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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Feeding The Family Whilst Camping

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 18-11-2013

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You’ll no doubt remember that we went camping a few months ago in Cumbria, staying at the fantastic The Quiet Site near Ullswater. We were well prepared for the trip with air beds and sleeping bags and a well packed itinerary for our five day trip. The main worry I had though was eating. Little Man would happily sleep anywhere and no doubt he’d be that tired after our jam packed days there was no need to worry about him sleeping, and as long as he slept, we’d sleep. Spending five days together in one room would be fine – we’d be spending very little time there outside of bed time to be honest. But I did worry about eating. Little Man rarely stops eating, or so it seems, and Daddy gets a little “tetchy” if he doesn’t eat regularly. We had plans to eat out, but there were going to be a few evening meals on site and I did worry about how we’d cater those and what on earth we’d eat, and how. Three indispensable products meant that my worries were soon unfounded.

Coleman Family Cook Set
Individual mess tins weren’t going to cut it for our family camping trip. I wanted to make sure what I was cooking was Little Man friendly, so I wanted to be able to cook things that we’d usually have at home, albeit on a smaller and simpler scale. I needed good sized saucepans, and I needed them to be space saving. The Family Cook Set  we were sent to review from Coleman was ideal. A 5.7l saucepan, a 2.4l saucepan and a 10cm diameter frying pan was more than sufficient for our needs. They were sturdy, hard wearing, and took up very little room. They each nested into one another as there is just one handle which transferred with ease from pan to pan. The capacities were great – the large pan was perfect for cooking pasta, and the smaller one warmed sauces meaning we had a meal within about 15 minutes. One regret I do have is not getting some eggs and bacon in for a cooked breakfast – the frying pan would neatly fit enough for Daddy and I to have bacon and eggs whilst Little Man stole bits no doubt. Next time definitely.

Camping Az Camping Chef Vario
So our cooking equipment was sorted – with the addition of a few utensils from home – but what were we going to cook ON? A gas stove was essential, and more importantly we needed one with two burners. I didn’t like our chances of cooking meals in just one pot, especially if I was doing pasta with sauce for example, and juggling pots on one small burner would no doubt lead to chaos and potential accidents. Thankfully for us Camping Az came to our rescue with their Camping Chef Vario – a neat compact twin burner gas stove with added bonus of a grill. Three independent gas controls and a single ignition switch, wind protection sides and removable legs make this stove a key part of our camping kit. We set this up quickly and easily on our Pod decking, and it was in use straight away. We cooked a few meals on this, and it was used every morning to heat the kettle for Mummy’s cup of tea. It was simple to use, it was reliable and it was safe. What made it even better was that it folded up neatly into a briefcase style case which made it simple to transport and to carry around the site. An essential cooking stove for any family camping trip, and one I’ll look forward to using again and again.

Look What We Found Ready Meals
So we had our pots and pans and we had our stove. Now what were we going to eat? I wanted quick and easy meals, I didn’t want to be doing much once we got back to our Pod after a busy day in Cumbria. There is however only so much pasta and sauce you can eat. I started looking around for other options. Good quality food that was nutritious and would also be eaten by an intermittently fussy 2 year old. It was a tough ask to be fair, and I didn’t want something dull like beans on toast either, though Little Man would have gobbled it up no question. I wasn’t overly confident when I began my search on the internet, but very soon I came across what looked to be the answer. Look What We Found sell ready meals, meals you can heat up at home on your cooker, or that you can take camping as they don’t need to be stored in the fridge. We were lucky to be sent an amazing selection of meals to try out, some we ate before we went, some we gave to Nana and Pops to try, and some we took with us on our trip. Each pouch contains a meal that serves one person. On the first night we cooked these meals we had the Cumbrian Lamb Hot Pot – well we were in Cumbria after all – and the Yorkshire Pork Sausage Casserole. The meals all contain regionally sourced ingredients, so the lamb genuinely was from Cumbria. Now I’m not going to lie. When I emptied each pouch into a pan I was a little nervous. It didn’t look wholly appetising, and I started to mentally work out how we’d get to the nearest McDonalds if Little Man refused to eat it. A few minutes gentle heating on the stove however and things rapidly improved. We split the two meals between the three of us and with the addition of a nice loaf of bread and butter it was a delicious meal. So simple, so tasty, and so easy to transport. Another night we had Tees Valley Beef Meatballs served with some pasta we got in the site shop. Again, it was delicious. Nana and Pops tried out the a couple of curries for us and a soup and they thoroughly enjoyed them all. We’ll definitely look to them again next time we go camping, or just as meals to have in the house. The full range is available online, and you can also find them in Waitrose, Booths and Ocado.

I can safely say that nobody went hungry on our trip to Cumbria and the meals that we cooked far surpassed my ideas of what we’d be having when we set about organising our holiday. It is possible to eat nutritious foods as a family when camping, even with a toddler in tow. I look forward to more family camping trips – though they may be on hold for a little while yet – knowing we have some great products to use again and again.

Travel: The Quiet Site, Cumbria

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Holiday, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 18-09-2013

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Camping isn’t something we’ve really done as a family. We did a short break in a Yurt earlier this year, but that had luxuries like real beds and a fully working kitchen nearby. Proper camping with air beds, stoves and trips to the toilet block isn’t something we’ve ever considered doing since Little Man’s arrival. Now he’s almost 3 we decided to brave it – sort of – with a trip to Cumbria and a four night stay at the award winning The Quiet Site, just near Ullswater. Situated a short drive from junction 40 of the M6, The Quiet Site is a family run campsite in a truly beautiful part of the country. Set beneath the hills and overlooking Lake Ullswater the site accommodates caravans, motor homes, and tents, and has two cottages available to rent as well as several camping pods. Daniel and the team at The Quiet Site provided us with four nights accommodation in one of their rather unique camping pods, and this is how we got on.

This is what greeted us at the end of our rather long journey north, and after we’d wiggled our way down a narrow country lane and checked in at the site shop. Looks a bit like a shed doesn’t it? Well to all intents and purposes, that’s kind of what it is. Built by a company based within the Lake District itself, the pods are insulated wooden buildings with a carpeted floor space of approximately seven square meters. They claim to be ideally sized for two adults, or even two adults and two children. I must say I thought they looked ample for the three of us, but after we’d unloaded all are stuff, I became a tad concerned! After a couple of days we concluded that the pod would be fine if only we were a little tidier/more organised/less chaotic. There is a roller blind which closes over the doors, a curtain over the small window at the back so its properly dark when you close them and a small shelf with a lamp and small heater just inside the door a long with 1 spare plug socket. Other than that, you’re on your own.

We were very happy in ours, despite our own chaos levels. Our double air bed fit neatly alongside Little Man’s air bed, but to be honest I wouldn’t have like to fit anyone else in there with us. The pods were clean upon arrival, and perfectly warm enough at night. Daddy even complained one night that he was “too hot”. The decking area was nice and big and would have been ideal for sitting on in the evenings if we hadn’t been so tired from our busy days, and it hadn’t rained quite so much. There was a spot by each pod for your barbecue if you had one, but we put our gas stove beneath the roof overhang when we cooked or made cups of tea. The pods are basic, but are effectively wooden tents so you can’t expect mod cons. We would perhaps have liked a large pod and a smaller decking area, but to be honest I think we just need to be more organised in future with our stuff. The site claims to have free wifi in “some areas” and it was intermittent in our pod. I got the best wifi signal in the toilet block to be honest!

Site facilities are very impressive. There is a small shop with a good selection of goods from food, drinks, toiletries and little bits you might have forgotten. For anything major though you’ll need a trip to the nearest town. Prices are reasonable enough and the staff are all very friendly and helpful. Outside the shop is a covered area with a few fridges, freezers and microwaves. We stored our milk in those during the day and overnight, ensuring we could have cereal and cups of tea as and when we wanted. There is a large toilet block split into Ladies and Gents. The ladies room had several toilet cubicles – two of which had basins in them as well – a selection of separate basins, and a row of shower cubicles. These are free to use – rare in campsites – and have an endless supply of hot water. There’s a small partition which you can stash your clothes and towels behind to prevent them getting wet, and when you’re done there are a couple of small free to use hairdryers as well. The ultimate highlights of the toilet block though are the two family bathrooms. Two rooms with toilets, basins and BATHS in – perfect for campers with small children. We used the rooms a few times and Little Man enjoyed nice warm baths before bed. Again all these rooms were clean and well maintained, and the constant hot water was a joy.

The site also boasts plenty of sinks for washing your dishes, multiple water points, a children’s play area with wooden play house, recycling facilities and a designated dog walking field. The most popular part of the site though, is The Quiet Bar. A barn which was converted to a bar in the 1950’s it has to be one of the best campsite bars around. Traditionally decorated and with some very comfy seats made from old barrels its a great place to chill out at the end of a busy day walking and seeing the sites of Cumbria. Not only that but there is a room upstairs with comfy seats and a large soft play area for the children and another play house. Now the bar only opens at 7pm and so this indoor play area is only accessible from then on which could be a bit of a problem if your children tend to be in bed by then. For us it was great, as it meant Little Man could have a last chance to burn of any energy whilst we enjoyed a drink before heading back to our pod. The bar is really reasonably priced, and for the older children and adults there’s an attached games and TV room.

If you are planning a camping holiday to Cumbria I cannot recommend The Quiet Site highly enough. If you’re not planning a trip to Cumbria, do so now. And if all that isn’t enough to convince you, how’s about this for a view.

Travel: The Volvo V60

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Product Reviews, Travel | Posted on 16-09-2013

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We are just returned from a week away in Cumbria. If you’ve been following me on Twitter you’ll be aware that its been a very busy and packed week visiting lots of tourist spots across the county from our based beside Ullswater. There’s going to be a series of posts on our week away, but first up is my review of the transport we had to get around.

You’ll remember a few weeks ago I borrowed a Volvo V70 for a few days, driving it to Longleat with my family, and then down to Southampton before my trip over to Cowes. Well for my camping adventure to Cumbria the team at Volvo sent me a V60 to use.

I was sent the V60 D2 Business Edition which comes with a built in sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, six speed gearbox, rear parking sensors, and has no road tax to pay. It’s a diesel engine with amazing fuel consumption and low emissions, so is ideally suited to long journeys. During the course of the 10 days we had the car for we did 1100+ miles so this was the perfect car from that point of view. It was also incredibly comfortable which was essential as we spent many hours in it driving up and down the country, and we found the sat nav indispensable for getting us from attraction to attraction. The car was incredibly responsive whilst being steered on the roads and hills throughout Cumbria, and I felt like the tyres were gripping the road the entire time. The area has a lot of single track roads with passing points and lots of steep hills to go up and down. I always felt totally in control of the car which is of the utmost importance when you’re travelling with your child in the car. The automatic windscreen wipers and headlights also meant I just had to focus on driving.

Whilst I am certain this car was the right choice for our long journey with regards to its fuel efficiency, its comfort and its sat nav, I did have a couple of problems with it.

The boot capacity was dire. You never travel light with children, but we didn’t take anything that we didn’t use. We had clothes and a pile of camping equipment. We didn’t have a tent thankfully as I don’t think it would have fit in! The boot was rammed full, we were unable to close the retractable parcel shelf, and the back seat and foot wells were full too. There was a hidden tray beneath the floor of the boot, but to be fair not much fit in there as it was so shallow. I did like the clip to hold it open though. Packing and unpacking was something of a logistical nightmare to be honest, and I do wonder if the V70 would have been a better choice because of its immense boot space. Saying that we were after something economical to drive, and the V60 was certainly that.

My other main gripe was with the switches. As I mentioned before the headlights had an automatic option, or you could adjust them manually. The dial for this, the release button for the diesel tank cover, and the boot opening button were grouped together to the right of the steering wheel. Unfortunately I couldn’t see these switches without peering around the steering wheel and the windscreen wiper stalk – hardly safe when you’re on the move! The Sat Nav was a pleasure to have in the car, but it was also a menace.  A dozen and one buttons, controls and notifications to deal with. I’m so glad my husband was in the car with me to deal with this. Again, not something you want to be distracted by in transit.

On the whole the V60 was a pleasure to drive, and a great car for long journeys. We had the Business Edition which is primarily marketed as a company car, but also makes a reliable, economical and comfortable family vehicle. Unfortunately though it was a little short on boot capacity which made transporting things an issue. Not the ideal vehicle if you’re off camping, but certainly one to consider if you’re looking for something economical and eco friendly.

Camping Kit: Toddler Airbed

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 27-08-2013

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Its just under two weeks until we head north to Cumbria for our stay at The Quiet Site. You’ll remember that comfort is important to me and how impressed I was with the double airbed that I’d got for Daddy and me. Well Little Man now has his very own airbed thanks to the team at The Shrunks, who sent us their amazing Toddler Travel Bed to test out.
The Shrunks’ Inflatable Travel Bed is just brilliant. Designed for children aged between 2 and 4 – though at nearly 3 Little Man fills it nicely – it is the ideal airbed for camping or for staying overnight at family or friends. The airbed has two inflation points – one for the central mattress (marked “Inflate 1”) and one for the surround (marked “Inflate 2”). The bed comes with a standard bellow foot pump but you can also get an electric pump separately – handy for at home use, but less so in a tent unless you have an electric point on your site. Luckily for us our Camping Pod comes with a power socket! With the use of the electric pump I had the bed inflated in minutes.

Now for the clever bits. This beds surround has an inflatable guard to prevent children rolling out in their sleep. Whilst its not an especially high airbed you don’t want to be woken at 3am by the sound of your little one on the floor, especially in a tent. My favourite bit though is the gap between the mattress section and the surround. Its not huge, its not unsafe, your child won’t fall in to it. What’s its there for is to make the bed just like your little ones’ at home. Standard sized crib sheets fit over the flocked mattress and sheets and duvets can be tucked in the gap so they’re not only cosy, but they’re content in a familiar feeling bed. Little Man has never really done the traditional sleeping bag thing so its good knowing I can use his duvet and blankets on this bed. Though as you can see he’s pretty happy with it as it is.
Now this is going to be ideal for our trip to Cumbria and we’re also going to use it when Little Man and I gatecrash Nana and Pops’ holiday to Scotland later next month. But if my giant Little Man gets any taller he’s going to have outgrown it. Thankfully for us The Shrunks have a bigger airbed for children aged 4 and up. The design of the Twin Bed is just the same, its just that bit bigger. This is the one we’ll be using next year, should Little Man decide he loves camping! Its also going to be great for visits to relatives, or for use when we stay in overnight in hotels which only have high single beds. And should we ever brave having one of his little friends to stay, it’ll be perfect for them too.

You can find The Shrunks range on Amazon.


Camping Kit: Yankee Candle Travel Tins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 10-07-2013

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If you are off camping this summer, whether it be in a traditional tent or caravan, or if you are trying out “Glamping” with a few more home comforts there are certain bits of kit you need to take with you. Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing running through items in MY essential camping kit list, in preparation for my visit and review of the award winning The Quiet Site in Cumbria this September. I am so looking forward to trying out one of their Camping Pods, which for me will be a nice step up from sleeping under canvas, but still be more like camping then we experienced in our Yurt Trip earlier in the year.

Yankee Candle Travel Tin Clean Cotton

One of the things that puts me off camping is that after a few days of living and sleeping in a confined space is that inevitably, its going to start smelling. Potentially wet and muddy clothing, the presence of a toddler, and the fact that there are multiple humans cooped up in a very small space makes this all too likely. Not the most pleasant thing to deal with when you are already lacking the modern comforts of home. Now you are hardly going to start spraying air freshener inside a confined tent, and we all know the dangers of naked flames so a traditional candle is out, but what about a Yankee Candle Travel Tin?

Compact and easy to use these tins are the perfect camping companion. They are designed to neutralise odours and freshen up any small space, so are great for camping trips, as well as use in the car or bathroom. You simply slide them open to release the fragrance, and if you don’t close them up again they last for an amazing four weeks! Yankee Candle sent me a couple of these to test out, and whilst one has been safely stored away to take to The Quiet Site later in the year, the other has been being used in the car. I don’t like constant overwhelming fragrance anywhere, but sometimes the car needs a bit of a refresh. The scent is light and airy and I literally have the tin open for a few minutes before closing it again. Its great being able to quickly and easily rid the car of any unwelcome smells.

Travel Tins are available direct from the Yankee Candle website and most Yankee Candle retailers.

Review: Meon Springs Yurt Village

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 26-03-2013

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You might be thinking about your summer holidays at the moment, especially if you’re currently under a few feet of snow. If you are wondering where to take the children this year why not think about staying in the UK and heading down to Hampshire to try camping with a difference. Now I’m not someone who likes camping – I need a real bed, some form of heating, the odd creature comfort. I remember camping several years ago with Hubby in Scotland and spending just two nights in the tent and the other three in hotels. But when I came across Meon Springs I wondered if perhaps this was the camping for me. A compromise between sleeping on the floor under canvas, and sleeping in a fancy hotel or self catered cottage.

Meon Springs is nestled in the midst of the South Downs and they offer a very unique holiday experience. At Meon Springs you sleep in a Yurt. A Mongolian Yurt to be precise. What makes a Yurt a great form of camping for me is that it comes with real beds inside, has a wooden burner, and has an electrical supply. Its still very basic, but its much fancier than a normal tent. We were very lucky to be invited to spend a few days at the site just outside Petersfield by Jamie who runs the “village”. It would be Little Man’s first camping experience, and I’m happy to report that it wont be his last.

We were staying in “Halnaker” one of five Yurts on site. The Yurt came with a proper lockable front door, a double bed, two single beds, a wood burner and small electric heater, a kettle, a safe and a couple of lights. There were also spare plugs for things like mobile phone chargers or a radio. Everything was ready for us when we arrived, the electric heater had obviously been on for a few hours and there was a good stock pile of wood, paper and matches sat in front of the wood burner. The wood burner was positioned in the centre of the Yurt and had a chimney going up through the skylight. We stayed during a very cold week – thankfully without any snow – and once that fire was up and burning the Yurt was very cosy.

On site there was also a large brick building which housed toilets, showers – always dispensing piping hot water – and the affectionately named “Yurtery”. This was the place to go if you wanted to cook something that couldn’t be made on the Yurts hot plate or barbecue. The Yurtery had a fridge for every Yurt, each with a freezer box, and two cookers. There was plenty of storage for any food you brought and enough plates, pots, pans, cutlery and utensils to go around several times. I think we counted 6 graters during one rummage through a cupboard! The Yurtery also has plenty of seats around two tables to eat your meals at, with a couple of high chairs in there should you need one. Travel cots can also be requested for your Yurt if needs be. At the other end of the Yurtery is a small lounge like area, with sofas and a coffee table and enough toys, games and books to keep any child happy for days. For Little Man it was like Christmas when he walked in for the first time and immediately tracked down a Buzz Lightyear Action Figure which he proceeded to carry around with him for the duration of our stay. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner was eaten in Buzz’s company, and I did begin to worry that he would never leave to go home without him.

Outside each Yurt you will find a water tap bringing fresh water from the sites own spring, as well as a storage box for wood from the nearby wood shed. A large decking area at the back of each Yurt holds a picnic table comfortably, and there are other tables dotted outside the Yurtery. You’ll also find a very large sandpit for the children to play in next to a logged seating area and large fire pit.

As I said we stayed for a few nights in early March when the weather was a tad unpredictable and generally chilly. We were the only people on site at that point so early in the season – they’d reopened for 2013 just a week before – so had the run of the place. I can happily say it was one of the best places we’d been on holiday for a long time. The facilities were basic but clean and Yurtery had a vast array of items so you could easily cook anything and have the right tools for the job. The toys were wide ranging and plentiful so even if the site was full there would be enough to keep a dozen children content. There was even WiFi for any urgent emails. The Yurt itself was brilliant. A roaring fire, thick duvets and plenty of spare blankets if needed ensured we were all warm and cosy. I imagine in summer it would be great to put the children to bed and then settle on the decking outside your Yurt with a glass of wine, as opposed to sitting in silence inside the Yurt as it was too cold outside to think about going anywhere else. Little Man slept remarkably well considering, going to sleep between 8.30 and 9 each night and not getting up until 7 despite the daylight streaming through the skylight above him. He thoroughly enjoyed his adventure in the Yurt, and I’m sure he’s as keen as we are to make a return trip. Wellington boots are a must pack if you go to Meon Springs, especially at this time of year, but a well placed “Welly Box” inside the Yurt keeps the place clean.

Meon Springs is a working farm and there are staff going about their work all the time. You can visit the cows being milked at 5pm any evening, and you can also have a go at fly fishing if you wish. We bumped into Jamie a couple of times during our visit and he was genuinely lovely. He provided information on things to do and places to go in the area, and was easily accessible if you had a problem at any point. You might be thinking that the Yurts look a little familiar, as though you’ve seen them before. If you have small children and are familiar with CBeebies, then you have probably seen them on Something Special. Justin Fletcher was a VERY popular visitor to the site a few years ago as I’m sure you can all imagine.

A stay at Meon Springs Yurt Village will provide you with a fun and unique holiday experience that will provide you and your children with memories for years to come. I look forward to returning myself during slightly warmer weather, and hopefully getting the opportunity to enjoy a quiet drink on the decking in the evening.

To find out more about Meon Springs, the facilities, to check availability and to book yourself a holiday, go to their website. You can also find them on Twitter @MeonSprings.

Guest Post: Ideas To Keep The Family Busy Over Easter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Guest Post, Holiday | Posted on 28-02-2013

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When the children are off school, it is a good opportunity to spend some quality time with the family and get out and about together. But where can you find an entertaining day out that will not only please everyone, from little ones to teenagers, but also won’t break the bank? Here is a simple guide to keeping your family busy and happy over Easter this year.

Organise your own egg hunt

Before you begin stocking up on eggs and baskets, make sure you know how many little hunters will be joining you on your egg hunt. You don’t want anyone getting left out! You can buy chocolate eggs from most shops across the county and some simple paper chain decorations will give your event a colourful theme. If the weather is favourable, then plan your egg hunt outside and give the children plenty of room to run about. If not, you can still have fun indoors, just remember to hide the eggs in easy to reach, safe places.

Visit English Heritage

All across the UK, there are amazing sites of cultural and historical significance maintained by English Heritage. For an annual fee, you and your family can visit any English Heritage site for free and experience a fantastic day out that will keep everyone happy. From ancient castles and historic buildings, to places of natural beauty and landscaped gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy; young and old alike.

Go camping

All you need for this activity is a tent and a guide book and away you go! There are so many fantastic places to visit all across the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats and the great thing about camping is that you can come and go as you please. Pick a campsite that caters to your particular needs, whether you want a beach nearby, children’s entertainments or a pet-friendly place, you can find something to suit everyone’s particular tastes this Easter.

Plan a free day out

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a great family day out. There are many free attractions that you can try that will keep all members of your family entertained. London has a number of free museums to visit, including the British Museum, the National History Museum and The Saatchi Gallery. Browse online and you can find a free attraction near you that will be perfect for a family day out this Easter.

Visit the theatre

Perfect for the whole family, a trip to the theatre offers fantastic entertainment and a wonderful experience for everyone. Wherever you live in the country, you can find great local theatre hosting lively shows, intriguing dramas and brilliant comedy that will keep the whole family entertained. Find out what’s on at the theatre online or visit your local theatre venue to browse through the fantastic shows coming to your town in the coming weeks.

This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three daughters aged 12, 10 and 5.  Kathryn once bought a leather Filofax for her eldest daughter in a last minute shopping panic, as she convinced her they needed to record all their homework in it.  Her daughter was in year one at the time.