On average, parents spend over £600 on summer activities for their children, but family fun needn’t break the bank. Here are 11 free events happening across the UK that are guaranteed to keep the kids entertained and active throughout the holidays
The summer holidays are for family fun and bonding, but six weeks can often come at a hefty price.
This summer, parents are set to spend an average of £624 on entertaining their children according to research by Post Office Money. No wonder 4 in 10 parents are worried about the cost of family outings.
Here’s a selection of free events happening across the UK to keep your family happy, healthy and active this summer…
1) The Art of Trees outdoor exhibition
The Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium Society have produced over 100 artworks for a special outdoor exhibition. Pop your walking boots on and breathe in the fresh air as you explore this unique gallery.
When: Until 30 September
Where: Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Cranbrook, Kent
Who: Suitable for all ages
Visit bedgeburypinetum.org.uk for more information
Please note: day admission to Bedgebury does apply to your vehicle, or you can choose to buy an annual membership for unlimited admission all year round for one or two cars at the same address (apart from Christmas Day).
2) Fort Nelson’s History Live!
Give your kids a history lesson they’ll never forget at the fascinating Fort Nelson, where they’ll step back in time with a costumed Victorian engineer and find out what life was like in the 1800s. Educational and interactive, this event is great for energetic and curious young children.
When: 17-18 August
Where: Fort Nelson, Hampshire
Who: Young children/all ages
Visit royalarmouries.org for more information
3) Harry Potter tour of London
This Wonders of London walking tour is one for Harry Potter super-fans. A knowledgeable guide will show you the locations and landmarks that feature in the films and books, meaning there will be plenty of photo opportunities for the social media wizards in your family. It’s a free tour, but you’re encouraged to ‘pay what you want’.
When: Saturdays and Sundays throughout August, 3-5pm
Where: Meet outside Embankment tube station, finish in Leicester Square
Who: All ages, but be advised the walking tour is 2 hours long
Visit wondersoflondon.co.uk for more information
4) Let’s Fish! Learn to fish sessions
The Canal & River Trust set up the Let’s Fish campaign to encourage more people to take up angling, a hobby that keeps you fit and can improve concentration. All you need to do is book a time slot and show up; all the equipment is provided and you will be supervised by professional, qualified angling coaches. Sessions take place in multiple locations across the UK, so you won’t miss out.
When: Multiple time slots available
Where: Multiple locations across England
Who: All ages
Visit canalrivertrust.org.uk to find a Lets Fish! event near you
5) Mirfield Agricultural Show
From farm animals to cycle stunt displays, craft stalls, sheep shearing and a classic car display, there’s so many reasons to attend this family-oriented agricultural fair that regularly attracts over 10,000 people. Tickets are free for under-16s (adult tickets are just £6) and there’s even a free shuttle bus to and from the event, so you can save on travel costs, too.
When: 18 August
Where: Showground Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, Yorkshire
Who: All ages
Visit mirfieldshow.com to book tickets and find out more
6) Disco Loco
Award-winning cultural organisation Hackney Showroom are hosting their popular Disco Loco events at the Southbank Centre this summer, featuring family-friendly DJ sets and live performances that last all afternoon. This is a wonderful opportunity to encourage your children to make new friends and get moving!
When: 18 and 26 August, 12-5pm
Where: Royal Festival Hall, Riverside Terrace, Southbank, London
Who: All ages welcome, but kids aged 4-10 will enjoy it most
Visit southbankcentre.co.uk to book tickets
7) Junior Parkrun
Make the most of the warm weather and encourage your children to take part in a 2km junior parkrun, which take place on Sunday mornings in green spaces across the country. They’re made for kids aged 4-14, and are always inclusive and safe ¬– plus it’s a great excuse for parents to get active with them. Older teens can try their hand at the Saturday 5km parkruns, too.
When: Sunday mornings (Saturday mornings for regular parkruns)
Register your child’s place at parkrun.org.uk
8) Geocaching in the Brecon Beacons
More likely than not your teenager is attached to their smartphone, so why not take advantage of that on your next family day out? Geocaching involves using GPS to locate ‘caches’ that people have hidden away. Think of it as high-tech orienteering crossed with a grown-up treasure hunt. You can download geocaching maps for beautiful outdoor spaces such as the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s challenging, it’s good exercise and it costs nothing.
Where: Brecon Beacons National Park, or nationwide
Who: All ages
Visit geocaching.com/play for more information on how to take part
9) Cumberland House Natural History Museum, Portsmouth
There’s over 114,000 collected natural specimens in Portsmouth’s Museum to explore, as well as a butterfly house and new observational beehive, where up to 9,000 European Honey Bees live in a colony! You can easily while away an afternoon here.
Where: Southsea, Portsmouth
Who: All ages
Visit portsmouthnaturalhistory.co.uk for more information about exhibitions and opening times
10) Devizes International Street Festival
Prepare to be entertained as you see some of the best street performers, contemporary circus acts, dancers and musicians perform on the streets of Devizes. Pack a picnic or feast from the food market, browse the craft stalls and hang out with the locals in this fun day out. Programmes are available at a cost of £1.50 online or £2 in print.
When: 25th & 26th August
Where: Devizes Green
Who: All ages
Visit docadevizes.org.uk/street-festival for more information
11) Roskilly’s Farm, St Keverne, Cornwall
Take the kids to see what really goes on in a working farm where they can watch the Organic Jersey cows being milked, then enjoy the infamous ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlour. There’s also beautiful trail walks, a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, and a whole host of other animals you can get up close and personal to including goats, pigs, sheep, turkeys and chickens.
When: All summer
Where: Southern Cornwall
Who: All ages
Visit roskillys.co.uk for more information about what’s going on
Looking for more fun things to do with the little ones this summer? The Vitality Healthy Kids hub is full of fun activities, healthy recipes and useful tips and tricks to ensure your kids learn healthy habits from a young age.