12 February 2015

Money-saving ways to spend half term

The school holidays can be expensive, and you might be worrying about how you're going to afford to pay for days out and fun activities this half term. But if you do your homework and think outside the box, there's no need to spend a fortune.

Here's our guide to keeping the little ones entertained without it costing the earth.

Free events around the UK this February half term

  • London's South Bank is hosting the Imagine Festival (9-22 February), a celebration of storytelling with a splash of craft activities and musical events, too.
  • There's free family fun every week with dress-up, art sessions and activity trails at the Museum of Edinburgh, 10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday, including half term.
  • At Manchester Museum, the Living Worlds event (16-20 February) introduces kids to the world of flying animals and there's a chance to make your own butterfly wings.

Stretch your budget further with offers and discounts

There are a host of websites offering money off days out, food and shopping, so with a little careful planning you may not have to pay full price this half term.

Also, booking travel and activities in advance could save you money. Cashback sites such as Quidco.com and TopCashBack.co.uk have money off a range of attractions, while discount voucher sites like VoucherCodes.co.uk often have a choice of reductions too.

Try some cultural treats

Find out what's on at your local library, and see what museums and galleries near you have to offer. For example, Tate Britain regularly hosts free activities during school holidays.

If your children are football fans but you can't afford to pay Premier League prices, you could compromise by visiting the National Football Museum in Preston, which is putting on some special half-term events.

Get active and learn new skills

Many leisure centres are offering free swimming for under-16s, and you can now also swap Nectar points for discounted swimming vouchers. Tennis for Free offers free lessons at a number of courts around the country, so if you've got a budding Andy Murray on your hands you can take advantage of these coaching sessions.

Get creative

There are lots of things you can do to occupy your kids without taking them on expensive trips out. Teaching them how to cook is not only a fun and cheap activity, it also prepares them for later life and gives them an understanding of where food comes from. If you have young children they can help you to make biscuits or peel vegetables, but if your children are a bit older why not get them to plan and prepare the evening meal?

Enjoy the great outdoors

It might be cold and rainy but you don't want your kids to be cooped up indoors all week. Take them to the park and check your local council's website to see what free outdoor activities there are in your area. English Heritage and the National Trust have some great ideas for days out, many of which are free if you're a member.

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