Sometimes, the best things in life really can be free. Here are ten suggestions for ways to spend a day or more of your holiday creating some wonderful memories (and photos) all costing absolutely nothing.
- Plan a Circular Off-Road WalkUsing Local Foot and Bridle Paths (can be combined with 5 & 8). Take it in turns to be the leader and tour guide – inventing stories about the things you pass. “This must be the house that Jack built.”
- Get Your Feet Wet: Find somewhere to paddle: a tiny stream winding its way down the valley, a beach. Refreshing in summer. Squealingly challenging in winter! Waterside locations are also an excellent opportunity to teach children how to skim stones – and see that you’ve not lost the knack too. Take a towel.
- Find Your Favourite Moments in Local History: Visit a museum. Every member of the party has to find and share their favourite artefact and the true (or imaginary) story connected to it.
- Family / Group Photo competition: Visit somewhere and, using mobiles or cameras, have a competition for the best photo. Add to the challenge by agreeing on award categories: Most colourful picture, best dressed local, the view to die for etc. Then run the judging and awards ceremony after dinner. Acceptance speeches are compulsory.
- Feel the Wind in Your Hair: Find a hilltop/clifftop or somewhere high offering glorious, far-reaching views and the chance to suck in some real sea or country air. Take a map to identify distant villages and other landmarks.
- Become Art Critics: Visit a local gallery. Take in turns to ‘critique’ a chosen painting, sculpture or craft item. Purchases optional, there’s no better holiday souvenir – but only if you come back the following da to part with your cash. This is a money-free activity, remember?
- Go Geocaching: it’s like a local treasure hunt and can be played virtually everywhere in the UK. Click here to get yourself started: https://www.geocaching.com/play. There are almost 9,000 geocaches hidden in London, while on Dartmoor they still call it letter-boxing as you can leave a stamped-addressed postcard for the next person to find the box to post back to you.
- Become Nature Experts: Download apps for wildflowers, trees, butterflies or bird song, then go for a walk in the countryside (see No.1 above) and put them to good use. You’ll be amazed at what you will learn about nature.
- Stargaze: Did you know there are eighty-eight star constellations above your head? If you’re away from the bright lights of a town or city on a clear night, look up at the stars and see how many you can spot (there are lots of star maps to be found on the Internet). National Parks are pretty good locations for stargazing. There are four international dark sky reserves in the UK (Brecon, Exmoor, Snowdonia and South Downs) and an international dark skypark (Northumberland).
- Relive Your Childhood: Stay in your holiday cottage and play active childhood games: leapfrog, hide and seek, sardines, musical statues, hopscotch, squeak piggy squeak etc. The rule is: everybody plays – adults and children alike. NB: As the furniture isn’t yours to break – try not to play musical chairs.
There are enough games above to fill more than a day and ensure you spend less while generating more. happy golden holiday moments.