They say that travel broadens the mind. It’s true, too, and we can all agree that a voyage away somewhere exciting can be a real eye opener. With that said, it’s also true that you don’t need to get that far away from home to get some real benefits from your trips out. I don’t just mean in terms of fresh air and exercise, either. When you open your eyes a little, you may find that you’ve been ignoring some areas close to home with a lot to offer.
The truth is that the South of England carries within it plenty of jewels that will help your kids broaden their minds without feeling like work. If you have the time to get in the car and drive for an hour or two, there’s a lot to see and do, all of which will be worthwhile information they can use. It may even be worth mentioning them at the next parent-teacher night. You remember how stifling classrooms can be, don’t you? See how much more your kids learn when they have fun!
Nature: Epping Forest
It might not be a trip anyone thanks you for taking in December, admittedly. When the days start to get warmer, however, a nature walk can be both informative and enjoyable. And there are few more beautiful areas in this part of the country than Epping Forest. Straddling the border between London and Essex, it’s home to three visitor centres. There, both you and the kids can learn a little about the natural attractions of the area.
It was enough to catch the attention of Charles Dickens, who wrote about it in his novel Barnaby Rudge. And if you can get your kids reading Dickens, then you’ve given them a friend for life.
Language And Culture: A London Literature Tour
As well as being one of the most important cities in the world for business, shopping and tourism, London has an unmatched literary pedigree. Any other city worldwide may be able to lay claim to great authors and poets. London, however, was home to the greatest of them all – William Shakespeare. Speak to teachers at your kids’ school – some of the finest English school trips and tours will make a feature of London’s cultural history.
History: All Around You Wherever You Look
Per head of population, perhaps no area of the world has been home to so many famous – and infamous – historical figures as London and Essex.
A short trip into London and you can visit the Tower, used as a prison by many English monarchs throughout the years. And, indeed, as a prison for various people who shared the throne or hoped to hold it. It is said that Anne Boleyn’s ghost haunts the grounds. Mary Queen of Scots, too, was a resident here for a spell.
Closer to home, in Thaxted, you will find the cottage owned by notorious highwayman Dick Turpin. Depending on how old your kids are, you may choose to tell them the sanitised version of his story (dashing highwayman). If they’re a little older, they may be able to hear the truth about him (somewhat less dashing!).
These are just a few of the ideas for trips you can take with the kids to give them some idea of the remarkable richness of one small area of England. There are plenty more besides if you know where to look.