The summer holidays can be a blessing or a curse. Here’s how to make sure they stick firmly in the former category
By Ernie Richardson
As the summer holidays get underway, parents throughout the land feel their anxiety levels nudging up a notch.
How on earth are you going to keep your little ones amused for six long weeks away from school?
There are only so many trips to the cinema or McDonald’s you can make before feeling like a Bad Parent. You know you should be getting them out in the fresh air to celebrate the sheer freedom of their youth.
And yet, when you stop to think about the prospect, it fills you with dread.
|"The best thing about the National Trust is that the more you use it. The more you get for your money."|
Well never fear, because Just Recruitment is here to provide the perfect guide to your summer hols. Follow our tips for getting out and about and you’ll feel the weeks ebb away faster than a disappearing tide.
By the end, you’ll long for another six weeks, just so you can do it all again.
1. Visit the seaside
There’s a reason why seaside holidays are a staple of the British summertime: because, once you’re there, the entertainment pretty much makes itself.
Rock pooling, French cricket, bobbing around on a dinghy and pretending to fish, burying grandpa in the sand, arguing over who gets to eat the last Scotch egg. All these activities and more have been enjoyed by generations of British holidaymakers. And the best thing of all is that they’re basically free.
Even if you live in Cotton in the Elms you’re only 70 miles from the sea. That distance is perfectly doable for a day trip, and even more palatable if you intend to stay overnight.
So, if the kids get restive, you know what to do. Pack up your fishing nets and bucket and spade, make a picnic lunch (don’t forget the Scotch eggs!) and head for the coast.
2. Go National Trusting
The National Trust is one of the UK’s finest institutions. Family membership for two adults and up to 10 children or grandchildren costs about a tenner a month.
For that, you get access to free parking in tourist hotspots as scattered as Studland Bay in Dorset, Wray Castle in Cumbria and Dunwich Heath and Beach in Suffolk. That would be worth the money all by itself, but of course you also have access to more than 500 historic properties throughout the county, often with stunning grounds in which the children can let off steam.
The best thing about National Trust membership is that the more you use it, the more you get for your money. Make a hit list of properties within an hour of your home and you’ll find you struggle to see them all during the six-week summer.
Oh, and if you need further inspiration about what to do when you get there, the Trust has a handy guide to help inspire the younger members of your party.
3. Go fossil hunting
It is amazing how a country or coastal walk can be enlivened by the promise of finding a few geological artefacts. People of all ages enjoy fossil hunting because it stimulates the senses, gives a tangible sense of connection with the world around you and usually results in some trinkets to take home.
Use a resource like the Fossil Finding website to identify good locations near you. The only tools you need are your eyes and a willingness to scrabble around in the dirt. But if you want to create a real spirit of derring do, procure a fossil hammer and some eye protection. That’ll make the kids feel like regular palaeontologists, which is sure to fire their enthusiasm.
4. Take a train ride
Time was when a train ride felt like an adventure all on its own. You didn’t need to arrive anywhere in particular: just clambering aboard was enough to engender an appreciation of the romance of travel.
If you regularly commute by rail, that sense of excitement may well have dissipated. In which case, recapture it with a ride on a steam train such as the West Somerset Railway or Bluebell Railway in Sussex.
But if train travel doesn’t feature in your daily itinerary, you’ll find a trip on any regular locomotive is pretty good fun. Avoid rush hour, obvs, and make sure you end up at a destination with a decent tearoom or ice cream shop. The promise of a sticky bun or choc-ice will keep the kids from “Are we there yet?”-ing, and they’ll love the novelty of travelling through the countryside at speed in something that’s not Daddy’s Mondeo.
5. Discover geocaching
Want to get the kids walking but know they’ll rail against a regular hike? Geocaching is the answer. Thousands of geocaches are located throughout the UK. Download an app to find the ones near you, then strike out on bike or foot to find them.
Once identified, you can leave a trinket, take a memento from the current stash and keep an electric record of your find. It’s a great way to keep little legs motivated and create a sense of purpose. You’ll find that a family walk passes with much more enjoyment this way.
You’ll most likely cover far more miles than if you simply head out for a yomp – which, let’s face it, is asking for a tantrum.
First Published 22 July 2019
© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd
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