One of the joys of having a toddler is being able to act like a kid yourself again. And, what better way to do that than on a day out?
Choose somewhere that isn’t too far away. A day spent in traffic is fun for nobody.
Living in the UK we are really lucky to have wonderful places to visit for a day out including lots of places that are totally free. The great British seaside is unbeatable in the right weather and all you need is a bucket and spade to have hours of fun.
We also have superb countryside and for the most part this is free to enjoy. I don’t know a parent who hasn’t been on a Gruffalo Hunt around the woods by the time their children are four.
There are tons of free museums and they’re not just exclusive to London. And even the ones you have to pay for are usually reasonable. Add to that zoos, historic sites and theme parks and we really are spoilt for choice.
With careful planning a day out doesn’t have to be too stressful or expensive.
If you can, try to avoid peak periods. If you are going on a weekend or school holiday aim to get there early before the crowds gather.
Consider all ages
If you are taking more than one child make sure there is something to entertain everybody. And, try to choose somewhere age appropriate. There aren’t many toddlers who enjoy walking around stately homes.
How to get there
Public transport can sometimes be easier to use than driving your own car and can add to the experience. Consider parking charges too, even theme parks now charge so look out for hidden costs.
Take your own snacks and if possible, a picnic, to avoid high costs at cafes etc. Snacks are also brilliant for in the car to keep tiny people amused. If you’re a neat freak like me try to choose something which won’t ruin the upholstery.
The curse of all days out but they are unavoidable. Depending on the age of your kids try to set a rule beforehand about length of time spent in the gift shop and whether buying a souvenir is even going to be an option.
Most attractions give discounts for booking online and in advance so check this out in advance of going. Consider queue jump tickets for theme parks and read reviews of other people’s experiences. They will tell you a lot more than the official websites.
Pack a bag for any eventuality (especially rain) and always make sure there is at least one change of clothes per child.
My favourite UK days out
Warwick Castle – entertaining and educational with fun both indoors and outdoors.
Tate Modern – something for everyone and a brilliant child-friendly café.
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester – lots to see and do and it’s free.
Kew Gardens – beautiful and full of adventure for the kids.
Chessington World of Adventures – the perfect theme park for pre-schoolers and above.