I love the school holidays. My husband is a teacher so it means we get to spend the summer together enjoying outdoor activities together. However, it can also be a time of financial strain, with parents searching for ways to keep children entertained without breaking the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available to ensure that everyone has a fun and memorable summer. Let’s check out some money-saving tips and ideas to help you make the most out of your summer holiday budget.
- 1. Find Discounted Tickets and Deals for Attractions
- 2. Enjoy Free or Low-Cost Outdoor Activities
- 3. Explore Local Events and Activities
- 4. Take Advantage of Restaurant Discounts and Deals
- 5. Embrace DIY and At-Home Activities
- 6. Take Advantage of Free Workshops and Activities in Stores
- 7. Participate in Free Sports Activities
1. Find Discounted Tickets and Deals for Attractions
2-4-1 Adult Tickets to Major UK Attractions
Many theme parks and attractions offer discounts and special promotions during the summer months. One popular promotion is the 2-4-1 adult tickets offered by Kellogg’s on select cereal packs. This deal can be used at various UK attractions such as Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Madame Tussauds, and Blackpool Tower. By taking advantage of these offers, you can save a significant amount on your family’s day out.
National Rail 2-for-1 Deals
If you plan to travel by train, be sure to check out the discounts available with National Rail. They offer 2-for-1 deals on various attractions when you travel by train, which can lead to substantial savings on your summer activities.
Tesco Clubcard and Other Loyalty Programs
Using Tesco Clubcard vouchers can get you cheaper tickets or even free entry into some parks and attractions across the UK. Collect shower gels and soaps from your local supermarket that offers 2-for-1 deals on theme parks and days out across the UK. Furthermore, other loyalty programs like Nectar points can also be used to save money on days out and experiences.
2. Enjoy Free or Low-Cost Outdoor Activities
Parks, Canals, Nature Reserves, and Woods
Spending time outdoors is not only enjoyable but also beneficial for mental health. Local parks, canals, nature reserves, and woods offer excellent opportunities for family bonding and exploration. Children can participate in activities such as bird watching, geocaching, and foraging for wild edible plants. Visit the Woodland Trust or Gov.uk websites to find a park or nature reserve near you.
National Trust or English Heritage Membership
While the initial cost of a National Trust or English Heritage membership may seem high, it can be paid in instalments and covers multiple family trips throughout the year. Memberships grant you free access and parking to numerous areas of outstanding beauty, historic buildings, and castles across the UK. The National Trust for Scotland also offers a cheaper membership option that can be used at Trust properties across the UK.
3. Explore Local Events and Activities
Check Your Local Council for Free Events
Your local council website often lists free organised events in the area, such as book clubs, toddler groups, and workshops at local libraries. These events can provide a fun and educational way to keep children engaged during the summer holidays.
Visit National Museums
Most national museums in the UK offer free entry, with some requesting a small donation. These institutions often have dedicated exhibitions and activities for children during the school holidays, making them an ideal destination for a budget-friendly day out. If you’re in Yorkshire, Leeds Museum is fantastic!
4. Take Advantage of Restaurant Discounts and Deals
Kids Eat for Less or Free
Many popular restaurant chains and supermarkets offer discounts for children during the school summer holidays. For example, Asda cafes offer kids meals for £1, and Sizzling Pubs provide £1 kids meals with every adult meal purchased on weekdays. Bella Italia offers £1 kids meals every Monday to Thursday between 4-6 pm. Similarly, restaurants like Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Cookhouse, and Hungry Horse pubs offer free kids’ breakfasts with the purchase of an adult meal.
Utilise Dining Cards and Apps
Apps like KidsPass provide restaurant deals and codes where children can eat for free. Additionally, dining cards like Gourmet Society and Tastecard can offer discounted meals and cinema tickets, making them a valuable investment for families looking to save during the summer holidays.
5. Embrace DIY and At-Home Activities
Throwback to Retro Playground Games
Introduce your kids to classic playground games like hopscotch, tag, or capture the flag. These games can provide hours of entertainment, encourage physical activity, and require little to no equipment.
Host a Family Game Night
Organise a family game night by dusting off your favourite board games or sourcing them from charity shops and Facebook Marketplace for a few pounds. This is an excellent opportunity to bond with your children while also teaching them strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
Organise a Scavenger Hunt or Geocaching Adventure
Create a DIY scavenger hunt for your children at a local park or in your backyard. Alternatively, introduce them to geocaching, a worldwide treasure hunt requiring only a smartphone or GPS device. Visit websites like geocaching.com, opencache.uk, or terracaching.com to find geocache locations near you.
6. Take Advantage of Free Workshops and Activities in Stores
Apple Store Classes
The Apple store offers various free classes for families, children, and adults, covering topics such as art, photography, music, and coding. These workshops can provide a fun and educational experience for children during the summer holidays.
Animal Workshops at Pets at Home
Pets at Home offers free animal workshops for children aged 5-11, where they can learn about different animals and their care requirements.
Gardening Workshops at Dobbies Garden Centre
Children aged 4-10 can participate in free gardening workshops at Dobbies Garden Centre. These sessions run on the first Sunday of every month and last for 45 minutes to an hour, offering a unique opportunity for children to learn about gardening and plant care.
Arts and Crafts at Hobbycraft and National Gallery
7. Participate in Free Sports Activities
Tennis for Free
Tennis For Free offers children the chance to learn how to play tennis at local parks across the UK. This initiative provides free coaching sessions and equipment, allowing kids to develop their skills without the financial burden of expensive lessons.
Encourage your children to stay active by participating in Junior ParkRuns, which are free, timed 2k runs for children aged 4-14. These events occur weekly at various locations across the UK and promote physical activity and community involvement.
Swim Safe Program
Children aged 7-14 can learn to swim safely in open water through this free program. Swim Safe offers practical, hands-on experience in
So there you have it, loads of ideas for having fun with your kids while not breaking the bank during the summer holidays. If it’s raining, check out my post about things to do at home with your kids on a rainy day.