Friday, 11 May 2018

10 Ways to Save Money on Family Days Out during the School Holidays in North East England

*This post contains affiliate links 

There's no doubt that school holidays can be super expensive. It's difficult not to cave into the pressure of paying for an expensive day out (and often then regretting it when you find it doesn't offer good value for money). I like to spend around half of the school holidays heading out on an adventure and the other half relaxing at home. I do think it's important to have downtime but equally, too much time at home will leave the kids (and myself) wanting to kill each other so days out are pretty much a necessity for us. Today I've put together 10 ways to save money on family days out during the school holidays. Please share your own tips in the comments too.

1 - Buy an annual pass

Did you see my post comparing annual passes? They can be a big investment but are so useful during the school holidays when you can use them and it feels as if you're enjoying a free day out. If you're really savvy, you can ask even for an annual pass (or a contribution towards one) as a gift for your child's birthday if a relative is asking for suggestions.  My top recommendations for the best value annual passes to buy in North East England are:
  • Beamish 
  • Life Science Centre 
  • Preston Park 
  • Alnwick Garden 
  • Woodhorn

2 - Travel by bus

Our favourite city centre car park costs £2 an hour now. If you add to that the stress of finding a parking space, petrol costs and just the overall hassle, I much prefer travelling into Newcastle or Durham via public transport. Both Arriva and Go North East offer an unlimited £10 family day ticket now and Go North East offers some fantastic discounts to lots of local attractions if you show your bus ticket. For more ideas for discounted and free days out by bus, check out this post over on North East Family Fun.

3 - Check out our list of 25+ free days out

You don't need to spend money to have a great day out and we're lucky to have access to so many FREE days out in North East England. Check out this post featuring 25+ days FREE days out in North East England if you're in need of some inspiration.

4 - Buy a railcard & travel by train

I wouldn't be without my railcard. As a family of 5, we save SO much money using our friends and family railcard (you can find out more about the savings you can make here). We've travelled by train to London, York, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Manchester and more and I predict we've saved over £1000 over the years. I recently found out you can gain 2 for 1 entry to lots of top UK attractions when you travel by train which will save you even more money. We used this deal to visit LEGOLAND Discovery in Manchester earlier in the year. Check out the full list of attractions offering 2 for 1 entry when you travel by train here.

5 - Use a meerkat movie code

We once paid £60 to visit the cinema. True story! Visiting the cinema is something we're not really willing to give up though as it's something we all absolutely love. I managed to buy a Meerkat Movie code for £1.20 using this hack which gives us 2 for 1 cinema tickets on a Tuesday and a Wednesday for a full year. We have two codes which almost cuts the price of a cinema trip in half for us.

6 - Keep an eye on Groupon and Living Social

Money-saving sites such as Groupon and Living Social often run last minute offers and deals for school holidays and are definitely worth checking out before the holidays start.

7 - Eat out using a Tastecard

We buy a Tastecard every year (you can buy one here for £1 for the first 60 days) and often use ours to save money when dining out as part of a day out. A Tastecard gives you 2 for 1 meals at lots of local and national restaurants including Frankie and Bennys, Pizza Hut, Bella Italia, Pizza Express, As U Like It, Sambuca North Shields, Chiquito, Giraffe, Ask, Malmaison, Zizzi, Tiger Tiger and more....

8 - Join our North East Days Out Facebook group

I run a North East Days Out Facebook community group which is FREE to join (you can request to join here). There are over 1500 members who post recommendations and photos for days out and money saving deals they've spotted. It's a fantastic place to get some inspiration for new places to visit if you're stuck in a rut and is a good group to search for discounts for your favourites (even if I do say so myself).

9 - Invest in a National Trust Membership 

Our National Trust Membership has been one of our best investments. We pay around £7 per month for our family membership and for this, we have access to over 500 properties and gardens in the UK and even more around the world. National Trust always run fantastic events in the school holidays and most are free. In the past we've enjoyed summer games at Seaton Delaval Hall, planting seeds at Gibside and Pirate Day at Souter Lighthouse. National Trust properties nearly always have one or more play parks for kids (and they're always in good condition), welcome picnics and dogs on leads and offer plenty of space to run about.

10 - Buy Gardeners' World magazine 

If you buy May's edition of Gardener's World magazine using the link in this post, you'll receive a discount card offering you 2 for 1 entry to over 400 UK gardens. There are some school holiday restrictions to be aware of but lots of lovely gardens are included such as Alnwick Garden and Crook Hall. We visited Alnwick Garden using this deal at the start of May and it worked out at just £6.50 per adult and the under 5 in our party was free.

Don't forget to join our North East Days Out Facebook group here for more ideas and inspiration and post in there if you spot any good deals. 

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