Since it's a sunny bank holiday Monday for once we thought we'd pull together our favourite Days Out style apps to help you find something to do near you.
The English Heritage Days Out app includes 400 English Heritage locations including castles, historic houses, gardens and ruins. It has a very simple interface with three options: Find a place to visit; Near me; or Search. Find a place to visit takes you to the unique Day Out finder wheel that suggests places based on an area you suggest. Search for Castles in Suffolk, for example.
You can also perform a simple search and view the results on a map, or in a list with the suggestions according to proximity to your location. It is also possible to search for English Heritage organised events within 50 miles of your location. Unfortunately there is no way of searching for future events, not even events for the next month. Each venue includes prices, directions, pictures and maps. There are 400 English heritage places to visit.
We love the finder wheel but feel that the app is somewhat limited by the number of English Heritage locations.
2013 AA Days Out Guide
The AA guide features over 1,800 attractions across the country, including visitor centres, stately homes, castles and gardens, theme parks, zoos, museums, and gardens. Once you get past the annoying sign up page - AA apps insist on asking you for details every time you use them, but it’s easy to skip – you'll get to a page explaining the how the app works and what the various icons mean.
Search your location or a location of your choice and the app shows a list of attractions by distance. There’s no map view of all the locations, although once you click through to the venue information there’s a Google Map embedded at the bottom of the page. You can then tap to show the location in the Apple Maps app. Along with the map you’ll find price info, opening times and more.
We miss being able to view all the attractions on a map. It makes planning where to visit easier, especially if you might visit two locations in a day.
Free London Days Out
This free app includes information about free museums, art galleries and attractions to visit in London. Searching by your current location works well but we stumbled a bit when it came to searching for locations in London. Post codes didn’t work and neither did station names, it seems the app can only search by venue name.It strikes us that this makes it difficult to plan what you want to do before leaving home.
When you find a venue you are interested in, along with the description you’ll find opening times, photos and other information, including links to user reviews (some of which are more informative than the official ones in the app itself).
It’s indispensible if you want to find free things to do in London, but the search lets it down.
Days Out With Kids
This is an app for parents looking for somewhere to take the kids. Like the AA app it wants you to hand over information about yourself before you use it, this time via a Facebook sign in. Luckily there’s also an option to Sign in as a guest.
The app can search for things to do with the kids in various areas. Unfortunately some areas lack information, and in some cases a search for an area bought up information about another town altogether – for example, a search for Croydon gave us information for the other Croydon in Cambridgeshire rather then the town in south London. Luckily this app can also search by postcode.
When you’ve searched you can sort and filter your results by type of activity (animals and nature, Landmarks, Museums, etc). Each attraction includes contact details, opening times, facilities, age ranges, you can view the attractions that have been rated by your friends, and store your favourites in a favourites list.
The only thing that really lets this app down right now is the lack of information in some areas. At least it's free so there is no danger of purchasing it and finding out that the area where you live, or plan to holiday, isn't covered
This is VisitEngland's app and it's geared towards people looking for travel inspiration and ideas for a day out or a holiday, suggesting that it's targeted at non-UK tourists. There are over 1000 ideas of places to visit and activities.
GPS will pinpoint your location or you can enter the details of your destination. You can search for indoor or outdoor activities, free activities, as well as popular 'must-see' things to do. There are also hundreds of free ideas.
Each result includes a Google map location. There is also a send a postcard facility that lets you select an image you've taken and send it through the application to be printed as a physical postcard that will be posted to the recipient.
We like the postcard idea, unfortunately there are some pretty random activity suggestions and we kept having to restart the app because it wouldn’t bring up any results.