Do you have children of a mixed age range? Do you find it difficult to take them out and please them all? Fed up of all that arguing and ending up nowhere? Well, I’ve got 5 great places to visit with children tried and tested by us. Have a read and let me know what you think or tell me where you like to go?
How to decide where to go?
So you all have the day together, some quality family time, packed lunch ready and yet the arguing has already started and you haven’t even left the house? Sound familiar? Well, that certainly happens in our household. Having four children, ranging from 8-15 years old, it’s never easy trying to please them all when we go out. But, over the years, we have found a few ideas that manage to keep everyone happy throughout the day and entertain the children. Now deciding where to go depends on a few factors, cost, weather, travelling distance etc. Read my other post on top tips before you travel to help you out. Below I have a range of ideas that are free to some cost, indoor and outdoor as well as local and further afield. Have a read and I would love to hear your family outing ideas too, so please leave a comment below.
1) A theme park
Theme parks are usually what the children will pick first when given a choice in our house, probably mine too! There is usually so much on offer at a theme park that rarely you find a moment when any of the children are bored. Most theme parks have a younger and older section, making it a great choice for families with children of mixed ages. My husband and I will separate off to different areas during the day. This gives each child some time on the rides/experiences they enjoy the most, keeping everyone happy. Many parks offer a family event or show at some point during the day, so it is always worth grabbing the map at the start and making a note of the times. Watching the animals being fed is still fun at any age!
Don’t forget to check online, in local papers, Facebook groups etc for discounts on entrance fees. You can save as much as 50% or even get a child/adult in for free. Annual passes are a great way to save money on your most favourite days out. Consider asking for them as gifts throughout the year!
We usually eat at the theme parks because we have Merlin Passes we receive discount and, on these days, I prefer not to carry so much around. Many parks do offer a locker service though if you did want to take some packed lunch or even spare clothes!
2) Trip to the beach
“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside….”
Trips to the beach are so much fun and with a little bit of research before you go, you can make the day so much more interesting for all. To find the right beach for you, think about how far you would like to travel, what type of beach (sandy or pebble), anything else to do there, weather that day and what do we want to do once there? Sometimes just a good long walk along the coast with some pebble throwing, a quick ice-cream and breathing in the fresh air is enough to keep us all happy. Other times we pack a packed lunch, picnic blanket, swim wear, inflatables, a good book and find a spot on a sandy beach for the day in the summer sun. The beach is great for a cheaper day out too but don’t forget parking fees! They can be crazy prices for the day, you may want to park a little further away and walk to your ideal spot or factor in the cost to nab that spot close to the beach. Where is your favourite beach to visit?
Trampoline parks are great for burning off that energy in any weather. My children are too old and tall for most indoor soft play centres and so this is a great alternative for them. We usually book online and get a good deal on booking a double slot. My husband and I don’t join in on this one and so use this time to put on the headphones and catch up with a good book. The children know where we are sitting, the drinks are ready and off they go whilst we watch on and block out all the noise. On rainy days this is a perfect outlet for all that pent-up energy and the children are exhausted when they come out. Even on sunny days a trampoline park should be considered as most are air conditioned and keep you out of the heat of the midday sun. We find it’s worth the money for the quiet, tired children we get after and if we haven’t been out for a few days, those saved up pennies go towards the cost. Again, look online for bargain time slots and double bookings, booking in advance can save you money too. We do have to travel a little bit to get to our “local” trampoline park. The nearest one costs nearly double the price, so the further travel benefits us and its nearer family, so we can double up the journey as a family visit too. Shop around and see what you have nearby you.
4) Walk in the woods
“If you go down to the woods today….” Grab those old shoes, a coat and find your local woods. Nothing beats a good long walk through the beautiful countryside, even in the rain! You could search the National trust website and see what little gems are close to you for you to explore. Some sites offer free activities for children, different wildlife sights to see, walking routes to follow etc. All you need is to dress appropriately for the weather, some water and a picnic if it’s a long day out and you are good to go. The kids usually groan when we say we are going but once there, they are off exploring the area, climbing trees, finding walking sticks and love following trails. The dog loves these days out too. The weather only affects what we wear, the sound of the rain coming down whilst walking in the woods is so soothing to hear and hearing the birds chirping away in the sun is beautiful. We found a beautiful place called Owlbeech and Leechpool woods if you are nearby.
5) Museum visit
This is one of our bigger days out, like a theme park, although not as expensive. Museums are free to get in and only ask for a donation, so consider this when going. We go to London so must factor in train fare costs when we go and will eat out too. I do download apps for local restaurants to get a good deal though. Most museums have additional costs when you get inside for extra events, but you don’t have to do them there is enough to do inside anyway. I will often look around the internet before we go to see if there are any free activities or events going on, as we have travel cards for the day I will make the most of them. The Natural History Museum is one of our favourites as there is a little bit for everyone. We will see the sights of London such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and will find a park to visit too. In the winter time Winter Wonderland, in Hyde park, is just beautiful, although you can make that visit cheap or expensive! It’s been a while but when I was younger I used to love Battersea park, so I might add to the list next time we go. What do you like to do in the big cities?
So, where are you off too then?
That was our top 5 great places to visit with our children of a mixed age range. As you can see there is a real assortment of days out that you can do. They suit all budgets, adults and children alike and with some careful planning, these ideas can make some lifetime memories for you and your children. Try something new, change the location each time you go and have a camera ready to capture those moments. I’d love to see what you get up to!
Don’t forget to read my post on top tips before you go out with children to help the day go more smoothly too!
Leave a comment below of your ideas, what you think of mine or any questions you may have, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Enjoy your day out
Jemma Louise Mc xx