School’s nearly out for the holidays – yes, it’s arrived already! – and for families this can mean an expensive summer: the kids need entertaining daily and there’s only so many times you can visit the local park or stick them in front of the TV!
If you’re living on a tight budget like most of us then fear not, we have compiled the ultimate list of cheap family days out! For £20 or less per day, you can have a fun summer activity at least once a week for the entire summer holidays! You can thank us later.
Money Saving Tips £££
Before we reveal our list, be sure to take note of these money (and stress) saving tips for a successful cheap day out:
- Pack your own lunch and snacks (a cool bag is a must).
- Car share with friends and family to save petrol.
- Research your local bus companies; lots of them do family travel deals such as Arriva who operate in most UK regions – they offer “Days Outs” tickets where a family of 4 can all travel for as little as £13.50.
- Be prepared to leave early doors so you can have a stress-free journey and find good parking.
- If you’re visiting a main attraction it’s usually cheaper to book online in advance and make sure you hunt around for a voucher code before you book anything!
Top Cheap Family Days Out
Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside
Top of the list for summer has got to be a visit to the beach or seaside! Travel time and travel costs need to be considered depending on where you live but once you have reached your beachside destination there’s nothing but free fun to be had. Think swimming in the ocean, building sandcastles, crabbing or just chilling on the sun lounger whilst the kids run about! Use sites like Beach Huts and Beach Huts 4 Hire to find affordable beach huts to rent for the day – they provide the ideal base! The biggest plus that comes with spending a day by the sea is that it tires the children out so you are sure to get a good night’s rest!
Forest and Country Parks
Forest parks like Fineshades in Northamptonshire provide plenty of nature trails (and much-needed shade) if you’re an adventurous family and country parks like Ferry Meadows in Cambridgeshire cater well to all ages with playgrounds, water sports and donkey rides. Most parks will charge a parking fee but otherwise access is free! Be sure to pack a picnic and take some extra pennies for ice-creams!
Day (or Night) At The Museum
Probably the most underrated fun has got to be exploring museums – which by the way are super cheap or often free entry! If you’re luckily enough to live in a big city like London or Bath then you are spoilt for choice but smaller museums have lots of charm too and often have child-friendly play areas and free activities. Museums are also usually found in easy-to-reach locations so visit the Museum Association Organisation to discover where your nearest museum is.
Farms and Animal Sanctuaries
If you’re a family of animal lovers then the ideal day out has got to be a visit to a local farm or animal sanctuary. More rural locations will provide lots of farms to choose from but there are even city farms like Mudchute in London – just do a bit of investigating around your local area. Most animal rescue sanctuaries will have open days where you can go and muck in by feeding the animals and cleaning out their sleeping areas; it’s a fun way for children to give something back to local communities.
Lidos & Splash Parks
If you live a long way from the beach, then another great option for water activities are lidos and splash parks. The big waterpark attractions can cost a fortune but you can seek out local water spots that are a lot cheaper and sometimes free! Letchworth Splash Park in Hertfordshire is free and if you go on a Sunday then parking is free too! Maldon Splash Park in Essex is only £2.50 per twenty minute session and London has lots of lidos dotted about that can cost as little as £2 per person.
If you have a dinosaur-mad child then there are plenty of places to visit for some Jurassic fun. If you’re London-based then the National History Museum is worth a visit (it’s free!). Down in Devon there’s Dinosaur World which offers an affordable day out and up in Dumfries and Galloway, Dino Park sells family tickets (2 adults & 2 children) for £17. Even if you’re not into dinosaurs, it’s an adventurous day out and most of the dino parks have playgrounds and good children’s facilities.
For train obsessed children check out Trains for Kids to discover affordable days out near you. You will find that most of the train operators offer family tickets and have a range of special events throughout the summer. It’s a great way to see a bit of the country and get some fresh air in those lungs!
If none of the above is for you, then head over to VisitEngland.com to find free family events is by using the filters selecting “family” and “free.”
If you’re smart-phone savvy then download the HOOP app which is designed specifically for families. Simply enter your location and the ages of your children and the app will hunt down all best activities in your area.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, just remember to enjoy this special time with your children because before you know it they’ll be all grown up and then you’ll be begging for their attention!