Don't stay home this February half term, stay sane! Rug up and get the kids out of the house with these free and cheap ideas for a family day out. Prefer a proper holiday? We've got ideas for that, too.
Jetting off on a last-minute family holiday this February half term is certainly one way to put the bad weather behind you – and it needn’t cost you a fortune. One-week holidays to destinations including Malta, Majorca, the Costa Blanca, Algarve and the Costa del Sol can still be found for less than £250 per person from a number of airports across the country.
Temperatures in these destinations are around the late teens at this time of year, so if you want guaranteed heat and sun, you need to head further south to the Canaries. It's a little more expensive this late in the day, but you can currently pick up deals from £437pp for 7 nights from London. Alternatively, there are many city break options available – from Paris to Pisa and Barcelona to Berlin, to name but a few. Use our holidays search to find a getaway for you.
If you’d prefer a holiday at home, consider a staycation at a UK holiday park. Pontins has prices from £89 per apartment for four-night breaks and £119 for a full week at Brean Sands, Camber Sands, Prestatyn Sands or Southport. Butlins also has availability at its resorts and hotels in Bognor, Minehead and Skegness; you can stay in an apartment in Skegness from £285 for three nights.
A holiday cottage more your style? You can still find hundreds of stunning properties the across the country. Depending on your destination, you should be able to find prices under £400 for a week.
If you’ve missed out on a ski break this half term, there are plenty of skiing activities you and the kids can take advantage of right here at home. Head to Chill Factore in Manchester and you can test your ski or snowboard skills out at the indoor real snow slope. There are plenty of activities geared towards kids, including a Kids’ Snow School and Snow Park, where you can race down the Ice Slide or snow slope.
Alternatively, Snozone, based in Milton Keynes and Castleford, West Yorkshire, hosts a number of 'Snocamps' during school holidays for children who want to improve their skiing/snowboarding technique. Each camp session runs from 8.30am to 5.30pm and includes lunch and refreshments.
The kids might be having a break from school but that doesn’t mean the learning should stop. Many museums up and down the UK are putting on half term activities and admission is often free.
The Science Museum in London is always a popular choice thanks to its seven floors of exhibits and the fact that it’s free (however, pre-booking is required). For Manchester residents, admission is also free at the National Football Museum – perfect for any budding footballers in the family. Younger children will enjoy the Discovery Zone, which offers dressing up, a story corner and soft play area. And those aged seven and over might enjoy the FootballPlus simulations, where they can try a penalty shootout and record football commentary. Prices for other visitors start at £5.50.
The National Railway Museum in York is also free to enter, and this half term, kids can construct a digital railway line, ride the miniature railway and learn all about how railway signals work.
Sometimes we forget just how much the cities around us have to offer, so why not keep the kids occupied by doing a spot of sightseeing in a city such as London, Bath or Edinburgh?
London's world famous attractions - from Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to the London Eye and newly renovated Big Ben - can keep you busy for days, though remember admission can be pricey to many. In Bath you can enjoy the Roman Baths and the Royal Crescent, while Edinburgh offers its spectacular castle and plenty of winding alleyways to explore.
Head somewhere for a day trip, or extend your stay and book a hotel or B&B in advance.
If you’re thinking about a trip to the theatre, you’ll be spoilt for choice in London, with musicals such as the Lion King and Matilda. In Bath, the Egg theatre (based at the Theatre Royal Bath) has a number of productions dedicated to children, including Pebble on the Beach, which runs from February 18 to 22. Or, at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, kids will enjoy You Choose on February 20 - an interactive musical show based on the kids book.
For a free theatre experience at home, Southwark's Unicorn Theatre has shared five of its shows online, including short film, Huddle, and Marvin's Binoculars.
Trips to the cinema rarely come cheap. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Vue Cinemas, for example, offer kids’ tickets from £2.49 on Saturday and Sunday mornings and every day during the holidays (3D movies are £3).
Odeon also offers children’s tickets for £2.50 on Saturday and Sunday mornings (prices can vary depending on the cinema), but if that doesn’t suit, you can also pick up a family ticket where adults pay child prices or less (check your local cinema for prices). Cineworld also offers Movies for Juniors from £2.50 per ticket for kids and adults alike, and screenings take place throughout half term.
Here’s an activity that won’t cost you a penny! The National Trust website is a great place to start as it’s packed full of walking ideas, including its list of top family walks and short walks for little legs. For something different, Love Light Norwich returns on February 17 to take over the city with stunning light installations, projections and performances.
Alternatively, you can simply type in your postcode to find a walking route near you. Don’t forget to wrap up warm!
For an adventure alongside cut-price tickets, check out National Rail's two-for-one entry offers. It applies to a range of attractions across the UK, such as the Tower of London, the London Transport Museum, the Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham and the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire.
Don’t forget to book your train tickets as soon as possible to get the best deal – even booking the night before can save you money. And if you travel regularly as a family, investing in a Family & Friends Railcard will save you even more.