17th May 2017

Don’t break the bank holiday

I love this time of year because we seem to have lots of Bank Holidays which means more time at home and the possibility of a lie-in (who am I kidding). I also truly believe that a three-day weekend should be standard.

Anyway, the next long weekend, Spring Bank holiday, is fast approaching and with a rare golden opportunity to spend time with our families, it’s important to make the most of it. Even if my son is driving me barmy at the moment with his mini-attitude problem, (whole other blog post right there, but I’ll save that rant for another time) 😉

Sometimes we plan in advance what we want to do. Whether it’s a nice day out somewhere or just a lazy chilled weekend at home, and sometimes we just have wait it out to see what the weather is like before making any decisions; praying it’s not going to rain and that elusive English sunshine may just make an appearance – fingers crossed!

This next bank holiday I am really hoping for good weather – you may even catch me doing a little sun-dance in the garden!

Or maybe not…Ha.

As a family we’ve recently been trying to do more ‘outdoorsy’ activities and it’s been really good fun – plus it’s far healthier to be a little active right?  Some of these days out have been a little pricey, but some not so. And if you’re anything like me, and start to think… But what can we DO? Where can we GO? And… How MUCH is this all going to cost us? then hopefully this post will give you a little inspiration for something to do.


This is what usually happens with us…every flipping time…you ready?

What shall we all do this weekend?”

*Shoulder shrug*

“I dunno, whadda you wanna do?”

*Shoulder shrug and sigh*

“I dunno, there’s nothing to ever do around here.”

We can’t surely be the only family who’s conversations start like this? Please tell me not!!

Moving on.

Now I appreciate everyone has a different budget so I’ve tried to include activities that vary in price too. Plus, I don’t think that you should have to spend an entire month budgeting for a bank holiday and the pressure to come up with something to do can be super annoying.

So, with that in mind here’s my ‘Don’t break the bank holiday’ post with suggestions and ideas of what to do.  Hopefully at least one will take your fancy.

Also, for those of you with older children like us – how much more difficult is it to entertain them now?! They don’t love the farm anymore, the excitement of a trip to park with the prospect of being attacked by the geese is no longer on the list and soft play centres – a total no-no!

Don’t break the bank holiday

Get a National Trust membership – It’s extremely reasonable for a yearly family ticket at £9.55 per month and you can access ANY of their sites around the UK.  Obviously this doesn’t count for just the Bank Holiday, you can use it any time. At first I was thinking “but I’m not a pensioner yet, I can’t be joining the National Trust” but I was totally proved wrong from our visit to Cliveden House last weekend – its actually really good fun!! Download the app too, it gives you notifications of one-off events happening near you.  You can take a picnic, your books, crafty things and just pitch up! (I owe a big thumbs up to Luis at Single Daddy Day Care for this one.)

Don’t break the bank holiday

Go to the beach – now I know this is an obvious one and everyone thinks of this at the Bank Holiday but we always seem to put if off because it’ll be too busy, or too cold… or too far! But stop. Think about it. Fresh air, sea breeze, sand… chip shop! Plus if you choose to go to Bournemouth you can have a go on the world’s first pier to shore zip line allowing you to soar over the sea and down to the beach. Older kids and adults love this! It costs £18 for a single ride or £32 for a dual ride and the minimum age to take part is 6.

Trampolining – and you parents – JOIN IN.  I do and it’s so much fun.  I promise you won’t be the only parent bouncing…you will enjoy it and your kids will think you’re cool…kind of…maybe! There are so many of these parks around the UK now and if you haven’t yet been you really must! We usually go trampolining in the afternoon just to break up the day a little bit.

Do a car boot – no seriously, don’t hate me! I know it involves an early start so any ideas of a lay-in are out, and you need to be organised and all that, but this could be fun and your children get to play shop for the morning! The benefits of doing a car boot are a) – you can all make some cash and b) – you get rid of that crap you didn’t need or want!

Host your own film festival – friends, popcorn, snacks and some good films can make for a lovely afternoon or evening.  Throw lots of cushions and blankets around, dim the lights and your’re away! This is perfect for rainy day and a great opportunity to introduce your older children to the 80’s classics ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, ‘Greece’ ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Gremlins’.

Create a time-capsule – Gather up some of your favourite memories; photos, trinkets, newspaper stories, clothes, postcards, toys, write and seal letters and pop them in a time-capsule (a simple storage box would also be fine). Bury it somewhere close to home or at another family members house, or hide away in the loft.  Then agree on a year when it will be opened before you bury it. Will it be in 5 years or even 20?

Alphabet photo challenge – I read about this somewhere last week so not my idea – but sounds fun! These days kids have access to cameras – either on their phones or on yours. Digital cameras are perfect for this challenge. Over a period of time, whether it’s on one of your days out or at home, ask the children to photograph something from the entire alphabet. It gets tricky in the X & Z part- but encourage them to be creative and tell them the more random the better! Have a little prize ready for when they manage to complete, and if you have a projector of some sort then have a little slide show and let them talk you through their findings. This could actually be really funny too! My son is a tiny bit bonkers and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with on this one.

Make a Den – which I absolutely hate as I’m always the one who has to clear up! Seriously! How unfair is that? Anyway, our children, even at 12, still love to build a den! I don’t think they find anything more satisfying at home and always act super proud of their creations – even if they sometimes look like a bit of a deathtrap! Get creative and use whatever you have lying around the house – pegs, blankets, bedding and washing lines are a great starting point. If there’s enough space, invite some of your children’s friends round and turn the den into a sleepover tent!

Hopefully there’s an idea here that you may fancy and I hope you enjoy this next Bank Holiday to the full without splashing too much cash!

I also spoke to some other amazing parenting bloggers who shared some of their ideas below:

Vikki from Family Travel With Ellie says “my son absolutely loves grabbing a net and bucket and going rock pooling. Exploring and looking for treasure/crabs. It’s the perfect way to spend a day, and the weather doesn’t interfere as if it’s wet we just grab waterproofs. All for the price of a bag of chips ( and perhaps an ice cream!).”

Tracey from Pack the PJs says “My daughter (10.5) just loves to go on a bike ride… we take a picnic and make a day of it (using cycle paths, not roads).”

Natasha from Mummy and Moose says “My children love to help out in the kitchen so once a week we plan a meal together and then they are put in charge of shopping for ingredients and cooking the meal. They love creating food for us all to eat, they are learning a valuable life-skill and I get the night off. Bonus!

Bek from Dilly Drops says “My children have been helping to grow our own vegetables in the garden. They love planting the seeds, watering and watching them grow. Then they end up playing outside afterwards.” 

If you have any other fab ideas feel free to comment below – we’re always up for trying new things.  To read more tips or ideas click here.

27 responses to “Don’t break the bank holiday”

  1. I am at the beginning of my long summer holidays. Like your suggestions to break the monotony which sets in once the regular schedule goes haywire. Liked the suggestion about time capsule and film festival the most.

  2. Nicki says:

    This is a brilliant post it can be so hard to keep the children busy at times. I have made an assault course in the garden and had limbo competitions. I love doing crafty things like making ornaments with salt dough and making hats (we made an Easter bonnet).

    • hellocuppies says:

      I’m totally on board with an assault course in the garden!! Something like Wipeout could be fun!

  3. The alphabet photo challenge sounds like a fun way to explore a new place!!

  4. These are great ideas for ways to spend time as a family, I personally think it would be a lot of fun to try ziplining!

  5. theconfusedsoulsree says:

    Loved the awesome ideas to spend time with family

  6. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There I said it. I think we are all in the same boat with this age group and the pounds disappear from the purse faster than you can open it. I totally agree with the National Trust suggestion and also the RHS – so much for the kids to get involved in (unlike in our day!). I really love your alphabet idea too. I always find the best days come when there is less spent. And always outdoors for the memories. Great post #tweensteensbeyond

    • hellocuppies says:

      Thank you Nicky. You’re so right! When I think about the best days we’ve had the first ones that pop into my head are the less spent ones. I guess because there’s more focus on actual being together than trying to race around finishing things off and cramming as much in your day as you can for your moneys worth. x

  7. annalisanuttall says:

    I also love this time of year – especially with all the bank holidays. These are great ideas and I might do the time capsule with my niece. xx

  8. With an 18 yr old boy and a 13 yr old girl it is tough sometimes to find a happy medium for everyone but living in London we are quite lucky to have access to quite a lot, but to be honest on the bank holidays we are all about hanging out as a family and are just as content with a long walk and a movie than a long car journey somewhere. Also this half term break and bank holiday is right before the exams so there will be a lot of revision going on in our house which is even more reason to keep it simple. We did the Bournemouth zip last summer when we went down for a friend’s 50th birthday party. We had the teens with us and there was no way they were leaving without doing it. I have never heard so many screams! The tree top adventures are always a great hit in our house for both of them as is ten pin bowling and go karting! Hope you have a lovely weekend and lots of smiley faces! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • hellocuppies says:

      Hi Jo – I hear you, we love a chill out weekend – films, nice food, comfy blankets. Sometimes nothing beats it. And I can imagine living in London is super exciting!

  9. Emi says:

    I also have one of those “holidays” every few weeks. I call it a “zero day” where I don’t spend any money. I take a hike, go to the beach, window shop at new stores, explore my neighborhood, deep clean my house, read a book I’ve been putting off, or hang out with friends and bringing my own meals.

  10. Great ideas, we are in the awkward stage where we have teens and toddlers, so it’s difficult finding things that both groups of kids can participate in and enjoy.

  11. blossawe says:

    I love the photography challenge and time capsule, I will try that!

  12. Trisha says:

    My husband and I definitely are the type of people that ask “What do you want to do?” to each other with no answer, thus leaving us doing nothing most of the time. Thanks for sharing this great list! Maybe now we’ll finally do something besides just stay at home! 🙂

  13. Yep this is such a problem but I too am on a mission to find things that we can still all enjoy. There are some brilliant ideas here and you have got some fab suggestions that don’t cost a fortune – tweens and teens cost a fortune! Thanks so much for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. I used to feel pressure to go out of town for the long holiday weekend, but now I just like to stay home and relax.

  15. Oh I like the sound of the Bournemouth zip line & Alphabet photo challenge. I think we will have to do these soon! Thanks for the great ideas. #GlobalBlogging

  16. Some brilliant ideas here! I’m always keen to make the most of the bank holiday – but hate the fact places can be overcrowded! I love a zip wire mind you! Thanks for linking up to #GlobalBlogging

  17. Oh that looks fun, I did Go Ape with my other half before we had Bear : ) loved it! I think the beach is definitely my go to place for any break. I totally agree we should have three day weekends always! Thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!

  18. I often say that life would be so much better if we had a 3 day weekend every week and them my husband goes into some long boring talk about why that is never going to happen and the effects! We’ve just got membership for NT too and we’ve used it twice already. It’s such a great investment and I know we are going to get so much use out of them x

  19. Colette B says:

    We try not to do too much on a bank holiday normally but this one was crazy busy with plans every day!

  20. Love this post. Our family is exactly the same. I end up doing ALL the planning on any days out because my other half rarely has any ideas!! I love thevariety of suggestions you’ve put here because its so difficult to entertain the children during the holidays! Also as you’ve mentioned a lot of things are very costly too!!

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