Get Outdoors over the holidays
After all the feasting over the festive period, being in the great outdoors does wonders for your health both pysichally and mentally and helps work off those few extra mince pies (or piles of chocolate in my case) you may have devoured over the festive period. There are lots of ways that you can enjoy the great outdoors and below we have given you a few ideas of some of the fantastic activities / places to visit. We have tried to find days out which are either free or really cheap. I have started with a few examples from some places that I have been to myself. So let outdoors over the holidays.
A visit to the zoo is a fantastic day out. Visiting during the quieter non peak seasons is often really enjoyable as there are less crowds and lots more chances to see the animals up close and watch all the sessions / talk that are being held. South Lakes Zoo have a fantastic deal on at the moment whereby you get virtually free (they ask for a £1 donation per person) entrance to the zoo. We visited last year and had a fantastic day out. See our review of our visit here. For further information about the zoo opening times and details click here.
Aira Falls, Ullswater
BC (Before Children) we often went on random crazy adventures and one included a trip with our friends to the lakes, no real destination had been decided and after a few hours of driving we needed a bathroom break and we pulled up into the area near Aira falls. Once here, we decided to give the area a quick look around and decided to climb up to the waterfall. The walk, scenery and waterfall were great. There are loads of walks to do in the area and can easily be combined with a trip to ullswater which is truly breathtaking. More information on the falls and Ullswater can be found here.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Doc and I visited Edinburgh before we had the little adventurers and to this day remains one of my favourite cities in the UK. Whilst we were there we ventured on a walk, up the extinct volcano called Arthur’s seat. You can easily arrive at the start of the hill from Holyrood Castle at the bottom of the Royal Mile. I would recommend appropriate footwear (we did our walk in flip flops and rain!) and be wary that it is quite steep and rocky so may not be suitable for very young children. But the views of Edinburgh are fantastic and how many children can say these climbed an extinct volcano?!
Located in central Edinburgh, you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site offering some of the best views of the city. The area can easily be accessed from Waverley Train station and it has some iconic monuments to visit and see. Highly recommended for some outdoor fun. Further details can be found here.
Yorkshire / North East
Bolton Abbey is a great day out with beautiful scenery with the woods and priory. They have great walks around the site, stepping stones across the little stream. We visited over Easter break and the children had a great time from skimming stones, to a long walk around the site spotting the money trees and the forests, visiting the gorge. The estate have a 12 days of Christmas Trail on at the moment, recreating scenes from the famous song. The estate has an £8 charge per car which allows visitors to park in any of the 3 car parks on the estate. You’ll have a great day out, for further information, click here.
I love scouring the internet for new things to do and came across Brigham Rocks. The are is located in Harrogate Yorkshire and has loads of different and obscure rock formations. I have seen lots of pictures and they look fantastic, like a real natural playground. Children are able to get really unclose to the rocks and there are lots of walks around the area.. The site is free to enter thought there is car parking charges. Further details can be found here.
We visited Northumberland in May and had one of the best holidays we have had in the UK. It was fantastic and cannot be recommended highly enough. We visited Holy Island whilst we were there and its a great walk, beautiful views and should be a definite on anyone who is visited the area.
The centrepiece of the park is Northumberlandia, a stunning human landform sculpture of a reclining lady. Made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, she is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long. The area looks great and has so many walks and areas to explore for the whole family. There is free public access and it sounds like a wonderful day out.
Nature Reserves / Country Parks
We have been trying to take the little adventures to different activities and adventures. Nature reserves provide fantastic opportunities to go on a real adventure. Many of great wildlife and plants and are usually set in gorgeous surroundings and give you a real sense of being outdoors and connecting with Nature. click here to find the nearest reserves near you. We visit Brockholes often and it is a lovely day out.
Walk along the beach
I know it snowed last night but if you wrap up warm and head off to the coats. There will be hardly one there and you and the children will pretty much have the whole beaches to yourself. Formby near Liverpool looks great. I love the sand dunes. We may not have had enough snow to go sledding but maybe you can go dune boarding 🙂 The Northumberland coastline offers so many fantastic, beautiful miles on miles of coastlines.
The Gruffalo’s child trail is still free to visit in 15 selected forests across the country. Our friends at Mini Travellers visited the attraction, and their review is here. We visited the attraction in the summer when the Gruffly trail was on. The little adventurers, especially our 1 year old, had a great day. This current trail will follow a similar style to the previous one but has been adapted to the Gruffalo’s child story. With the sprinkling of snow we have had this will even more enjoyable as it will really fit in with the story.
We have been members of the National Trust for a year and have renewed for 2015. There is lots to do and see across the country and provides visitors with lots of opportunities to be outdoors, have fun and get your children having old fashioned fun. Read our post about national trust membership here.
Parks and Playgrounds
I know how busy the festive period can be for families but even finding a new playground or park can be lots of fun for everyone. Here’s a post with details of finding all the best playgrounds/parks in the country as voted by the readers of Netmums.