4 people, £40 and 4 incredible day trips – is it possible?

I hope you’ve all had a lovely half term and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine we’ve been having (post fog of course)

You might have seen before half term that I put up a video saying I was planning on doing four BIG day trips, for four people, whilst spending less than £40. Well half term has been and nearly gone, so how did I get on?

Firstly, someone reminded me that there are actually five people in our family! Haha. I wasn’t counting smallest child as she gets in everywhere for free currently. Incidentally, three children are included in the price of all these family tickets anyway. The NT website doesn’t specify but I believe three children are included.

The places that we visited were; The Mary Rose, Hampton Court Palace, Kenilworth Castle and the final place on our list was Charlecote Park.

The on-the-door price of these was over £170 for a family of four. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money to keep the kids entertained for just half of half term. If you pre-book online (which I always recommend if possible) then you can bring this down to “just” £149.50 – still a sizeable chunk of cash. These prices don’t include the cost of parking which was £15.60.

The main purpose of this blog is to show you how much you can save by using various memberships and discount schemes (plus to tell you about these fantastic places as well). I hear quite often from people saying that they’ve got XYZ annual membership etc but that they don’t use it. Here’s why you absolutely should always use any membership/loyalty scheme you can;

The cost of us visiting the same four places was just £23.80 – 14% of the walk up price. Even adding in the cost of parking (£13.60 after discounts) we only spent £37.40 all week.

How did we do it? Let’s start from the top;

Day 1 – The Mary Rose

The Mary Rose
The majestic and incredibly sad Mary Rose

Once I’ve posted the full review it will be available here. Walk-up price – £38 for a family ticket. Online price – Currently £26.60.

Both boys have Blue Peter badges and so gained free entry – tickets for Hubby and I cost £11.90 each. All of our tickets are valid for a full year too, so we can return whenever we like.

Notes – Blue Peter badges can still be used with online tickets. The online price was billed as a half-term offer so please double check the current price before booking.

The Mary Rose was incredible. There was so much to see, and all from just the one ship. It’s a real time capsule of Tudor life. We gave it 5 / 5.

Day 2 – Hampton Court Palace

The gateway at Hampton Court Palace
The iconic (and possibly haunted) Hampton Court Palace

Again, once the full review is posted it will appear here. Walk-up price for a family ticket – £62.50. Online price – £53.10

Our price – £0. Yup £0. I’ve mentioned CSSC before and it’s a fantastic scheme. If you work in anything remotely public sector related or some museums, then you are eligible to join the scheme. Have a look at the website for the full list. If you’re friends with or family of someone who is in the scheme you can get affiliate membership too. It costs just £4.25 per month. This trip alone saved us more than the annual membership fee.

Blue Peter badge holders also get in FREE – up to 2 per full paying adult.

Note – these prices will be increasing from 1/3/19. Please check before you book.

I’m a massive Tudors fan and I’ve always wanted to visit Hampton Court Palace and it absolutely lived up to expectations. Parts are still closed for the winter, but they re-open in March, when we’ll be back. It’s worth noting though, parking is expensive! £1.60 per hour!!! We also gave here 5 / 5.

Day 3 – Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens

The ruins at Kenilworth Castle
Just a small part of the impressive ruins of Kenilworth Castle

The full review will be here once posted. Family ticket – £32.50

Our price – £0. CSSC also includes free English Heritage membership. Obviously English Heritage members also get in for FREE. Up to two Blue Peter badge holders also get in for FREE

So, it turned out to be a bit of a Tudor-fest this half term, but that hadn’t been the intention. It just turned out like that. Despite being mostly ruins there is actually an awful lot to do and explore at Kenilworth Castle, but it is mainly outdoors as largely weather dependent.

Our rating – 4 / 5

Day 4 – Ooops / Charlecote Park

Charlecote Park
The lovely house at Charlecote Park

Sadly by this point we were all pretty knackered. Normally we wouldn’t do so many big day trips one day after another, after another, and we’re all too tired to do anything today. I had been planning on taking us to Charlecote Park in Warwickshire. We’ve been quite a few times before and absolutely loved it. I will be putting up a review of here shortly (click here when it’s live) but it won’t be a review of our half term trip.

Family ticket – £27.50.

Our price – would have been £0 thanks to National Trust membership.

Rating – 5 / 5 (based on previous visits)

So, the week didn’t pan out quite as planned, but these day trips are all about family time together and there was no point in dragging everyone up the motorway again if we weren’t going to be able to enjoy it.

I guess my point is this; doing stuff with the kids can be REALLY expensive, but there are lots of different ways that you can make it so much cheaper. We love a family day out, and a bargain, so I’ve actively sought memberships and schemes that allow us to go out as often as possible. I’m going to be doing a blog soon all about keep the costs of day trips as low as possible, but memberships and discount schemes are a very good place to start.

If you know of any other schemes or memberships that you recommend please get in touch and let me know contact@freetimewiththekids.com