How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)

This post was first published in 2017 and last updated in April 2022. 

During our trip to Swansea Bay  I was looking for somewhere to stop off en-route. I am really not a fan of service stations and don't think a clinical and crowded environment and fast food is the best way to break up a journey.

We tend to stop at a National Trust place and make use of our membership during road trips but when my friend Penny mentioned Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, I knew it was going to be the best place for us to stretch our legs. 

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire

Wollaton Hall in Nottingham is where key scenes from The Dark Knight Rises were filmed and the hall is just 5 miles North of Gotham where Gotham City got it's name. I'd say it's must visit for any Batman fans!

Wollaton Hall | Location 

Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire is around a 3 hour drive from Newcastle. Nice and easy, straight down the Al. 

Address: Wollaton Hall & Deer Park, Nottingham. Nottinghamshire. NG8 2AE. 

The surrounding park is free to enter and parking is currently £3 for 2 hours or £5 for all day. You can view opening times here.  Dogs are welcome on a lead in the grounds. Please keep them well away from deer. 

Wollaton Hall is accessible by public transport if you are staying in the area. Check their website for info. 

The following areas are free to visit: 

  • Deer Park with over 90 red and 120 fallow deer 
  • Lake walk 
  • Formal gardens 
  • Camellia house 
  • Botanical gardens 
  • Two play areas 
  • Family trails 
  • Accessible site with changeing places toilet (see here for more access info)
  • Three snack kiosks around the site
  • Wollaton 508, the courtyard and deli cafe areas 
  • Toilets, baby change and baby feeding facilities 
  • Wayne Manor (aka Wollaton Hall) exterior 

    How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - see a real t.rex
    Credit. : Wollaton Hall 

You can also purchase tickets to see special exhibitions inside Wollaton Hall. At the moment, this is Titus: T. rex is King and is the first real T. rex to be shown in England for over a decade. Find out more and book exhibition tickets here.  Entry to the Natural History Museum is included with T. rex tickets. 

5 Reasons to Visit Wollaton Hall 
  1. See the real Wayne Manor 
  2. Spot over 200 wild deer
  3. Excellent facilities including food kiosks, cafes, toilets 
  4. On-site car park
  5. Free playgrounds, walks and gardens 

Wollaton Park | Play Areas

Wollaton Park is home to two lovely outdoor play area that are free to visit. 

We visited the one by the car park. You can easily spend a decent amount of time in this area alone if you pack a picnic as there's lots to keep the kids entertained. H&H loved the zip wire. apologies for the grey photos - we visited on a very overcast day. 

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - Wollaton Hall Playground

Credit : Wollaton Hall 

Wollaton Park | Wayne Manor

Wollaton Hall is instantly recognisable from The Dark Knight Rises and we were all excited to see it in real life. The walk up to the manor from the park kind of builds the anticipation and once you're up close the detail does not disappoint. 

It is a short-ish walk from the car park to the manor. 

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - walk to Wollaton Hall from car park

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - Wolloton Hall turrets

 You can walk right around the building and we found a well around the back which we're pretty sure must be a secret entrance to the bat cave.

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House) - exterior shot

Wollaton Hall dates back to 1580 and was built by Sir Francis Willoughby. The style is advanced Elizabethan with early Jacobean elements. The house was bought by Nottingham City Council in 1926 and opened as a museum in 1926. 

Now the hall is home to a natural history museum where you can see over 750,000 objects including fossils, fossils, plants, taxidermy and more. Wollaton is the largest natual history museum in the country. 

Wollaton Park | Deer Park & Gardens

Walking beyond the hall there are gorgeous manicured gardens and woodland for you to have a stroll through. There are seats dotted about and it's really a lovely place for a walk - I still can't believe it's free!

Visitors can enjoy 500 acres of parkland and over 200 wild deer (red and fallow). Please keep your distance, especially when there are fawns adout and during rutting season.  

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)  - deer at Wollaton Hall
Credit : Wollaton Hall 

The camellia house is cast iron framed glass house in Europe (dating back to 1823) and the only one in the UK. Situated within the formal gardens, there is an indoor seating area where families were tucking into a packed lunch under cover.

The camellia flowers are usually in bloom between autumn and late spring. 

Sometimes this area may be closed for weddings / private functions. 

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)

We ended our stroll around the other side of the hall where there was a courtyard that was very similar to a National Trust tea room and cafe. It looked like a nice place to stop for tea and cake or lunch. There are plenty of loos here and a small shop selling plants/local produce ect.... too. 

If you're travelling South (or North for that matter) Wollaton Hall is just a small detour from the M1 near Nottingham. It's around a 3 hour drive from Newcastle so an ideal spot to break up a longer journey. Check out our YouTube video from our visit below:

Wollaton Hall Events 

It's worth checking out the Wollaton Hall website for upcoming events. In Spring / Summer they have the following: 

  • Dinosaur Egg Trail 
  • Vintage Funfair 
  • Stone Age Adventure Workshop 
  • Open Air Theatre | Gunpowder Plot 
  • Splendour 2022 
  • Open Air Theatre | Romeo and Juliet 
  • Open Air Theatre | Awful Auntie 
  • Iniza Orchestra 2022 
  • Open Air Theatre | Cinderella 
  • Open Air Theatre | A Midsummer Night's Dream 

Check the Wollaton Hall website for upcoming events info here

Where to Stay or Visit Nearby 

Wollaton Hall is in Nottinghamshire. If staying in the area, you could also visit the following attractions:

  • Chatsworth House
  • Hardwick Hall
  • Bolsover Castle
  • Sundown Adventure
  • Sherwood Forest
  • The Robin Hood Experience
  • Alton Towers
We have stayed at Darwin Forest a few times and it's within an hour's drive. It's a beautful site with hot tub lodges and around an hour's drive from Wollaton Hall. Read our review of Darwin Forest here. 

If you are looking to just stay the one night, (ad) Nottingham Castle Marina Hotel has a 4.5* customer rating, free on site parking and family rooms are available from £30. 

Alternatively, (ad) Travelodge Nottingham Wollaton Park is located next door to the park and is a dog-friendly hotel (up to 2 dogs can stay with you at £20 per dog). 

Looking for other Superhero film locations? You can visit Thor's House in Asgard at St Abbs near Berwick. Read our guide to visiting Thor's House here. 

Wollaton Hall FAQs 

How long should we plan to spend here? 

We spent a few hours there as a stop off but you couls easily spend all day there as there is quite a bit to see and do. 

How much is it to visit? 

It's free to visit the exterior of Wollaton Hall, walk around the grounds and park and enjoy the playgrounds. Parking fees apply. If you'd like to visit inside, you need tickets to the T.rex exhibition which are priced from £8.75 per child and £13 per adult. Carers and Under 3s go free. Family tickets are available for £34. 

Are there toilets?

Yes including baby change, disabled and a changing places toilet  

Can we bring a picnic? 

Yes you can bring a picnic and there are several tables and picnic areas across the site. BBQs are not permitted 

Is there a cafe? 

Yes there is a cafe plus several takeaway kiosks for snacks and drinks across the site. All of the cafes/takeaways are outdoor seating only. 

Can we go inside? 

You can but you need to purchase a T.rex exhibition ticket to do this. You can walk right up to the outside without purchasing a ticket though and you do get to see quite a bit of Wayne Manor just from walking around outside.

How much is parking? 

Between £3-£5 depending on how long you stay. The car park is pretty big. 

Can I have the postcode? 

NG8 3AE 

Is it pushchair /wheelchair friendly? 

Yes and there is accessible parking right next to the hall. Find out more here. 

Are dogs allowed? 

Yes dogs on leads are welcome in the grounds. Please keep dogs away from deer. 

Can I fish or swim in the lake? 


Can I take photos? 

Yes feel free to take photos. Drones are not permitted without prior permission. 

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How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)

How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)


Newcastle Upon Tyne to South Wales | A Seven Day Itinerary & Ideas

At the beginning of the summer holidays, we planned a 7 day holiday to South Wales. Part of our trip was funded by Visit Swansea Bay, we were gifted tickets to the Doctor Who Experience and we paid for around half of the trip ourselves.

I adore Wales and really would recommend that everyone takes their children at some point. It is a long drive though and if you're travelling from North East England I would recommend planning a trip of at least 7 days. Your SatNav may trick you into thinking you can drive there within 7 hours but by the time you consider traffic and stops, it seems to take closer to 9 hours. We have actually driven home from Cardiff all in one go when the children were smaller. It is do-able but I would recommend booking a stop-off if you can as it definitely breaks the journey up. Here's how we organised our trip:

Day One - Travelling to Nottingham

We left North East England on Sunday at around 3pm. We travelled for around 3.5 hours to our first destination - Nottingham Castle Marina Premier Inn. I picked this hotel as it had free parking, was fairly close to the motorway, was within walking distance of a couple of restaurants, had a pub attached and was across the road from a large supermarket and petrol station. The hotel was super convenient for a stop-off and I'd certainly recommend. The only downside is that our rooms were fairly hot and we couldn't open our windows as we were facing a busy road so it was fairly noisy. Check out our video from Day One below:

Day Two - Wollaton Park and checking into The King's Head Pub, Gower

We started our day with a Premier Inn breakfast in the Beefeater pub next door. This was our favourite Premier Inn breakfast from the trip and the staff were so lovely. Two kids eat free per paying adult so it cost us £18 for the 5 of us. This included unlimited cooked items, pastries, cereal, fruit, juices and costa coffee. The staff asked if we wanted to take any croissants or pastries away with us as they were tidying up which was a thoughtful touch. After we'd filled our boots we headed to Wollaton Park and Hall which was around a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Parking cost £4 for the day and entry was free. This really is a fab place to stretch your legs. There's a deer park, play area for kids, cafe, beautiful walks and more. I'd definitely recommend as a stop off. You can see more in day two's video here: 

We left Wollaton Hall at around 1:30pm and continued our journey to South Wales and the King's Head pub in Gower where we were staying. We were amazed to spot wild horses on the roads as we approached our destination! We received a super warm welcome at The King's Head and were very happy with out family room. The sun was shining so we enjoyed an al fresco meal in the pub's beer garden before heading up to bed for the evening.

Day Three - The Gower Heritage Centre, Rhossili Beach & The King Arthur Pub

We started our day with a trip to The Gower Heritage Centre. This place is so sweet and we enjoyed a duck race, meeting the farm animals (the chickens are hilarious) and the kids really loved the bouncy castles and park. The centre is also home to Wales' smallest cinema where we managed to catch a random episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants. Don't visit here expecting an all singing, all dancing attraction but do expect lots of traditional family fun. You can see more in day three's video below:

The sun was shining in the afternoon and one of Swansea Bay's stunning beaches was calling our name! We decided to visit Rhossili Bay which is award winning and I can definitely see why. It's stunning! It's a LONG walk down but worth it. The beach seems never ending and it's home to a ship wreck too! There are loos, a shop, an ice cream van and a couple of pubs at the top of the cliff and you could easily spend a day here. The beach is dog-friendly too.

After our climb up to the top, we were ready for a hearty dinner so headed to The King Arthur Pub which did not disappoint. I recommend their local lamb dishes. 

Day Four - Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles and Welcome to Town

We woke up to rain on day four but decided not to cancel our plans and we visited the gorgeous coastal town of Mumbles. Mumbles is home to lots of boutiques and independent retailers and the people here are all so lovely. The bay would be perfect for rock pooling if the weather was right. We spend around 90 minutes exploring Oystermouth Castle which overlooks the town. It's inexpensive to enter and the views from the castle turretts alone are worth paying for. We mooched around the town and then enjoyed probably our best meal of the trip at Bistrot Pierre overlooking the bay. The food here is superb and they are great with kids too. You can see more in day four's video below:

We had planned to take a walk along the coast but poor Jack was still suffering from an unfortunate case of food poisoning. He'd be fine one minute but then really poorly the next. He really wanted an afternoon of chilling out so we raided the charity shops in Mumbles and bought a few games to take back to the King's Head with us. We spent a lovely afternoon playing board games before ending our day with an evening meal at Welcome to Town which is a quirky pub serving honest food. Their pizzas and ribs were SO filling! 

Day Five - Soft Play, Water Parks, Wales' Tallest Restaurant & Cardiff Bay Travelodge

This was the morning that the kids were looking forward to the most - the LC in Swansea. The LC is a large leisure centre with a water park, climbing wall, soft play, surf simulator and more. Jack had not been sick for 48 hours but I didn't think swimming would be the best idea so he enjoyed soft play while Steve took the older two swimming. They honestly had a blast and loved it. If you're staying in South Wales, definitely check the LC out. The run some fab offers too. After an action packed morning we walked along the harbour to Grape & Olive which is Wales' tallest restaurant. There was a real sense of excitement as we travelled in the lift to floor 27. The views from this restaurant are stunning and their lunch menu offers superb value. We visited during graduation week though and everyone else was dressed to the nines and we looked like we'd just been dragged through a hedge backwards after a morning of soft play and swimming and did feel out of place. Check out the views in our video from Day Five below:

It was time to say goodbye to Swansea Bay and I was surprised when our SatNav said it was going to take an hour to get to Cardiff. I thought they were closer than this! Perhaps it was the traffic though. We had booked Cardiff City South Premier Inn. Again because rooms were cheap, there is free car parking and there's a pub on site. It's also just a short walk or drive to Cardiff Bay attractions. That evening we headed to The Red Dragon Centre which was around a 3 minute drive from the hotel. Parking is free if you validate your ticket with a purchase from the centre. We booked tickets to watch Spiderman Homecoming and I was so shocked at how cheap they were - £22.50 for the 5 of us on a Thursday evening! What a deal! We enjoyed a drink in one of the eateries on-site and enjoyed a good night's sleep at our hotel that evening. 

Day Six - The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay & City Centre

We decided on another Premier Inn breakfast (they are far too convenient) before heading to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. We managed to grab an on-street parking spot right by the experience for £5 for the whole day. The Doctor Who Experience is sooooo good and must-visit for any Whovians out there. It does close in September though so you need to be quick if you'd like to visit. You can see more from inside (and our day) with our video from day six below: 

After the Doctor Who Experience, we walked along the bay which is a nice little walk with lots to see and do. There are loads of activities for families in the surrounding area to enjoy including your chance to Escape Reality in Cardiff, take a Dr Who walking tour or perhaps take a boat trip around the bay. We enjoyed time at the Roald Dahl Plaza where kids can enjoy the free city beach or a few fairground rides and stopped at a nearby pub for a drink before deciding what to do next.

We'd never actually visited Cardiff City Centre before so decided to walk the mile and a half to the city centre from Cardiff Bay. I have to say I was really impressed with Cardiff. We spent some time shopping and I will definitely return for another shopping trip. The kids were entertained by street performers and street art and there were lots of restaurants to try too. After an afternoon walking around the city, the kids were moaning that they were too tired to walk back so we decided to catch a bus. I was a little shocked at the price - £5.50 for us to travel 1.5 miles. To make matters worse, the driver claimed he had no change and we only had £10 so yep we ended up paying £10 to travel less than 2 miles. It would have been cheaper in a taxi I'm sure. The things you do for your kids eh!

We left Cardiff late afternoon and travelled to our final destination - Travelodge Leicester Markfield. Steve had specified a hotel that was right by the motorway which this one was. It also offered free parking. This was the cheapest of all of our accommodation and probably offered the nicest rooms if I'm honest. The staff were lovely and there were nice touches such as complimentary water at reception. I normally hate service stations but Steve and Harry were craving KFC so we ended up stopping at Hopwood Park Services just off the M42 for dinner. It was manic at 6pm on a Friday night but as far as service stations go, it was one of the better ones we've been to. The kids' meals from Harry Ramsden's were lovely and there's a play area too. Plus a KFC for Steve and Harry! We stocked up on treats from Waitrose and a bought croissants and juice for the next morning too. 

Day Seven - Our Journey Home

I didn't vlog our journey home as there wasn't much to see. One thing I love about staying in Premier Inns and Travelodges is that you don't need to check out until 12noon so we enjoyed a well-earned lie in before leaving for home. The journey between Leicester and Newcastle took around 3.5 hours and we were home mid-afternoon. When I was originally planning our itinerary, I did think about planning something on the Saturday too - maybe the Space Centre or the Media Museum near Bradford. Both are on my list! I'm really pleased I didn't though as by this point we were exhausted after a full-on week and more than ready for home. 

Phew! What a week! We really enjoyed our time exploring South Wales. There is honestly so much to do and see. I really hope I've inspired you to visit. If you've enjoyed our videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel here. 

Virgin Atlantic Long Haul Flight - Manchester to Orlando 2017 | A Review

We travelled to Orlando International Airport from Manchester Airport in August 2017. Our party was made up of 2 adults and 3 children and we travelled in Economy with Virgin Atlantic. I always love reading flight reviews (see here for my review of Thomas Cook long haul) and thought it might be interesting to share our experience with you.  In terms of disclosure - our flights were paid for by another brand as part of a press trip to Florida but we were not asked to write this review.

Travelling to Manchester

Our flight was set to leave Manchester at 9:45am on Friday morning and we had to get there from Newcastle. Steve was working until 5:30pm on Thursday. I knew I wanted to stay overnight in Manchester on Thursday night before our flight as I'm always paranoid about delays. I did consider driving but I was worried how tired Steve would be on our return (night) flight so in the end we opted for the train. This worked really well for us as I ordered a taxi to take myself and the kids to Newcastle train station and Steve caught the bus from work and met us there. We stocked up on a train picnic from M&S and enjoyed this en-route. I found it so less stressful to travel by train! We have a friends and family railcard and I booked an open return for around £100 for the 5 of us.

We arrived in Manchester at around 9:30pm. Finding a hotel that sleeps 5 is tricky at the best of times, even more so at the airport! I'd normally stay in the Blu Radisson but they only offer rooms for 2 (well that's all they'd let me book) - if you're a couple, I'd definitely recommend. Another option would be Sky Park Secure which we enjoyed during our trip to Cuba. Again though, there were no suitable hotels and it didn't seem worth it as we did not require parking. We ended up booking 2 rooms for £49 each at the Premier Inn Picadilly. It is a couple of minutes walk from Manchester Picadilly Station and very convenient. I'd definitely recommend if you're looking for a cheap overnight stay pre-flight. The trains from Manchester Picadilly to the airport are regular and take around 10-15 minutes direct. We were up nice and early and caught the 6:55am train to the airport. It's an easy walk to Terminal 2 where we checked in no problem. I checked in online with Virgin 24 hours before our flight and our seats were automatically allocated together at no additional cost.

Manchester Airport Facilities

I did toy with booking a VIP lounge as we loved it last time but when it boiled down to it I wasn't prepared to pay for the kids when they wouldn't really benefit from it as wouldn't be drinking alcohol. So we skipped this. We bought breakfast from the first cafe in the departure lounge (the name escapes me) which was fairly cheap and with very friendly service. We then hit duty-free and tried a few perfumes. I bought Urban Decay Up All Night and a Molton Brown travel shower gel gift set. The kids bought a few overpriced snacks from WH Smith and then we found a free soft play area where they played before our flight was called.

In flight entertainment

As the kids boarded at Manchester they were handed a free back pack with an eye mask, magazine and flight socks which was quirky. We LOVED Vera which is installed in your individual TVs. You can set this to kid-only mode if you're worried about what your children are watching. Film-wise, there's loads of choice. Between us we watched The Founder (recommended), Lion, Sing, Beauty and the Beast, Boss Baby, Assasins Creed, Rogue One, Power Rangers, Guardian's of the Galaxy 2, Fantastic Beasts and more......There are TV shows and music channels too. I listened to the Game of Thrones soundtrack on the night flight back and it sent me to sleep!

You are provided with free headphones on your seat to use but I found these to be low quality and was pleased I had taken my own. Steve and Harry were sat in front of us and we loved using the group chat facility on Vera, you just invite a seat to join the conversation and chat away. The kids found this very amusing. Kind of like What's App in the sky. There are plenty of games too and I rediscovered my addiction to Bejeweled Blitz! As it's Virgin's birthday, we were offered complimentary access to their basic WiFi which enabled me to send emails and what's app messages down to earth! You can upgrade to do more for around £15. We took our own iPads but didn't need them at all. All entertainment is included with the cost of your flight. Everyone has their own USB port which you are free to use to charge your device whilst it's in use. You can't leave a device plugged in if it's not in use though (due to the risk of overheating). It wasn't very powerful and I would recommend taking a power pack with you if you think you're going to run low on battery.

The leg room was adequate. The seat in front of me had their seat reclined for the full journey home and I still had plenty of room. You are also provided with a small cushion and fleece blanket and the seats have a leather-type headrest moulded into them which makes sleeping a lot more comfortable. Our return flight was over night and this is the first time I've slept on a plane at all.

In flight meals and drinks

You need to pre-book children's meals on a flight. We did not book our flights and this option had not been added for us so we all ate the same. If I was to fly again, I'd definitely reserve a kids meal for children (especially if they are fussy). You are provided with a menu at the beginning of your flight with a few options available. On our outbound flight we enjoyed a main meal plus sandwich later on and on our return it was a main meal and then continental breakfast. Kids meals are served first, then special diets and then the regular meals. There are 16 crew members on board and service seemed a lot quicker than with Thomas Cook.

The bar is included with Virgin - even in Economy! They come around with their trolley every few hours and there is plenty of choice. From beer (Tiger or Heineken) to wine and soft drinks. You won't go thirsty! They also pop round with a few snacks (pretzels and a fab ice lolly for us) between meals. The food quality was ok but in all honesty, I preferred the food provided by Thomas Cook.

On landing the queue through immigration took around 90 minutes. It was bearable. I had prepared for it to be longer if I'm honest. The staff were lovely. Our cases had already been taken off the luggage carousel and were all stored in a corner - staff directed us to where they were. We picked up our car hire from Nationale. Very easy to find with the airport signage. This was Steve's first time driving abroad - you are straight on the road! He did great though and by the end of the trip was a pro.

Orlando airport - return flight

Most of the shops at Orlando are before you check in. We changed into fresh clothes in the loo (we'd been out and about in parks since 6:30am) and bought some goodies from the Harry Potter store. Check in was quick but getting through security was VERY slow. There were several queues all merging into one and it felt like every man for himself. The sign said expected time was 11-18 minutes but it was more like an hour. We got there though! The departure lounge doesn't have many options - one restaurant, a newsagents, a Starbucks and Burger King.  I wanted to eat before our flight (as did the kids) so we joined the Burger King queue. Again, it was very long and slow moving. A very bad system where one lady was serving everyone from one tiny counter and two people were taking payments. It took around 40 minutes! I would recommend eating before the departure lounge or waiting for your flight if possible. We boarded our flight at 7:45pm and were provided with a welcome bottle of water this time.

The flight home was much the same as our flight here - lots of entertainment, plenty of complimentary drinks and food. The breakfast was actually nice and our pain au chocolat had been warmed up which was a nice touch. We landed around 30 minutes ahead of schedule and passport control/picking up our cases was super easy and quick. We boarded the next train from the airport to Newcastle (waited 20 minutes) and snoozed all of the way home.

Overall, we were very impressed with our Virgin Flight. The staff were lovely, the complimentary drinks kept flowing and the entertainment was fantastic. I would say if you are trying to decide between Virgin and Thomas Cook it would all come down to price - both long-haul options aren't bad. I think the drinks and snacks we enjoyed plus entertainment on board was probably worth around £30 per person. If the price difference between the two airlines is massively more than this, I'd be tempted to save my money and fly Thomas Cook.

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Virgin Atlantic Long Haul Flight - Manchester to Orlando 2017 | A Review

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Primary School Uniform - Where to invest and where to save

It feels like we've only just started the school holidays but my mind has already been thinking of buying the kids' new school uniform. In fact I've already bought the majority of it (although I can guarantee I'll be buying a few things at the last minute too - that's just me). I've been buying school uniform for over 7 years now and with three children to buy for, I thought I'd share my experiences of where to save and where to spend money.

Winter Coats - SPEND

I always, always invest in a decent winter coat for the kids towards the end of September. This coat will see them throughout the winter and it must be super warm, keep them dry, have a hood and pockets. We walk to school (and it's a 25 minute walk) so it's vital that a good coat will keep them warm and dry. I usually buy their coats from Joules, Next or Marks and Spencers but I am very tempted to splash out on a Barbour coat from the outlet near us for them all this year.

Heidi's Winter Coat from Next

Spring Coats - SAVE

Spring coats don't need to be as warm and as long as they are shower proof and have a hood, that's fine with me. I spend about 1/3 on the kids' Spring coat as their summer coat and will happily pick up a spring coat from the supermarket.

School Shoes - SPEND

Again, because we walk to school, shoes are something that I definitely think you should invest in. Heidi has worn Start-rite shoes for the past couple of years and they really do last well. They are comfortable, waterproof and last for at least 6 months. Heidi has worn these Fleur shoes during the last 2 months of term and there's hardly a mark on them!

PE Kits - SAVE

There's no point in splashing out on designer trainers or sportswear when your children are in Primary School in my opinion - plenty of time for that in their teenage years! 

Trousers - SPEND

I buy the boys' school trousers from M&S or Sainsburys. I love that they don't need to be ironed and have been reinforced to withstand lots of rough and tumble. In all my years of buying from M&S / Sainsburys, I've never once had to replace trousers due to them becoming shabby. I also like that they have an adjustable waistband. 

Skirts - SAVE

Now I don't know what it is but for some reason, I can get away with buying Heidi cheaper skirts. I am not brand-loyal and will just pick a school skirt up anywhere that I see an offer!

Socks & Tights - SAVE

I buy all of the kids' socks, tights and underwear from good old Primark. A top tip is to buy different colours and PLAIN so they're easy to match. Harry has plain grey socks, Jack plain black and Heidi black tights/white socks. They are so cheap that you don't mind replacing every season if you have to. 

T-Shirts and Shirts - SPEND

Cheaper T-shirts tend to fade and thin fairly quickly in my opinion and buying something of higher quality means that you'll actually get more washes per wear. I like to buy from M&S or Sainsburys.

Summer Dresses - SAVE

A summer dress is a summer dress to me. The quality doesn't really matter as they don't get to wear them that often! I just tend to buy them whenever I see them for £2/£3 in the sale somewhere. 

School & Lunch Bags - SPEND

I wash our lunch bags at least once a week so I need them to be of good quality and aren't going to fall apart after 2 minutes. Harry is very particular and likes a bag with a shoulder strap so he can carry across his body if he cycles to school. The same goes for school bags - the kids have quite a bit of stuff to carry to school so I want a bag that is going to be comfortable and stylish for them so don't mind spending a little extra.

Hats & Gloves - SAVE

Gloves and kids are so annoying. There isn't a week goes by in the winter when one of my children will lose one! Because of this, I stock up and buy multiple of the same plain pairs from Primark at the beginning of the season. If anyone has any tips on how to stop kids losing their gloves, I'm all ears!

If you're looking for more advice on what uniform to buy this year, I highly recommend reading this post by Family Makes as various brands are put through their paces.

A huge thanks to Start-Rite for gifting Heidi her school shoes this year. I only ever promote brands that I have thoroughly tried and tested and I'm confident I can recommend. Start-Rite are definitely one of these brands and are a brand I have bought from and been very happy with in the past. Start-Rite are running an offer throughout the school holidays where you can receive 30% off a pair of trainers or plimsols when bought with a pair of school shoes. They also provide lots of advice and measuring tools on their website here and FREE next day delivery until 10 September. 

Let me know where you spend and where you save when shopping for school uniform.

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