Monday, 19 February 2018

North East Annual Passes | Which one offers the best value?


Buying an annual pass can save you lots of money on days out across the year. I always think they\re a fantastic idea for birthdays or Christmas gifts as they really are the gift that keeps on giving! It also means that once you've paid the one-off cost, your day out is free (or super cheap) and it's nice to know you have the option to enjoy a day out when you're skint and need to get the kids out of the house.





North East Annual Passes | Which one offers the best value?

There are so many annual passes to choose from so I've decided to compare some of the region's favourites and try and figure out which offer the best value for money. I am basing prices on a family of four (including 2 school-aged children) and I'm judging the annual passes on their initial cost, if they're accessible by transport, the saving you'll make if you visit four times across the year and how often they run special events or exhibitions so there's something new for you to see. Prices were checked in January 2018 and are subject to change.


Seven Stories

  • Cost per family of four: £65
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £49.40
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 3 visits


Life Science Centre

  • Cost per family of four: £85
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £79
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 3 visits


Alnwick Garden

  • Cost per family of four: £45
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £48.60 
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 2 visits


Alnwick Castle

  • Cost per family of four: £42
  • Savings across 4 x visits: N/A
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: N/A


Adventure Valley

  • Cost per family of four: £240 (or £120 term time Monday - Friday only)  £159.20
  • Savings across 4 x visits: No saving - you lose £80.40 or you'll save £7.20 with the term time deal
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 6 times


Whitehouse Farm

  • Cost per family of four: £196
  • Savings across 4 x visits: Nothing, you lose £64.20
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 6 times


Kirkley Hall

  • Cost per family of four: £110
  • Savings across 4 x visits: Nothing, you lose £22.50
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 5 times


Northumberland County Zoo

  • Cost per family of four: £115
  • Savings across 4 x visits: NOthing, you lose £25
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 5 times


WWT Washington

  • Cost per family of four: £84
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £28
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 3 times


English Heritage

  • Cost per family of four: £96
  • Savings across 4 x visits: (based on 4 x visits to Belsay Hall) : £11.20
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 4 of the more expensive properties


National Trust

  • Cost per family of four: £114.60
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £83.40 (based on 4 visits to Cragside)
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: Just over 2 (based on Cragside)


Beamish

  • Cost per family of four: £49.50
  • Savings across 4 x visits: N\A
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: N/A


Woodhorn Museum

  • Cost per family of four: £13
  • Savings across 4 x visits: N/A
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: N/A


Blue Reef Aquarium

  • Cost per family of four: £113.70
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £37.90
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 3 visits


Diggerland

  • Cost per family of four: £279.96
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £39.24
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 4 visits


Tanfield Railway

  • Cost per family of four: £80
  • Savings across 4 x visits: £24
  • How many times you need to visit to get your money back: 4 times





Which Annual Passes are the best?

After looking at the various deals available, I think the following passes offer excellent investment.


1 - National Trust

National Trust is a fantastic option as your pass covers so many properties and most provide additional activities and excellent play areas too. You will recoup your money quite quickly if you're a regular visitor.

2 - Beamish

Beamish run a huge variety of seasonal events from harvest festivals, to Christmas, Horses at War and more. If I lived closer I'd definitely invest in an annual pass as there's always something new to see and do.


3 - Life

You save quite a bit of £ if you invest in a Life annual pass and I like that this option is a fab rainy day idea. Life is one of the easiest places to get to from all the places I've listed so a fab option if you rely on public transport. Their exhibitions change regularly too. Life is a good option for a variety of ages too.


4 - Preston Park

At £5 for a family, you can't beat this annual pass for value. There's always something new to see and do in the school holidays and their events are fantastic too.



5 - Woodhorn

Woodhorn is also an inexpensive option and I like Woodhorn as it's a great option for both bad weather or sunny days. There are often craft activities and exhibitions are included in the annual pass too.


6 - Alnwick Garden 

You only need to visit Alnwick Garden twice in the year to recoup your investment and I love that there's an option to take a different named adult too so perfect if you'd like a day out with your friend or grandparents in school holidays.



Which Annual Passes would I avoid? 

Personally, I find £113 to visit the Blue Reef Aquarium to be a crazy amount when compared with somewhere like Beamish which is over half the price. I don't think the Blue Reef Aquarium is enough to keep the family entertained for a full day, nevermind multiple visits throughout the year.

The cost of an annual pass for Adventure Valley has shocked me the most. At £240 it's almost 5x the cost of Beamish! I seriously don't know how they can justify that.

I have found farm parks to be quite pricey in general and although farms do offer a good day out, they seem very expensive when compared with other annual passes in our region and you tend to need to visit 5-6 times before you start to see a saving. If I had to pick one farm park, Kirkley Hall is the cheapest and over half the price of Adventure Valley.

Finally, at almost £300, Diggerland is the most expensive annual pass from my findings and you need to visit four times across the year to get your money back. The only time I'd consider buying this pass is if I lived next door!


Did you see last weeks post featuring The National Arts Pass or Museums Associations Pass? They might offer a better option for you. Find out more here. 



Let me know which Annual Passes you'd recommend.

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North East Annual Passes | Which one offers the best value?



1 comment

  1. Down at the farm is a good value annual pass. Its also normally availabe on groupon for slightly cheaper. Around £30 a family of 4. You only name 2 people so you can take any other 2 peope which is great. So could just put it in the kids names and then grandparents etc can use it.

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