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Cheap UK family days out this summer

published: 29 July 2019
Read time: 5 minutes

The school holidays are upon us and according to our research, the cost of going away is having an impact on families. We look at easy ways to save over the summer.

Two in five (39%) of those taking a holiday are not going abroad this summer and one in five families are not going away at all, according to our latest research.

Cost is cited as the primary reason for those not taking any form of break, with two thirds (65%) saying that financial pressures keep them from planning anything.

Meanwhile, our separate Twitter poll found that 37% of those who took part said they spend an additional £51-£120 per week during the summer holidays and 23% spend more than £120.

To help cut the cost, we’ve found some UK days out which won’t break the bank.

Check out National Trust activities

National Trust sites across the country are running '50 things to do before you’re 11¾' to keep the children occupied over the holidays. It includes everything from foraging for wild food to stargazing to cooking on a campfire. Pick up an activity card at any National Trust site or download one from the website.  

WHEN: See individual opening times.

WHERE: Various across the UK.

COST: Free to take part in, usual admission fees apply.


Family day out

Visit the races

Great British Racing has launched its ‘Under 18s Race Free’ campaign with more than 200 race dates across 60 racecourses across the UK. Many of them have family events with children’s entertainment, fairgrounds, ice cream festivals and fireworks. 

WHEN: For a list of racecourses and dates, visit – and for family fixtures head here.

WHERE: 60 UK racecourses.

COST: Free for children under 18 when accompanied by a paying adult.


Take a trip to the cinema

The great British summer means a rainy day is inevitable. Trips to the cinema are usually costly, especially if you add on snacks and drinks.

However, major cinemas are offering reduced tickets on selected films and days. Odeon, Cineworld and VUE all have junior prices for around £2.50. Just buy your snacks in advance and it’ll cost you far less than at the cinema.

WHEN: Selected days and films.

WHERE: Odeon, Cineworld and VUE across the UK.

COST: £2.49-£2.50 per person.


Get outdoors

Swap screen time and visit your local park this summer. Take a frisbee or ball, pack a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors.

WHEN: Anytime!

WHERE: Find your local Green Flag Award, here.

COST: Free.


My Pet Pals

If your children are pestering you to get a pet, visit your local Pets at Home for a free 30-minute workshop on how to take care of pets. There will be small and friendly animals for your child to learn about pet welfare and taking responsibility.

WHEN: Every Monday-Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 11.30am during the school holidays.

WHERE: Pets at Home across the country.

COST: Free.

SUITABLE FOR: Children aged 5-11

Eat out for less

Bella Italia is offering a summer deal where for every adult who buys a full price meal, kids can eat for £1 from noon everyday excluding Saturdays. The offer is available until 18 August 2019. Sign up here to get your voucher.

WHEN: Every day, except Saturdays, from 12pm.

WHERE: Participating UK Bella Italia.

COST: £1 per child with every full priced paying adult.

SUITABLE FOR: Families and friends.

Sizzling Pubs is also offering children a main meal for £1 with every adult meal purchased when you download the Sizzling Pubs app. Offer is available Monday-Friday between 3pm and 7pm.

WHEN: Monday-Friday, between 3pm and 7pm.

WHERE: A Sizzling Pubs restaurant.

COST: £1 with every adult meal


If you live, or are visiting London, at selected Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants under 12s can eat for free. Meals are available off Tilly’s Treat menu only when an adult is eating from the a la carte menu. Visit any day at any time.

WHEN: Every day, at any time.

WHERE: Participating Gordan Ramsay restaurants in London.

COST: Free with a paying adult.


Take a look online at other restaurants for deals and vouchers. Money Saving Expert has a list of restaurant deals you can take advantage of this summer.

Get educational at a museum

Many museums are free to enter in the UK so why not visit your local one? During the school holidays several museums run free exhibitions too – so look out for what’s on in your area.

For example, the Natural History Museum in London has a hands-on workshop where children can investigate collections in the science centre. Visit for free during the weekends or the school holidays from 10am-5pm.

In the north, there are an array of activities happening at Liverpool’s Museums for all ages. The summer programme is free so take a look at what’s on, here.

WHEN: Every day, check individual museums.

WHERE: Various across the UK.

COST: Many are free.


Play some tennis

Tennis For Free is a charity that provides free local tennis lessons across the UK. There are 110 locations in the UK where you can turn and up and play.

WHEN: Various, click here for a list dates and times.

WHERE: Various across the UK, click here for a list of locations.

COST: Free.


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