Seven family activities in Suffolk for around a tenner
If, like me, your bank balance is only just starting to recover from six weeks of summer with the children, then this guide might provide some inspiration for budget family activities across Suffolk in the run-up to half-term.
We’ve tried to find seven family activities or days out for around a tenner, although in a couple of instances we did blow the budget slightly (but only where we thought it was really worth it).
Now, all of these would require packed lunches and snacks if you want to keep the budget down – try as we might, keeping a family fed, hydrated and entertained for less than a tenner is a challenge we almost certainly cannot meet – but many of these activities allow the option to buy food and drink if the budget stretches to it.
If you have any suggestions for budget family activities please get in touch – we would love to hear them.
Kids, family and friends treasure hunt (£6.99 plus £2.80 p&p, see www.huntfun.co.uk for more information).
Ever fancied going on a treasure hunt and seeing a different side to your town? Well now you can, thanks to a series of DIY treasure hunts covering Suffolk towns including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Aldebugh.
All you need to do is buy the hunt and you’re set with everything you need, including directions, clues, a map (and the answers).
Printed and downloadable treasure hunts are available, as well as interactive GPS treasure hunts for smartphones.
The hunts take one-to-two hours to complete on average, however you could make it a half or full day’s entertainment by stopping along the way at other attractions along the way or by enjoying a picnic.
East Town Park, Haverhill (free, www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/leisure/Parks/easttownpark.cfm)
East Town Park has become a family favourite thanks to regular seasonal events, such as its hallowe’en trail and Easter egg hunt, but it is well worth a visit at any time of the year for its wildlife habitats and natural woodland.
Highlights include: the Ann Webb plantation of native trees and shrubs, which is particularly colourful in autumn; mature walnut trees in East meadow; a 400-metre easy-access trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs which loops past the pond; a five-kilometre walk along the disused Haverhill to Sudbury railway line; the stable yard wildlife area; Sturmer meadow (which is also popular with sunbathing lizards); the avenue lined with lime and horse chestnut trees; and a visitor centre open at weekends and during the school holidays (where drinks and snacks are also available).
Youngsters will enjoy the children’s play area, while there is also a picnic area, toilet facilities and car parking.
Landguard Fort, Felixstowe (adult £5.50, child aged five-17 £2.50, https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/landguard-fort/)
While most visits to Felixstowe probably involve a walk down the seafront, sampling the delights of the chippie and gambling some 2ps in the amusement arcades, a trip to Landguard Fort is well worth including (even if it does blow the budget if your children are aged over five).
The English Heritage site was the location of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England, by the Dutch, in 1667.
The current fort was built in the 18th century, modified in the 19th century and extended in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was manned during both world wars and played an important anti-aircraft role during World War Two. In 1951 a Cold War control room was created, before the fort was disarmed and closed in 1956.
Well-designed and informative displays make this an interesting visit for all ages, while views from the fort to the nearby Port of Felixstowe are unbeatable.
Suffolk Punch Trust, near Woodbridge (adult £7.50, child aged five-16 £4, under fives free, www.thesuffolkpunchtrust.co.uk)
Okay, so this is another day out just over £10 (but only just, and if you have under fives they will enjoy free entry), but with plenty to see and do for all ages we think it is worthy of a spot on our list.
Visitors can see harnessing and braiding demonstrations, find out how to care for pets in the Pets Paddock, enjoy a tractor trailer ride around the farm, meet young horses and learn about their training, help with pets feeding time, burn off some energy on outdoor play equipment, complete a stamp trail around the farm for a prize and make things in the activity room.
There’s space for picnics, or a café if you did want to buy food and drink.
Dunwich Heath and Beach (car parking £6, entrance free, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunwich-heath-and-beach)
Tucked away on the coast, Dunwich heath and beach is home to species including the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark, ant lion and adder.
From July to September the heath boasts colourful pink and purple heather and coconut-scented yellow gorse.
Families can enjoy bug hunting and den building, or download one of three special nature trails at home to enjoy during a visit. The smugglers trail, Dunwich discovery trail and Dunwich bingo are all available at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunwich-heath-and-beach to download and print in advance – but don’t forget to take a pencil.
At the end of the trail head to the Coastguard Cottages Tearoom to spend the remaining £4 of your budget on refreshments.
Framlingham Spy Mission Treasure Trail (£9.99, www.treasuretrails.co.uk).
How better to explore Framlingham than on a self-guided spy mission-themed walking treasure trail?
For £9.99 you can do just that. Starting outside the Crown Hotel, the circular trail will take you around the town while solving clues along the route (which includes the exterior of the 12th century castle).
Trails can be completed at any pace, with participants solving sneaky clues set on existing buildings, permanent features and monuments to crack the code and complete the mission.
The route is about two miles long and takes approximately two hours to complete, with one trail booklet enough for four to five people.
There is also the chance to win some real treasure, with all correct answers entered in a monthly £100 prize draw.
And if you get stuck, a mobile phone text service can help with the answers to ensure no mystery goes unsolved.
Tobogganing (Suffolk Leisure Park, £9 per hour, www.suffolkleisurepark.co.uk)
If you want to try something fast, fun and fabulous, have you ever thought about tobogganing?
Suffolk Leisure Park, in Ipswich, offers Swiss bob toboggan sessions all year round on its safe carpeted slope, separate from ski sessions.
It is suitable for ages four and upwards and no experience is necessary.
All you need is a pair of gloves (essential, but can be purchased at the slope if you forget your pair), long sleeves and trousers, and a change of clothes or waterproofs – the toboggans run better in wet and rainy conditions so you may get wet.