I am a child in her early 30’s. I still remember what it was like being little and growing up in Great Yarmouth in the 90’s. I had fun; the summer holidays were so exciting. I remember there being lots of sunshine (this may be fabricated by my young mind, but we went to the beach all the time and my Mum and I were always out doing activities.
We were not a wealthy family and I never left the country. My friends were off to all kinds of exotic places, but I wasn’t to get a taste of the foreign lands until the age of 12. My grandparents took me on a coach holiday for 2 weeks to Spain, quite ironic really as I haven’t been able to stay in one country for any length of time my whole adult life. Summers as a child were always spent in the UK and mostly around Norfolk, but I never felt like I missed out on anything!
Like I said before, we didn’t have much disposable income. But, that didn’t mean we did any less; we just had to come up with ways to do activities cheaply and this is 100% achievable! I remember at around the age of 8 my Mum sitting me down just before we broke up from school and getting me to write down 10 things I wanted to do in the summer holidays. As far as I can recall my list looked something like this…
Looking back on it now most of the things on my list no longer exist. But, also I notice that most of the things on the list are such simple things, like going to the beach for the day. These days with Mum and various combinations of friends at the beach, stay in my memories as really happy fun days and they never cost us a penny. Mum would pack up a picnic of peanut butter sandwiches, skips and some kind of pre mixed cordial, and we’d usually cycle to behind the Marina Centre. This was our spot, so people knew where we were. We’d spend the day building sand castles, burying each other in the sand and most of the time I’d just run around naked and free.
For the activities on my list that cost us money Mum would find a way for us to do it cheap, we’d save vouchers from The Sun newspaper to go on trips away, collect coupons with the shopping to get cheap tickets to Pleasurewood Hills, My great grandfather Bertie Styles was a big deal on the travelling fair circuit back in the day and we had an uncle that was still involved with the Pleasure Beach, so each birthday a bag of ride tokens would arrive. Quasar used to have cheap days, we would gather a group of friends and go and play there until accident prone little me fell and got carried out on a stretcher. Not my finest moment! Basically wherever we could we would save vouchers coupons and make sure we took full advantage of all the deals available to us.
Festivals for children never really came to our attention so much when I was a kid and it wasn’t really until my Mum decided to expand the Braidy Bunch business in 2009, that we found out about all the amazing local things for children to do in Norfolk. I missed the boat but you and your kids don’t have to, here are a few of our top picks for this summer…
1. Kidzfest - is like a mini Glastonbury for kids, let them explore the possibilities of their imagination and live life as a princess or superhero for the day.
2. Local Carnivals – These are super fun and free entry although they do ask for people to make donations to help with the organising. Cromer and Wells Carnivals in North Norfolk are our personal favourites.
3. Steam Engine Rally’s – these are great for the whole family from Grandpa right through to the youngest members of the brood, and for most the kids go free with a full paying adult, our favourites are Worsted festival and Weeting Steam Rally.
4. BeWilderWood – is one of our favourite places for children to run wild and explore. They are always putting on special events from fancy dress parties, storytelling, twiggle trails and treasure hunts.
5. VW Festivals – These are awesome weekends for the whole family, Mum says they remind her of the old hippy festivals they used to go to when she was in her 20’s. I just think they’re super fun for the whole family, lots of local talent and every kind of craft you can think of teamed with some pretty awesome custom cars. This year we’re starting our season with Alive and V Dubbin, but previously we have been found at the Retro Dubs and The Bus Stopover so check them all out!
Summer holidays for parents don’t have to be daunting and for kids they don’t have to be boring, make a list and with just a little pre planning and voucher collection and you can all have a fun filled non bank breaking holiday season!