Staying close to home
A ‘staycation’ – a holiday close to home – can offer your family plenty of excitement, minus all the stress of going abroad. Plus, you’ll get to learn lots about your local area. Here are a few places to start to make the most of what’s on your doorstep.
At a glance
- Explore the countryside using maps downloaded to your phone
- It's a great opportunity to try the local food specialities
- Don't write off the quirky local attractions - these can be full of lots of laughs and great memories
Drop into the Tourist Information Centre
You may not have thought about dropping into your local tourist office, but you’ll find loads of tips and information about what’s on and worth a look at locally. Helpful staff will be able to give you leaflets with opening times, prices and directions, so you can take them away and plan your staycation.
Explore the countryside
You don’t have to go far outside a town or city before you find yourselves in peaceful countryside. Buy an Ordnance Survey map (or download the OS MapFinder app) of the area and plan a family walk using the marked public footpaths. It’s a great way to teach kids to map-read and look out for landmarks. You can:
- Take photos
- Look at plants, trees and flowers
- Search for insects in the undergrowth
- Listen to birdsong
- Roll down grassy hills
- Have a picnic by a stream
- Stop at a country pub for a drink
Wander round your local museum
There’s usually some sort of local history museum, however tiny, in every area. Some, like the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge, are enormous and take a day to get round, while others have just a few exhibits. If you live in a university town, there are probably tucked-away departmental museums that you can visit at certain times.
Zoology museums are the best, like the Cole Museum at Reading University, where there are enough skeletons, pickled things in jars and dodgy stuffed animals to keep the kids amused and fascinated for hours!
Try new places to eat
One of the pleasures of a holiday is eating out. You've saved money on air fares by staycationing, so why not treat yourselves to a meal? You could try:
- A coffee shop or café attached to a museum
- A new family-friendly restaurant
- Your local Chinatown or Curry Mile
- Some street food
- Hand-made sausages in a bun at a farmer’s market
- A cream tea at a stately home
Follow those brown tourist signs
Now’s the time to follow the brown tourist road signs to that country park you've always wondered about, or obscure museum few people have heard of. Don’t write off places like the British Lawnmower Museum, Louis Tussaud’s House of Wax or Mother Shipton’s Cave until you have seen them for yourselves. There’s always something new to find out, or failing that, make everyone laugh.