Five ways to cut the cost of half-term

15 February 2010

Keeping the kids busy when they're out of school doesn't have to be expensive, providing you plan ahead.

Use your local authority

Councils often put on free or cheap events over the half-term break. Most local authorities will publish leaflets with a timetable of what's going on.

A good place to look is the nearest leisure centre, where some events are likely to be held. Your council's website and the local newspaper should also be able to provide useful information.

Do things for free

February weather means a lot of outdoor options are off the cards and dusty museums aren't many kids' idea of fun. However, there are plenty of museums and places of interest that firmly keep children in mind.

The Science Museum in London is the most obvious example. If London is inconvenient for you, use to find museums closer to you.

Plan ahead

Many tourist attractions give cheaper rates if you book in advance. Check their websites for special offers. For example, a family-of-four ticket to Alton Towers costs £36.80 online compared with £46 on the day, that's a saving of £9.20.

However, even if you've left it a bit late, don't despair. Websites like, and are good places to find out about local attractions, and you can also download vouchers such as 2-for-1.

Bring your own food

Restaurants and cafes at tourist attractions can be very expensive, especially if there's a big group of you.

Think about taking a picnic along, or if you don't want to forgo the treat of a meal out, just bring snacks. It's amazing how much you can save by not buying elevenses.

Get the kids involved with budgeting

Make sure they know there is a limit to how much you can afford to do. Give them options and then let your kids choose which activities they prefer. Don't forget you can have plenty of fun at home too.

Children love getting their hands dirty, if there are games and tasks which seem too messy during busy school terms, indulge in them during the holiday period - baking and painting spring to mind.

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