Entertain the kids on a budget this half term

The half-term holiday is approaching, and keeping the kids occupied will be at the forefront of parents minds. But it doesn't have to cost you the earth to entertain them, and there are deals out there to help you to do more but pay less...

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Felicity King Evans: We’re nearly into the autumn half-term and many parents will be wondering how to give their kids a fun break without breaking the bank.

We’ve come to Chester Zoo, which has a few kids of its own, and is exactly the kind of place your children will want to go this half-term.

But the best way has to be to more for less by using vouchers and discounts to make your money go further this half-term. I'm going to talk to Laura Dutton, one of moneysupermarket.com’s voucher gurus, to see just what deals we've got on the site for you.

Q1: So Laura, I understand we have a discount for parents wanting to bring their kids to Chester Zoo?

Laura Dutton: Yes we work very closely with Chester Zoo all year, they give us some really good discounts. The latest one we have is the 20% exclusive, which when you visit as a family of four offers you a very good discount.

FKE: Now I know there’s a lot to pick from, but what are your favourite deals for families this half term?

LD: Okay, if you want something fun but educational, we have discounts for loads of zoos this half term, including Chester, Dudley, Colchester and the iconic London Zoo, plus aquariums like Sealife, Blue Planet and the Blue Reef Aquarium.

We also have two-for-one discounts and kids go free at several safari parks, like Longleat, Knowsley and Woburn.

Theme parks are always a popular choice in the school holidays, so we’ve arranged two-for-one at Thorpe Park, free entry for kids at Legoland and 20% off food and drink at Chessington World of Adventures. We've also secured a last minute two-for-one deal at Drayton Manor.

FKE: And is there anything really good for Halloween?

LD: Absolutely! We've got the two-for-one entry to Alton Tower’s which is always a firm favourite - Scarefest - that’s not just for kids, there'll be plenty of adults after that one too!

FKE: Of course it's not just the cost of getting in somewhere - feeding the family can on the go cost a small fortune, and the cheapest way to manage this is to plan in advance and bring your own packed lunch.

But if you don't manage to do that, then it's worth stopping at a supermarket on the way and picking up a meal deal. For example, I got this sandwich, crisps and drink from Tesco on the way here, for just £2, that's not bad at all.

But sometimes though you do want to treat the family to a hot meal when you're out, like this rather nice-smelling curry from Chester Zoo, so it's worth then checking in advance to see if there's any vouchers or discounts you can use in the park when you get there.

So if you do want to treat the family to a meal out, what are the best deals? Laura's here to explain.

LD: Okay, we have family favourite Pizza Hut - they're giving a two-for-one discount at the moment, so that goes down really well. We have Roadchef as well, giving a fantastic two-for-one deal on main meals, that's really good if you're travelling around as there's lots of them on the side of the motorway. We also have Café Uno, La Tasca, Café Rouge, they're also giving lots of good discounts at the moment. 

FKE: And what if you don't want a chain, what if you want something a bit more local to you?

LD: Well we've got plenty of local restaurants and pubs on our site, and the way to find them is to type in your post code in to our search option, and then offers that are local to you are returned.

FKE: Don’t forget that loads of the best ways to keep the kids entertained this half-term are free! You can get into most galleries and museums without paying a penny, definitely one of the cheaper ways to keep them happy.

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