Saturday, 20 January 2018

February half term. Things to do in Northamptonshire

For us February half term is week commencing 12th February and includes Pancake Day and Valentine's.

I always find February half term is about chilling out a bit after the rude reality of returning to work/school after Christmas.  It's still gloomy and cold but the nights are getting lighter hoorah!  However if we stay in for too long cabin fever sets in and my son in particular starts climbing the walls.  So here are some ideas for what to do this half term.

Mini Meadow Farm NN6 6HZ.
Lambing season runs 12th February to 31st March.
I love this farm it is fairly small but has loads to do, feed the animals for a small extra charge, there's a new indoor play area, lovely cafĂ©, huge indoor sand pit and if the weather is dry great outdoor play equipment. £4 per person.

West Lodge Rural Centre NN14 2SH.
A much bigger farm but this is reflected in the cost.  I've been several times for Halloween and loved it.  I've never actually visited in February but with lambing plus other babies being born I'm sure it will be a great day out. Per Person £6.50 online and £7.45 on the gate. Under 2's free and family tickets available.

Waddesdon Manor HP18 0JH - Super Hero week
Go on the trail and solve the clues and riddles to claim a reward.  11am to 3pm.  £3 per child and normal ground admission applies.

Stowe - Half term Women of Stowe trail
10am to 5pm.  Grab your coat and boots and take part in this self led trail. Booking not required.  Normal ground admission charges apply.  £12 per adult and £6 per child. Under 5's free.  National Trust Property. 

Half Term Fifa Soccer School at Northampton Town Football Club
Sessions run 14th, 15th and 16th February.  11.15 to 1 with half hour lunch break and then more activities 1.30 to 3pm.  For ages 8 to 15.  £15 per child with sibling discount.

Evenley Wood Garden NN13 5SH
Snow drop days.  3rd to 28th February.  9.30 to 4pm.  £5 per adult and children free.

Coton Manor NN6 8RQ
Snow drops.  17th to 4th March.  £7.50 adult and £3 child. 
I visited her for the Bluebells and it was gorgeous and I also went in the summer holidays but in typical British weather style in poured with rain so we had tea and cakes and cut our visit short.  Coton Manor is a lovely garden with flamingos, ducks and chickens roaming the grounds.

Wicksteed Park NN15 6NJ
10th to 18th February 10.30 to 6pm.  8 rides open £6 per person.
Astroslide & Dropslide, explore the Treetop Walk and Sycamore Circle, get dizzy on the Carousel and Sway Rider, get a hole in one on Crazy Golf,  and enjoy the Meerkat Burrows.
Wicksteed Park

Abington Park Museum
14th February Valentines Workshop time slots 1.15-2 .00 2.15-3 3.15-4 £3 per child suitable for 3+ years.
16th February Chinese New Year Workshop time slots 1.15-2 2.15-3 3.15-4 £2.50 per child suitable for all ages.
You can book online or call 01604 838110
Abington Park Musuem Booking

And finally of course an indoor play centre is a blessing and a curse during half term.  The kids can get rid of their energy and you can have a cup of tea/coffee but the noise can be horrific and I'm always mildly concerned about the ball pits!!!  For children (like my daughter) that have outgrown an indoor play centre Boost Trampoline Park is a great alternative.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Stanwick Lakes in Northamptonshire

Stanwick Lakes is one of our favourite places for some fresh air and exercise in Northamptonshire.  It suits both children (aged 8 and 12) and I love it too.

Stanwick Lakes is off the Stanwick roundabout on the A45 in Northamptonshire 8 miles from Wellingborough.  For Satnav purposes the postcode is NN9 6GY.  The site is open from 7am to 9pm (7pm in winter) and Visitor centre for information, snacks, toilets and indoor toddler play area is open 10am to 5pm. Car parking charges vary depending on time spent there and season.  Currently £2.50 in winter and between £3.50 and £5.50 in the summer. (Cash only parking)

The most impressive thing for the kids is the enormous central play area, with climbing frames, slides, swings, water play areas, sand and tunnels.  On either side is a walk/cycle track for you to explore.  One way takes you to the obstacle course for older children.  My 7 year old finds some parts challenging and its great fun.  The other way takes you on a nice loop and past a zip wire, tyre swings and rope bridge.  There are several bird hides too and lots of lakes.  The whole area is very popular with families, walkers, bird watchers, cyclists and horse riders (permit required).

In the summer months Stanwick Lakes can get very busy and I've often ended up in the overflow car park but in the winter it is quite quiet and a great way to blow away the cobwebs.  Do be prepared for mud though as in the Winter months (especially if we've had lots of rain) certain areas can get boggy especially the obstacle course area.  My kids love it though.  Mud and puddles equals fun.  Just remember a big bag to put all the muddy stuff in and maybe some spare clothes.

In the summer lots of families take picnics and the kids playing in the central area wear swimming costumes and run about for hours.  There's also a BBQ area next to this for super prepared families.  So take along a disposable BBQ, your sausages and enjoy!

Tyre swing

On a very muddy/hot water fun day!

The rope bridge

Zip wire fun

Beautiful views
The site also runs a holiday club which might be of benefit to some families.  It is run during Easter, May and Summer holidays providing activities for up to 23 children aged between 5 and 11 years. 3 time slots are available 9am – 3pm £22, 8.50am – 5.10pm £25 or 8.30am – 5.45pm £28.

Next time you are in the area I 100% recommend Stanwick Lakes.  Both children give Stanwick Lakes a 10 out of 10!  We really do love it you'll have a great time.

If you are looking for more parks and playgrounds in Northamptonshire then check out my guide Parks and playgrounds in Northamptonshire

Emma xxx

Why not join me on Facebook

Life in the Mum's Lane - Facebook

For loads of days out ideas click on the link below for an interactive map and reviews.

Days Out Now

Stanwick Lakes
Pin it!


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Breakfree/Daily Mail Holiday Offer

Update 15th January 2019: Current local promo opens midnight.

Codes are - splash, spade, shell, swim, treat, lilo
(If it doesn't work try all capitals & no space at the end)

Doesn't matter what local newspaper you choose.

Easter and October half term are usually available. Remember the May bank holiday has changed to 8th May due to VE remembrance.

For parents with pre-schoolers absolutely loads of dates to choose from.

Go, go, go!

Happy booking.

**original post**

Every year I book a holiday through the Breakfree/Daily Mail promotion and squeeze in a cheaper holiday to break up the year.  We usually go away for Easter or October half term.

I'd like to share with you the hows and top tips for anybody new to this holiday promotion.

Daily Mail Campaign booked through Breakfree Holidays

Collect five different passwords from the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.  The current promo started Saturday 30th December and booking online opened at Midnight Wednesday 3rd January.

The promotion will close on 26th February.

The booking codes you need for this current promotion are



You can also book for postal booking form which is in the Daily Mail.

Prices are from £15 per person and based on 4.  So the cheapest deal available is £60.  For peak holidays a supplement of £6 per person is added so the cheapest deal is £84.

Depending on the site you choose other supplements are added.  My advice is to always price up the holiday you are looking for direct with the holiday provider so you can see what savings are available.

An example of supplementary charges are £8.75 per unit per night for service charge, £12.50 per person per break for entertainment passes (under 5's free).  Most sites offer some dates with half price offers on these charges or even free but are always off peak.

If you have pre school children there are loads of dates and cheap deals available including Butlins Tots breaks.

Prices are higher than they used to be but you can still save money.  On the holiday I have just booked I have saved £133 and potentially £190.  I have booked a comfort van and from experience this means I will either receive a standard or deluxe van at Haven. 

There is an amazing closed Facebook group called Breakfreeholidays run by Jason Milner and Gillian Read.  They do a fantastic job of updating and running a huge page and its the best place to get codes and dates.

Here's a link to the Facebook group Breakfreeholidays

Breakfree also run a local paper promotion which starts today (3rd January)

Prices are from £10/£15.  Collect 6 passwords from your local paper.  Booking opens 6th January.  First code is CHUMS
Booking Link

I have used this before but do not know as much about the supplementary charges so make sure you read all the information before booking.

Happy holiday searching and hope you get what you want.

I checked just before typing this and most of Easter has gone but there was availability for May Half Term and some for end of August.  For the pre schoolers lots of availability.

Emma xxx