The school summer holidays are almost here! Whilst day trips to theme parks and the beach are great the costs soon mount up. The good news is that there’s plenty to do in and around Didcot too. So, if you’re wondering how to fill the next few weeks without breaking the budget read on for my In Didcot summer holiday bucket list.
1. Eat an ice cream at Q Gardens Farm Shop, Milton Hill.
I love Q Gardens ice cream. At only £1.95 for a cone (more, if like me, you have a chocolate cone habit) it’s an affordable treat. Flavours vary daily; my favourites include peach melba, lemon and raspberry cheesecake and salted caramel. There’s always a range of sorbets available too.
2. Watch a film at Didcot Cineworld.
Movies for Juniors on Saturday mornings offers relatively recent films at just £3.20 for adults and children. If you want to watch a newly released blockbuster then sign up to Meerkat Movies to get 2 for 1 tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday. You’ll first need to purchase a product through Compare the Market to be eligible – travel insurance is a cheap option.
3. Cycle out to Long Wittenham and have a pub lunch.
Cycle the off road cycle route from Ladygrove to Long Wittenham. It’s flat, easy cycling suitable for all ages.
You can enjoy a pub lunch at The Plough in Long Wittenham or cycle a little further and have a picnic at Wittenham Clumps.
I’ve written a blog post about a longer cycle tide that incorporates this route. Cycle as far as you want and then return via the same route.
4. Find a geocache.
Geocaching is billed as the world’s largest treasure hunt. There are 30+ geocaches (small containers) hidden in Didcot and the local villages. To get started download the geocaching app from your relevant store or head over to the geocaching website to learn more.
5. Visit the beach at the Orchard Centre.
You cannot have a summer holiday bucket list without a trip to the beach. That can be tricky in Didcot but this year the Orchard Centre amphitheatre gains a beach!
Open daily from 25 July to 29 August there are also free events every Thursday, including crafts, Zumba and comedy seagulls (whatever they are!). Full details on the Orchard Centre website.
6. Run, jog or walk Didcot parkrun on Saturday morning.
Head to Ladygrove at 9am on Saturday mornings. Didcot parkrun starts on the field next to the tennis courts. It’s a 5 km route, free and suitable for all ages and abilities. Just remember to register first on the parkrun website and to bring your barcode with you.
7. Visit a different playground.
There are eight playgrounds in Didcot so if you always go to Edmonds Park playground why not visit the ones on Ladygrove or Great Western Park instead. The free parks website is a great resource with details and reviews of local playgrounds..
8. Go for a swim at Didcot Wave.
Better (who manage the Wave) are currently offering summer holiday bundles which include unlimited swimming options for junior members (£18 per month). If your child is still learning to swim you might also like to sign them up for the intensive swimming courses.
9. Cycle along the old railway bank to the playground at Upton.
The old railway bank is a great off road cycle route, suitable for all. It’s a couple of miles out to Upton; when you arrive the kids can burn off any extra energy in the playground. Take a picnic or go for lunch at the George & Dragon pub in the village.
10. Watch sunset (or sunrise) from Wittenham Clumps.
I’ve always meant to watch a summer sunrise from Wittenham Clumps but have never managed to get out of bed early enough. Perhaps this year I’ll finally do it!
I have, however, watched the sunset and with the right arrangement of clouds and sun it can be spectacular.
11. Go tree spotting in Millennium Wood.
Accessed via the footpath from Green Road, Didcot or New Road, East Hagbourne. Millennium Wood, as you might guess, was planted in 2000 with native trees and offers a lovely short walk. The wooden board at the entrance gates details the trees you might spot. There’s also a stone circle and seasonal pond.
12. Play a game of tennis.
There are free tennis courts at Edmonds Park and on Ladygrove.
If you need tennis rackets check out the local charity shops as they often have them available at minimal cost.
13. Take part in the library summer reading challenge.
Head to Didcot library and sign up for this year’s summer challenge, Space Race. Children need to read six books of their own choice by Saturday 14 September. Once complete they get a medal and certificate.
14. Take the bus to Wallingford or Abingdon and enjoy the splash pools.
Yes, it’s probably quicker and cheaper to drive but going on the bus to a local town just makes it more of an adventure.
Both Abingdon and Wallingford have splash pools, outdoor swimming pools and riverside walks so make the day as active and watery as you like.
15. Go charity shop shopping.
Give the kids a small budget and send them charity shopping. Check out my round up of Didcot’s charity shops first, then let the kids loose with their pennies. Each of Didcot’s charity shops has something different to offer but for children’s toys and books I’d suggest Changing Lives is a good first stop.
I hope the above list has given you some ideas for a Didcot summer holiday bucket list. Feel free to leave a comment with any further suggestions.