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England is a country with a rich history and impressive culture. For some, it may just be another destination to tick off from their bucket list. But what lies underneath the lovely Baroque English houses, Georgian architecture, and Victorian-inspired infrastructures is land cultivated by historical people whom we now look up to today.
England is the perfect choice on your next travel itinerary as it can be visited at any time of the year. With moderate weather during the winter and summer months, you can be sure you’ll get the most out of your visit. We’ve rounded up the top 6 things to do in England. Enjoy!
To which I earn a small commission, at zero cost to you!
1. Visit a Castle
The country is saturated with momentous castles that will leave you awestricken. These medieval castles were used as barracks to defend against the enemies. Do you ever wonder why castles in England are colossal? That’s because they were built on high grounds to have a full vantage point over incoming intruders.
One of the most famous castles is Warwick Castle in River Avon. It takes more or less an hour by train from London to get to Warwick Castle. So don’t miss it!
2. Go to a Museum
If you want to discover England on an in-depth level, visiting their world-class museums fits the bill. Get to know the country’s economic and political history. They also have a National Media Museum where you can enjoy vintage films in amazing cinemas. However, The British Museum is one of the most sought after museums in England. A British collector, Sir Hans Sloane, has over 71,000 objects preserved after he died. These objects were sold to King George II in exchange for 20,000 British pounds, paid to his heirs. The British Museum now gets millions of visitors yearly.
3. Try English Tea
Do you know that when tea was introduced in England during the mid-17th century, it was so expensive that it first became adapted only by aristocrats? And do you know that Thomas Twining was the one who built the first tea shop for women in 1717? After that, several tea shops slowly emerged all across England. Soon, tea was available for all people with varying social status. We know you can easily purchase a box of Twinings tea (thanks to Thomas Twining!), but there’s nothing more dignified than drinking tea in England.
4. See Stonehenge
Stonehenge is probably one of the most famous tourist destinations in England. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s the world’s most famous prehistoric monument and a World Heritage Site. It was built around 5,000 years ago. But the beautiful stone circle was created around the Neolithic period. Delight in the vast landscape on foot and check the 250 relics in the visitor center, along with an up-close encounter with a 5,500-year-old man.
5. Feel the Beatles Vibe
Abbey Road was once an ordinary road in Northwest London. When The Beatles shot their album cover there back in 1969, Abbey Road is now a renowned destination that tourists flock to every year. The famous crossing is now like a sacred shrine! If you ever sang your heart out to “Hey Jude” or “Yesterday” or “Hello Goodbye,” then this is a trip you cannot miss.
6. Get Closer to Shakespeare
William Shakespeare has been gone for over 400 years, but his fans’ adoration for him has never wavered. Whether you’ve read all his literary pieces or not, immersing into Shakespeare culture will make your England trip complete. There’s Shakespeare’s birthplace, Shakespeare’s Globe, Juliet’s Balcony, Shakespeare’s Cliff, and more. So, to go or not to go? That is the question.
Of course, how can we forget England’s most famous pies? It’s a golden rule to try a country’s authentic cuisine. And English cuisine doesn’t get more authentic than steak and kidney pies!
This post was written by…
Evelyn Paulson of Wrap This Now
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I absolutely hate it when people ask me what’s my favourite thing to do or see in Toronto.
As a travel blogger, it’s the equivalent of asking me what’s my favourite destination – and trust me I get asked that question a lot.…
There is a lot to consider when addressing the overall cost of a family trip to Europe; time of year, hotel selection, attraction tickets, food, flights, transportation, and extras.
While we will be discussing various expenses to your European vacation, and will be speaking in a lot of vague hypotheticals, please remember that each vacation differs from the next and there is no right-way to vacation in Europe. If you have any questions or require clarification, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and we can give specific examples from our travels.
How Much Does It Cost To Take The Family To Europe?
Time of year
Deciding on the right time of year to visit Europe can literally half the cost of your overall vacation. High season is notably more expensive, more crowded, and exponentially more uncomfortable due to weather.
Take flights, hotels and attraction ticket costs into consideration when deciding on a date, not just what is more convenient.
Getting There – $800 to $1500 per person
Most people will need to fly in order to get to Europe, but once you have landed, there are still more hoops to go through in order to reach your destination city and hotel.
Budget airlines will cut costs by charging for every little thing; checked bag, snacks on board, headphones… and their flights don’t operate at all airports. Some have their own airports, far out of town, and this will increase the cost of your taxi ride to the hotel.
Tip; Air Canada flights allow Service Members 3 checked bags free of charge when presented with Government ID. Find out which discounts and privileges you have available to you.
From Toronto, you can expect to pay upwards of $800 per person, even during off season, to get to many places in Europe. Play with arrival and departure airports and see if driving 3 hours out of town will save you $1500 on your flights. True story.
There is a sweet spot when children are absolutely free, and then start getting more and more expensive as they get older. Traveling is no different.
From 75% off flights for lap babies, to free accommodations, under 2 years old is the best time to travel with kids. After that, public transit, restaurants and even attractions start to charge for school aged children.
Accommodations – 100-200€ per night
A significant portion of your vacation will be eaten up by accommodations. Mostly, because you are charged per occupancy, and not per room. This means you will pay more to have 4 people in a single room than 1 person in the same room. While this is still cheaper than 4 separate rooms, one still needs to consider this additional cost when creating your vacation budget.
Furthermore, European hotels offer more variations in room styles; some are single beds, some are two single beds, some are 1 single and 1 double. Look for the room that is an exact match to your needs, because the number of beds does factor into the price of the room as well.
There are options available for super cheap, but you need to consider what you are paying for, where that money is going to, and how is the local economy affected by your choices. Because of these things, we refuse to use Airbnb or other home-share budget accommodation sites. Families staying in hostels tend to pay about as much, if not more, than a hotel and are not as accommodating as chain hotels. Therefore, we always suggest using Booking.com. They have saved our butts more than once and have great customer service.
On average, we try to stay between 100-120 euro per night for a family suite, or combined rate of 120 euro for two rooms. This includes parking and breakfast.
Food – €35 to €75 per person/per day
There are hotels available with a full
If flying, it is nearly impossible to bring kitchen supplies and stock groceries, so everything needs to be purchased again and potentially left behind once the vacation is over.
Considering the cost of eating out for lunch and dinner, because we have breakfast included in our hotel stay, and the time it takes to come back to the hotel to cook said meal instead of staying out in the city and exploring after meal times, we prefer to pay a little less for a hotel room and simply eat out. We do, however, stock the hotel room with healthy snacks so we can cut costs while out and about anyway.
A family of 4 can easily spend 40 euro for lunch and another 100 euro for dinner (alcohol included). Pub food is the best and least expensive non-fast food option we have encountered. And Pubs are everywhere in Europe. If your party has any minors, note that many pubs won’t allow them after 7/8pm so mind your timings when picking a place to eat.
Remember, Europe doesn’t expect gratuities the same way America does.
Museums, Attractions & Theme Park Tickets
What are you doing while on vacation? Are you walking around, soaking up all the free things there are to do in town or do you plan on actually visiting a museum or attraction?
Hitting up the free-things list is great to keep costs down but can also leave a lot unchecked on the bucket list. Some attractions allow children under 6 to enter for free, others charge after 3 years old. Check it out.
There are a great number of museums and attractions that sell combination tickets; pay for this museum and get half off the next. Or purchase a city pass and get free/discounted entrance to a fair number of attractions in the city. Look up your options, see who needs to pay for what and where then consider the various costs of combinations and passes. Sometimes skipping one museum can make a huge difference – but how important was that museum?
Will you be driving around town, taking the train, public transit, walking… and how did you get to your holiday home in the first place?
Cities tend to be overcrowded and thus hotels/attractions charge a lot for parking. I will pay a little more for parking included because I know it will cost less than the cheaper hotel and paying for city parking. Big picture.
Now that we have parked the car, does it cost to take the car out during the day? Is there parking at your attraction of choice? How much is the bus or tram?
Those city passes that we just mentioned sometimes come with transit tickets. If they don’t, the city is more than happy to sell you a tourist transit pass or re-loadable transit card. It is imperative that tourists like us follow the local laws and actually pay for our tickets. Transit officials increase fines constantly because they are not hefty enough to deter locals and tourists from abusing the honour system.
Dusseldorf, for example, charges 100 euro on your first offence. And they get you to pay right there and then, or they escort you from the train and wait for the police to show. I have seen it one too many times while living in Germany and it is not pleasant. Imagine doing this with your family by your side, in a language you don’t understand. Just pay the ticket.
There will always be shopping involved, no matter how many times you tell the kids they can’t buy anything today. Give everyone a set allowance, enough to actually buy something so not 10 euro per day, but more like 60 euro for the whole vacation, to spend on souvenirs and nonsense as they please.
This one doesn’t come up a lot when you think of budget vacation but we have splurged on a few private tours in our 4 years in Europe. Why? Because time and energy.
Touring the Colosseum was amazing. And it was even more amazing because we had a guided tour. We knew the kids weren’t going to cooperate long enough to see everything, and we have done enough museum tours with audio-guides to know that I have retained absolutely zero information from them – between the constant interruptions from the kids or the kids moving us too fast through the museums. There are some locations that you just want to know everything about and a private tour is the best way to do it.
And sometimes, a private tour is the only way to do it. There are a handful of castles in Europe, Heidelberg and Schloss Marienburg for example, that require a private tour to gain access to the inside of the castle. It is free to wander on the grounds, but that’s about it.
What Does a Family European Vacation Cost? The Results Are In!
Depending on the time of year, a family of 4 can expect to pay anything from $10,000 for 10 days in England to $4,000 for a week in Hamburg. It all depends on so many factors.
The only thing we can be sure of, is that you won’t be hoping on a plane every long weekend to cross the Ocean.
Pro Tip; The longer you stay, the cheaper each city becomes. Why? Because the bulk of your holiday costs will be the flight. They range from $500 per person round trip to $1500 per person. Once that has been taken out of the equation, Europe is a rather inexpensive vacation destination (just stay away from England, the British Pound is worth twice the price of the Canadian Dollar, and therefore it is Extremely expensive to visit).
If you know you have a lot of ground to cover and not a whole lot of money to cover it with, block a significant amount of vacation time and “do it all”. The fewer times you have to jump on a plane to cross the Atlantic, the fewer overtime hours you have to put in to pay for the vacation in the first place.
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When it comes to a summer holiday with children, there is probably not a better place on the planet than southern Spain. Ok….Disney World in Orlando and Euro Disney in Paris may have more appeal to the little ones, but have you seen how much it costs? A family holiday in the south of Spain however, is easily affordable and within most families’ budget. You may be surprised of how much there is to do in Southern Spain to entertain children even if your budget is very tight!
First off, Spain is a modern European country with a road and rail network that is the envy of most of the world. Healthcare concerns are not a worry either as Spain is ranked seventh best in the world by the World Health Organization, 23 places above the UK. Hospitals in Malaga in particular, are
Unlike many societies that still have a “children should be seen and not heard” mentality, Spain is the opposite and a place where children are welcome not only at the dinner table but you will also see families with children everywhere you go as well, creating a much nicer experience. In Spain family always comes first and that includes a love of children. The little ones always play a part of whatever is going on which often can be late into the night and the kids don’t seem to mind but actually appear to enjoy this family bonding.
Spain usually has lots of eating out options in and around the beach resorts to cater to visitors tastes. This includes burgers, nuggets, pizza and other foods that children might be used to eating back home alleviating any worries about fussy eaters. Yes, there’s even Mcdonalds and Burger King, which usually offer some great promotions and money off vouchers here in Spain. Tapas, or small dishes come free with most drinks and some are not only delicious, such as tortilla de patata, but also very filling. This all helps sticking to a lower budget.
Now that we have laid the groundwork as to what makes southern Spain a great place to go on holiday with your children let’s look into what there is to see and do.
Where to holiday with kids in Spain
Southern Spain has fantastic summer weather with little or no chance of rain between the beginning of June and the end of September which coincides with school holidays.
Deciding on where you want to go on holiday all depends on what you like doing as a family and whether or not you are looking for a self-catering holiday or staying at a hotel resort. If you want a quiet holiday away from the crowds and beaches all to yourself the north coast of Mallorca is an unspoilt gem yet to be discovered by mass tourism. If on the other hand, you want great beaches and plenty of nearby attractions it’s hard to beat the Costa del Sol.
Have a longer stay for less – If you have more than 14 days available for a holiday, then don’t get sucked in to paying the higher priced holiday lettings, search for offers on winter rentals usually available from October through to April! Searching for the winter rentals category opens up the lower priced self catering option, where you could pay less for a stay in a large apartment for 3-4 weeks than you would for 1 – 2 weeks as a ‘Holiday rental’!
For those who choose a self catering holiday, there are plenty of the less expensive supermarkets in Spain where locals generally head for the larger ‘family pack’ sized meats. This is a great choice for the thrifty shopper, where one giant pack of fresh chicken for example, can last a family of four a good number of days. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also in abundance. Take a trip to the local markets and you can come home with bags full of produce to feed the family for the week for just a few euros.
When it comes to the biggest bang for your buck you will be hard pressed to find better deals than those available on Spain’s sunshine coast with many of the hotels offering all-inclusive packages. For families, this can prove especially attractive as you know exactly how much it is going to cost, so you’ll never fear the kids asking you for money to get a drink or an ice-cream and you won’t go over budget.
Things to do that won’t cost the earth
To be sure, you will save money travelling on a bus to your hotel, however you may prefer the more direct option of a taxi. By booking taxi transfer from Malaga airport in advance, will ensure that you don’t get ripped off by just grabbing the first taxi from the long line of waiting vehicles. Agree the fee up front and remember only one or two companies allow you to book without paying anything in advance. This is a useful option, as we know as parents sometimes the unexpected does happen. Too, don’t expect a child seat as standard. Ordering one in advance also means you’ll get the lower advertised price.
Tip 1: Many hotels promise ‘Great Children’s entertainment’ but this can be very misleading.Before booking a holiday, we take time to research each hotels entertainment schedule and don’t overlook the good and even negative reviews left by other parents. If the entertainment is not great your children will be easily bored and come looking for you to find things to do instead. When choosing a hotel, we look for children’s fun pools, indoor pools and other facilities such as kid’s clubs and (children’s entertainers, go karting, crazy golf etc.) Don’t fall for having to pay for unforseen extras when you arrive. Find out what is and what isn’t included in the accommodation price.
It goes without saying that you will be spending time on the beach, but if you want to do something that the kids will remember forever then why not rent tandem sea kayaks and go explore the local hidden caves, coves and beaches. Several places along the Costa del Sol prohibit fishing, which means the waters are teaming with sea-life, just perfect for snorkelling amongst the schools of fish. For younger children accompanied with parents, the pedal boats on many Spanish southern coasts are a real treat. You can can choose to stay in the shallows and each little one is equipped with their own life jacket. There are at least three good companies that hire pedalos and kayaks in Malaga. The cheaper option starts at just 10 euros.
One of the newest crazes to hit southern Spain is “Canyoning”. Only suitable for older children it involves rock climbing, abseiling and jumping off smaller cliffs into clear mountain pools. Although it may sound horrifying, under careful supervision of the staff, teenagers seem to love it.
For a great day out that the entire family will enjoy, set some money aside for a water park and have fun in the wave pool and on the many slides and tunnels. All water parks in Spain also have a section for small children where they can safely play while being watched by specially trained staff.
Some hotels are just minutes away from children’s parks such as the Iberostar in Torrox, Malaga. You’ll be surprised how many hours of fun can be had of some of these parks and what’s more they’re free!
Tip 2: All water parks have cafeterias and bars where you can get a drink and something to eat. However, these can be overpriced. Check with each attraction before you go as bringing your own food and drink is only allowed within some water parks on the costa. Usually the only items you cannot bring into the park is anything in a glass container or bottle.
For a night out with the kids, nothing beats an old fashioned amusement park where you can ride a Ferris wheel, have fun on the bumper cars, or get the adrenaline pumping on the log flume ride. These attractions stay open quite late on summer evenings, so you can really get your money’s worth and full family day out of it.
Our favourite park is Tivoli World in Benalmádena where they also have a 2,200 seat theatre where they put on concerts and shows specially designed for children.
Tip 3: Never pay the full entrance fee. Malaga airport usually has promotional discount vouchers available to use. These vouchers really are worth hanging onto as you can save money on entrance to Tivoli world, Sea life and Selwoo park.
The Costa del Sol also has castles, museums and cultural sites that will appeal to older children. There’s an awe-inspiring cable car ride to the top of Mount Calamorro where you can see Gibraltar and the Rif mountains in Morocco. Even if the kid’s didn’t need any more thrills for the day after that ride, at the top you’ll be rewarded with a most entertaining ‘birds of prey’ show.
Tip 4: Most museums, castles and sites of cultural interest offer free admission on a Sunday. A little known secret that will get you a great day out for free.
Southern Spain is the ideal place for family holidays, so why not visit for yourself and see why so many families come back year after year for fun in the Spanish sun.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or reach out on social media...We would love to hear from you.