As soon as half-term is coming, for many of us the question where to go with the kids start to be an issue.
That’s either because we haven’t planned anything or either the budget is really tight. During my few years spent in this country, I can tell that the most expensive locations are not necessarily the best ones.
Let’s go with the free stuff!
Birmingham Museum&Art Gallery
I know many people born in Birmingham have never seen the Birmingham Museum&Art Gallery, situated in the heart of city center. It’s such a kids friendly museum and full of interesting things. We’ve been so many times, specially in the cold days when you can’t really spend to much time outside. But the reason we were often visiting is that my son was really passionate about The Ancient Egypt. This Museum is having a wonderful Egyptian collection to admire. It includes pottery and items from daily life as well as Egyptian gods, amulets and mummies which illustrate attitudes to death and the afterlife.
Discover Birmingham Museum
Having the children will make your visit a bit longer as they love to stop at the interactive bits and this museum is quite abundant in such things (different puzzles, model village with buttons waiting to be pressed and many more). So, I would say between 2 and 3 hours depends on children’s age. If you want to keep them more engaged, try to put all you see in a story. It will make them curious to ask for more.
For children under 5, they’ve created a kids section called the Mini Museum. The place is filled with storybooks, games and dressing up. What more can you ask?! Get them out of the house. If you don’t drive, the public transport fare is usually cheaper when school holidays are coming. Or you can buy a network ticket allowing you to use the same ticket for train, bus or/and tram. Westmidlands tickets
If you haven’t brought any sandwiches with you, do not worry! Birmingham city center is the place for multicultural taste. You might want to go to Chinatown, just five minutes away from city center. There are so many restaurants and cafés offering authentic menus from Northern China all the way to Malaysia. The food is delicious and you can try the noodle bar or having a place in a “all you can eat” restaurant, they are usually very cheap around lunch time. It can vary from £7 to £10 for an adult and is usually half or less for children. The good part is that if you have fussy children they can taste until they’ll find something to like. After that let them go crazy with the ice cream machine as almost all of this kind of restaurants are having one of this for self service …yummy. Best Chinese Restaurants
No budget for restaurants ?! try one of the nicest fresh baguette for less than a pound!! or very cheap panini for about £2 pounds. Have a look at this link as it’s giving you more options and ideas. Where to eat New Street Birmingham
Birmingham Canals – More miles of canal than Venice
Your family had a wonderful day by now and there is still light outside. You don’t want to go home and either the kids. What else? What’s next? There are many choices, I’ll tell you a few so you can have the whole picture. Nothing is better than a good walk, especially if you’re taking in the spectacular scenery, nature and history to be found along Birmingham canals. Don’t forget to get some bread with you as the children will love feeding the birds.
If walking is not your kind of activity but you love the beauty of the canals, try a water-bus. With a short route you can keep your family excited. We enjoyed so much having a ride with Ariel. The maximum you can pay is £4 for the round trip or £1 per stop. Not bad, isn’t it? Waterbus Ariel
Walking with the children by the canals makes your blood boil? I’ve been there. Every time my son was getting closer the water, my heart was coming out of my chest. In this case, a visit to the library of Birmingham will make you feel safe and keep your family entertained in the same time.
Take a tour of the Library of Birmingham – Europe’s largest public library
From simply visiting the impressive building to many different activities, you can easily spend in here another few hours. In certain days they even organise a play group for toddlers. Children activities half term
I love their space dedicated for children and young people, so welcoming and full of life. It makes you grab a book, curl with your little one and travel into a fairy tale. The Library it’s been described by its architect Francine Houben as a ‘people’s palace’ and I find it so true. It’s a good place for you or you children to meet mates and join different activities.
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford – free entrance, just 30 min away from Birmingham
Situated next to an active airfield, this is the only place in the Midlands where you can get close to so many breathtaking aircraft for free. The museum site is vast and it is almost impossible to see everything in just one visit. You can easily make a day out, no matter if you have boys or girls. So have a go and visit the hangars, I find it fascinating. If your kids want to spend some of their pocket money and to discover what it takes to be a pilot, they have a flight simulator and it cost about £10 for the whole family. For more things to see and do check below
Stratford-upon-Avon – birthplace of William Shakespeare
Welcome to a market town with more than 800 years of history, situated on the River Avon. Stratford is the birthplace of the most famous writer in the English language, William Shakespeare. He is known for his sonnets and plays such as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Hamlet’. I can’t figure out why but this town is having a particular charm, it’s like romance floats in the air. I’ve visited so many times and every time has left me with this sweet bitter taste. I wonder if William Shakespeare was inspired by the beauty of this town.
Get ready for a wonderful day in Stratford, cause is so much to see and do. I’m sure I’ll miss a lot of things but if so feel free and add them to my post. Anyway, as long as you see some of them like
The Holy Trinity
Situated on the banks of the River Avon, which is probably England’s most visited parish church and home to the grave of William Shakespeare. Free entrance, they ask a small donation when visiting Shakespeare’s grave. Holy Trinity Church
Famous for Shakespeare’s Birthplace (house) with a rich mix of gift shops, clothes shops and lifestyle shops, this street is a must for any shopper. I could spend hours here as I love looking at all those crafted items, from lavender
soap, toys, cakes to tea towels and
all kind of accessories. Once you are here please don’t miss The Nutcracker, Christmas shop open all year round. Nutcracker Christmas Shop
The Mechanical Art&Design Museum
Situated on the same Henley street it doesn’t have free entrance but I find it quite cheap. It’s somewhere 20 pounds for a family. If your child did ever smashed a clock to see what’s inside and how’s working, that’s the place you want to take him. MAD Museum
Stratford Canal Basin
Surrounded by beautiful riverside gardens, which are public open spaces to relax and enjoy. Walk around the canals or also take a boat tour for less than £20 for a family. Winter or summer this is a lovely point to stop for their famous ice cream and baguettes, having a picnic or to feed the birds. Canal Basin Usually late in the spring, they also got some Magnolia trees blooming, making the view unforgettable.
The Butterfly Farm
Visiting the Farm will be the cherry on top for the little ones but not only. Inside it’s been simulated a tropical environment and hundreds of beautiful colored butterflies will find a rest place on you. Visit Butterfly Farm
Awesome free playground for all ages – Climbing walls, ropes, zip wire, sand pit and water play
This recreation playground has everything you and your children wish for. It’s next to a car park, so when the children get tired you’ll have them straight in the car. It has clean toilets with baby changing facilities. Also, if the weather allows they sell ice cream, drinks and coffee to keep you energized. But the playground is really well equipped, you’ll find sand diggers that my son loves it and it’s somehow separated, toddlers from older children.
There are many more attractions in Stratford, worthy to get visited but I hope I’ve made you a little bit curios to go and discover yourself. Also, if any of you has other wonderful ideas about a day out in Stratford is welcomed to leave a comment as any help is appreciated.
Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses
As far as I know, these houses carved straight into rock are unique in UK. People lived here until 1960s. The houses have been restored and they show a bit of what life was like in the Victorian era.
The entrance for the houses is free for National Trust members, if not a member it will be close to £13 for a family. The reason I like it so much as a day out is that ten minutes stomp uphill from the Rock Houses is the site of an impressive Iron Age Hill Fort. From here you get spectacular views of surrounding counties, and from that point you can continue way-marked trails into the woodland of the lower slopes. It’s a wonderful place for picnics, exploring, taking pictures and energy consumer for kids.
There are many other places to go and see them with the kids but not only with them. Considering the time of the year, I find them to be great options.
Give them a try and let me know how was it.