Book Review: Frommer’s ‘With Your Family’ & Britain For Free

Half term is almost over (kaloo kalay!) and, once again a) I have failed to plan sufficient activities to keep my kids occupied and b) Mr W and I both forgot about half term, so he has been at work all week. So, considering that the looong summer holiday will soon be upon us, I have resolved to do some forward planning. I’ve been assisted in my lofty goal by the ‘With Your Family’ series by Frommer’s and their brilliant little book ‘Britain for Free‘.

Britain for Free, by Ben and Dinah Hatch, is exactly what it says – a handy guide to days out and things to do in Britain that don’t break the bank. The book is arranged by region and includes things like attending free concerts at St-Martin-in-the-fields and walking tours of Covent Garden in London, visiting the Catherine Cookson Museum in South Shields or taking a Dr Who tour of Cardiff. Each activity has plenty of detail and the full address and contact details so you can find it easily.

What I really liked about the book though was that it is quite tongue-in-cheek – the authors don’t stop short in letting you know what items might be chargeable at each attraction and remind you to leave before you’re tempted to spend!

The book also has plenty to asides, noting activities that can be undertaken at home after visiting some of the attractions listed, for example, recipes for jerk chicken after visiting the Notting Hill Carnival, and signing petitions online after visiting Downing Street. This is a nice touch, enabling parents to relate their days out back to the home – it’s all another reasonably priced activity, after all!

Britain for Free has an RRP of £12.99, but I have seen it cheaper than this online and given the number of activities in the book, it’s well worth the investment.

Alongside this volume, we were also sent some of the Frommer’s ‘With Your Family’ series. This series covers a number of places including England, Wales, Devon & Cornwall, Normandy and Florida (among others) and each book is full of family-friendly ideas of trips, activities and excursions. As we have relatives in North Wales it’s the Wales with Your Family edition by De. borah Stone that we’ve have used, and I anticipate using, most.

As with the Britain for Free book, the ‘With Your Family’ guides are arranged by region and detail a large number of activities for families, accompanied by full colour pictures and maps and with full address information and directions. This series does include activities that cost money, but each description includes admission charges so at least you’ll be prepared before you go.

We were also sent the England and Devon & Cornwall volumes and although we’ve not used these yet, just leafing through them there are lots of things to consider for our next holiday.

The ‘With Your Family’ guides are also priced at £12.99 but, as with Britain for Free, I have seen them cheaper online.

All of the guides we were sent are written by different authors, but they do maintain the same tone and are very easy to read and find information in. If you know where you’re going it’s simple to find the region in the guide and there are lots of ideas to suit any budget. I assume the guides are targeted at holidaymakers but, already looking at Britain for Free I’ve been reminded of a few things to do in my local area that cost nothing at all.

I’m quite confident that with the usual park and softplay visits and some of the activites in these books, we’ll have plenty to do this summer – I’ll just have to remind Mr W to take some time off!!

Note: This is a supported post in that we were sent the books to review. I have not been paid for this review, although links to the books at Amazon are sponsored. The opinions expressed and joy that half term is nearly over are my own.

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4 Responses to Book Review: Frommer’s ‘With Your Family’ & Britain For Free

  1. I love the little end bits to your reviews. Keep em coming. The joy that half term is nearly over…hunk what joy you’ll get saying that when thebkids are actually at school… Which will come much quicker than you think I’m sure.

    • Stacey says:

      Well thanks! I aim to please… It’s a wrench when they first go off to do stuff but you get used to the spare time each day!

  2. This is a great guide book for South America. I was looking at many of them, and thought this was the most useful for how to get around, different levels of accomodations in case you wanted high end, mid or budget…really gives you a good sense. I looked at Lonely Planet, which I normally like, but feel the South America book was lacking. I also looked at Footprint for Peru and Ecaudor…but those were hard to follow for the price ranges of hotels as they use a lettering system. I have used Frommers in the past and will continue to do so for future trips as it gives you a balanced approach and extra tips on where you may want to spend more money for the location or safety.

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