Summer’s over (already!), which means most of us (myself included) are probably already thinking about the next family holiday – Bring on October half term, I say!

So with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to plan your next family adventure in the UK whilst keeping to a budget:

Think About Where to Go and How Long For

Before you start Googling ‘half-term breaks’ and find yourself lost in an indigestible amount of information and pulled into pricey “offers”, just sit back and think of the areas you’d like to go. Perhaps this will be somewhere you’ve never been to before but have heard good things about. Maybe its a place you have had on your “bucket list”, or maybe it is somewhere you’ve been to and want to explore in more depth or return to as an old family favourite spot – either way think about a specific place and stay focused! If the kids are old enough, you could even have a family vote so everyone feels involved in the decision.

Then, once you’ve settled on a place and how long you’re going to go for, start researching places that tick the boxes.

Research Your Costs

In order to start saving for you next trip, it is important to research further than just how much the accommodation will cost you. Consider what attractions you might visit whilst there, where you might eat at night, or if it will be self catered? Also account for how much it will cost you to get to and from the location in fuel or on public tansport (Family and friends rail cards are a great investment to save money on rail fares!).

Having this budget in mind won’t just help you save, but it will prevent things from getting out of hand (as we all know they often can on family holidays!).

Consider Taking the Grandparents

While holidaying with your parents might not necessarily be at the top of your list of things to do (especially if they are elderly), family trips make for lots of quality time that you’ll all treasure, and this is reason enough for us to be taking Nath’s mum with us on our next trip. 

If they aren’t as active as ours are, and are struggling with mobility, you will need to do some extra planning to make sure the accommodation and activities will cater to them too. And you might even want to consider a road scooter to help them get around with ease, and without feeling like they’re a burden to you. Places like Mobility Solutions are ideal for this.

Book Your Accommodation

Now you know who’s coming with you, it’s time to get your accommodation booked. We always like the flexibility of Air BnB, however, hotels are great for short breaks too and ones where you don’t have to do too much. But if there’s a large group of you going, you may find self-catered cottages or homes offer you the flexibility you need.

Again, if your kids are older, see what everyone would prefer so no ones left moaning that they ‘didn’t want to stay here.’

Plan Your Activities

Finally, to make sure you’re packing as much as possible into the trip, and the right attire into your cases, start planning the activities you’re going to do.

Staying in the UK means the weather is not alway predictable and so it’s a good idea to leave some flexibility with what you’re doing on what day so you can account for those inevitable changes in the weather. Plus, leaving some room in your itinerary will allow for last-minute changes as well as new things you may discover when you get to the location.

Also looking up voucher offers ahead of time for theme parks and touristy places, will be small steps in saving you loads on days out!

Planning family breaks can be stressful but I absolutely love the excitement of it all and bagging some deals too! Allow yourself enough time and stick to a budget so that you can create the ideal UK family holiday and one that’s completely budgeted for.

* Collaborative post 

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A couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed a lovely 5 days away in the Dumfries & Galloway area of Scotland with Nathan’s family! It was over the August Bank holiday weekend, and whilst we were greeted with cooler/wetter conditions than we have grown accustomed to this Summer, it was nevertheless the ideal way to wrap up the Summer holidays. There were 18 adults and 11 kids (so of course we needed some where big to host us all) and we were fortunate enough to be able to stay self catered at The Dunsky Estate – it was a little spooky at times, but adventurous and very beautiful/Luxurious.

The Dunskey Estate 

Est in 1782 and overlooking the sea, the Dunskey Estate was full of history and grandeur, and was a beautiful spot for us to congregate. We had woodland walks, got lost in the maze and had lovely little ventures down to almost deserted little bays!

Each room was beautifully decorated and comfortable and the kids mostly bunked up with their Aunts, which left most of the married couples in semi peace with the toddlers (except for 2 nights when both Ethan and Megs wanted to sleep on our floor – cheers guys!)! The room we had was lovely. It had a 4 poster bed, ensuite and lovely furniture and design – I especially loved the modern and antique mix!

We chilled out in a large drawing room with open fire, large bookcases and overlooking the sea, and ate/played games in a lovely grand dining room – ideal for the 29 of us each meal time! It really was a lovely place to stay (even if it did feel spooky at night time)!

Family Time 

Prior to our trip, we looked up lots of places to visit and things to do, however once there it naturally just flowed into being time to chill as a family and hang out! We didn’t do very much at all apart from conquering the maze, getting caught in hail storm, a beach day with an inflatable unicorn, and chips at the seaside! We had a lovely visit and an Ice cream in Portpatrick all together too, which was very close to where we were staying. Its so tiny and quaint, and such gorgeous little place! Then on Bank holiday Monday we had way too much fun at the local swimming baths in Stranraer and Nathan and I took a short detour on the way back from that for a quick visit to Killantringan lighthouse – it was cold but gorgeous!

We then spent each of our evenings playing games, eating chocolate, and singing, laughing and dancing together! It was so lovely to see everyone, and hang out. It was great to relax as a family with no pressure to do anything major but provide opportunity for the kids to run around and laugh and play with their cousins!

The Mull of Galloway 

On the way home, whilst most of the family headed straight back to Yorkshire (or the south), we decided to take a 20 mile detour and visit the Mull of Galloway. This is the peninsula on the map that is the southernmost part of Scotland, and it overlooks both Northern Island and The Isle of Man! It was a lovely drive out to it, and the views were gorgeous. It was great little adventure (albeit very blustery)!

When visiting the mull of galloway, there are little walks, an RSPB spot and an exhibition centre. You can eat in the cafe and climb up the lighthouse (both of which we didn’t have time for on this occasion when faced with a 5.5 hr drive home)!

I loved our adventures in Scotland – its always nice to be with everyone! I especially loved all of the beautiful lighthouses we saw and the panoramic views across to Ireland. I loved the cute little bays, beautiful clear seas and beaches, and little teeny harbour towns. We were even privileged to see a piper busking on Bank holiday Monday, and that for me was so exciting!

The Galloway area of Scotland is really lovely and we barely scraped the surface! Such a peaceful and beautiful place for family time and a little break!

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As I arrived at the entrance to Kings Cross station on Saturday evening following a great (and very busy) day at Blogfest. I was greeted by 2 tired, soggy and very giddy children whom I call my kids! They had spent the day being tourists in London with daddy, and whilst they had walked a total of 11 miles, being rained on and being on far too many tubes to remember they were absolutely over the moon and couldn’t wait to tell me about everything they had seen despite their weary legs.

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I love London, and living in Yorkshire it’s not somewhere we frequently go despite it being rather easy to access with the direct trains. The last time we went was for the weekend about 2/3 years ago and before that I don’t know when..maybe 8 years? Either way as soon as I step foot in to the city, tube stations or just set eyes on its history and fast paced way of life, I realise just how great of a place it is and how you forget just how cool it is.

Ethan has never been and Megan was only a tot when we last went and so for them it was seen through new eyes and I don’t think they could quite believe it! They told me all about how they had seen a big clock called Ben, Poppies galore for the Remembrance weekend, Dinosaurs and space at the museums and a wheel so massive I wouldn’t believe it!!! (Only I would because I’ve been on it but don’t tell them). They explored modern art at the Tate modern, lit candles in St Paul’s and watched soldiers at “the Queens Palace”. They witnessed street performers in Covent gardens, ran past the spooky London dungeons and saw the shard from a distance, and from the sounds of it I think the underground is something  that will be a novel concept to them for a very long time. It was an incredible adventure for them and I am so grateful for my last minute win to blogfest that meant we could go visit London.

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I loved blog fest; it was inspiring, interesting, funny, and as always so lovely to meet the people behind the blogs I love so much, as well as old and new friends. I loved mingling with people and listening to MPs, authors and just really cool inspiring people. But mostly I loved that it gave my kids one of the best adventures they’ve had in a while.

Thank you Mr Smith for taking them to so many spectacular land marks and capturing the moment for my blog  (I’ve taught you well), but mostly for enabling me to be able to go to blogfest and embracing my spontaneous ideas.

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Run Jump Scrap!
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Most of my childhood half terms and school holidays were spent around the UK on the most wonderful camping trips. At least when it was sunny they were wonderful. I also have the odd memory of complete washouts, feeling freezing as the rain beat down on the tent and falling head first into mud when the car got stuck in the field we were camping in! Overall though I have seen some great sights from the hills, mountains and cliff tops of England. I have heard hundreds of ghost stories, been on dark walks, cooked on a several fires and had fun playing with siblings and cousins. It was an ordinary part of my childhood and adventures I hoped I could relive with my kids.

With this week having been half term, I was determined to spend it away from Leeds and go somewhere fun, relaxing and picturesque! We hoped (after resining to the fact we wouldn’t be going on holiday) to maybe taking a trip to the Yorkshire Dales or Lakes, but for several reasons this didn’t pan out either (sad times)! We have however had a brilliantly fun packed week, with everything we hoped; a balance of relaxing mixed with adventure! The 1st part of the week was spent with Naths family mostly chilling, and after a pit stop at home and re- packing of bags, we headed to the Yorkshire coast where the kids camped out in my sisters garden, toasted marshmallows, had a BBQ and several fun days out to beautiful spots! Megan only lasted about 10 minutes in the tent, and ended up indoors with us. Ethan on the other hand absolutely loved sleeping outdoors in his sleeping bag with cousins, torches and grandparents…

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Whilst warmer weather would have made it all the more enjoyable, a trip to Whitby with its quaint streets, history and lovely views of the sea, sand and boats was great. Its a place I love and something I have wanted to do for ages. It was at times rather blustery, but the kids had so much fun, enjoyed some chips and an ice cream and it was overall a lovely day out!
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The next day, after another camp out and incredibly late night, the kids and cousin crew headed with Granddad to a beautiful bay between Scarborough and Whitby for some rock pooling. The weather was rather chill, and I spent most of the morning sat on a rock, observing the fun and giggles from a distance, but the scenery was beautiful and the kids generally loved it and were shocked by so many crabs, baby eels and star fish…another great coastal adventure followed by a picnic, was in their eyes perfect to wrap up their coastal mini break.

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Sometimes the things we hope to do or places we hope to be in don’t always pan out. But then the alternatives are just as fun, adventurous and memorable. I love that my kids are having similar experiences and Ordinary moments in their childhood like those I grew up with. I love raising them here in Yorkshire and being able to take them on coastal adventures with their cousins and Grandparents, and best of all…Their (Ethan’s) very 1st camp out!
It was, without a doubt, a brilliant half term over here for the Smiths…even if we are all absolutely shattered and I am struggling to move!

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