Daily Archives: 2 April 2012

Days out for free

Free days out this Easter


Enjoy the long Easter weekend and take advantage of the huge choice of days out that won’t cost a penny.

It’s Easter this weekend and many of us will be enjoying a couple of extra days off. What will you get up to?

I would like my Easter to be a
mixture of baking, days out,
crafting and relaxing (no chance!)

As a mum of three, I am on a strict budget and cheap days out are a must.

Here is the Dairy Diary’s essential guide to days out for free:


McManus Galleries Albert Square, Dundee, Angus
Dundee’s main art gallery and museum, is a remarkable Gothic building where art, history and the environment combine to offer a fascinating glimpse into Dundee’s colourful past.

National Gallery of Scotland The Mound, Edinburgh, Midlothian
The gallery exhibits an outstanding collection of art by the greatest artists from the renaissance to post-impressionism.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, Midlothian
A fine collection of prints, paintings and sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Kylerhea Otter Haven Strathoich, Fort Augustus, Inverness
A hide perched above the shore of Kyle Rhea, offering the opportunity to watch local otters and other coastal wildlife.


North England

Durham Cathedral The College, Durham, County Durham
A remarkable example of Norman architecture, the present cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

Whinlatter Forest Park Braithwaite, Keswick, Cumbria
The only mountain forest in England.  In addition to the stunning scenery there is also an adventure playground, visitor centre and shop.

Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole Windermere, Cumbria
Set on the shore of lake Windermere, the centre boasts interactive exhibitions, trails, film auditorium and adventure playground.

Home of Rest for Old Horses Bulrhenny, Richmond Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man
A wonderful retirement home for horses, with museum, café and shop.

Imperial War Museum North The Quays, Trafford, Wharf Road, Trafford Park, Manchester
Constructed in 2002, this museum is a real interactive experience with a huge audio visual presentation and thousands of objects from conflicts from the 20th and 21st century.  Not to be missed.

The Albert Dock Liverpool, Merseyside
A variety of shops and restaurants on the river Mersey.  The Tate Liverpool and Beatles Story (charges apply) are well worth a visit.

Otterburn Mill Otterburn, Northumberland
Mill museum and shop, nursery, tea garden and coffee shop.

Baltic the Centre for Contemporary Art South Shore Road, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
Housed in an imposing building, a former grain warehouse, this is one of the largest centres for contemporary art in Europe.

Henry Moore Institute 74 The Headrow, Leeds, Yorkshire
The Henry Moore Institute is a centre dedicated to sculpture. Based in the heart of Leeds, the Institute comprises three integrated elements: exhibitions, research and collections.

National Museum of Photography, Film and Television Little Horton Lane, Bradford, Yorkshire
The Museum’s renowned collection includes more than three million items of historical, social and cultural value. These include three key ‘firsts’: the world’s first negative, the earliest television footage and what is regarded as the world’s first example of moving pictures.


Central England

Kettle’s Yard Castle Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Founded by H.S Jim Ede, former curator of the Tate in London as a ‘refuge of peace and order, of the visual arts and of music’.

Gloucester Cathedral 2 College Green, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Constructed in 1089, by order of William the Conqueror, this impressive building has wonderful stained glass windows and architecture to be admired.

Old Dairy Farm Craft Centre Upper Stowe, Nr Weedon, Northamptonshire
A rural shopping experience with unusual gifts, antiques, delicatessen and restaurant.

Rufford Abbey and Country Park Ollerton, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Gallery, craft shops and ceramics centre, set in picturesque parklands.

Sherwood Pines Forest Park Edwinstowe, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Over 450 acres of ancient woodland, with exhibitions, shops and restaurant.

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery Betheseda Street, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Home of the world’s finest collection of Staffordshire ceramics, there are also art exhibitions, and displays of costume, industry and transport, reflecting the lives of the local people.

Coventry Transport Museum Millennium Place, Hales Street, Coventry, Warwickshire
Displaying the largest collection of British road transport in the world, this museum tells the story of the history of transport.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH
First opened in 1885, it is housed in a Grade II listed city centre landmark building. There are over 40 galleries to explore that display art, applied art, social history, archaeology and ethnography.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire
Britain’s oldest public museum, displaying famous collections of art and artefacts from across the world.


South England

Bucks County Museum Church Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
An award winning museum charting the heritage of Buckinghamshire.  With an art gallery and Roald Dahl children’s gallery (charges apply).

Milton Keynes Gallery Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Striking building housing exhibitions of contemporary art.

Falmouth Art Gallery The Moor, Falmouth, Cornwall
One of the leading art collections in Cornwall and features work by old masters, major Victorian artists, British Impressionists, leading maritime artists and contemporary painters and printmakers.

Walford Mill Craft Centre Stone Lane, Wimborne, Dorset
This centre showcases the best in contemporary craft and design.  There is a wide range of pottery, textiles, jewellery, wood and metalwork.

Tolpuddle Martyers Museumn TUC Memorial Cottages, Tolpuddle, Dorchester, Dorset
Charting the famous local story of the farm labourers who were arrested and departed to Australia after forming a trade union in 1834.

Chelmsford Museum and Essex Regiment Museum Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex
Documenting local and social history, with decorative arts, natural history, and mitilaria.

Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum and Memorial Garden Serle’s House, Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire
Historical artefacts from the history of the Hampshire regiment are on display in this fine Georgian House.

Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery St. Faith’s Street, Maidstone, Kent
Exhibiting costumes, life size dinosaurs, fossils and even an Egyptian mummy, in an impressive Elizabethan Manor House.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, Sussex
Re-opened in 2002, this new look museum offers state of the art facilities, fashion, paintings and ceramics.

There are over 50 free museums, galleries and other places to visit in London.  Here is just a small selection.

Freightliners Farm Sheringham Road, Islington, London
Working city farm, in the centre of Islington.

British Museum Great Russell Street, London
Founded in 1753 this is the world’s oldest museum. With 2½ miles of galleries.

National Portrait Gallery St Martin’s Place, London
The largest collection of portraiture in the world.

Tate Britain/ Tate Modern Millbank / Bankside, London
Some of the best British and contemporary art in the world.

Victoria and Albert Museum Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London
An enormous and diverse collection of decorative arts.



National Museum and Gallery Cardiff Cathays Park, Cardiff
Journey back in time to discover dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, the secrets of Celtic, Viking and Roman ancestors and Welsh natural history.

National Woollen Museum Dre-Fach Felindre, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire
Families can have fun following the specially designed trail, ‘A Woolly Tale’, trying their hand at carding, spinning and sewing along the way.

Welsh Slate Museum Llanberis, Gwynedd
The museum building is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain.  Not so much a museum as a pocket of history, showing the relics of the slate industry.

Dylan Thomas Centre Somerset Place, Swansea
A splendid building which houses a permanent exhibition in celebration of the life and works of Dylan Thomas.

Big Pit National Mining Museum of Wales Blaenafon, Torfaen,
Discover what life was like as a miner, go 300ft underground, view the exhibitions and multi-media tour.


Northern Ireland

Ballydougan Pottery Bloomvale House, 171 Plantation Road, Portadown, Craigavan, Co Armagh
This historic thatched house has seen generations of local craftspeople, dating back to 1785.

Armagh County Museum The Mall, East Armagh, Co Armagh
An impressive collection of paintings and artefacts reflecting the lives of the local people.

Ulster Museum Botanic Gardens, Belfast
As Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and present, the museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences.


Make a little time to bake something special this Easter

Of course, no Easter is complete without
Simnel cake. Happy Easter everyone!

Simnel Cake  

Simnel cake

One of the oldest Christian festivals, Easter marks Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Simnel cake has at some point been adopted as a traditional Easter cake.

The 11 marzipan balls on the top represent the apostles, minus the treacherous Judas.

Preparation time – 30 minutes
Cooking time – 2¼ hours
Calories per slice – 722 Kcal
Fat per slice – 30g
of which saturated – 13.2g
Makes – 11 slices
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 250g (9oz), softened
Light muscovado sugar 250g (9oz)
Eggs 4
Plain flour 300g (11oz)
Baking powder 1 tsp
Ground mixed spice 2 tsp
Ground almonds 50g (2oz)
Luxury dried mixed fruit 500g (1lb 2oz)
Lemon 1, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice
White marzipan 500g (1lb 2oz)
Apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam 2 tbsp

1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking parchment.

2 Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour along with each egg. Sift in the remaining flour, baking powder and spice and fold the almonds, dried fruit and lemon zest and juice into the mixture. Spoon half into the cake tin and smooth the surface level.

3 Roll out one third of the marzipan until it’s a circle, just smaller than the cake tin, and lay it on top of the mixture in the tin. Spoon the remaining mixture over the top and level the surface.

4 Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 2–2¼ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment if it starts to brown. When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool.

5 Remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Spread the apricot glaze or jam over the top. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Place it on the cake and smooth down, taking care not to trap any air pockets underneath. Pinch around the edges.

6 Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 pieces and roll each into a ball. Brush a little apricot glaze or jam onto the base of each and evenly space around the top of the cake. Place under a hot grill to brown the marzipan lightly. Remove from the grill and leave to cool before serving.

Cook’s tips
• The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
• If you have a choice of marzipan, choose white marzipan, which has a more natural flavour than golden marzipan.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook available for a short period at just £2.99!

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