5 years, 28 days ago
February Half-Term’s a strange holiday. We’ve just got over the festive spend and we’re expected to be entertaining again so soon and in such a miserable month when all we really want to think about is willing spring to arrive and quick about it. So in the spirit of helpfulness (one of our New Year’s resolutions that’s been surprisingly easy to stick with) we’re handing out free stuff all over this February. From beach-mad dog fun on the wild and wanton South Coast of England to shameless fromage tasting in La France, everything is for the taking. Occasional tipping and buying after trying is sometimes polite, but mostly you can keep your cash in your pocket. Enjoy!
FREE DOGS, CORNWALL
Most of Cornwall’s best loved beaches don’t allow pets during the summer and sad-faced canines are a poignant sight during the busiest months of the year. So if you want to indulge yourself and your dog’s passion for big, beautiful spaces then roam wild and free on some of the UK’s best sand and sea this Half Term – it’s allowed.
ART BASE, ST. IVES, CORNWALL
Bored or too big for beaches (if that’s possible)? Art Base at Tate, St. Ives runs from 14 – 21st February 2015 and is all about sneaking in some art education with a lot of creativity and entertainment. The focus for under 18’s this Half-Term is photography and it’s free www.tate.org.uk.
TRAWL AMSTERDAM FOR TIPS
Sandemans Walking Tours are taking over Europe and a good thing too we say. They’re totally free (tips are always welcome). The local guides are enthusiastic, friendly and know the dark underbelly of their city intimately. You can expect tales well beyond dates and places. And they’re a great introduction to cities like Amsterdam where the casually cycling, coolly beautiful natives could give you the impression it’s an easy place to understand. www.neweuropetours.eu
FREE GOATS, THE BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON
One of the most famous museums in the world is always free and always family friendly, but it’s going all out to entertain this half-term with an entire week of activities dedicated to celebrating The Year of the Goat. Kids of all ages are invited to take part in everything from creating a huge artwork in the Great Court to tales of ancient China and sensory play for the under 5s – just come along and join in is how it works. www.britishmuseum.org
FREE FOOD, PARIS
Nothing’s more traditionally Parisian than doing the rounds of the city’s early morning markets. Most visitors head for Marché des Enfants Rouges in the ancient and lovely 3rd arrondissement. It’s one of the oldest markets in Paris and definitely should be seen. But if you want to try before you buy our choice is Marché Batignolles in the 17th. Probably the best bio market in the city and as seriously artisan as you’d expect in the arrondissement that’s home of choice to artists with agents, published writers, bohemian US ex pats and quietly wealthy young families. The stall holders are enthusiastic, interesting and generous. Ask to taste their wares with no shame. You don’t have to buy, but unless you’ve packed a will of iron, good luck with that in the face of temptation.
FREE VIEW EDINBURGH
The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is amazing: familiar, slightly odd and often vaguely sinister. This half-term it’s free (as always) and worth a visit to see some of the collections planned for the 10 new galleries due in 2016. Including a huge Beluga Whale skull from the inexplicably disorientated mammal washed up on the beach at Montrose, specially commissioned contemporary silver and the first Electroglide carbon fibre guitar (made in Scotland in 1984). And it’s February. So Edinburgh is doing atmospheric as standard and the best view ever of the Old Town’s higgledy, piggledy rooftops as the low winter sun sets is the one from the top floor of the museum – even if you see nothing else for free, don’t miss this.
FREE FELLS, WALKS AND WATERFALLS, THE LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK
If you’re strong and can resist the lure of cosy pubs and tiny tearooms and quaint local shops, you’re welcome to wander the mysterious and magnificent Lake District unhindered by demands for cash. There are hundreds of marked walks (usefully graded by difficulty, good for dogs, family friendly, short, long …….). Waterfalls are many and have been known to inspire great works in their time. The dramatic fells are not for the faint of heart but if you’re game they’re worth the effort. And little towns and villages all over are just as pretty and storybook as you’d expect from the land that birthed the whimsy of Beatrix Potter.