Family trips that won’t break the bank

Family days out don’t have to be spend, spend, spend. Show them culture, history and the great outdoors with our savvy guide to days out that cost nowt….

York

Morning – National Railway Museum

Trains are super cool and totally changed the world (of course, we’re bias). And York has one of the greatest railway museums in the world.

So the word on the street goes.

Run your fingers along the super-fast, aerodynamic Mallard – which broke the world speed steam record in 1938. The record still hasn’t been beaten (that’s a lot of years).

There’s all kinds of magic at the Playing Trains exhibition. Kids can dress up as old-fashioned train drivers and sell tickets in the ticket booth. They can even get their hands on a bona fide train whistle. Great fun.

Check out the National Railway Museum

 

Afternoon – the city walls and gates

Get a lungful of history with a wander along the city walls. Feed their imaginations with stories of the Romans and Vikings who first built walls surrounding York. Tell them the actual walls they’re walking upon hark back to Medieval times. They’ll get some decent exercise too (the walls cover around 2.5 miles) and if they do get bored you can climb down at one of the gates and get back up at another.

The gates are worth a look too. Historically, the gates granted access to the city. Even royals had to ask permission to enter, so legend has it.

Grisly fact: Severed heads of traitors were displayed at Micklegate Bar until as recently as the 1700s. Horrible, we know.   

 More things to do in York

London

Morning – British Museum

Tired of your brood shouting ‘boring’ at your day-out suggestions?

With spooky mummies, ancient Greek statues and relics from the Bronze Age, the British Museum is boring-proof.

Pretty much.

Visualise Ancient Greece with the Elgin Marbles - statues and inscriptions that centuries ago were part of the Parthenon in Athens.

Step into the Valley of the Kings with the mummies of Ancient Egypt. Simply spellbinding. There’s heaps more cool stuff too.

No wonder it’s one of London’s best-loved spots.

Check out the British Museum 

 

Afternoon – Museum of Childhood

Barbie dolls and Lego sets. Care Bears and Corgi Toys. Get misty-eyed over the toys of yesteryear at this fascinating museum.

Kids think you’re out of touch? Show them how the toys they play with today were part of your childhood too.

Child of the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s? Revisit your early years with the museum’s round up of the must-have toys for each decade. From the Big Yellow Teapot House of the 80s to Game Boy of the 90s.

Nostalgia overload? There are heaps of arts, crafts and other activities to keep the kids busy.

Check out the Museum of Childhood

 

Did you know? Under-11s can travel for free on buses and trams in London. Or for free on the Tube when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. Find out more

 

More things to do in London

Edinburgh

Morning – National Museum of Scotland

Crawl through the roots of a giant oak tree. Meet a giant stuffed panda that used to live at London Zoo.

They say variety is the spice of life – and there’s oodles of it here.

They’ll love the mysterious story of the Lewis Chessman. Kings and Queens fashioned from walrus ivory and whales’ teeth and unearthed on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. They’re thought to date back to AD 1150-1200.

Nature, history, culture all come together in a big ball of awesomeness. They’re not going to get bored.

We don’t think.

Check out the National Museum of Scotland

 

Afternoon – Arthur’s Seat

Dormant volcanoes, long-forgotten military forts and the craggy ruin of a medieval chapel. Arthur’s Seat will capture their imagination. As well as tire them out. From Holyrood Park in the middle of the city centre rises Edinburgh’s highest hill. A craggy, dramatic rock that reaches 251m above sea level. It was created by volcanoes 350 million years ago. They’re long extinct. But it’s a cool story.

Still not impressed?

Tell them the man who wrote Treasure Island was a fan of Arthur’s Seat. That’s Robert Louis Stevenson, in case you’ve forgotten. 

 

More things to do in Edinburgh