Sep 3, 2015
As the summer holidays draw to an end Becky, a working mum from Berkshire with a 3 year old daughter Maia and a baby on the way, shares her tips on places to visit…
Whilst my ideal summer includes basking in the glorious heat in the garden on a piece of foil, in my underwear, gin in hand unfortunately this is no longer an option with a three year old in tow and being quite substantially pregnant. So in the interest of wholesome family fun I have put together a list of a few ideas that me and my little one have really enjoyed this Summer that won’t break the bank and don’t always require hot weather to be enjoyed!
A great day out that can be as thrifty or extravagant as your budget requires is a trip to Windsor. It is quite touristy and can get busy on weekends, although this does provide some great people-watching opportunities, after all there’s got to be some treats for mummy as well! We love a stroll along the river all year round; there are plenty of places where you can buy duck pellets to feed the ducks and swans as you go along. A river boat ride can be a good way to get children to sit down and have a bit of quiet time, I would suggest the one that lasts 40 minutes as this is just about long enough to keep the kids entertained without them getting bored/annoying other passengers: French Brothers River Trip.
There is a little funfair located at the bottom of Alexandra Gardens, across the road from the river, which has rides, mini golf and a climbing wall. You can also have a picnic here if you like as there is lots of green space as well. If you prefer to grab a bite to eat that you haven’t had to make and carry around there are lots of options up in town to pick from. A trip to Windsor wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the castle, whilst I wouldn’t suggest paying to actually get in, Maia does love seeing the policemen guarding the castle and seeing if she can spot the Queen in one of the windows!
A surprisingly successful day out was a trip to Bekonscot, a model village located in picturesque Beaconsfield. We took Maia and our nephew, who is 2 and I wasn’t really expecting it to be as well received as it was by them as I thought they maybe a bit too young to appreciate it, but how wrong was I? – they really loved it! The little houses and people really seemed to spark their interest – but the main attraction for them was the network of tiny little trains running through the model village, they were so excited each time one zipped by. There really is so much attention to detail here that it is very easy to spend a good couple of hours walking through the village itself, spotting all the little details that make this as enjoyable for adults as it is for the children. There is also a picnic area as well as a cafe that serves sandwiches and a range of hot food and a playground for the little ones to burn off steam once they’ve eaten. The highlight for my nephew was the little train that you can take a ride on for a £1. For ticket prices etc. see here. The one (very minor) downside is that you have to walk through the gift shop to get into the village which can be very distracting for little people (and costly for Mum and Dad!)
Despite being promised a glorious summer, what we have actually experienced has at best been the meteorological equivalent of ‘meh’; and thinking of something fun to help mop up a few of those rainy ‘indoor days’ which can tend to drag painfully without a plan can be tough. If you live further north a trip to The Deep in Hull is a really great rainy day treat. Although it does get very busy and you may have to queue, it is definitely worth the wait. There are lots of interactive displays for the children to play with and lots of tanks to look in with all different size fish to see. There is also a ‘petting area’ in the tropical part where, should they desire, little ones can touch crabs etc under the supervision of a member of staff who also gives a talk on the different animals on display there. In short, this place can be as educational or fun as you want it to be. The best part for us was definitely the penguin enclosure. There is a soft play area at the end of the tour where children can have a run about before the drive home.
I hope this has given you some fun ideas that all your family can enjoy together!