How to improve holidays with children
Surely half-term isn't upon us already? Parents across the country are still railing from the summer holidays. The kids have only just got back into their routine (dodging homework, smoking behind the bike shed) and school's out again.
If you've been caught unawares, don't despair. There is still time to book an autumn mini-break, and with a plethora of UK city hotels offering family deals, you might even get a bargain.
Edinburgh's five-star Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa (00800 325 35353; www.sheraton.com/grandedinburgh ) is definitely worth checking out: its Mid-Term Madness package includes entry to some of the city's finest children's attractions, from pottery workshops to museums and city farms. Prices start at £199 per night per family if you book online, with kids' movies and meals thrown in.
Leeds is another good bet: the Autumn Glory week at Harewood House (0113-218 1010; www.harewood.org ) is free for kids and promises all sorts of entertainment, including scarecrow making, storytelling and bird watching. Book in at the nearby Park Plaza (0113-380 4045; www.parkplaza.com/leedsuk ) for deals starting at £150 per family.
There are also some interesting bargains at Jury's Inn Plymouth (01752 631000; jurysinns.com), where families get three nights' accommodation and free entry to the Eden Project for £329 during October. And the Macdonald Botley Park Golf Country Club and Spa in Southampton (0870 194 2132; www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/botleypark ), is worth a look: snap up all sorts of discounts for £99 per night.
With all this on offer, it's a good job school's out. Half term? Bring it on.