8 free activities to do in the summer holidays

Happy little girl petting a pony through a wooden fence

When the kids are off school, finding ways to entertain them can leave a big hole in your wallet. So, to help give you a few ideas on how you can have a great time and save your pennies, we’ve rounded up 8 free activities to do in the summer holidays.

1. Take a trip to the farm

Did you know that there are a few family friendly farms around the UK that are free to visit? If you’re in or around London, Vauxhall City Farm is in the heart of the capital and looks after everything from alpacas to Shetland ponies. They also hold family activities days during the school holidays.

If you’re not down south, Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle upon Tyne lets you meet their animals and even get involved with grooming them, and The Garden House in Stockport boasts everything from pigs to pygmy goats. All these farms are free to enter, although you may want to leave a donation to support their projects.

2. Go to a festival

That’s right, there are a few free festivals in the UK this summer, including London’s Notting Hill Carnival and the Edinburgh Fridge Festival.

Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the August bank holiday weekend and family day is Carnival Sunday. The children’s parade kicks off at 9am and family activities are in Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, along with live music and Caribbean food.

Up in the Scottish capital, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival showcases some of the nation’s best comedy, theatre and creative arts. Running throughout August, there are always free shows you can book, as well as an array of street performers.

3. Enjoy the great outdoors

The UK is famous for its glorious countryside and there are a number of breathtaking walks across the nation you can undertake for free this summer. If you’re after sea views, the South West Coastal Path is a spectacular jaunt starting from Minehead in Somerset and travelling 630 miles all the way to Cornwall. Pick a section of it near you, pack a picnic and enjoy some incredible wildlife and scenery.

If you’re not in that part of the country, there are National Trails dotted all around the UK. The Cleveland Way showcases the best the North York Moors National Park has to offer, or you could take on the stunning Glyndŵr’s Way in Wales. Check out the National Trails website to find a path near you.

If you’re currently financing a caravan or a motorhome, you could even try camping or glamping.

4. Explore a museum

Did you know that many of the UK’s most popular museums are actually free? London’s wonderous Natural History Museum is bursting with stories about our planet’s history, including everything from how dinosaurs roamed the earth to the evolution of humans, as well as impressive displays of sea creature skeletons.

Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is also free to enter and explores 250 years of ideas and innovations originating in the city that went on to change the world. An incredibly interactive museum, you’ll see exciting science experiments and how the cotton industry is interwoven in Manchester’s heritage.

Finally, the North Down Museum in Belfast has a wealth of free attractions to offer, telling the history of the area from the Bronze Age to the present day. Boasting Bangor Castle, the Walled Garden and the Castle Park, as well as their impressive galleries, a trip here is sure to be a varied and fun day out.

5. Get active

With locations up and down the country, Tennis For Free offers free tennis lessons for all ages. Fully inclusive, they run two-hour sessions every week of the year and all the equipment is provided. The sessions are run by professional coaches and supported by local volunteers, aiming to give those who might not usually be able to take part in tennis a chance to enjoy the sport.

6. Read a book

The BookTrust’s Bookstart campaign is the world’s first national book gifting campaign and gives free books to children in England and Wales. Available for children of all ages, the campaign strives to encourage a love of stories, books and rhymes. There are also free packs for children with additional needs, as well as helpful tips and guidance.

7. Discover your local park

Britain is full of local parks and country park estates that you can enjoy with your family for free this summer. If you’re in or around Bristol, Aston Court Estate boasts 850 acres of woodland and grassland, much of which you can explore for free. Similarly in Hertfordshire, the Ashridge Estate offers 80 miles of footpaths, bridal ways and cycle paths for you to explore in around 5,000 acres of woodland.

If you’re London-based, Hyde Park offers an oasis away from the bustling city. Home to Kensington Palace, there are a whole host of free family events in the park throughout August.

8. Visit a lavender field

Did you know four of the England’s prettiest lavender fields are free to visit? These include Somerset Lavender, Norfolk Lavender, Kentish Lavender at Castle Farm and Yorkshire Lavender. All are free to enter and explore, although you can pay for a lavender-scented souvenir if you wish. The best lavender blooms occur from June to August, making it a perfect summer day out.

From farms to festivals and everything in between, there are plenty of free activities to do in the summer holidays.

Planning a bigger getaway this summer? Check if you can spread the cost by viewing your loan and credit card options or take a look at our holiday loan options.

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