Tips and tricks from some seasoned day-outers

22/10/2018 15:24:49

Guest Blog by Gwyn Jones, ( 

Tips and tricks from some seasoned day-outers

First things first, I’m not a magician! I’m as disappointed as you are that I’m unable to wave a magic wand and make all of your days out go swimmingly.

That said, I have weathered years of day trips with our 3 girls over the last 7 years or so – ranging for the catastrophic to the delightful

and would like to share a few words of wisdom that I hope might be of some small use to someone reading this…

'Getting them there'

An important part of any day out

‘Are we nearly there yet?’. ‘I need a wee’. ’I’m hungry’. ‘Can we have Trolls/Ballerina/Frozen/ music on pleeeeese?’

What car journey would be complete without a full house of these old classics out of the mouths of the babes within

5 minutes of leaving home en route to the promised fun day out?

Being hardened to this tomfoolery through more days out than I can remember we always leave the house prepared.

No rocket science here, but a few things we always set off laden with:

- Snacks, lots of snacks. And water bottles

- The potty, spare pants and loo roll

- Kids playlist on Spotify with a few of our songs interspersed to spare our ears

- iPads – we keep them hidden and tend to try and keep for a last resort/ level 9 meltdown or above (in case you didn’t know–meltdowns go up to 10)


Arguably the main bit of the day & makes or breaks the memories of all involved

I’m sure we’re like most others in that we try and figure out roughly what we are going to do when
we’re ‘there’. A few things that we always to try to do are:

- Make a beeline for the most popular thing as soon as the place opens to beat the queues

- Know where the loos are (all of them!)

- Get to the café/restaurant before 12 to beat the lunchtime rush

- Head for soft play straight after early lunch – its always nice and quiet whilst everyone else fights over the tables for their lunch

- Have a few ‘new’ excuses in mind for why we can’t do things if we run out of time – our kids are pretty cynical so whatever it is, it needs to sound convincing

'Getting them out of there'

I find this bit like nailing jelly to a wall

The end of the day is always like herding cats (other metaphors for the impossible are available).

Many of our days out used to (and some still do) end in tears – theirs, ours, everyone’s, as we heartlessly drag them away from the fun and frolics

back into the car and back home. “So boring”. I’ll be honest, we haven’t cracked this bit yet, so answers on a postcard please.

Reflecting on this point, we probably flit between 3 approaches:

1. End on a high – do/ redo the thing that they were most excited about, then try and whisk them out in their eurphoric state before they want another go.

2. Take them by surprise, don’t mention leaving, just make a loo stop then a rapid beeline for the exit and hope they don’t notice.

3. Good old fashioned bribery – usually with food – ice cream or pizza are a couple of my go to food based bribes which usually get them out and into the car.

So there we have it, as I said, no magic wand, no rocket science, just a few things to think about. While you’re thinking and planning your next day out – here are a few of our favourites…

My family's current top 6 days out:

-If your children (and you) like climbing, sliding and being outdoors, you’ll love BeWILDerwood. Check the map when you get in to make sure

you don’t get stuck in one bitand miss a load of the fun.

-Colchester Zoo is a fab zoo, loads to see and do with lots of interactivity – feed the elephants – be a mini-keeper are always big hits with our crew.

-Any English Heritage/ National Trust property. Good old family fun, with lots of variety depending on where you go.

Themed days, wide open spaces, what is there not to love.

-KidZania, ‘an indoor city, run by kids’ is great (indoor) day out. Kids can try their hand at all sorts of jobs and earn and spend money along the way.

-LegoLand Windsor Resort does what it says on the tin x 1000. Kids will love it whether they love Lego or not.

More than you can possibly manage to get round in a day, so why not stay in the themed Lego hotel?!