04 July 2017

Entertain the kids this summer without blowing the budget

Kids can't wait for the end of term and the start of the school holidays and all the adventures it will bring. Meanwhile, parents are wondering how much keeping them entertained for six weeks is going to cost.

But you'll be surprised at how many great activities you can do for free, and there are lots of cheap deals to be had too. Here's some inspiration:

Book a free tennis lesson


Tennis for Free is a charity dedicated to making tennis accessible to everyone and lets you play for free on courts in parks across the UK. 

It also offers free two-hour training sessions to anyone over the age of three, up to 83, and beyond. Visit their website to find your nearest venue.

Enrol for a free outdoor swim and water safety session

Kids love paddling in the waves, messing about in the river or splashing around in a lake. 

To make sure they know how to do it safely, Swim England and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have launched Swim Safe, offering free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged between 7 and 14, in 20 coastal and inland locations across the UK.

Get free tickets to a London show

Theatre tickets are never cheap, but during Kids Week, you can get one free child ticket to dozens of London shows with every adult ticket bought. If you're bringing more children than adults, any additional child tickets are half price.

Shows on offer include What the Ladybird Heard, Matilda the Musical and School of Rock. And, despite being called just Kids Week, the kids go free deal runs for the whole of August.

Two-for-one deals at major attractions

Theme Park

Madame Tussauds, Cadbury World and the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary are among the dozens of two-for-one entry offers you can enjoy in return for going there by train using National Rail's Days Out Guide. Also, if you buy a Kelloggs cereal or snack with their Grown-ups go Free promotion, you can get a free adult ticket for every ticket purchased to Legoland Windsor, Warwick Castle, Alton Towers and many other attractions.

Pick your own dinner

Show the kids where their food comes from at a pick-your-own farm. During July and August, spinach, peas, sweetcorn, runner beans, spinach, courgettes, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and plums are available to pick, reasonably cheaply, right from the plant. Or, why not go for a walk in the countryside and forage for wild blackberries that won't cost a penny?

Make the most of free museums and art galleries

Stuck for something to do on a rainy day in the school holidays? Head to a museum or public art gallery, many of which in the UK are free, including the Science Museum in London, The National Railway Museum in York, The Tate Gallery in Liverpool to name a few. 

They're also getting better and better at catering for kids, with interactive exhibits, living history reenactments, story telling and family activity packs on offer.

The National Trust's list of '50 things to do in childhood'

Nature Trail

The National Trust has compiled an amazing activity list of 50, mostly free or cheap, outdoor adventures in nature that kids should experience before they turn "11 and three quarters".

These include fun stuff like building a den, climbing a tree, catching a crab and going on a nature walk at night.

Go Geocaching

To take part in the "world's largest treasure hunt", download a cheap geocaching app to your smartphone and create an account. There are two million geocaches worldwide – hidden containers with toys and trinkets and a log book you can sign to prove you found it. Once you've found one to hunt out, use your phone's GPS to navigate to its location. You'll be surprised at how many there are near you. Have fun!

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