Whilst I’m away on holiday I asked a few fellow bloggers if they’d share some ‘local loves’ – things they love to do in their area, and this post is from Helen, you can find out more about her at the end of this post!
I feel incredibly lucky to live in Oxfordshire. There is so much for families to see and do, with the historic city of Oxford, the River Thames and the Cotswolds right on our doorstep. However, days out can often end up being very expensive, so free days out make a welcome change. These are four of my favourite free family days out in Oxfordshire.
This is a fantastic, family-friendly museum where children can learn all about the natural world. With insects, fish, reptiles, mammals and dinosaur specimens on display, there is something to interest everyone. There are activity sheets for children, lots of space inside the museum to explore among the displays and even specimens with ‘please touch’ signs next to them- our little boy loved being able to stroke a bear!
The museum building is a beautiful neo-Gothic space with high vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light, making for a very dramatic setting for the collections. There is a cafe overlooking the dinosaurs and a lawn out the front perfect for picnics (look out for the dinosaur footprints!). With regular events for families, the Museum of Natural History is a must-visit if you’re visiting Oxford with children.
The animal walkway and play area at Millets are free to visit. The enclosures in the animal walkway contain farm animals including pigs, alpacas, cattle and goats. There is also a lake full of ducks, geese and swans. There is a Frosts garden centre, cafe and pick your own on site and there are a large number of events on throughout the year, some of which are free.
Here you can climb to the highest point in Oxfordshire with stunning views over 6 counties. Park in the National Trust car park and head out onto the Ridgeway to explore. The site of an ancient settlement, there is an iconic Bronze Age chalk horse carved into the side of the hill and an iron age fort on the top. It’s the perfect place to let kids run around and feel really free (and tire them out!). Make sure you bring a kite!
Situated on the banks of the River Thames near the centre of the historic town of Abingdon, Abbey Meadow is a lovely park that has lots of space for children to run around in (although it’s worth mentioning that the river isn’t fenced off). There’s also a playground suitable for all ages and an interactive sprinkler splash park (May to September). There are plenty of ducks around and you can watch the boats go past on the river. Nearby Abbey Gardens, the site of a 7th century abbey (its layout marked on the ground by stone blocks), has the ruins of a folly to explore and an ornamental lake.
Do you have any tips for saving money on family days out? What are the best free days out near you?
Helen is a mummy to two little boys and lives in Oxfordshire. She blogs about family life at wonderfullyaverage.com (& on facebook) and also sells new baby gifts at littleowlgiftbaskets.co.uk (& facebook). She loves cold tea and not washing her hair, which is rather fortunate really. You can catch up with her on twitter!