Half term is greeted with a groan by many parents. Keeping the children entertained can be costly, tiresome and headache-inducing.
But it doesn't have to be all work and no play, there are activities out there both children and adults can enjoy, without spending a small fortune.
"Dust off the winter cobwebs" the National Trust cries. Weather permitting, Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire is a beautiful manor house, surrounded by miles of stunning grounds. Visitors have to cross a moat to enter and can experience medieval life first hand.
For the children, there's nature trails, a natural play area, and farm animals roaming the vast 1,700-acre estate. Open from 10am until 5pm, visiting the manor won't break the bank either: adult prices start from £3.18 and children from £1.59.
Other treasures the National Trust has to offer include:
- Studland Beach and Nature Reserve, Dorset: learn to talk like a pirate and participate in a treasure trail
- Stowe, Buckinghamshire: Take part in a real teddy bear's picnic
- Scotney Castle, Kent: become a bug hunter and see if you can track down some creepy crawlies
Or how about taking a trip to the Surrey History Centre? Activities for children include making Roman mosaics and even a Roman villa.
Another must-visit attraction is the Kents Cavern, in Devon. One of Europe's most important Stone Age cave sites, both parents and children alike will be wowed - and you may learn a little on the way too.
Or, for little explorers, there's The Dinosaur Gallery, Leicester. A Cetiosaurus is taking centre stage in the museum's new exhibition, which offers children the chance to discover what life was like millions of years ago.
Manchester Museum's Unearthed: Ancient Egypt exhibition is equally fascinating. Travel back to the 1920s and join Egyptologist Dr Digby to be awarded your archaeologist's certificate.
If you prefer to stay in the present, Mill Green Museum in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, is showing children how to milk a cow, as well as providing quiz trails and interactive exhibitions.
Suitable for all ages, the gallery includes new dinosaur interactives, hands-on activities and cutting edge reconstructions of marine reptiles.
Alternatively, visit what claims to be the world's oldest model village in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Easily accessible, Bekonscot boasts 1.5 acres of miniature marvels and railways, and great fun for all ages.
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