Cheap and free things to do this May Bank Holiday

With a Bank Holiday right around the corner, we've rounded up plenty of cheap and free things to do to entertain the family.

This weekend is the first Bank Holiday of the summer, but you don't need to spend a fortune. There are plenty of things you can do to have fun without having to break the bank!%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Lowry Outlet Food Festival
It's the first ever Lowry Outlet Food Festival up in Manchester between the 4th and 6th May. There's more than 80 stalls, plus celebrity chef demonstrations from the likes of Gino D'Acampo, James Martin and Paul Hollywood, and even live music.

Entry is free, though you will need to buy tickets to see the demonstrations.

Magnificent Motors
Eastbourne is host to the Magnificent Motors festival this weekend, boasting more than 500 vintage and classic cars, motorbikes and buses.

It all takes place on the seafront and is absolutely free.

Watch people get muddy
The Maldon Mud Race takes place in Maldon, Essex on Sunday 5th May.

It only costs you a charitable donation to watch hundreds of crazy people run through the mud of the River Blackwater at low tide.

The scarecrow festival!
Head to Urchfront in Wiltshire this weekend and you can check out the scarecrow festival. Each year as many as 50 scarecrows are made by local families to meet a theme. You can take part in a scarecrow trail, matching the scarecrows to the cryptic clues in the programme.

Free superheroes!
If you're in Leeds, head down to the Royal Armoury this weekend and check out the Arms & Armour of the Superhero exhibition. You can learn about the armour and combat skills of your favourite heroes, take part in an art masterclass and even have your photo taken with the likes of Batman, Wolverine and Iron Man.

And it won't cost you anything!

Teddy Bears Picnic
If you head down to Wentworth Castle on Bank Holiday Monday, you're in for a big surprise!
There's a teddy bears picnic going on, featuring a teddy home-made fancy dress competition, and lots of games and activities.

Entry is free for children who bring a teddy, while adults will have to pay £5.50.

Canalway Cavalcade
If you're around Paddington in London, head down to Little Venice where you can check out the Canalway Cavalcade, a waterways festival where there's a boat pageant, shows and stalls, Morris Dancers and all sorts of activities for the kids.

Entry is absolutely free.

The Dales Festival of Food & Drink
If you're near Wensleydale, head to Leyburn for the Dales Festival of Food & Drink.

There's more than 80 exhibitors, free cookery demonstrations, displays on how farmers' produce ends up in your supermarket and even a real ale festival.

Entry is free for under 16s, while adults will have to pay £8.

The Chilli Festival!
If you love your food with a kick, then head to the Eastnor Chilli Festival at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.

There will be more than 40 exhibitors, offering curry sauces, pastes, pickles and jams as well as a cookery theatre and live music.

Tickets are £9.50 for adults.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway
The Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway is holding a Family Fun Weekend, featuring circus skills workships, RSPB crafts, guided walks and Roman coin rubbing.

Entry is free though some activities will carry a charge.

National Trust events
Many National Trust locations are staging special events for the Bank Holiday which won't cost you any more than the standard admission charges.

For example of Sunday 5th May at Godolphin in Cornwall you can track the Gruffalo, while Corfe Castle in Dorset is holding a siege of Wareham re-enactment each day and Kingston Lacy near Bournemouth is holding the latest season of '50 things to do before you're 11 ¾'.

English National Surfing Championships
The English National Surfing Championships are taking place this weekend at Watergate Bay in Newquay this weekend.

Star Wars!
Hamleys in Glasgow is being invaded by Star Wars characters on Saturday and Sunday, with appearances from Darth Vader, Imperial Gunner, Wookies, Jedi Knights and even R2-D2.
The event is absolutely free, though you'll be invited to make donations to the CHAS charity.

Llandudno Transport Festival
Apparently the Llandudno Transport Festival is one of the UK's best-loved events. There's costumes, a vintage fairground and a number of attractions.

The festival includes commercial vehicles, tractors, steam engines, classic cars and bikes.
Entry is £6 for adults and £1 for children.

Southampton Maritime Festival
On Saturday and Sunday the Southampton Maritime Festival will be held at Ocean Cruise Terminal in Southampton.

Visitors will be able to visit ships that evacuated troops from Dunkirk, watch some re-enactments, enjoy live music and stage shows and watch diving displays. Admission is free for under 18s, and costs £5 for adults if you book in advance.

Oxfordshire Art Weeks
This one isn't just for the Bank Holiday, but all of May. Across Oxfordshire there's a massive arts festival with more than 500 exhibitions. And entry is completely free.

Family Fun Day at the Florrie
The Florrie is a Grade II listed Victoria building in Toxteth and on Bank Holiday Monday it's hosting a Family Fun Day, with activities, children's entertainer, face painters and even a home safari!

The British Rally Championships
On the 4th and 5th May Carlisle Racecourse will be hosting the Richard Burns Foundation Rally, the second round of the 2013 British Rally Championship.

You'll get to see more than 100 rally cars and some of the world's top racing drivers. And it won't cost you a penny!

10 top ways to add value to your home
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Cheap and free things to do this May Bank Holiday

Of course with all these things, the value it adds depends on the property you have to start with, and the kinds of improvements you make, but Which? estimates the cost of a new kitchen at £8,000 and HSBC calculates the added value to your property at £4,500 - which is a clear loss.

This has been done by 41% of people in the last three years, and 29% of people plan it in the next three. It's cheaper than a kitchen, and Which? estimates the cost at £3,000. This is roughly the same value that HSBC says it will add to your property - so you'll break-even.

It may be difficult, but getting your property ready for sale means depersonalising it. 

Clutter can distract viewers and more than half (60%) of the property valuers who took part in the 2012 HSBC Home Improvement Survey said that the number one way to increase a property's chance of selling quickly, and for a good price, was to de-clutter.

This has been installed by 31% of us in the last three years, and 15% plan it in the next three. Installing central heating is a disruptive job, and according to WhatPrice it will cost you around £3,235. However, this is the first of the top ten to actually pay off. Property expert Phil Spencer says it will add £5,000 to the value.

A quick splash of paint can work wonders on tired-looking walls, and sticking to neutral tones is the safest bet.

Keeping the colour scheme simple, fresh and inviting will help potential buyers to see themselves living in your home.

Some 18% have added one in the last three years, and 30% will in the next three. This is another huge job, but with more people struggling to move and deciding to improve instead, it's increasingly popular. The amount it costs will depend on an enormous number of things, from the area you have to work with, to the size of the extension. However, assuming you add a single room you could spend around £20,000. HSBC estimates it will add around £15,500 to the value of the property, so you are unlikely to gain as much as you spend.

According to Halifax valuers, loft conversions - which require lofts with a roof height of at least 2.4 metres - are a good way to increase the potential sale price of your home.

Be sure to stick to your budget, though. The average loft conversion will cost between £10,000 and £30,000, while HSBC's figures show that they typically add £20,876 to the value of a property.

Putting in new windows adds around £5,265 to the value of the average property and can reap big rewards when it comes to energy efficiency.

It is, however, sensible to ensure that your new windows are in line with the style of your property to maximise the added value - particularly as putting them in can set you back about £5,000.

Off road parking or a garage can be especially advantageous in areas where parked cars line both sides on the street.

Nationwide's figures show that adding a garage, which can cost anything between £8,000 and £25,000, can increase the value of your property by 11%.

Outside space is just as important as inside - especially when people are seeing your home for the first time.

While 63% of the HSBC survey expert respondents said that repainting or varnishing a front door would make a difference, only 23% of homeowners recognised this. Peter Dockar at HSBC said: "It is often the smaller jobs like painting the front door that can make all the difference when looking for a sale."

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