9. the Long haul

School holidays aren’t just for the Summer – the happen with surprising regularity throughout the year. To be honest I don’t find the Summer break the hardest as there are usually lots of things going on and the weather is normally good enough that meeting friends in the park with a picnic can happen most days… I do find the February and October breaks to be much harder work. However you feel about them one way to plan ahead is to think about the year as a whole and whether a membership or annual pass would be worth the money for your family. There are lots of options for this, the most expensive is a Merlin Pass which covers SeaLife Centre, Madam Tussaud sites and many, many others like Alton Towers. We’ve never had one but friends that do get one every other year and certainly get their money’s worth by using it every weekend. It’s a big investment, but it may well work out to be a good one if you have enough of their sites near to you.

Other ideas might include the National Trust or English Heritage – especially if you are going away in the UK or have relatives you can visit and make use of your card throughout the Summer. Many properties are closed in the Winter so you do need to make sure you get maximum benefit in the Summer break. We have membership to a nearby zoo, this includes visits to other zoos which we make sure we use e.g. Chester Zoo is an amazing day out. On the 4th visit the card would have paid for itself, and we go once a month (sometimes more) so it’s a great financial decision for us.

On a smaller scale their may be schemes at your local softplay centre, leisure centre or swimming pool that will work out more cost effective in the long run. Some national tourist attractions also have the option to make a free return visit which you need to factor in, West Midlands Safari Park do this for full paying tickets (not if you use Tesco Vouchers). The National Space Centre actually turn their tickets into an Annual Pass at no extra cost – amazing!

Do your research and see if there is a longer term option that makes your Summer smoother x

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