchers, can get in lots of places free with them
Tripadvisor, look at "things to do" section for wherever you are going.
Tourist information.

Heels99 Thu 10-Jul-14 19:43:43

Fox, we have the ablue peter badges too, but it does say can be used with full paying adult which made me think couldn't use my Tesco or kellog vouchers, have you found that places aren't too strict on that?

ChickenFajitasAndNachos Thu 10-Jul-14 19:51:01

I usually google the area. We choose and book a hotel because of an attraction we want to go to such as Chatsworth House, Alton Towers etc and then see what else there is to do on the second day. I don't normally bother finding parks or stuff I can do in my own area.
When my DC were younger I found having a National Trust membership great if I went away. I'd look up what was on in say castles in Devon and go on the days they laid on children's activities. It felt like a big day out for the price of a pot of tea in the tea shop and a small souvenir.

foxdongle Thu 10-Jul-14 20:25:09

Heels99 I often take them on my own to Alton T as we don't live very far away, so we go a few times a year and both dcs get their tickets and I usually have a half price voucher- never had any probs.
I have done this every year, for 5+ years.

we went a few weeks ago as was an inset day dcs used BP badges and me and nephew got in with kellogs bogof. with other places space centre, tower of London we have had 1 adult per child, so not sure how strict they will be.

Heels99 Thu 10-Jul-14 20:36:30

Thanks fox

rhh2011 Thu 10-Jul-14 22:51:59

Thanks for your feedback thus far. Our kiddos are under 3, so I'm panicked about staying in the car for more than 2 hours at a time, really - thus my questions about playparks, etc. - really for them to get out and burn off some energy and save our sanity smile

Are there any kid- or family-related apps you'd recommend for use during the travel period itself, for those 'we're stuck for what to do and are on the road and need some advice now'?

Heels99 Fri 11-Jul-14 07:32:18

With kids under three I am not sure I would do a lot of long day trips to unfamiliar locations. I would stick to under an hour journey. Make a long list of everything in your area that is free or low cost, use the websites above. You'll be surprised how much there is.

Heels99 Fri 11-Jul-14 07:38:08

Op tell us what town you are in we will help

ChickenFajitasAndNachos Fri 11-Jul-14 09:04:23

My DC did enjoy a new ball pit/soft play at that age but they may be filled with older children on their school holidays. Do your DC like zoo type places?

foxdongle Fri 11-Jul-14 12:26:53

at that age we stayed local for days out, much less stress-
farms, parks especially ones with waterplay, zoo as chicken ^ said, simple stuff like ice-cream in a cafe, train ride to nearby town, paddling pool in garden etc.
we saved the big days out for when they were older and could cope with long day out/travel etc.

ChickenFajitasAndNachos Fri 11-Jul-14 12:33:12

Planning your meals is a good idea too. Have easy stuff in for when you get back from a long day out or feed DC there and then more or less straight into bed for them and a takeaway and wine for you.

thekitchenfairy Fri 11-Jul-14 12:42:20

When mine were toddlers we started a bingo version of eye spy with a foodie treat or snack as a reward. Great fun and stopped constant in car snacking.

Where are you based? Have you checked your local MN Local page. Lots of good ideas for local events as well as attractions.

And yy to Nat trust membership. Best money we spend on family entertainment every year.smilesmile

Also story CDs are our friends- 10 years on!!! 50p from library so a bargainous way to stock up off longer journeys.

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