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!
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, theatre and film
- Virgin Experience Days
- 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 Top Gear and The Masked Singer. 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 check out Visit Britain.
There are many museums and galleries offering a variety of exhibitions to suit almost anyone. Football lovers in Manchester can go to the National Football Museum. If you are a resident of Manchester, you can get free admission! It 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.
Even in cooler months, the beach can be a great place to take a stroll, walk your dog or even just take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and get away from the hectic day-to-day. Wrap up warm and take wander.
Search for your nearest beach at The Beach Guide. Make sure you’re fully prepared with plenty of sunscreen if it is sunny. If it is cold, wear a wooly hat and some good boots. If you are planning on taking a dog, double check the beach allows dogs. Most beaches do allow dogs during the winter months, but some have restrictions in summer.
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. Tesco Clubcard points can be used to get tickets to LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and more! Check out the full list of theme parks here.
Nectar and Avios points can also be used to go to theme parks, as well as cinema trips, dining out and more.
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.
If the weather isn’t great, why not get your children to do a talent show, or play dress up. Look in local charity shops for board games, card games and other entertainment for children. You’ll even be able to find cheap DVDs for them. Plus, there are so many books in charity shops for just pennies.
Our frugal columnist, Jane from Shoestring Cottage, previously wrote about all the cheap and free family activities available for you. Check it out!
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.
Similarly, National Trust sites are great to explore in all weathers. Let imaginations run wild in fabulous manor houses, beautiful gardens and castles reminiscent of story books. Family memberships start at just £6.95 per month. Check out the National Trust website for more.
There are often free gigs and open mic nights in local pubs and bars. See the hottest up and coming talent in your area, a great night out with a partner or friends. If you are a budding singer or musician yourself, why not get involved and put yourself forward to perform?
Skiddle is a great website which allows you to find gigs, festivals and things to do in your area. Why not check it out and see if there are any free or cheap nights out happening near you?
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.
We also have a great article all about how to get cheap theatre tickets. Read it here.
Fancy a chilled day at home? Perhaps it is your day off and you want to do a whole lot of nothing. It may even be pouring with rain outside and you don’t know what to do with the kids.
Luckily for you, we have a whole host of ways you can legally watch films for free.
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.
Experiences start from just £5, and you can choose your price range. You can currently find online cookery classes, photoshoots and London walking tours for £10 and under. If the weather is looking gloomy, why not get some friends together and take part in an online escape room?
Go on a date with your partner at a winery and have a tasting, or take the kids to crazy golf. There are so many amazing and affordable experiences to choose from!
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 after a busy week.
Groupon and Wowcher have loads of amazing deals on spa days. You may even be able to book y0ourself a low cost treatment, such as a facial or pedicure. There really is no better way to revive yourself!
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. Many pubs also offer Sunday lunches for affordable prices. Delicious!
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. Window shopping can be just a therapeutic, and don’t forget to look in your local charity shops for the best bargains around.