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Staycations and Days Out

A good alternative to going abroad

Staycations and Local Days Out!

Isn’t it interesting how whenever guests come to stay, they suggest trips to local places which we rarely think of visiting ourselves? We all tend to take for granted the attractions which are right on our own doorsteps.  

These places get forgotten in the rush of our daily lives as we frantically plan our family schedules from 9 to 5 every day with barely a spare moment to slot in a spontaneous outing or activity. 

Then at weekends, most of us are so keen to be – or be seen to be – busy that we book ourselves out with coffees with friends, sports, playdates and summer barbecues and hardly ever think about visiting the fascinating places that appear in all the visitors’ guides to our local area. 

Actually, there are lots of interesting destinations, which, with a little planning, a picnic basket and maybe an umbrella, would make for a great day out. 

Fresh air, open spaces, something for everyone to look at and, hopefully, good weather can add up to a treat for the family and a heart full of happy memories. 

You don’t have to live near the sea or be close to Kew Gardens or Windsor Castle to have interesting places on your doorstep. We are lucky to live in a country with masses of beautiful countryside and lots of local history to explore. 

With foreign holidays off most people’s agenda once again this year and even accommodation at the UK’s most popular tourist destinations already fully booked, the holiday at home, aka the Staycation, is going to be a feature of many families’ summer break. 

So, before the cries of ‘I’m bored! What are we doing today?’ start ringing around your house, its time to do a little research and get ahead of the game. 

Simply Google your town or local area and you may be surprised to discover some attractions and places of interest that you were not aware of before. Then just pencil some of them onto the calendar to break up the weeks of the long school holiday.  

Or, if you feel that you’ve exhausted the resources in your own area try typing in the name of a nearby town or village and you may find places come up that you just hadn’t considered visiting and would be a completely new experience. There could also be special events  happening which would add colour and interest to your trip. 

Even just doing an activity you all enjoy but exploring the facilities in a new location adds fresh interest to your hobby. For instance, if you all enjoy open air swimming and go to your local lido most weeks, why not ring the changes, and seek out a pool in a different area? That will make the activity feel special in a way that it probably doesn’t normally. 

If you’re heading off to a park or historic site, a little careful planning on your part could make all the difference to the enjoyment and relaxation that you, the parents, get out of it. 

Make an activity sheet or list of things to spot as you walk around, with perhaps the promise of a picnic, ice-cream or a souvenir at the end. Ensure the children have to concentrate in order to get their reward, and you will have a more relaxing time while they are absorbed in their ‘work’! 

 You can focus on historic features, such as how many turrets does the castle have? What colour are the park gates? Or how many steps up to the tower? Alternatively, maybe just map out a simple nature trail, asking them to record what they find. 

If you take along some pencils and ask the children to draw what they find, it will also add to the fun for them and increase the number of potentially quiet moments for you. 

Now all you need is some fairly good weather and you’re all set. The real Staycation challenge comes on the days when the rain is so heavy that we are all stuck at home tearing our hair out. That’s when every parent can be forgiven for falling back on technology – at least for a few hours! 

Or...... you could even have a camping trip in the living room!