09 July 2014

Free sporting activities this summer

This should be a summer of sport to remember, with the World Cup, Wimbledon, Tour de France and Commonwealth Games all inspiring us to get active.

We take a look at some of the free initiatives that are available across the country, which aim to get more people involved in sport.

Sky Ride

If you were wowed by the Tour de France as it opened in Yorkshire this year, why not get on your bike? Sky Ride events, which are hugely popular, are big traffic-free cycle rides for people of all ages and abilities. This year, they’re taking place in towns and cities including Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester, Hull and Ipswich.

Each event has a designated route, which is open for a set period, but there’s no official start point or start time, so you can ride as much or as little as you like, and it’s completely free to register.

If you haven’t been out on your bike for a long time you can also get a free expert bike check at Halfords.


If jogging or walking briskly around a park sounds like your idea of fun, parkrun could be just the thing for you. It organises free weekly 5k runs that are open to everyone, and there are hundreds of sites around the country, enabling you to have an invigorating cardiovascular workout without paying for the privilege.

The events take place in pleasant surroundings so you can admire the scenery while you run, and they’re for people of all abilities, from those taking their first tentative steps to Olympians. You never know, you might have Paula Radcliffe running alongside you!

Free swimming

Regular swimming has a lot of benefits to your health because it can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, as well as improve muscle tone and boost your mood.

Many councils across the UK offer free access to swimming pools as part of the legacy of the 2012 Olympics to encourage people to get fit. Some offer free sessions at certain times of the week, while others offer incentives to under-16s and people over the age of 60.

Free football coaching

If, after the action in Brazil, you have a budding Messi or Rooney on your hands you might be interested in taking them for some football coaching.

Look out for a number of free sessions across the country; for example the FA has teamed up with Tesco to provide free coaching sessions for children between the ages of 5 and 11 at skills centres throughout England. Whether your kids want to develop their footballing ability or just have fun during the holidays, it’s a great activity to keep them fit over the summer.

Tennis for free

If you loved Wimbledon, now’s the time to dust off your racket and take part in a free tennis session at a court near you.

Tennis For Free (This link will open in a new window)works in partnership with schools, tennis clubs and local authorities to provide free access to more than 2,500 public tennis courts across the country. There are also free coaching sessions available so you can receive tips on how to improve your game – not that you need them of course!

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