Wet, miserable summer days are the bane of most families’ lives. Deep down most of us feel the guilt of not being able to find anything for the children to do as cabin fever takes hold. For many the situation this year will be made worse as many families tighten their belts and have to forego their traditional breaks. However, just because you’re budgeting doesn’t mean you and your children’s summer has to boring.
YourDebtExpert looks at four inexpensive ways that you and your children can begin to discover Scotland and have a fun packed summer without having to extend the overdraft.
Membership of the National Trust of Scotland and Historic Scotland
The Scottish National Trust and Historic Scotland have between them thousands of sites throughout Scotland ideal for day visits and host hundreds of events all year round, several also have new children-friendly visitor centres, like the Culloden battlefield.
In most major towns and cities there will be sites you probably don’t even know existed. Both offer monthly family membership rates which start at around £5.50 and include benefits like free entry, free parking and a quarterly magazine.
Get on Your Bike or Walk
Few people appreciate the extent of Scotland’s national network of cycle tracks, which span thousands of miles and penetrate every corner of the country.
From the great Route 1which stretches all the way from the Shetland Islands to Newcastle, via Aberdeen and Edinburgh, to Route 7 which traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland going from Inverness to Carlisle, via Loch Lomond and Glasgow, there should be something for everyone and perfect for day outings.
Scotrail also don’t charge for bikes to be taken on their trains (although it’s advisable to book ahead) so you don’t have to cycle all the way to the hills and lochs. Sustrans, have free maps, advice and guides available on their website (www.sustrans.org.uk).
The Great Outdoors
You don’t need to go far in Scotland, wherever you live, before you stumble across a park, mountain, loch, forest or beach.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 made great headway in allowing people to begin enjoying their country by creating rights of access.
From the popular beaches of Ayr to the more remote sands of places like Morar, from the walks of the West Highland Way to the beauty of Loch Lomond: most Scots probably don’t even know how close the great outdoors is to them.
Even the world famous Glen Coe is only two hour’s drive from Glasgow. There is also no shortage of information and advice if you’re not familiar with enjoying the great outdoors and websites like www.outdooraccess-scotland.com provides a plethora of information on the Scottish Outdoor Access code.
Art and Culture
Most of us probably have memories of the excitement of school trips to Scotland’s museums and art galleries as children, but as our lives get busy we forget they are there.
We seem to forget that tens of thousands from all over the world come to our cities and towns to view our national treasures and that access to many of them are free.
From Glasgow’s new Transport Museum on the banks of the Clyde to the National Museums of Scotland to the lesser known People’s Palace in Glasgow Green, most have been revamped over the years to make them even more exciting than we will have remembered them and offer fantastic free days out for the whole family.
More information can be obtained from the National Museums of Scotland website (www.nms.ac.uk) and Scotland’s local authority homepages.