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QUICK - we need your top tips for keeping costs down on family days out

76 replies

AbbyMumsnet · 04/06/2008 16:00

Sunday Times just called and need a couple of top tips for cutting costs on family days out. Both actually getting into attractions - where do you lot get your online vouchers/deals from - and while you're there. (Pack a picnic and other more inspired thoughts.) Also, favourite free attractions. Can you post asap? Cheers m'dears.

OP posts:
bubblerock · 04/06/2008 16:01

Tesco clubcard deals are the best way to get into places free.

FromGirders · 04/06/2008 16:03

Packed lunches.
Don't even go into the gift shop.
All museums in the City of Glasgow are free. Kelvingrove is great, just re-opened after refurbishment and very interactive.

hockeypuck · 04/06/2008 16:04

Definitely clubcard days out tokens. I actually buy these off my mum and dad (who would otherwise spend them instore for money off food), and exchange them for the days out vouchers.

What would be £5 off food in store is a whole day out at an aquarium for the whole family. I pack a nice picnic, making it a little more exciting than lunch boxes by making spiral sandwiches, dinosaur sandwiches etc, plenty of extra snacks etc.

We also often use them onthe way home from a day out to have a nice meal at a restuarant.

Legoleia · 04/06/2008 16:07

Get the 2 for 1 vouchers from Woolworths for alton towers. If you miss them, get them on eBay!

Legoleia · 04/06/2008 16:07

...and cereal boxes...

Mercy · 04/06/2008 16:07

I avoid fee-paying attractions and theme pakrs, use museums, galleries, parks etc instead

Buy a family railcard.

Legoleia · 04/06/2008 16:08

Just organise trips that are free.... walking in the woods is really exciting when you're little!

BexieID · 04/06/2008 16:08

If you are travelling to London by train, pick up one of their 2 for 1 entry voucher booklets (from the station), fill out the coupons for the attractions you are going to and hand them in/show your train ticket for 2 for 1 entry. I always forgot to do that, and some places are well over £10 to get into.

chopchopbusybusy · 04/06/2008 16:09

I give my DDs a small amount of money for them to spend for themselves. It stops them asking for everything they see - their choice - ice cream or a piece of tat from the gift shop.

morningpaper · 04/06/2008 16:09

bags of cheese rolls

children generally whine at attractions and are far happier running around the beach/park with some cheese sandwiches and crisps

morningpaper · 04/06/2008 16:10

oh and KITES


can entertain children for a good half-hour that might otherwise be spent drifting towards the gift shop in desperation

MamaG · 04/06/2008 16:10


That is undoubtedly the top tip. And take bottles of water etc so you're not spending £8 on a round of coffees/juices in a cafe

mumblechum · 04/06/2008 16:10

If you're in the Home Counties, get the tube in to town for days out.

Last week it cost me £9.20 for 1 adult 1 child to get from Amersham tube station to Central London inc getting round the tube all day. (off peak railcard).

The train from High Wycombe (Chiltern Rail) would have been £24 without tube fares.

charliecat · 04/06/2008 16:11

tesco clubcard deals, get a tesco clubcard credit card to get points quickly.
Ebay tends to be a good place to get vouchers for places, if you cant find any after trawling the net. do printable unlimited vouchers for a tenner
Eat before you leave. Pack Picnic and take your own drinks.

hockeypuck · 04/06/2008 16:11

FromGirders - agree about the free museums, same as South Wales, all free and they often have information packs and crayons that you can borrow during your visit.

You could do a colouring competition of your own on a day out too. Take paper and crayons and let each child draw their favourite masterpiece with a prize for the winner (and all those taking part!).

Finda tesco express somewhere nearby and buy a multipack box of icelollies for a treat, they're often the same price as a single one from an ice cream van.

charliecat · 04/06/2008 16:12

Never EVER buy your child ANYTHING from the gift shop. EVER and then they dont expect it and WHINGE.
Some kids I know think a day out is defined by how much is spent at the gift shop in the end

MamaG · 04/06/2008 16:13

if possible, make a bus or train ride part of the day out - save on petrol and parking fees

charliecat · 04/06/2008 16:13

walkers brit trips have been good this year too. National trust free pass for 25 points. You must eat walkers crisps by the trolley load or get mates to give you codes.

TheBlonde · 04/06/2008 16:13 or the oystercard offers

DirtySexyMummy · 04/06/2008 16:14

Check the back of bus tickets for discounts into attractions. Noone ever does this, and they are often there.

renaldo · 04/06/2008 16:14

alton towers lockers just inside entrance - put your cool bag/ change of clothes in them so you dont have to lug them around all day

hockeypuck · 04/06/2008 16:15

If you're really broke hard up, then a walk in the nearby park but with a list of things they have to find, a treasure hunt of things that are around, take a carrier bag each and look at each others things when you get home. The winner gets to sit on the "special chair" for tea. A regular chair with a balloon stuck to the back and be called Your Majesty all afternoon (amazing how that brightens up a dull cheap tea!)

morningpaper · 04/06/2008 16:15

Don't have the sort of day out that you THINK your children will like - you might want to chivvy them along when they are arsing around on the free playground en route to the museum but if they are going to spend 30 minutes there happily then just go with it

And don't underestimate how much small children love buses and boats and trains - we did a trip around Bristol Harbour last week (40 minutes) with the kids - adults were £3.50 and the kids were free!

TheMadHouse · 04/06/2008 16:16

I can second tesco vouchers, also National Trust membership and English heritage work out cheaper over the season than single entries. They often have special events for children

Upgrading to an annual pass for legoland, once you have bought with Tesco deals.

Always take your own food and drink with you. Doesnt just need to be a cold picnic, you can do soup in a wide necked flask.

Check out local council for forrest walks etc, as they can be inexpensive.

Beech, kite flying, local treasure hunt, parks, museums and art galleries

morningpaper · 04/06/2008 16:17

always take a novel in your handbag for the rare moments that they are actually happily entertaining themselves

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