25 Ways to Entertain the Kids for Free or Cheap in the Holidays

There are lots of ways to keep the kids entertained during the holidays, here are some that are free or low cost, and actually rather good!

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Another half term is over and my bank balance is certainly feeling it. I wanted to do things with the children, and whilst we did do some free activities and even had one day at home lounging, it still mounted up. I’ve been looking into ways to entertain the children for free, cheap or very little for the coming Easter and Summer holidays, without resorting to any quick loans. I know, I just mentioned the summer holidays, I’m dreading it already. Can’t it stay winter? Anyway, the seasons march on and I do like the spring, with all the flowers emerging and the weather is probably at it’s best temperature.

Here’s my list of low-cost or free activities and days out for the holidays that can be applied to any area of the UK:

  1. The Woodland Trust have lots of free downloadable activities and wet weather crafts you can do, and there are lots of locations around the UK. You can become a nature detective on their website.
  2. If you’re a member of the English Heritage, you can get into lots of attractions for free with up to 6 children, so you could take some of the kid’s friends out for the day (bank those babysitting credits). If you pay monthly, it works out at about £3.63 per month.
  3. Take them to your local Pets at Home store, they offer small animal workshops during school holidays.
  4. Get baking – it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, check out these easy ideas from the BBC Good Food website.
  5. Hobbycraft also offer mini workshops and craft activites during school holidays, with all the materials provided. See your local Hobbycraft for details.
  6. If you or anyone you know is a National Trust member, you get free entry to a lot of attractions, gardens and stately homes which have activities and trails for kids to do, plus you get free parking.
  7. If you’re near a Dobbies garden centre, they run a monthly Little Seedlings club which is free for 4-10 year olds on a Sunday. You need to book and a parent must attend. It lasts around 45 minutes to an hour.
  8. Feeling lazy? Check out my Lazy mums guide to the summer holidays, with lots of tips on easy activities.
  9. If you shop at Tesco and use your clubcard, the vouchers can be exchanged for up to double the value on days out and trips using clubcard boost. We used ours last year for a year’s membership to a local attraction.
  10. Visit Heart of England, they have lots of vouchers and deals on their website.
  11. Get crafty – use household items to make junk models, get them painting outside or try my no mess kids painting activity.
  12. Sign up to Littlebird for lots of 2 for 1 deals, and great deals on local attractions and days out – they are purely for families and children.
  13. Similarly, Groupon and Wowcher often have good deals on as well as their goods and experiences.
  14. If you regularly travel by train, your train ticket can get you 2 for 1 deals or discounts in association with Days Out Guide. Register with them and find and print out the vouchers when you travel by train.
  15. If you’re going to the cinema, go to the children’s cheap screenings early in the morning.
  16. Liverpool’s International Music festival if you’re close and your kids like music, it’s free and this year is on 20th-23rd July.
  17. Museums are often free, check out your local ones, and then your next nearest towns. They often offer free activities for the kids during school holidays.
  18. Art galleries too are often free, and you could take your own treasure hunt or make it more fun by getting them to sketch their favourite painting.
  19. If you’re in my neck of the woods, in Kent there’s the Faversham Hop Festival on 2nd and 3rd September 2017, which has free entry and celebrates the golden days of hop picking. There’s street theatre, morris dancing and food and drink stalls.
  20. Try Geocaching – it’s like a giant treasure hunt, and there are so many around now, plus it involves technology, so the kids are bound to get on board. It’s free, but you might want to take something to leave behind. Visit the Geocaching website to find out more and if there’s a local geocache near you.
  21. The Bristol Ballon Fiesta is a free four day festival – you have to pay for parking, but it’s only £12.50 if you book in advance. This year it’s on 10-13th August.
  22. Pop along to your local library, they often have free trails and activities in the holidays, plus you can get books and resources out for free.
  23. There are a number of cool and impressive science experiments you can do with your kids using items and ingredients you have in the home.
  24. If you’re near or in London, book a free visit to the Sky Garden in advance.
  25. Also in London, Golders Hill Park has a small zoo, wildlife area and play area, and it’s free.
  26. Go to your nearest beach and throw stones in the sea! (bonus tip)


Disclosure: this is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own. Contains some affiliate links.

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