Archive for the ‘National Trust’ Category

The dreaded February half term is upon us, and parents all over the UK will be scratching their heads for ideas to keep little ones busy.
Low cost half term fun ideas for children

Low cost half term fun ideas for children

February half term is always the most dreaded school break for parents as the weather can be dreadful, and kids are left to hang around the house bored and eating you out of house and home.

But with a bit of forward planning and careful thinking, there are loads of things up and down the country to keep kids occupied this February.

BritEvents.com have some great ideas for Half Term just for you. So no stressing… the sun is out, the sky is blue, grab your coat, perhaps a Zoo?

1. The Wheels on the bus go round and round.

Catching the bus doesn’t sound that interesting, but kids are so used to be ferried around in cars nowadays that taking a ride into town on a bus can be quite exciting. Do you need to pop in town during the week? Well, this will be a perfect opportunity to take the bus instead of the car. If it’s a dry day, why not plan your journey to arrive just before lunch time, taking a simple picnic with you to be eaten in the park.

If it’s raining, there are plenty of coffee shops that you could pop into and treat yourselves with a warming bowl of soup.

2. National Trust properties and days out

National Trust properties nearly always have half term events for children. These can include pond dipping, walks, snowdrop spotting, family trails, winter milling and baking or you could try your hand at bird box making.

Normal entrance charges apply, but if you are members of the National Trust children go free. There maybe a small charge for each event. Check out what’s on by clicking here.

3. Story time

Most libraries have craft, story telling or children’s events on during the week for the under fives. But during half term some libraries offer these craft or story telling events to older children. All these activities are normally free, but can get quite messy, so remember to get your kids to wear old clothes. Some libraries offer a games mornings, craft events and most offer a story time. Children aged 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

4. Free football coaching in association with the FA and Tesco

During the school holidays FA Tesco is offering FREE football coaching at skill centres throughout England. This is a great way of introducing your children to try the programme for the first time. FA Tesco Skills holiday football coaching is a great way to develop football ability for girls and boys aged 5 – 11 and is available for all levels of abilities. Check out the FREE football coaching sessions by clicking here.

5. Splash sessions at local swimming baths

If you live in Wales, then you are very lucky as children in Wales swim free. Lots of leisure centres in the UK offer cheap ways of keeping your kids occupied in the holidays, and if it’s a rainy day, then at least you are under cover and don’t have to spend a small fortune.

Most centres have splash sessions in their swimming pools, which include fun packed sessions with fun shaped floats, toys and inflatables. There are some leisure centres out there offering crash course swimming lessons from just £10 per day or a whole week for £45. Check your local Leisure centre for more details.

6. On yer bike 

Another great idea on a dry day is to pack up your car with bikes, skates, scooters, skateboards, bats and balls and arrange to meet in the local park with some other mums and dads. Kids will be happy to spend time with their friends and enjoy trying out each others toys. Perhaps whilst they are busy playing you could grab a well-earned coffee!

7. Walking off the winter cobwebs

Even if you live in a town, there is always somewhere where you can walk. It is fun to wrap up warm in coats and wellies and see where your feet can lead you. It is surprising how much you miss by travelling by car day in day out! Look up! There are so many things we miss whilst going about our busy everyday lives. Even walking around a town and looking up at buildings, statues or bridges can teach your children so much about their surroundings and even takes their mind off how far you have walked!

8. Fun at home

Sometimes a day at home, just chilling out and recharging the batteries is what kids and parents need once in a while. Why not plan a day at home, either baking, drawing, painting or even a games day. Dust off those board games and enjoy an afternoon of competitive fun playing games such as Snakes and Ladders, Ludo or even simple card games such as snap. You could even enjoy making your lunch together, which is a great way of getting picky eaters to eat their lunch! Always try to finish off the day with some exercise perhaps a race around the garden or even get the Wii out for some fun zumba dancing!! Haven’t got a games console? Why not check out YouTube for exercise or dance clips you can all join in!

What ever you do, keep safe and warm and always enjoy the rare opportunity you get to spend time together as a family! For more ideas go to www.britevents.com for What’s On. When It’s On

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The first week of the school summer holidays are with us, let BritEvents.com show you how to have fun on a budget. 

Low cost summer fun ideas for children

Low cost summer fun ideas for children

This economic climate makes it very hard for parents to keep their children occupied during the summer holidays. But with a bit of thought and imagination, you and the kids can have a fantastic summer to remember.

Lets face it we all hate saying no to our little angels,but these days even the smallest of outgoings have had to be put on hold. It does take a bit of planning and digging but there are ways to keep even the most demanding child entertained throughout the summer holidays.

As an ex-childminder, and having two kids of my own I am only too aware that there will be some amount of spending which will include petrol and eating out. But the way around this is by car sharing with other parents and splitting the petrol bill between you and planning picnics at the beginning of the week by bulk buying drinks, crisps and snacks.

Here are few ideas to keep the little ones and big ones amused and keep parents from going totally insane!

Library summer challenges 

1. Most libraries in the UK have a FREE summer reading challenge.

Basically these schemes reward children for reading. All that is needed to compete in this fun and rewarding way is to read at least 1 book per week. The child will then be rewarded with stickers, badges and fun things to do.  Most of the libraries that participate in this summer event will have a summer reading challenge launch.

This launch is normally held in the first weekend of the holidays, where children can go along and register their interest and take part in any launch activities. Don’t be disheartened if you are away during the launch children can join the challenge at any time during the holidays.

Why not make a day of visiting the libraries each week by taking the bus instead of the car and taking your picnic to the nearest park before catching the bus back home.

At the end of the challenge the library will present the child with a medal, which is brilliant for taking into school in the new term for show and tell!

Keep a diary of summer activities

2. Children love to look back at what they have packed into the summer holidays and how much they have achieved. A great way is to record each day in a scrap-book with things that they have collected on their days out.

This is particularly great for children who can’t yet write and also gives children something to do together on those rainy days.

For example, postcards can be picked up from anywhere at a small cost, even most villages have their own postcards, so a trip down to the local shop on foot can be easily be recorded by a postcard, ice lolly paper or something interesting found on the way.

Remember museums are free
Some museums and galleries are free

Some museums and galleries are free

3.  Some museums and galleries are now free. This is a wonderful way to keep the children entertained by tying in what they have learnt at school with a hands on approach during the holidays. Not only is this fun, but the practical side of these activities can really fire up the child’s imagination and bring to life what they have learnt during the school term.

Take along a picnic, you will always find somewhere to sit down and eat, and together talk about your findings and remember pick up a postcard for your summer scrapbook!

A walk in the park

4. Boring! I hear you say… Not at all, the more children the better for this activity, take along tennis rackets, cricket bats, balls and loads of rugs.

On the way ask the children what they would like to play and ask an older child to write down a list. This could be a game of rounders, mini tennis tournament, football with jumpers as goal posts or older children could play a game of dodgeball.

This is an ideal time to take along a picnic, remember though children are always thirsty so pack as much water as you can for when they are playing and save the nice drinks for lunchtime.

Finish off the day with a visit to the nearest shop or supermarket where you can pick up a pack of 4 ice-creams/ ice lollies for the same price as a single one at an ice-cream shop!

BritEvents love the National Trust
National Trust Summer Fun!

National Trust Summer Fun!

5. We at BritEvents just love the National Trust, yes you have to pay to be a member, but during the summer you will reap the benefits as children entering National Trust sites with parents and grandparents are free.

Although, just recently BritEvents.com were informed by the National Trust that children are free to visit National Trust sites FREE in August, a great saving on a family day out. Just download and print out their voucher before you visit. Simply register your details to get your voucher from this link: –  https://join.nationaltrust.org.uk/voucher/register

There is ALWAYS something to do at National Trust properties from cake baking, rock pool rambles, art exhibitions, walks, food festivals, bee keeping to moth mornings and Music in the Park.

There maybe a small charge for children to partake in these activities, but they are always very popular so booking is essential.

In most National Trust Properties there is a tea room, but if finances don’t stretch to that then take your own neatly cut sandwiches and cake along with flasks of coffee or tea and sit on the lawn for an old-fashioned Victorian themed picnic of your own!

Catch up on chores with a bribe or two

6. Now all these days out mean that your home may be neglected over the summer weeks. But remember being out means that your home is less likely to get wrecked.

But the ironing and washing needs to get done…so what is the plan? I hear you ask hysterically. Well a bit of thought went into this. A bribe or two doesn’t do any harm does it? So, grab a load of magazines, glue, glitter, paper, cardboard and paint and lay an old sheet in the garden and let the kid’s imagination run riot, if they behave and play nicely then reward them by having their own art exhibition and a trip to the pictures at the next Saturday Matinee; most cinemas have a Saturday morning children’s film showing from just £1 per person!

Seaside fun and frolics 

7. A trip to the seaside is always a treat, and apart from the petrol, this can be a relatively cheap day out. If you live  a distance from the nearest seaside, then an early morning start is a must. As a family we have always found it easier to pack a disposable BBQ, this saves on time as food can be thrown in a coolbox and cooked on the beach. There is nothing better than a hot-dog or burger cooked on the beach in the sunshine.

Remember though to take windbreaks, buckets, spades, swimming costumes, towels, a change of clothes, sun hats and suncream with you.

But best of all when the tide is out and the kids are playing in the sand this is a particularly good opportunity for  parents to catch with their favourite novel!

Emulate the London 2012 Olympic Games
Emulate your own Olympic games

Emulate your own Olympic games

8. The London 2012 Olympic games kicks off in just four days. There is no better way for children to learn about how important it is for them to join in with sporting activities.

Why not ask the children to pick a favourite sport to watch on the television during the Olympics, but make sure that you can emulate the experience!

Once children have got engrossed in a sport on television most want to try it out for themselves. Almost all towns now have a sports centre where children can try out their favourite sport or activity from swimming, athletics, basket ball, cycling, volleyball and table tennis. Why not join in with another family or two and make a  day of it with a mini Olympic games day.

If the weather is particularly nice, then meet up with some like-minded children and parents and organise your own Olympic Games day at the local Village Hall or recreation ground. Take along bikes for a bike race, use water bottles as batons for your own sprint relay teams, use ropes on the ground for long jump and a cricket ball for your own shot put competition. Record all the events on a flip chart!

You could round off the day with a joint BBQ and award ceremony! Cadbury are doing some chocolate Olympic Gold medals to get your teeth into!

It won’t rain!!…But if it does…

9. Let’s be totally honest, we are going to have some days when we can’t get out and about. Therefore planning ahead for those rainy days can save tears and tantrums and that’s just from the parents!

So, with a little imagination and some clever trickery, you can keep your little ones happy for hours!

You’re going to love this one. Tidy your room competition! This ingenious idea not only saves you from the dreaded task, but when children are given a certain amount of time to finish a task or project, you will not believe how much more you can get out of them.

So, set the timer and get them tidying, they’ll be amazed at what they have found stuffed in the back of a wardrobe, from old board games to dressing up clothes, the kids will forget they are being timed…time for a cuppa and feet up I guess!

Make your own movie

10. When I was a child, I used to play out my favourite story with my brother and sister. We would practice and practice the play and then my poor Mother would have to sit through the finished article!

This got me thinking, that with all the technology around it would be very easy for children to star in their own movie.

The first thing to do is for them to pick a favourite story that they can act out. If they are older children they may want to write and direct their own play, and take the video camera outside. Make sure your video camera is insured!

Secondly, pull out the dressing up box and get them to rummage through and pick out their character’s clothing. Then let the fun begin.

Once they have finished practicing the play, let them loose with the video camera (if they are very young get an adult to film it). Now watch their faces as they replay the video on the television and see themselves staring in their own movie!

Choose BritEvents.com for all your summer events

Choose BritEvents.com for all your summer events

BritEvents.com is one of the biggest event listing sites in the UK. We have hundreds of thousands of events listed all over the UK, so if you are stuck for something to do this summer with the kids http://www.britevents.com can help you out!

A wet February half term is always dreaded by parents
Half term events from www.britevents.com

Half term events from http://www.britevents.com

 

February is always the hardest half term to get through, with the weather nearly always wet and cold it is hard to get your children out and about.

BritEvents.com have the top five half term antics to keep your little ones occupied during one of the dreariest months of the year.

1. Conkers – Leicestershire

Conkers is located in the heart of the National Forest and is easily accessible from Junction11 of the M42. This is a unique day out for all the family and has a mix of indoor and outdoor hands on experiences. If the weather is dry, one of their main attractions is the assault course that even the grown-ups get to play on. If you are as competitive as our family then this really is one for you to tackle! If the weather puts you off from beating your kids on the assault course………(Yep I beat them!!!) then get the experience of a lifetime when you try out the indoor Tree Top Adventure Walk. A family favourite for us is the barefoot walk, take your shoes off and follow your nose!  This week there something to do every day from  Trevor Hill’s Falconry show, and clown shows through to ranger and bush craft activities and indoor kite flying all included in your admission price.

2. Falconary and Hawks on Walks – Shropshire

Why not join the knowledgeable Mark at his Falconry Centre at the stunning Battlefield Centre in Shrewsbury. Featured on BBC1’s Country Tracks, this centre holds some of the most amazing Hawks, Falcons and Owls which are available to hold at the discression of the owners. The centre is open to the public 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Sundays. Go along and get involved in the day to day running of the centre, which is a great opportunity to have a full hands on experience in the medieval art of Falconary.

The entrance fee starts from as little as £2.00, this will let you get up close  some of the most amazing creatures.

Hawks on Walks takes you from learning how to handle the birds of prey to how to prepare a bird for flying. You will then join the Falconer where you will take control of a Harris Hawk during your walk. Valentines Hawks On Walks prices start from just £60 for two.

3. National Railway Museum – York

York’s National railway Museum is always a hit during February half term. Being under cover this is the largest railway museum in the world, which contains an unrivalled collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records. This is a fantastic day out for all the family, check out the display themes which include Royal Trains – Palaces on Wheels, Moving Things – The Mail, an Interactive Learning Centre, How Railways Work and Railways in art. During half term the National Railway Museum is proud to present their Wizard week, where each day children will be able to take part in a number of activites including all-action wizard duels, Owl displays, Derek the Dragon, The Magic Hatter or Make Your Own Wizard ID Badge. Admission is free but there may be a charge for additional events.

4.  The National Museum – Cardiff

This is an amazing place in an amazing city where you and your family will be able to discover art, archaeology and the geological evolution of Wales. This Museum has a busy programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year and has something of interest  for everyone with admission to the museum being free to all. This museum was officially opened in 1927  and is situated in the heart of Cardiff’s elegant civic centre. During this week you will be able to catch up with the Captain Scott; South for Science exhibition, The Queen – Art and Image exhibition and an exhibition showcasing an extraordinary private collection of works by John Piper.

5. National Trust Properties – Nationwide

BritEvents.com's favourite National Trust Properties

BritEvents.com brings you the best national Trust Properties to visit in the UK. Many of the National Trust properties hold special events during half term, with many of the them included within the admission prices. Why not dust off the winter cobwebs by getting involved in their family out door trails like the one at Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire, get creative with the National Trust’s It’s a Bug’s Life like the one being held at Brownsea Island in Dorset or the School Holiday Heraldry Fun such as the one being organised at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardening North Yorkshire.

A perfect gift for grandparents is a year’s membership for all the National Trust properties in the UK, they will be able to take along grandchildren to any of the events around the country free of charge. NB there may be an additional charge for activities.

BritEvents.com wishes you a great February Half Term. For more information on days out in the UK please visit www.britevents.com.


We all know what it’s like to be a kid the week before Christmas, It seems like the longest week ever!

Kids have the shortest attention span the week before Christmas and it is very difficult to keep them occupied during this very busy and stressful week.

Christmastime

Christmastime

With school finished ,the weather is looking very drab and wet, the hope of snow before Christmas to keep the kids amused is looking less likely, what do you do to keep those excited children becoming bored and over excited?

BritEvents.com has loads of things to do to keep all the family occupied whilst we wait for Father Christmas to decided whether we have all been good enough this year, so log and and see what festivities are on offer.

Here are my inexpensive top ten things to do the week before Christmas:-

1. Plan the last few bits of Christmas shopping around a trip to your local coffee shop, Children love to sip on a hot chocolate and watch everyone busying themselves, why not beat the traffic and catch the bus into town and make an afternoon of it?

2. Hunt out your National Trust members cards, wrap up warm and take a visit to your nearest National Trust property, where you will find loads of Christmas activities organised and the chance for your children let off some steam in the gardens.

3. I’ m afraid one of the best things to do during this week is baking! So put an afternoon aside and bake some mince pies, cookies and cakes with the children, you may even be able to rescue a few and take some to the local hospital or old people’s home.

4. Just before tea time, why not wrap up really well and take a stroll around your neighbourhood and check out everyone elses Christmas lights, walk down streets that you wouldn’t normally drive past, you will be amazed at how much effort some people go to.

5. Spend an afternoon clearing out wardrobes with your children, with the promise of making room for new toys or clothes they may receive for Christmas, then ask your children to go with you and take any unwanted clothes and toys to the charity shop.

6.  Encourage the children to dress up in fancy dress or what ever else they have found in the wardrobe, and take some silly photos which you can print off and make into Christmas cards for family and friends.

7. Take a walk to your nearest shop and buy some healthy nibbles such as orange segments, chopped apples, carrot sticks, celery sticks, cheese and bread sticks, pop on your favourite Christmas movie and relax.

8. Have a hunt around for all your board games and have a fun afternoon sorting them all out and playing with your favourites, any unwanted games can be donated to charity or why not do a swap with your friend’s children.

9.  Get your children to make some festive invites and invite a few of their friends around for a couple of hours of fun and Christmas games. (Remember to state the start and finish time of the party or you will end up being a free Childminder for the afternoon).

10.  If you have a number of people for Christmas dinner, why not get your children to design and make the places settings for each visitor.

Remembering what it's all about 

Remembering what it's all about

 

Most of all, take time out to reflect on the previous year and to be thankful for what you have.

This is a special time of year that often gets over looked with commercialism, spend those precious days wisely and try to remind your children what it is really all about.

Merry Christmas to all.
The Christmas season is upon us!

It’s the end of  November and the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse, although this time last year it had just started snowing and it stayed with us for what seemed like a lifetime.

Last weekend was supposed to be the busy shopping day before Christmas, but really are there not better ways to spend the festive season than traipsing around shopping centres full of screaming excited kids?

Well BritEvents.com has a list of their most top five things to do during this merry season:-
1. Birmingham German Market 22 November – 23 December
Birmingham German Market

Birmingham German Market

Yes I know its classed a shopping, but what better place to do it than the German Christmas Market in Birmingham city centre. This magnificent market which now houses over 200 festive stalls is in its tenth year and is the centrepiece of Birmingham’s annual events calender. This market has become a huge favourite with locals and visitors from all over the UK and is now the largest outdoor Christmas market in the country.

This festive shopping experience is not to be missed, visitors can enjoy the delights of German mulled wine (Gluhwein), hot German sausages, German Beer and gingerbread. To bring even more festive cheer to the market there is a traditional bandstand where musicians perform during lunchtimes and evenings.

2. Attingham Park Frost Fair, Shrewsbury 2nd- 4th December 2011
Frost Fair Attingham, Shrewsbury

Frost Fair Attingham, Shrewsbury

This is one of many Christmas fairs dotted around in National Trust properties in the UK, but Attingham Park is BritEvents favourite and  one of the most popular, which seems to grow larger every year. The stalls during the Frost Fair are laden with local produce and quality craft stalls, which range from handmade jewellery, pottery, local cheeses, wine and beer. With over 115 stalls located in and around this magnificent National Trust property what a better way to spend a festive weekend. Why not make a day of it and take in one of the beautiful walks that stretch for miles over deer parks and along the riverside, finishing off in the National Trust restaurant who will be serving up mince pies and other tasty treats beside their beautiful open fire.

3. Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell Hall and Gardens 10 – 21 December
Dickensian Christmas 2011

Dickensian Christmas 2011

The Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell is one of the best places for families to find out about the many elements of a Victorian Christmas, and also houses the “best father Christmas in the region”. In a setting remote from commercialism Father Christmas is available to visit in a suitable cottage setting.

This beautiful house takes you back to the age of Charles Dickens, author of many books responsible for creating our modern idea of Christmas. During your visit you will be able to meet a Victorian family who are preparing this great country house for the festive season and learn the difference between the lives of Upstairs and Downstairs and life of those in service during the Victorian era.

Why not take a visit to the tearooms or learn to make Victorian Christmas decorations and crackers. A great festive day our for all the family.

4. Submarine Father Christmas  Royal Navy Submarine Museum Gosport  3 – 4 December
WW2 Submarine Santa

WW2 Submarine Santa

Why not take a visit to Father Christmas on a WW2 Submarine before he embarks on his journey for Christmas eve.

Father Christmas is known for his secretive ways he delivers his Christmas Presents around the world and in these days of satellite navigation and tracking systems he knows that the only way he can deliver his presents safely is to use a submarine packed with presents and of course not forgetting his reindeer. So why not check out this very different festive grotto and pick up a free gift for your children in the process. For more information go to BritEvents.com

5. Rock With laughter LG Arena Birmingham 16 – 17 December
Rock With Laughter

Rock With Laughter

Christmas isn’t just for the kids you know! For two nights of festive fun, look no further than Rock With Laughter, which is promising two nights with top class comedy and music. This Ultimate festive night out is perfect for couples, friends or a different sort of Christmas party with work colleagues to get you in the festive spirit.

This show will include comedy from Channel 4 chat show host Graham Norton, the original and distinctive comedian Jimmy Carr, one of Britains most in-demand performers Dara O Briain, stand-up comedian and writer Sarah Millican, music from Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow and his band, 90’s singer Gabrielle and art rock band 10cc.

A brilliant night to be had by all “you are guaranteed to spend the night laughing and dancing” so grab your Rock With Laughter Tickets today before they sellout.

Another lovely day at the National Trust Property, Attingham Park in Shrewsbury, as I stole myself and husband away from work for a few leisurely hours.

Christmas Lunch At Attingham Park

Christmas Lunch At Attingham Park

Attingham Park never ceases to amaze me, as it moulds itself into the seasons. Christmas lunch today was just perfect, with snow on the ground, and wrapped up warm, we walked through the grounds to the Tea room. We were welcomed with the smell of roast turkey and the warmth of an open fire and Bing Crosby playing in the back ground.

The tables were nicely set, and I had previously asked for one by the fire, which was ready and waiting for us. The glass of chilled white wine was the perfect accompaniment to the smoked salmon and Mackerel terrine, which was served with freshly made warm bread.

The Turkey was beautifully cooked with home-grown vegetables, roast potatoes and one of the best stuffing’s I have tasted. Home made Bread sauce and Cranberry Sauce was served with this delicious lunch.

Another bottle of wine, and I was well and truly stuffed myself, but I had Christmas pudding ordered, so I braced myself and had a Vicar of Dibley moment and carefully crammed in my pudding!

I would like to thank the cook, who looked calm and under control,and the rest of the staff for an excellent lunch and a friendly service, I hope you all received well earned tips! Also thanks to Ben who keeps me informed on twitter about Attingham Park’s events which you can also find in www.BritEvents.com throughout the year. Merry Christmas to all.

National Trust recently got in touch with BritEvents.com to ask us whether we would add their 2010 events to our database – all 25,000+ of them, phew!

Although the wonderful National Trust supplied all their events in an incompatible format, we’re happy to say that after several hours of attempting to tie up the data so that it matches ours, we’ve managed to list all their 2010 events onto BritEvents.com.

It has been a mammoth task, but well worth it. BritEvents.com supports the excellent work that the National Trust undertakes every year, and while the charity is amongst others in struggling through the tough economic times, they’re working harder than ever to ensure the protection and maintenance of more than 350 historic houses, gardens and monuments across Britain for our benefit to keep them open for viewing.

We’re delighted to offer our support in providing an additional source of exposure for this wonderful organisation.