When Scottish Friendly challenged me to complete a ‘no spend weekend’ I thought it would be pretty difficult. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of many free things to do in Grimsby & Cleethorpes, but after a little bit of planning, I had it sussed.
We decided to start our weekend on a Friday (because well, why not?) so Greg and I headed for Cleethorpes beach for a walk while the kids were still at school. The beach can be quite a cash magnet if you don’t plan ahead. You need to pay for parking if you choose to park on the prom, but after a quick scout of nearby residential streets, we found a free space.
One end of the beach is amusement arcades, chip shops, ice cream parlours and other fun tourist stalls. This is the end of the beach we avoided. Instead we opted for the stretch between the leisure centre and the Pier.
We walked along the sand, then I managed to persuade Greg to climb the steps and walk back along the path since the tide was in and I didn’t fancy dealing with a cold, soggy toddler!
We turned back before we reached the pier, since that’s where all the amusements are. I hand grand plans for climbing Ross Castle, but Greg wasn’t up for it, so that will have to be a free activity for another day.
Friday ended with some TV and hot chocolate on the sofa as it was Emma’s weekend with her dad and I wanted to spend some time with her before she left. Spending was successfully averted on Friday!
I realised on Saturday morning that I’d made the no spend weekend task much harder for myself by adding an extra day to my weekend! Luckily, my mum was free for a visit, so we headed back into Cleethorpes.
After an hour of playing with Grandma’s cars and eating her snacks (a cheeky hint for not spending!) we headed to Cleethorpes Boating Lake. We parked at my mum’s and walked the short distance.
When we arrived, we headed straight for the Discovery Centre, as we knew they have an observatory and it’s free to enter.
There’s also a cafe in the downstairs part of the discovery centre, which we completely bypasssed. We did however, stop and take this very touristy photo (my mum couldn’t be in it and lift Greg, which was a shame).
It had been quite some time since I’ve been in the observatory, so it was a nice surprise to find there was an art gallery to pass through on the way up! Greg doesn’t usually care about art, but he does care about dogs, which seemed to feature heavily.
The observatory showed a great view of the lake and the little bit of beach behind it. There’s also telescope which is free to use. Greg wasn’t great at using it, but I enjoyed having a look.
After we’d finished in the observatory, we headed out to feed the ducks. My mum brought some wholemeal bread from her house (which we were assured was fine) and the ducks got really close.
Sadly, the geese got even closer and we were quickly surrounded!
We thought it best to gain some height, so we headed for the little bridge to try and stop the geese bothering us too much.
We managed not to get bothered by any birds while we were up on the bridge, instead they gathered below. When all the bread had run out, we crossed the bridge and enjoyed the emptiness of the off-season sandpit.
After a short while in the sandpit, it was already late afternoon and Greg was super tired from all of his free fun. Once at home I made him a simple tea and he had an early night. The poor boy was wiped out!
Our Sunday got off to a late start, as Sunday’s often do. Greg was still pretty tired from the previous couple of days’ adventure, so we didn’t get out until the afternoon. We decided to take Greg to Weelsby Woods – another free local attraction.
Greg loved exploring nature. He collected leaves and stones and took great pleasure in throwing sycamore seeds and watching them spin to the ground. He loved his dad being able to accompany us on the outing and kept calling on him to assist with his adventurous side.
I was surprised at how far his little legs could carry him, he didn’t seem to tire for ages. Weelsby Woods also has a little park, so we used this as a bargaining tool when Greg wanted to keep going further into the woods.
In the park Greg had a great time running around with the other children. There weren’t many about with it being a bit colder out, but there was still a good mix of ages.
“I Greg!” he bellowed to child on the swing next to him.
Even though he was visibly tired, it was difficult to tear him away from all the fun he was having. Luckily, in true ‘no spend’ preparedness, I’d brought snacks out with me, so I was able to lure him back to the car.
I think we managed to cram more fun and do more activities in our ‘no spend weekend’ than we would have if we hadn’t been doing the challenge. It’s been a great exercise in making us think about how we spend our money on entertaining the kids and given us the push we needed to shake up our weekends. You can find more money-saving tips on the Scottish Friendly blogs.