If money is tight at the moment, this can seem like a near impossible task. But, before you resign yourself to a week or two in front of the TV with the kids, read on – there are some great days out available in the UK over Easter for less than a tenner per person, and many that are completely free.
For wildlife lovers
If your children love all things fluffy and furry, there’s no need to pay a small fortune to visit a big zoo. Instead, do a little research on your local area, looking out for free pets’ corners in parks, places to feed the ducks and even local farms that are suitable for children to visit. You may think little ones yearn to see lions and tigers in zoos, but many will be just as impressed feeding the ducks in a local park.
Or, if your children are fascinated by creatures under the sea, there’s a great offer at Blue Reef Aquariums (in Tynemouth, Portsmouth, Hastings and Newquay) over Easter. Up to six people can get 20% off the entrance costs by using the current voucher on MoneySupermarket, making the entrance fee in the Tynemouth aquarium £7.20 per adult, £5.20 per child aged three to 12, and free for children under three.
And if your child is devoted to your family dog or has been pestering you to get one, there are some interesting events taking place in Manchester museums over Easter. The exhibition “Breed: The British and their dogs” is on at Manchester Museum, with drop-in creative sessions for kids to take part in, such as making a puppet of their pet or favourite animal and painting sessions. The Imperial War Museum North also has “Dogs and war” storytelling sessions on with puppets and pictures to bring the literature to life. Both events are free.
Explore a city
It’s amazing how little many children know about the cities around them, so why not use this Easter to visit a local metropolis and learn something new as a family? It’s completely free to explore cities with the kids and to admire interesting buildings such as The Shard in London, the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and York Minster, or even climb to the top of the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat and look out over the whole of Edinburgh.
If the weather isn’t looking promising and you want some indoor options, take a look at what’s on in the big cities’ museums, as many will have child-friendly activities on and will be completely free to look around. For example, if you and the kids are planning a day out in our capital, there’s a whole host of free events on in the Museum of London from Messy London Tube Maps (where children get to design their own map of the iconic transport system) to The Famous Magic Circle (where budding magicians will get the opportunity to learn a trick or two).
And if you want to get to know a city by taking a tour on a hop-on-hop-off bus, make sure you don’t pay full price. MoneySupermarket currently has an offer for 20% off City Sightseeing tours, making the York tour £8 an adult and £3.20 a child. Alternatively, there are a number of arranged walks in York such as Viking Walks for £5 per adult and £3 per child setting off from All Saints Church on Parliament Street.
Breathe in the sea air
You don’t need to jet off overseas for sea and sand this Easter as there’s plenty going on in the UK’s beach resorts to keep all of the family entertained. Why not visit one of the classic seaside destinations such as Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool as it’s free to build sandcastles, paddle in the sea (weather permitting) and stroll along the pier?
And, if you want a back-up plan in case of rain, browse local websites to see what events are taking place for families over Easter. In Brighton, for example, there’s a sand sculpture festival from April 8 where you and the kids can marvel at what the talented artists have created. Tickets cost £6 for adults and £4 for children. Alternatively, if your children love reading, there’s a free exhibition on in the Hove Museum about the popular author Jacqueline Wilson called “Daydreams and Diaries”.
Take a stroll in the countryside
Or, if we’re lucky enough to get some good weather this Easter, why not make a picnic, don some comfortable shoes and plan a stroll in the countryside with the kids? If they need persuading that walking is an exciting activity, you could set them a challenge to spot certain types of wildlife on your ramble with a prize for the child who sees the first daffodil or spots the most lambs.
There are plenty of events in the great British countryside to keep children of all ages entertained too. If you’re in the Lake District, for example, there’s a Beatrix Potter egg hunt on April 4 where 50 ceramic eggs will be hidden near to the area’s lakes and waters. You need to register before taking part and give a minimum donation of £2 to Water Aid.
And, if you want to look around one of Britain’s magnificent properties, look online before you go to see if you can get a discount. For example, MoneySupermarket has an offer at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland where a child can go free with every paying adult. This makes the entrance fee £9.75 for an adult and a child – with children under the age of five going free.
For little bookworms and film fans
You don’t need to travel far to find free events this Easter – a great starting point is your local library where little bookworms will feel right at home. So, get online and find out what’s on near you. In Surrey, for example, there’s a Pirate workshop for seven to 10-year-olds in Farnham on April 4, while Guildford library is holding a Horrible Histories competition for children aged five to 12 until April 13 (you’ll need to pick up an entry form).
Alternatively, children who are enthralled with the world of The Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG will love visiting The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire. And, there’s currently a two-for-one-offer on tickets there, making the entrance fee £6.60 for two.
If you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids during a shopping trip, The Disney Store has free events based around the return of Finding Nemo to the cinema. In certain stores, children can learn how to speak and move like the turtle Crush from March 24 to April 14.
Other tips to save money on days out
- Before planning any day out with the family, check if there are any discount vouchers online.
- If you want to eat in a restaurant while you’re out and about, look for one where you can get money off. Or, to save even more, take your own packed lunch.
- Pre-book tickets for any trips you plan to make by train over Easter online in advance. Even booking the night before can save you money.
- If you are driving to an attraction, do a little research on where to park rather than turning up and paying over-inflated costs because you’re lost.
- Take a look at our latest video 'How to save money on family days out' for more inspiration.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.