5 ways to save money during the school summer holidays in Kent
Every parent knows how expensive it can be to take the family out.
From admission prices and drinks and ice creams, to the cost of petrol or public transport to get there - the price of just one outing can very quickly add up.
We take a look at some of the ways you could save money over the summer.
1 Booking online in advance
Deciding where to go and booking your attraction tickets online ahead of your visit is often a way to save when planning an outing with the kids.
Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne both offer as much as 20% off ticket prices if you book online prior to visiting. And also post other offers such as 'kids go free' ticket deals.
And they aren't the only attractions in Kent to offer discounted entry in advance.
Chatham Dockyard adult tickets are £3 cheaper when booked in advance, Diggerland at Strood takes £4 off an adult ticket and Hever Castle, near Tonbridge, also offers a small discount as does Wingham Wildlife Park.
It is always worth finding out if the attraction you want to visit offers a discount for tickets bought online before you visit.
2 Look out for special offers
As parents we can be pretty savvy so always keep an eye out for special offers ahead of the holidays.
For example this summer the Spa Valley Railway is bringing back its 'kids for a quid' £1 tickets for children on dates during July and August whilst Odeon kids screenings and Cineworld's Movies for Juniors showings offer cinema tickets for as little as £3 during the holidays and at weekends for showings of select films.
Another extremely popular offer is Southeastern's 2FOR1 scheme, which entitles you to a buy-one-get-one-free deal on tickets to a large number of attractions in Kent and London if travelling by train.
You will need to print off a 2FOR1 voucher from the Southeastern website or pick up a booklet and voucher from your local train station and complete the coupon, and show it along with your train tickets, at the ticket desk of the attraction you wish to claim the offer from.
More details at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk
3 Buy a ticket and visit all year
For the same price as your regular admission ticket you can make unlimited return visits for the next 12 months which means you not only get good value from your admission price but - crucially - it enables you to return time and time again with the kids over the next year particularly during the holidays when pennies are often stretched.
Some terms and conditions are attached to these deals and special event days are sometimes not included or may require an additional fee to attend.
4 Take out a membership
If you love an attraction and return time and time again, often the way to get the best value is through an annual membership.
Dreamland members are able to enjoy unlimited rides at the fairground, roller skating and priority booking on some events while Wingham Wildlife Park offers an annual membership to enjoy unlimited visits to see the animals and its animatronic dinosaur attraction.
Memberships are often more than the cost of an annual ticket - for example at Wingham an adult ticket on the door is £18 and an annual pass is £47 but if you are a regular visitor or think you'll make more than a couple of visits over the course of a year then the annual pass is economical if your chosen attraction offers it.
You can also sometimes pay monthly by direct debit to spread the cost even further - for example at Wildwood a family annual membership is a monthly cost of £8.50 a month.
And if spreading the cost of an annual membership sounds like a good way to guarantee a year of outings but you don't want to be tied to just one place to visit - both English Heritage and National Trust offer memberships with access to all of their properties, grounds and attractions.
Each organisation has a large number of places to visit in the county (as well as your membership giving you access to their properties nationwide) and an annual membership lets you visit the lot as many times as you like in a year and sometimes the cost of an annual pass is not as much as two separate visits.
For example - Dover Castle is £23 an adult and £13.80 for a child for the day (including gift aid) whilst an English Heritage annual membership giving you unlimited visits to its attractions nationwide, including Dover Castle, is £105 a family for the year or £8.75 a month.
5 Make the most of all the free stuff!
Alongside all of the county's parks, playgrounds, museums and beaches, which will offer endless hours of free entertainment, keep an eye out for the many free events which will be happening regularly during the better weather.
From carnivals and street parades to events like harbour days or fun days, there's a raft of free events that happen in town centres or coastal spots during the school break.
For example, Whitstable Harbour Day and Whitstable Carnival take place on Saturday, August 3 and is set to provide lots of family fun throughout the day.
For the latest round-ups of things to do in Kent in the coming weeks, click here.
- And if you've kids now on their school holidays. Take a look at our FREE 20-page online guide to the summer in Kent which can be found here.