The price of fun with a toddler? £1,000 and counting

How much would it cost me to keep my kids entertained at local theme parks and other attractions every week for a year? After totting up the entry costs it came to nearly £1,100.

Is it possible to put a price on fun?

Maybe the memories are priceless but the tickets certainly aren’t.

I decided to add up how much weekly soft play, plus special visits to theme parks, aquariums and zoos, would cost me if I made it to all the places near where we live on our wish list.

The number I came to is based on all four of us, but pretty much everywhere doesn’t charge for the cost of entry for my two kids, who are both under three. So for a family of four with older children you can almost double that price. Wow.

Enjoying maternity leave

I decided to do the sums because I have a running list of places I would love to take the kids. I try to keep things interesting for them and get us out to different places as much as possible.

I think it’s nice to enjoy the maternity leave I have with the both of them, however it’s pretty horrifying when you add up the cost of visiting all those fun places to go.

Some of these we have already visited. We’ve got National Trust membership, which is totally worth the money.

We are also members at Wellington Country Park in Berkshire, where we visit at least once a week.

We’ve been to Paultons Park, Bucklebury Farm Park in Berkshire and the Lookout in Bracknell. But still the list has a lot of places that we haven’t ticked off.

Should I feel bad about that? Absolutely not. I try my best to keep both kids entertained and give them enriching experiences. You don’t have to spend every penny you have to enjoy time with your family.

However I would love to see my toddler enjoying the rides at Legoland. I want to see her eyes light up at all the fascinating ocean creatures at Sealife Brighton.

Doing the math

So I decided to write down the prices, just to see what we’re looking at. The answer is, it’s eye-wateringly expensive before you’ve even spent extra money on souvenirs, drinks and food.

I’ve made the list assuming my other half joins us at these places, although technically my Wellington Country Park membership doesn’t cover him so he has to pay £11 to join us here.

Prices are for two adults and two children under three

Beale Park near Reading – £19

Birdworld – £31.90

Bucklebury Farm Park – £24.52

Chessington World of Adventures – £98

Hampton Court Palace – £36.80

Kew Gardens – £31

Legoland – £120

Little Street in Frimley – £10.05

London Zoo – £59.50

Longleat Safari – £57.50

Lookout Discovery Centre in Berkshire – £14.90

Marwell Zoo – £38

National Trust (annual membership) – £108

Paultons Park – £54.50

Sealife Brighton – £27

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth – £17.86

Thorpe Park – £103

Wellington Country Park (annual membership) in Berkshire – £74

Winchester Science Centre – £24

Windsor Castle – £41

Sub-Total: £990.53

Additional costs:
Soft play at average of £2 a go once a week

Total: £1,094.53

Now that I’ve added up the price of fun I’ve decided to delay visiting a few of these places until both my girls are old enough to appreciate them more.

But then the bill will be even steeper as they will be charged for entry too. How can we budget for this stuff? Even a trip to the cinema would set us back about £40 before we had even purchased a bag of popcorn.

In the meantime I’m going to flog the hell out of my annual memberships and enjoy the local parks while the sun is still shining.

Are you shocked at the price of some family-friendly places? Do you think they’re affordable? I would love to hear your thoughts,


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