This is our first summer with little Bear and as teachers it is great to have 5 and a half weeks off with him. I’m still on maternity leave but having Papa Bear off for this long stretch has been great. This summer also marks the point where I finish my statutory maternity pay and move on to taking home a whopping £0 a month! It’ll be worth it to spend more time with little Bear and we had saved for this. That being said with a little over 5 weeks to fill we were in danger of blowing through our savings at a time when we wanted to make the most of spending quality time together as a family. We decided not to go abroad and instead see more of what was on our doorstep, however we needed to do this on a budget.
So here I’ve listed some of our top days out for under £10 with a breakdown of the costs.
1. Walk around the Deer Park and a picnic at Dunham Massey
Car park – £6 (or free if NT)
If you are not too bothered about going into the house and garden, and just want to explore the park land and take a picnic then you can easily spend a day here for less than £10. Walking round the vast grounds you will see ancient trees, grasslands and wild deer roaming. The last time we went in June we searched for ages to find the deer, but this time they made it pretty easy for us to spot them. The wide open spaces mean that it is great for children to let off energy – when we went we were able to find a more secluded spot and a solitary deer wandered close by us, it was wonderful. There is also a daily guided walk around the park that you can join, which leaves from the clock tower at 1.30pm.
Website: Dunham Massey
2. Beach trip
Car park – Free-£6 (or free if NT)
Who doesn’t love a trip to the beach? While we’ve been a few times when little Bear was younger, this summer was the first time we went and felt happy letting him play on the beach and he absolutely loved it. He was mesmerised by the sound of the waves and just wanted to look at them all the time.
When we went to Whistling Sands he also peered into some of the rock pools that were created, while he is too young to properly explore them I can’t wait to take him back next year to look at them.
Car park – £3 for four hours
Beddgelert is a picturesque village right in the heart of Snowdonia that is great for walking. Papa Bear had told me the legends that surround the place and this summer was my first visit. The people were warm and friendly and there are lots of quaint cafes and old homes to look at as you wander round. The Welsh Moutain Railway also runs through Beddgelert, so if your little ones love steam trains they’ll be able to watch it run through the village.
Park and Ride – £2 pp
Chester is one of my favourite cities and I love shopping there. This summer though shopping was off the cards unfortunately, but this meant I could look at the city from a whole new perspective and on a tight budget. For just the cost of a bus, train or Park & Ride fare you can: walk the ancient city walls (easier with a carrier not a pram); stroll along the river; wander through Grosvenor Park where there is a fantastic play area and a steam train ride which we will definitely be taking little Bear on when he is older.
5. Lakes and Meres
Car park – Free
We are so fortunate in Cheshire to live near many lakes and meres. We love the lake and river walk in Nantwich – it’s one of the things I miss the most since we moved away from the town a little over a year ago. Shakerley Mere has become a new favourite of mine since discovering it earlier this year on maternity leave – it is so peaceful and tranquil.
6. Canal Walks
We’re very fortunate to live less than 100m away from this beautiful spot. We’ve been living at our current home for just over a year now but only discovered this canal walk this summer. On our first outing down there we walked 5k without even realising as we were just so taken in by the lovely views. It really is amazing what is on your doorstep – and quite literally in this case.
7. Ruby’s Fund
Car park – free for 3hrs
Entry fee – £1 minimum donation
Ruby’s Fund is a sensory centre in Congleton which was set up to provide a safe and stimulating environment for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. It gives these groups a chance to explore and develop in a friendly and inclusive setting ideal for their development, education, relaxation and therapy. The centre’s namesake, Ruby was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Isodicentric_15 (IDIC 15) syndrome which means she was born with a partial duplication on chromosome 15. There is no cure and you can read about her story here.
On certain days of the week the centre hosts free play where members of the public can go along with their little ones and use the sensory room, play room and the new garden. The suggested minimum donation to enter is £1 but we like to give more to support the work they do.
Website: Ruby’s Fund
So there you have it, some of our less than a tenner days out and that doesn’t include the afternoons out at the swimming pool (£4) and near daily trips to the park.
Mama Bear x