Find free activities for the school holidays

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GOING on holiday is one of the nicest things any family can do together. You spend all year planning it and choosing the right location and then wait with bated breath for the day for jetting off to finally arrive, hoping so much that the venue will match expectations.

Then the weeks you have been dreaming of finally arrive and off you go. But within days the holiday is over, having whizzed by and you arrive back in Britain tired and full of holiday blues. The only thing that gets you through this is planning the next jaunt off to sunnier climes.

When I was younger the school holidays seemed to go on forever. You said goodbye to your school friends at the end of July then it seemed like a lifetime before you saw them all again at school.

I remember spending most of my days playing with neighbourhood kids in the back lane which joined our homes together. In those days cars were not so abundant and so it was quite safe to trundle up and down the lane on our bikes. Sometimes if we were really good we would be allowed to travel round the block, but only if we stuck to the pavements.

If we were really lucky one or other of our parents would peel themselves from their deck chairs in the back yard and kindly offer to take us to the local park. We weren’t allowed to go there ourselves until we were much older as getting there meant crossing a relatively busy road. Once there we could cycle to our hearts content, play on the swings and slides and even have a go on the free tennis courts. Sometimes, if we had 50p, we were even allowed to take a rowing boat out on the boating lake. But mostly we would cycle round and round.

Very occasionally there would be a summer fair on at the park which would include a great show from the police motorcyclists and dog handlers. This was a rare treat for us.

However, today’s kids are truly spoilt in terms of what is out there to do. Every stately home nowadays caters for kids and goes out if its way to try and attract them with excellent adventure playgrounds, home farms and even pony rides. In my day it was all grey haired old ladies and “please keep off the grass” signs.

But the real trick is to find the things which are free to do, otherwise as the summer holidays go on you might find yourself seriously out of pocket and wishing for school to start again instead of enjoying some of the best days you will ever have with your children.

For example, all this week and for the next couple of weeks Sheffield City Council has all the fun of the seaside – right in the middle of the city centre. For more information visit: