Summer outdoor entertainment ideas
After that traditional week on a foreign beach, there's still plenty to do around the country to keep the family busy this summer. These are just a few of the great ideas and experiences that can get you out of the house.
Free airshows on the beach
The major air events are expensive and crowded places, often unfriendly for younger visitors. If you want to enjoy the noise of propeller and jet aircraft without being fenced into an airfield, there are an increasing number of free air shows. Beach venues are popular, pick from Bournemouth, Weston, Sunderland, Swansea, Llandudno and many others. You can take the family out to the seaside and watch the planes whizzing around the skies, while the kids (armed with ear defenders, naturally) can build castles and enjoy the sea.
Food festivals are everywhere
It seems every town has a food festival these days, either celebrating their local cuisine, or adopting a foreign flavour to add some spice to things. Closing down roads or using open space to get the events outdoors helps boost awareness, and spreads those yummy smells far and wide. Whatever the flavours, it's a fun day out to try new freshly-cooked foods, socialise and perhaps have a glass of bubbly. Everyone can visit the pop-up food markets or stalls and pick up something exotic, sticky and sweet or some new kitchenware. Most shows have demonstrations, often with well known chefs, and there's always something for the children to do, if for some reason you can't tempt them to the oyster bar.
Britain seems to be experiencing a resurgence in outdoor cinemas in the summertime. If you think you can risk two hours without a downpour, check your local listings for events, or The Lune Cinema, which tours the country with its pop-up cinema. Showing classics, family movies and the odd horror film, it gets everyone out of the house for an evening and is definitely better than being crammed into the local flea-pit that smells of popcorn.
Relax by the lido
The pre-war lido is making something of a comeback, with many people now enjoying swimming in the open air. Restored originals or newly built examples are opening around the country. This is encouraging a new generation of lido-goers who can sunbathe and take a dip without having to slog to the beach or book in to an expensive hotel.
Get spooked by a ghost tour
Most towns have a fair number of ghost stories associated with their older quarters, and an evening guided walk is a decidedly different way to explore. Finding out the often grisly history of these places is a great way to learn about our ancestors' lives and those that cling on to it in the walls. Castles, old hospitals and other major buildings also often have tours, so dig around to find out what's keeping the locals up at night near you.