If you were a teacher planning a museum trip to tie into your topic, would you spend time looking for free options within a certain distance? Or would you use the local one and ask parents (who could) to pay? What tends to be the steer on this from Headteachers? I ask because I may soon be in a position where I have to 'sell' school visits and wonder if there is a market, given many museums are actually free entry these days.
It would really depend on the number of schools within a reasonable distance. If the facilities/experiences were similar, you would then need to balance the cost of entry to a museum with the cost of getting there. Coaches around here cost roughly £450 for a whole day trip, shared between 30 children, that's £15 before you start! A local museum which only requires a short coach trip could prove more cost effective even if it charges. What would be a no-go is an expensive museum which requires a long coach journey!
We can just about manage one "expensive" trip a year or each class ( say about £20 per child) But generally we try to keep the cost below £10 if possible. If we ARE going to go for the expensive option, then we expect to get a lot for our money!
It would depend entirely on whether or not they had the topic we were studying. If they did and it was free it would be more likely to be chosen if the experience was of the same standard. We have a couple of things we can walk to and we do use them. It also means the kids can access them with parents or on their own. Bus £450 a day I think ours are between £45 and £80 plus more for diesel if it is long distance. Our trips are always less than £10 usually about £6.95.