What did you do this half term?

Do you dare stay put at half term? Are there things on the doorstep you could enjoy doing more of? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

I love to travel – but half term always seems too short (actually so do the two week holidays of Easter and Christmas) to take enough time to enjoy a place. For me the only holiday which has enough time to travel to a place and properly explore it seems to be the long summer holidays… which is the reason my family hardly ever go away at half term.

Of course I get a frisson of jealously hearing where my neighbours are going – or have been. But that shouldn’t stop the pleasure of doing things on the doorstep. This half term we hardly saw my 15 year old as she was studying for GCSEs, so the trips made with Nell (13) had to also be seemingly low key to ensure revision seemed like a better option.


Larking around despite a day of rain, pavements and then the graveyard on a meet the ancestors tour.

1 Find out more about your relations (a walk)
We spent five hours stomping around East London on an ancestors’ tour. Pete had done all the work and took us from put to workhouse to ironmongery (sites of). If you want to avoid this experience never let your significant other ever join AncestryUK.

Explore a park can turn into a name that fish (or tree or flower) challenge.

Explore a park and find something unexpected (toddler sized fish?).

2 Explore a park you don’t know well (get lost)
London has a huge number of vast parks. Nell and I spent a long afternoon in Holland Park, just off High Street Ken trying to orientate ourselves, or find an ice cream. We failed these tasks but were happily distracted by the massive koi carp at the Kyoto meditation garden. Unfortunately I still can’t tell you how to get there…


The man on the left of the foreground is the Pea Eating champion. The man sitting focusing at the table is trying to eat as many peas as possible using a toothpick. Behind him are the amazing dancers who kept passers-by at the Holloway Festival’s opening event in Hornsey Street happily entertained. Not quite sure who won the competition but it was fun to watch.

3 Enjoy a local festival or street party (see and be seen)
Even in central London it’s easy to find private gardens open to the public most weekends… Not only do you get the chance to buy locally-raised plants (ie, slug proof) you may also be able to buy cake and a cuppa, and then go on to a street festival. There are so many in London now it’s like being on a European feast day tour. Going might even inspire you to organise your own!

Over to you
What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your neighbourhood?

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4 Comments on “What did you do this half term?”

  1. KathrynH Says:

    we started the half term with a short camping trip and then (thankfully) had to cancel a second camping trip so at least we could stay dry and warm! From past experience May half term can be either really warm or wet and miserable (remember the Diamond Jubilee weekend?). I find it’s always best to have a few wet weather activities up my sleeve just in case….

    • Hi Kathryn – that’s a really good point! May ought to be nice but it often isn’t and camping when you can’t get dry is really awful! Glad your change of plans suited you all! Nicola

  2. julie Says:

    hi I have 4 kids one has aspergers and doesn’t travel well, last year I took them on the train from cornwall to Bristol to stay at my mums for a week didn’t go too well he likes his own home things he knows, this year we went to Bodmin moor they can run free,have a picnic and paddle In the warm months they can swim. then home to our own beds.

    • HI Julie, thanks for your comment. It’s a real shame that getting to your mum’s is obviously a struggle as it must be nice for you to have some breaks now and again. However Bodmin Moor with picnics and home to your own beds sounds idyllic – glad you had a lovely time. Nicola

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