Travel

The best affordable days out before the school holidays end – and some are free


IF you are on a budget and looking for a last school holiday break or day out, there are lots of great options.

And the good news is, many fun family events are free or low-cost, including an international air show, balloon festival or stay at a luxury holiday park.

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There are lots of great budget days out – like visiting the Bumblebee transformer at the Oswestry Balloon FiestaCredit: Supplied

You can even see Tranformers robot Bumblebee at the Ironwork Centre in Oswestry.

Trisha Harbord scouted around for the best deals . . . 

HIGH FLIERS

IT is all eyes to the skies for Eastbourne’s free four-day airshow featuring the amazing Red Arrows.

Thousands of visitors will watch spectacular displays over the south-east resort’s two-mile seafront from August 17-20.

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It is all eyes to the skies for Eastbourne’s free four-day airshow featuring the amazing Red Arrows

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It is all eyes to the skies for Eastbourne’s free four-day airshow featuring the amazing Red ArrowsCredit: PA

They also include the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with aircrafts the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, Chinook, army parachutists and the world’s only professional wing walking team.

Step aboard an RAF helicopter, get up close to a Spitfire and have a go in a flight simulator.

There’s also fairground rides, food stalls, bars and beach play areas with giant inflatables and bungee trampolining.

To get into the air yourself, take a ride on the 160ft Big Wheel for panoramic views of the town and coastline.

If you’re there on the last evening, you’ll be treated to a party and fireworks.

GO: See visiteastbourne.com.

ON THE BUSES

THIS summer on the Daffodil Line, a bus service in Herefordshire is free for kids.

Running between the towns of Ross-on-Wye and Ledbury, it’s also just £2 for adults.

Have a day out at Rowlestone Farm Ice-cream, offering more than scrumptious sundaes

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Have a day out at Rowlestone Farm Ice-cream, offering more than scrumptious sundaesCredit: Supplied

Hop off at Much Marcle to visit Hellens Manor, an historic house featuring heirlooms of Anne Boleyn, Queen Mary Tudor’s haunted bedroom and paintings by Gainsborough and Goya.

The house, gardens and tearoom are open on Wednesdays, Sundays and bank holidays, and admission is free.

Have a day out at Rowlestone Farm Ice-cream, offering more than scrumptious sundaes.

There are wildlife walks and play areas, free for children under 12 and £2 for over 12s.

The farm’s campsite, with views over the Welsh countryside, has pitches for a tent for four people from £20 a night.

GO: See visitherefordshire.co.uk and rowlestoneicecream.co.uk.

HAWAY YOU GO

THERE is a packed programme of events – many free – in Newcastle and Gateshead.

And up to three kids under 11 can travel free on the Metro and Shields ferry with one fare-paying adult.

The Great North Museum has a living planet gallery that tells the story of wildlife and habitats

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The Great North Museum has a living planet gallery that tells the story of wildlife and habitatsCredit: Supplied

Explore the free Discovery Museum with its transport collection of trains, ships, fire engines and more.

Or visit the Great North Museum.

Its living planet gallery tells the story of wildlife and habitats as well as the history and archaeological finds of Northumberland’s Hadrian’s Wall, which is a World Heritage Site.

The Life Science Centre has hands-on exhibits while Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, is running a Shakespeare summer club. The Quayside is also buzzing with activities and artists’ creations.

GO: See newcastlegateshead.com for details. Family room midweek during August at the Maldron Hotel costs from £136 a night. See maldronhotelnewcastle.com.

THE NATIONAL MUST

THE exciting Summer of Play has kicked off at 170 National Trust sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There’s a world of outdoor adventures, activities and sports for energetic kids, but also less strenuous fun – music, theatre, arts and crafts, storytelling and even yoga.

Visit 700-year-old Chirk Castle in Wrexham

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Visit 700-year-old Chirk Castle in WrexhamCredit: ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

You can choose to visit 700-year-old Chirk Castle in Wrexham where the team has created a huge straw bale maze with four play zones, Calke Abbey in Derbyshire to find den-building or tackle obstacle challenges at Stourhead in Wiltshire.

The castles, historical houses and abbeys can be explored.

They are set in acres of beautiful countryside so you’ll find lots of biking and walking trails.

There are playgrounds, picnic areas, cafes and shops too.

GO: Free admission for National Trust members. For all properties and entry prices, under 5s are free, see nationaltrust.org.uk.

WHOLE PACKAGE

TUCK into a carvery or Devonshire cream tea and sip a pint of West Country cider at a five-star holiday park?

Cofton Park, an 80-acre site near Dawlish on the south coast, offers luxury self-catering breaks in a lodge, cottage or caravan but you don’t have to cook.

Cofton is an 80-acre site near Dawlish, on the south coast

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Cofton is an 80-acre site near Dawlish, on the south coastCredit: MATT AUSTIN IMAGES

The park has two restaurants, the family and dog-friendly Swan Pub, a pizza kitchen and fish and chip shop.

It has an indoor pool and play area, kids’ clubs as well as daytime and evening entertainment featuring cabaret, comedy acts and game shows.

Adults and children can get on stage themselves by entering Cofton’s Got Talent with the chance to win a family break to return and appear in the grand final in October.

GO: Three nights in a caravan for up to six people from September 1, costs from £438. For more details, see coftonholidays.co.uk.

SEASIDE SPECIAL

OH, we do love to be beside the seaside – and Great Yarmouth is a good choice with 15 miles of sandy beaches and good-value attractions.

Every Wednesday this month, families are treated to a free fireworks’ show on the Golden Mile.

Great Yarmouth has 15 miles of sandy beaches

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Great Yarmouth has 15 miles of sandy beaches

There are more than 60 attractions in the Norfolk resort, including Merrivale Model Village, which costs £34 for an all-day pass for two adults and three children.

You can spend hours viewing the busy town centre, farm, sports stadium and zoo.

There’s also full-size entertainment – a crazy golf course, slot machines and a new £1-a-go helter skelter.

The Pleasure Beach with more than 20 rides for all the family and a 4D cinema offers passes for £20 per person, under sevens £15 and under threes free.

GO: For details and accommodation, see visitgreatyarmouth.co.uk.

SAFARI SO GOOD

ENJOY a safari with a difference and a balloon fiesta – and it’s all free for kids.

The sculpture park at British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, North Shrops, has a fascinating extinction trail featuring life-size species under threat.

Enjoy a safari with a difference and a balloon fiesta – and it’s all free for kids

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Enjoy a safari with a difference and a balloon fiesta – and it’s all free for kidsCredit: Supplied

They include a 13ft gorilla made from 40,000 spoons and a huge Bumblebee exhibit for Transformer fans.

There are also farm animals and an adventure playground.

Adults pay £7.50 for a year’s multi-entry membership.

More than 25 hot-air balloons will fill the skies at the free Oswestry Balloon Festival, in Cae Glas Park on August 19-20.

Food pop-ups, craft stalls, live music, street entertainers and everything from cheerleading to BMX shows provide the fun.

GO: The Balloon Festival is free but there’s an optional £1 donation to Nightingale House Hospice. See visitoswestry.co.uk

MASK-ERADE

FANS of TV’s The Masked Singer should head to Butlin’s.

The favourite show is brought to the stage and there are value breaks available at all three resorts.

Fans of TV’s The Masked Singer should head to Butlin’s

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Fans of TV’s The Masked Singer should head to Butlin’sCredit: Butlin’s

TV presenter and magician Stephen Mulhern is also among the line-up of entertainment on selected family holidays starting from just £79 per person.

There are also shows throughout the day including the Frozen Adventure.

You will have free access to Splash Waterworld with slides and rapids, unlimited rides on the fairground from the carousel and dodgems to waltzer and trampolines, plus soft play and outdoor playgrounds.

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Day visitors are welcome at the resorts in Skegness, Minehead, and Bognor Regis – adult £26, child 2-14 £18, under 2s free.

GO: Three nights in a two-bedroom standard room, sleeping four, in Minehead from Friday, costs from £316. See butlins.com.



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