Fun-for-free this summer hols

Keeping the kids entertained over the summer can be a real pain in the pocket, but there are plenty of things you can do which don’t cost a penny.

Research from Nationwide Building Society found parents could easily end up spending around £1,000 per child over the holidays paying for food, days out, treats and childcare.

If they had £1,000 per child to spend, of course!

So it’s hardly surprising that two in five parents are worried about making ends meet.

But you don’t have to fork out a fortune – here’s our rundown of some of the best ways to have fun for free this summer.

Marvellous museums

Lots of museums across the UK don’t charge entry fees.

In London, for example, there’s no charge to get into the British Museum, Horniman Museum and Gardens and the Museum of London, and there are plenty of other free museums and galleries outside the capital too.

According to our travel expert, Bob Atkinson, five top free museums outside London are:

  • Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Museum of Liverpool
  • National Museum, Cardiff
  • Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Sizzling sports

Why not make the most of free sports sessions?

The FA Tesco Skills Programme is running free holiday sessions across the UK this summer.

These last for a morning or afternoon and are available to boys and girls aged between five and 11. Children can only sign up for one holiday session per day during each school holiday.

You can find a session near to you here.

There are also free tennis lessons available throughout the UK. You can find a session local to you at

Terrific toys

Toys can keep children entertained for hours, but you don’t have to shell out for expensive new ones.

Instead, check websites such as and for giveaways.

These sites are effectively networks of local groups where people can offer items they want to get rid of, but don’t want to throw them away because they still have life left in them.

All items listed are free of charge.

It’s free to sign up, and you can even post a ‘wanted’ message for something the children particularly want.

Amazing activities

The internet is a mine of information for anyone looking for free crafts and activities to keep the children occupied this summer.

The website, for example, has lots of pages for all ages which parents can print off, as well as craft ideas and game suggestions.

If you want to get your children out into the fresh air, check out the Woodland Trust’s site which has lots of ideas for outdoor fun, including how to make stick ships and twig towers.

Even just building a den outside should keep them occupied for a good few hours.

Lovely libraries

If you’re not already a member, you can find your local library here.

Many libraries have computers where you can access the internet for free. Most offer free activity sessions as well, such as book readings and story-telling sessions.

Perfect picnics

If you pack a picnic, you can transform a trip to your local park or nearest bit of countryside into a real event. Everyone knows food tastes better outdoors in the sunshine!

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.

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