Schools across the country are winding down in the run up to the summer holidays which begins at the end of this month. Which means the kids have a long 6 weeks of school to catch up on all things fun, but what’s the cost for parents?
New research released by American Express found that the cost of summer for the average family goes up by £640! They found that days out are the biggest expense costing £232 for a family with 2 children and then adding on treats and gifts you spend on average an extra £134. For many these costs will fluctuate, especially once you add on clubs, summer camps, childcare and the rise in bills over the summer.
But fear not, we have made a list that can help keep the kids and your wallet happy:
Visiting paid attractions:
With the kids at home many us will fill the weeks with some day trips. But, as mentioned before, they can be costly. There are ways you can slash the price of visiting attractions – if you buy certain Kellogg’s cereal tickets you can get 2for1 vouchers which allows an adult to go free when paying for a child at 32 different Merlin attractions. Some of the most popular are Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Thorpe Park, Chessington and Sea Life Centres.
You can also get 2for1 tickets when you travel via National Rail. You will need a valid train ticket that destination is the closest to the attraction and to print out a voucher (via the Days Out Guide) to get the 2for1 on the day. It’s worth checking out the cheapest single ticket available, even if you are not travelling by train, as this can still work out cheaper than paying the full entry price. The attractions you can visit are The London Eye, St. Pauls Cathedral, ZSL London Zoo, The London Dungeon and various theatre shows, plus many more.
Visiting free attractions:
There are various free activities that children can enjoy over the summer – Craft superstore Hobbycraft run regular free workshops at weekends and during the summer holidays. Check out their website here for what on in your local store. The activities vary in each store but you don’t need to bring anything with you as all materials are provided and you don’t need to book in advanced. Children do need to be accompanied by an adult as no childcare is offered.
Visiting London in the holidays? The National Gallery offers free art workshops and drawing sessions on Sundays between 11am and 2pm. It’s for children aged 5-11 and no booking is necessary. However they are very popular so arrive early to claim your spot. The V&A Museum also has loads of things for the kids to do. They hold free activities every day in the school holidays that children and adults can get stuck in to. One of the most famous museums in the world, The British Museum also holds workshops and activity trails for families to enjoy.
Cut the costs of cinema trips by visiting the children’s clubs. Cineworld offer £2.00 (or £3.50 for 3D movies) adult and child tickets on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Vue cinemas have a similar offer, Kids AM, and the tickets cost £1.99 (or £2.75 for 3D) on weekend mornings and during the school holidays. Odeon cinema has the same offer as Vue, but the tickets cost £2.50.
Don’t think that eating out is always going to cost you the earth, yes it will cost more than a picnic in the park (which you should definitely do when it’s sunny), but it doesn’t need to break the bank. If you visit La Tasca children under 8 get a free main meal when an adult spends at least £10, Kids can eat for £1 at Harvester when an adult buys a main or at The Real Greek kids under 12 eat for free on Sundays when an adult spends £10 (you need to show a voucher on your phone or a print out to claim the offer).