10 things to do for less than £10 this summer

Summer is here and, even if you’re staying on home turf, you are likely to be planning a few days out.

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But the expense of attractions and events can be enough to put people off. It doesn’t have to be like that though – the UK has some fantastic things you can do for a very low cost, or even for free. Here are 10 of our best picks.

Enjoy our capital

The excitement and buzz of the capital this summer means it’s a great place to be, but luckily you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy it.

Of course, visiting all the fantastic free venues such as the National History Museum are always fun, but how about heading to one of the more unusual exhibitions showcasing this summer?

For example the V&A Museum are showcasing 60 years of beautiful ballgowns in their British glamour exhibition, which you can enjoy for just £10. Or how about heading to the Cartoon Museum on Little Russell Street which exhibits British cartoons, caricature and comic art from the 18th century to today?

You could also consider one of the rooftop outdoor cinema screenings being held this summer. The main venue is the Queen of Hoxton, where films are shown five nights a week and, with the odd exception, screenings will set you back just £10. You’ll be able to sit in a comfy director’s chair – just remember to dress warmly and bring a blanket!

If the sun makes an appearance, why not head to Hyde Park and either rent a deck chair for a cost of around £2, of if you’re feeling more energetic, hire a Boris Bike.

Bike docks are located throughout central London and cost just £1 to gain access for the whole day. Providing you ride in 30- minute sessions you won’t pay a penny more, just drop your bike into one of the ‘docks’ and wait five minutes until you release it again. 

Be a culture vulture

If you’re a history lover, then why not take a trip to one of the UK’s many castles where you can step back in time and explore the ruins of a bygone era.

For example, for just £4.50, (£2.70 for children), you could visit Peveril Castle in the Peak District, one of England’s earliest Norman Fortresses. 

Or how about a visit to the dramatic Tintagel Castle in Cornwall? It’s perched high on a cliff and rumoured to have been home of the Knights of the Round Table. Prices are £5.40 for adults and £3.40 for kids.

English Heritage holds a number of events at varying castle locations during the summer. For example, between July 21 and August 27, you can watch knights in a ‘grand medieval joust’ at Pendennis Castle, while receiving entertainment from a jester and partaking in medieval games. 

An adult ticket would set you back £9.40, while a child’s ticket would cost just £6.40.

For something a bit different

We all want to escape from the daily grind so take advantage this summer to attend some unusual events.
For a real spectacle, why not head to Arundel Bath Race on August 19? This race sees 33 teams take to the river in bath tubs transformed into weird and wonderful sailing vessels.

Previous years have seen a pedal-powered casino table with working roulette wheel, the ‘Village People’ performing 70’s moves mid-river and Postman Pat has even made an appearance.

After the race you can enjoy a barbeque, wander around stalls, and listen to live music. The race is free to watch and proceeds made from the rest of the day go to charity.

Take to the sky

OK, so maybe it won’t be you taking to the sky but you can certainly be a spectator. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, held between August 9 and 12, offers free entry and attracts more than 500,000 visitors every year.

As Europe’s largest hot air balloon event, you can watch daily hot air balloons ascents, displays, entertainment and fireworks.

For real aviation fans, how about a trip to the biggest free air show in the world? Eastbourne air show will feature fast jets, historic aircraft and parachute displays among others.

You will also be able to enjoy evening concerts, stands and fireworks. Again, the event is being held between August 9 and 12.

For music lovers

Nothing sums up summer better than a carnival or festival, and August sees carnival season get into full swing at locations around the UK.

The famous Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, while on 11 and 12 of the month, Manchester holds its Caribbean Carnival and Festival in Alexandra Park. Expect steel bands, floats, a fairground, Caribbean food and stages featuring soca, reggae and calypso music.

If carnivals aren’t your thing but you’re still hoping to take in some music this summer, there are a number of other free and low-cost music events around the country.

Palmers Green in London hosts the Electric Blues Club free Sunday Sessions through August. Just pack a picnic and head to the bandstand in Broomfield Park from 1-5pm. You’ll be able to enjoy a variety of pop, soul, jazz, blues and rock.

Shrewsbury is holding Quarry Fest on Saturday September 1. For £10 your ticket will entitle you to four hours of live music, with proceeds going to charity.

For the foodies

There are numerous farmers' markets held around the country which make for a great day out. You’ll be able to tantalise your taste buds by trying anything from ostrich meat to buffalo.

While entry is usually free, how much you spend will be up to you. Winchester is the country’s largest with 95 stalls and is held on the second and last Sunday of each month, while Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday. To find the nearest one to you, simply type your postcode into Localfoods.org.uk.

Food festivals are also a great low-cost day out. The Isle of Wight holds its annual Garlic Festival which, among its 300 stalls, features local produce alongside all things garlic! Entry costs on average £8 for adults and £5 for children and also features cookery demos, music and art and crafts.

Other events include The Big Onion Food and Drink Festival on August 24-25, the Sheffield Food Festival on August 14 and, for the real ale fans out there, the Great British Beer Festival in Earl’s Court is held on August 7.  They all cost under £10 to attend.

Back to nature

For a day away from the rat race or stuffy office, why not get back to nature and visit your local woods? Be it a peaceful stroll or taste of adventure, the Woodland Trust will inspire you with ideas on their website. For example, you could help the kids build a den by following their step-by-step guide.

Fitness fanatics, on the other hand might like to try ‘parkour’. This is the practice of free running using obstacles which you have to get over, under or around without stopping. The natural resources offered by woodlands make this the ideal terrain for parkour, so to learn the basic moves check out the Woodland Trust’s video.

For the bargain hunters

It’s all very well talking about free days out, but sometimes you just want to spoil yourself with a nice restaurant meal. If you’re planning on spending around £10 on this, why not get more for your money?

On MoneySupermarket’s deals and vouchers channel you can currently get 25% off at Pizza Express and Zizzi. At Ask Italian kids can eat free. And Strada is offering a massive 40% off pizza, pasta and risotto.

Cheap theatre tickets

Lovers of the stage can benefit by keeping their eyes peeled for cheap tickets. For example, by claiming your voucher through MoneySupermarket, kids can see a West End production entirely for free.

Look into offers that your local theatre may be running. For example, you could enjoy front row seating at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for just £9 if you call on the day of the performance or turn up at the box office.

Make your TV debut

TV companies will often release a certain number of free tickets for various shows – but you’ll have to be quick as they’ll be handed out on a first come first served basis.

To be in with a chance, go to one of the many websites that offer these such as Lostintv.com. By registering with the site, you will receive alerts of tickets being released and will be able to apply for a free ticket.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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