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'3 of the best annual passes for families', by Kirsty McCabe

Our weekly columnist rounds up three of the best annual passes, guaranteeing lots of great family days out all year

Posted: 14 April 2016
by Catherine Hudson

Castle Ward in County Down which became Winterfell, home of the Stark family in Game of Thrones

Spring has sprung, summer is just around the corner and it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. If you are stuck for ideas of things to do with your little ones then it’s time to get a pass.

Annual passes work out much better value, so here are my favourites. My top tip of course, is to pick a pass that covers the attractions closest to you! And don’t forget to read the small print as some passes aren't valid at certain times of the year.

1 - MERLIN ANNUAL PASS

If you want to visit LEGOLAND, Alton Towers Resort, SEA LIFE, Coca-Cola London Eye and many more, this pass gives you access to 32 magical worlds across the UK. Keep an eye out for their sales, to save even more money. The great thing about having an annual pass is being able to pop in for an hour or two and not feeling like you need to spend a whole day to get your money’s worth.

2 - NATIONAL TRUST MEMBERSHIP

Members get unlimited access to hundreds of unforgettable places including London’s Morden Hall Park and Richmond’s Ham House and Garden, and help protect them for generations to come. Many locations have acres of space to run around with family-friendly facilities and you can often bring the dog too. Movie and TV buffs should check out the locations that have played key roles for film and TV locations, such as Castle Ward in County Down which became Winterfell, home of the Stark family in Game of Thrones.

3 - ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY

Gardening buffs should sign up for unlimited days out in the four RHS gardens of Wisley, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr, exclusive access to shows and expert advice, all while keeping Britain beautiful. Pls you get access to over 180 RHS partner gardens across the UK for free during selected periods. Many offer play areas for children as well as cafes; the Glasshouse Cafe at Wisley has a soft play area attached and is open daily except for Christmas.

If none of these float your boat then it’s worth checking out places near you that offer their own annual passes, such as soft play centres, petting farms or leisure centres. If you reckon you’ll go there often enough then go for it. Letting your kids run off steam without destroying your house and/or sanity is worth every penny. Even better if they have indoor rainy day options, given the Great British Summer...

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine to keep up with the latest news

"And if you are in need of more, friendly, advice, have a read of some of my other columns..."

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kirsty mccabe, national trust, RHS, merlin, entertainment, family day out, days out, chidlren, kids, game of thrones, winterfell
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