08:58 01 May 2013
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun and take some time out with your family, as budget holidays can prove just as memorable as expensive ones.
So why not cut out the expense and stress of flying and plan a ‘staycation’ this year?
It might be small and come without a weather guarantee, but England is packed full of museums, galleries, gardens and exciting activities, making it a fantastic place to enjoy an unforgettable family holiday for less.
And outside the towns and cities, the wooded glades and wide-open spaces are ideal for escaping the strain of everyday life.
Just follow our top tips on great places to visit, stay and eat – saving money as you go.
London is a famously expensive place to visit. However, with a bit of research, even the capital can become affordable.
A quick browse on MoneySupermarket’s deals & vouchers channel, for example, reveals some London hotel deals starting from at as little as £9 a night.
You can also print off vouchers offering discounts on the entrance fee to a range of popular attractions, while visits to most of London’s major museums are free for all the family.
The National Gallery’s free weekly Drawing Sunday offers an opportunity for youngsters to get creative using a supply of colouring pencils, paper and copious amounts of glue.
Renowned for its rich history and exquisite architecture, the ancient northern city of York is a fascinating destination for a family ‘staycation’.
You can save money during your stay by buying a York Pass, which gives you discounts at attractions, shops and restaurants around the city.
And making an advance booking at one of York’s many cosy B&Bs should prove cheaper than booking into an impersonal hotel.
Just visit a review website such as Trip Advisor to find the perfect one for your family.
The free National Railway Museum, home to more than 100 steam locomotives, is also the ideal place for your little ones to let off some steam.
With its dreaming spires, Oxford is another great option for families keen to save money by holidaying in England this year.
Ways to cut the cost of a break in the city include taking your bikes and getting around via the multitude of cycle lanes. You can also take advantage of one of the range of campsites outside, Oxford rather than shelling out for a hotel.
The Camping and Caravanning Club for example, runs a site just one mile away from Oxford’s many attractions, where pitches cost just £7.20 a night – even in high season.
You can also explore the University of Oxford’s mesmerising collection of anthropology and archaeology for free by visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Other free family days out as recommended by Visit England:
Royal Armouries, Leeds
Children will be fascinated by the Royal Armouries’ huge collection of weaponry and armour from throughout Britain’s history. There are also tours, craft activities and shows throughout the year.
Jimmy’s Farm, Suffolk
Animal lovers young and old will love Jimmy’s Farm in Ipswich, where you can pet the resident rabbits, pigs and sheep and ferrets. The attraction also boats an adventure playground and nature walk.
Roald Dahl Museum, Buckinghamshire
Roald Dahl fans can dress up as the popular author’s characters and create their own adventures at this unusual museum, which also offers free story-telling sessions.
Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire
Historic Tamworth Castle’s hands-on displays, costumes and activities will keep your little princes and princesses riveted – all without you putting your hand in your pocket.
UK Wolf Conservation Trust, Berkshire
Kids will be wide-eyed with wonder at the resident wolves living on this enormous enclosure, where they can go on a children’s wolf walk or even shadow a wolf keeper for the day.
Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
This adventure park, with its water jets and wobbly rope bridges is the perfect place to wear out your tribe. They can also learn about exotic plants from the experts on hand in the Ornamental Gardens.
All these sites and more can be viewed on our Infographic in partnership with Visit England.
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