If you’ve run out of ideas on ways to spend your spare time without blowing your budget – don’t fret. We all need to tighten our purse strings so it’s important to make savings where we can, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a good time! So take a look at our ideas for ways to enjoy yourself without spending a fortune.
- Fun ideas that won’t cost you a penny
- Something for the kids
- Music, film and theatre
- Get active
- Chill out
Get free entertainment
Just go to the BBC website where you can apply for free tickets to tour and live events, check out new music with promotional events, or be in the audience of your favourite TV show. Another great site is Lost In TV where you can apply for tickets to other TV network shows like The Chase and The Paul O’Grady Show. Add yourself to their mailing list to receive updates on any new dates of upcoming shows.
Free entry Museums and galleries
People often forget that here are plenty of museums and art galleries that are absolutely free for everyone to enjoy so
catch an exhibition near you. London is home to some of the most famous museums in the world and a great starting point is the national collections – for information on national collections in London, the north of England, Wales and Scotland go to Visit Britain. There are many museums and galleries offering a variety of exhibitions to suit almost anyone. Football lovers might want to head to Preston, Lancashire, for the National Football Museum which is crammed full of memorabilia like the ball from the 1966 World Cup and Maradona’s shirt from the infamous ‘hand of God’ game. If science is more your thing try the fantastic Science Museum for some amazing interactive exhibitions.
Go to the beach
If the sun is out get yourself down to the beach for some fun and games. You don’t need blazing heat to enjoy yourself at the beach you can play bat and ball, collect some shells, hunt for crabs or simply chill out with a good book by the peaceful ocean. Search for your nearest beach at the Good Beach Guide website. Make sure you’re fully prepared with plenty of sunscreen if it is sunny. Go to your nearest Boots for buy-one-get-one free offers on sun care products.
Take a walk
Walking is another great free activity. You can take in some beautiful sights and all at absolutely no cost, except for the obligatory ice-cream of course! Find walking routes for your chosen destination. If you live in London and fancy exploring a different side of the capital try one of five innovative audio walks from Soundmap which are narrated by local experts and feature music, history and interviews. They can now be downloaded for free on to an MP3 player or CD, at the Soundmap website.
Read our article on other ways you can live for free.
A day of rollercoasters and rides is always a great way to spend the day together as a family and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Try Lastminute.com for some really great deals on tickets to all the major UK parks. If you’re not sure which one to go for you can find guides for all the UK parks. Also remember you can use your loyalty points at lots of theme parks so get your Tesco points, Nectar points and Avios together and get the trip for free! Nectar points are worth double at Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers at the minute – 500 points gives you £5 off – so there’s no excuse to not get out there!
Fun at the Zoo
Always a great day out for the whole family. Go to a website for a list of all the major zoos in the UK plus a list of the smaller zoos and wildlife centres.
Stay at home
If the prospect of spending your free time in traffic jams and crowds fills you with dread why not stay at home? It’s an ideal opportunity to have some fun with your kids and get creative. You can bake and decorate some cookies, try some arts and crafts or just spend some time in the garden. Amazon is great for bargains on outdoor toys and games for the kids to enjoy.
A Bit of Culture
Leave the organising to someone else and find an English Heritage event near you. They can usually be trusted to come up trumps with lots of fantastic days out all over the country – particularly on Bank Holiday weekends or school holidays.
Wet weather plan
Good weather is rarely guaranteed in this country so try out Dayoutwithekids.co.uk where you can search for family outings by region, age group and even more helpfully you can opt for either indoor or outdoor activities. You’ll be able to find lots of great places plus all the contact details you’ll need, so that you can entertain the kids come rain or shine.
See your favourite singers on stage for a night you’ll never forget. Seatwave have tickets for lots of artists – you can search by region and see how many tickets are left for each concert so take a look now.
Save money on theatre tickets at Lastminute.com where you can find all kinds of dinner-and-show deals to suit your budget. They also have plenty of tickets for stand-up comedy, so do have a browse.
Save on cinema tickets: You can get 2 for 1 tickets with Orange Wednesdays. Orange customers can text FILM to 241 from their phone and they will be sent a code which you show at the cinema. If you’re not with Orange (now EE) you can always just buy an EE pay-as-you-go Sim card and put a small amount on it to take advantage of the offer.
Vue also runs special ticket offers for kids and teens. The ‘Kids AM’ screenings, running nationwide on weekends and during school holidays, let kids aged 2-12 into morning showings of selected films for just £1.75 – accompanying adults can also get in for this price. Teenagers aren’t left out – some Vue cinemas also offer ‘Teen Screen’ and will let anyone aged between 13 and 18 in to see recent releases from just £2.
Be a daredevil
Try Virgin Experience days for loads of ideas about exciting ways to spend the weekend. You can take a balloon ride, go paint-balling, abseil or even take a helicopter ride.
Learn to sail by joining a local sailing club like Aquarius Sailing Club. An annual membership here costs £55. By joining a club you can attend racing events and even take part yourself.
Rock climbing is one of Europe’s fastest growing sports. You’ll be able to get lessons for various ages and skill levels at a centre like this one in Nottingham.
This is loads of fun and perfect for a big group of mates who love the idea of spending the day shooting each other. The Paintball Guide UK has a really comprehensive list of paintball venues. You can also find out the prices on their site as well as book either a half day or full day paintballing.
Get pampered: If an action-packed weekend isn’t your idea of fun why not treat yourself to some pampering with a day at a health spa? You can soothe away the aches and pains of a busy working week with a sauna, or detox to get yourself ready for swimming-costume season, and don’t forget to hunt for a spa-day bargain at Lastminute.com.
Go to a restaurant
Take a break from the cooking duties and make sure it doesn’t cost you a fortune by paying a visit to OpenTable where you will find loads of brilliant offers for restaurants all over the UK. When you book with them you gain reward points when you rate and review the meal. Once you’ve got enough points, OpenTable will treat you to a meal absolutely free! Lucky Londoners can even get an amazing 50% off the total food bill in selected restaurants. Another option is 5pm which works in the same way as OpenTable by giving you loyalty points which you can then save up to get that precious free meal.
Have a pub lunch
Going out for a yummy pub lunch is always a great way to spend a lazy Sunday (especially after a hectic Saturday night!) so ring all your mates and bring along a pack of cards and some board games for a chilled out afternoon. Try Fancyapint where you can search for a pub near you by location, station, name or rating.
Stay in a hotel
Forget about the household chores for one weekend and treat yourself to a weekend in a hotel. For some fantastic last minute deals go to Laterooms.com where you can save up to 50% off on rooms in B&B’s, cabins, hotels and even castles!
It’s not everyone’s idea of a good way to relax but for lots of us shopping is the perfect way to spend a free afternoon. Retail therapy doesn’t have to be expensive either, there are always sales on somewhere so hunt down the best and see our article on affordable fashion for some more ideas.