Days out that won’t break the bank

It’s only been days since the children went back to school after the Easter break, and now we’re looking down the barrel of the six-week summer holidays.

A sure-fire way to keep the kids entertained from July to September is to provide an interesting change of scenery. It doesn’t have to be a full-scale seaside holiday or trip abroad – days out can be just as effective.

Britain has many great cheap and free attractions that make great destinations for a day trip but won’t cost a small fortune. Auto Advance has put together a guide for summer days out on a budget, which will be useful to parents, grandparents and childminders alike.

Discount destinations 
The UK has more than 50 national museums that are free to enter, plus a gorgeous selection of national parks, beaches and heritage sites that are either free to enter or cost next to nothing.

Just a few free attractions in the UK include,
·         The National Gallery, London
·         Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
·         The Wallace Collection, London
·         British Museum, London
·         Castlerigg Stone Circle, Lake District

You can get discounted or free access to theme parks, castles and other child-friendly venues by collecting vouchers found online, in newspapers and even on cereal boxes. For example, Money Saving Expert lists current vouchers and deals here, which can be a handy starting point for those looking to save some extra cash on the cost of their day trip.

An often-overlooked expense for your day trip is fuel. Look at the distance you need to travel; will it be cheaper to go by train? Try a fuel calculator like to help you work out the most economical way to get where you want to go. Convenience will also be a factor in your decision, but having solid figures for comparison will help.

Planning ahead 
The best way to save money is to plan ahead:
·         Google ‘family days out discount’ and sign up for offers that take your fancy
·         Book tickets in advance to take advantage of offers
·         Pre-book a train – Google ‘family discount train journeys’
·         Will you eat out or take a picnic?

Visit Britain has a brilliant list of activities and potential days out across the country that you can refer to. The search function allows you to specify locations, budgets and interests helping you to find the perfect day out at the right price.

Spending money 
Gift shops can be an unwelcomed temptation, especially for the kids. Set aside a small amount for each child to spend throughout the day or have to spend solely in the gift shop; better still, encourage them to start saving up now.

By the time summer arrives, the biggest job you have to worry about is trying to predict the Great British weather! Just in case it decides to rain it helps to have a Plan B that involves indoor activities.