Blaise Tapp: ​Enjoying loads of culture – whilst saving loads of money

​It’s half term time again - it seems to come around that bit quicker every year - and like most parents, we’ve kept everything crossed that the weather will be kind to us.
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​We’ve been luckier than we have with previous school holidays and the sun is due to shine most of the week, which means that we can confidently impose a screen ban, safe in the knowledge that YouTube and TikTok will soon be forgotten once we get to the beach and I get the 99s in.

As much as I love escaping to sunnier climes, I’ve never shied away from my belief that, if the rain stays away, there aren’t many trips that can match a British holiday by the seaside. Cornwall is our destination of choice again this year.

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Those years of trundling down the M5 and A38 mean that we have had time to settle on our favourite beaches and out-of-the-way coves, but this time I am determined to add a bit of variety to our latest trip.


Much to the annoyance of the kids, I have decided to mix up this holiday with a healthy injection of culture, which means fewer trips to arcades and more time reading laminated information boards about dukes and successful tea importers who lived 400 years before free wifi and bubblegum ice cream.

My new found eagerness to soak up the history of these fascinating isles has coincided with me becoming the owner of an Annual English Heritage Family Pass, which I persuaded to buy by a very persuasive middle class lady wearing a lanyard, who clinched the deal by assuring me that I would save money. Lots of it.

Like all price sensitive middle aged dads, I’m always swayed by the promise of a bargain once made seven trips to the buffet at an all-you-can-eat restaurant during one sitting.

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Since taking ownership of the card, I’ve thumbed through my complimentary guidebook to the hundreds of properties and sites that are looked after by English Heritage so frequently, that I reckon that the nation’s ruins and stately homes could be my specialist subject if I ever appeared on Mastermind. The idea of gaining entry to historic places of interest that I hadn’t previously considered visiting now appeals to me greatly because it won’t cost me a penny to enter.

This week, I’ve already booked a visit to one ancient castle and have identified two more to visit during our five day stay.