If you live in the UK you are probably recovering from the February half term or you are starting your first day today, depending on where you are in the country. If you have sent your kiddos back to school today, well done for surviving, if you are embarking on half term today, then I wish you luck (this is entirely tongue in cheek, I promise, we actually had a lovely half term, and I was actually sad to see my kiddos go back to school today, I promise I do quite like spending time with them!!)
We like to go out and explore during the school holidays, and we are lucky enough to live in London and have access to a plethora of museums and places to visit and I generally love going and enjoying our time there, even if admittedly it always seems a little chaotic when places are full of other families have had the same idea…
One thing I have noticed and I am wondering if it’s just me being a moaning old bag (and I could just be being a moany old bag!) but does it seem like a lot of places that are open to the public, that are set up for visitors don’t seem to be prepared to cope well with school holidays and the extra influx of people that will inevitatbly descend on them?
I visited a well known London Museum this week, a National Trust Property and a well known garden in London and at all of them, it seemed to me like there was an aura of shell shock and unpreparedness for extra visitors at half term.
Cafe’s not staffed well, not enough food and kids meals running out, long queues for popular attractions and don’t get me started about waiting in security queues for ages with small children (I know we have to go through security, I have no issue with that, I do however take issue with one person being on the security check, with a queue of over 50 people waiting)
Toilet facilities closed or not running efficiently, events not well manned so children not able to take part and having to wait for longer than normal tolerance.
Entrances closed and not enough staff to direct people properly and explain where to go.
One place even ran out of coffee (which to me is the ultimate failure)
I get that things are busier in holidays, but surely these school breaks are not a surprise to such organisations? It can’t suddenly dawn on them a day before that “oh yes, it’s a national school holiday week, we may have a few more visitors than normal”, surely?
A lot of places run very efficiently and provide a fabulous experience, but to me it’s a sign of the times and cost cutting when a big famous museum doesn’t have enough working lifts and the main escalator to a popular exhibit breaks down and there doesn’t seem to be any effort made to fix it, or send people to a safer route. It actually worries me slightly that given how unprepared they are to deal with an influx of visitors during a school break, how would they actually cope in a real security alert or incident? Is it cost cutting that makes things less organised or do they just not care? I have been to these places when it’s not school holiday, and they are quiet, calm, organised and less frantically shocked!
Or am I wrong and being a moaning old bag? Have you spent the half term in a place where you felt like it being the school holidays was a bit of a shock to their system?
I would love to hear what you think, or you can tell me to stop being so whiney and middle class and find a proper first world problem to moan about, I won’t be offended… 😉