Traditionally the time of sunshine and spring flowers, we have to admit the real reason we love May so much is because it brings not one, but two bank holiday weekends! With two extra days to entertain the troops you could be forgiven for worrying about your wallet, but May doesn’t need to be expensive. We have five family ideas to tempt you away from the TV with activities for under £100 both at home and abroad.
Spring at River Cottage
In sunny Devon, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage is hosting a spring food fair. Traditional craftsmen will ply their wares amongst stalls selling local produce, and you can watch demonstrations in ironwork, woodwork and hurdle making. Adults will be able to relax on one of the hay bales with a freshly-mixed cocktail, whilst children will love the sheepdog displays and enjoy making their own pasta in a masterclass. Adults can also join these classes and learn anything from how to smoke fish to the versatility of the cauliflower. Tickets to the fair are just £12.50, with masterclasses costing extra.
Berlin for Free
If you’re seeking bank holiday ideas outside of the UK, consider Berlin. The German capital contains many free attractions and several of its museums have no entry costs for children. Snap photographs next to the iconic Brandenburg Gate, wander through the famed halls of the Reichstag and check out some of the frescoes at the East Side Gallery all for gratis. The Allied Museum, The Museum of Oddities and the Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp memorial, are three of the most fascinating free museums. If you’re struggling with where to begin, join Sandeman’s free walking tour and let an expert guide you in the right direction.
Rolling in the Cotswolds
As spring traditions go, this is one of the cheesiest and is downright bizarre. Every year thousands of people descend on a small town in the Cotswolds to chase a wheel of cheese down a 295-foot hill. Cheese rolling dates back to the 1800s and no one is exactly sure how it began. There are typically five races, four for the men and one for the women, and usually around 40 entrants per race. If you do choose to enter, prepare to get bruised and take heed – the same local lad has won the coveted cheese no less than 15 times. Don’t forget – just as much fun can be had watching from the side-lines!
Crosses and Fires of May
In Tenerife, the beginning of May will see houses in the Santa Cruz district decked out with makeshift chapels. Neighbours compete with one another to make the most extravagant, but the real rivalry is between the streets of El Sol and El Medio. The Procession of the Cross takes place here and marks an old peace agreement between these ancient adversaries. Battles are staged in the evening through firework displays and it’s genuinely lots of fun. Make like the locals and tuck into papada mojo, a spicy potato dish traditionally eaten during the event.
Brussels for Everyone
Just a short train journey away, Brussels has something for everyone. Younger children will love Mini Europe, which contains 300 miniature models of continental landmarks, and the Océade Waterpark, which will also appeal to older kids and teenagers – who in turn will be fascinated with the Comic Strip Center. Here you can find Belgium’s most popular characters from Tintin to the Smurfs. Looking for something more grown-up? The Delirium Café holds the world record for the largest number of commercially available beers: at the last count, there were 2,004. Finally, no trip to Belgium would be complete without sampling the chocolate, so book a demonstration at Planéte Chocolat for just €7.00.