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FREE days out for families: SUMMER 2023

Rachel Hazelwood 23rd Jun 2023 3 Comments

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It’s not long now until the end of term and if you’re like me, you’ll be starting to think about what to do with the kids over the summer holidays.  It can be really hard to find fun activities and days out that don’t break the bank. Even a seemingly free trip to the beach can find you scrabbling around in your purse for loose change as they discover the joys of the penny arcade and let’s not forget the lure of the museum gift shop where the pull of another plastic toy or rainbow stripe pencil can be too much for them to resist.

Whatever your budget, a thrifty day out can keep the kids busy and entertained as well are creating precious memories, without the added worry of paying for it all. Here are some ideas of what you can do for free this summer:

free days out: NORTH EAST 

FREE*/ Age range – 0-12 / Open All week from 1st April, Dawn to Dusk 

*Trail pack costs £4 but trail can be enjoyed without  

Download the free app before you go and you can access all sorts of fun information and challenges along the trail. You can even get a virtual pic with everyone’s favourite dragon at the end!

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open every day all year round 

 With a paddling pool, a skate park and woodland to explore there is something here for all the family to enjoy. 

FREE / Age range 0-9 / Open Mon – Sat 10am-2pm (drop in but bookable times available) 

For something a bit more unusual, the Zen Garden offers a creative play space where the whole family can relax together, raking spirals in the sand and building stone sculptures.   

free days out: NORTH WEST 

free days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open every day, all year round 

Walk, bike or scooter as much as you like of this 33 mile sculpture trail, featuring over 70 pieces of artwork. Plan your route on the website, pack a picnic and enjoy some spectacular scenery. 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm 

*pre-booking entry is advised to avoid disappointment and remember some activities do cost

A brilliant interactive museum with something to interest all ages – from early years construction packs (free from reception) to talks and demonstrations. 

FREE/ Age range – ALL / Open everyday except Wednesday –  11am-1pm for bookings and from 1pm for walk-ups (last entry 3:30pm)

This is a new ‘high line’ garden attraction that has opened after months of work transforming the grade II listed viaduct in the heart of Manchester. Planted with trees and flowers it really is a special day out and well worth a visit. Booking is advised.

free days out: YORKSHIRE

Tiny Tetley Studio


FREE / Age range – 5 and under / Open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm 

Located in the centre of Leeds, this immersive play space designed by artist Stephanie Jeffries was created for younger children and their families to enjoy, completely free.  

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open every day, all year round 

A family favourite there really is something for everyone at St Ives Park, including an adventure playground, a cycle route, a pond, nature reserve, café… it’s almost impossible to do and see it all in just one day! 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm 

*keep in mind parking in York can be pricey – Park and Ride may be best option. 

Not just for train enthusiasts, this is a brilliant day out for everyone. There’s plenty of room to run around, interactive activities and a great outdoor playground. 


free days out: WALES 

Free Days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open every day all year round 

Geocaching is fun for all the family and there are caches all over the UK, but why not combine it with exploring the beautiful surroundings of the Brecon Beacons where there are over 180 caches to find!  

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open every day all year round 

 Either grab a paper map from the Tourist Office or download the app and follow the White Rabbit around the gorgeous town of Llandudno and see if they can spot over 50 statues and figures from the story. 

Free days out: SCOTLAND 

free days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open all year round 

The Kelpies are two giant horses’ heads that have to be seen to be believed – these iconic sculptures are 30ft high! The park also has cycle routes, a play park and café. 

FREE / Age range – ALL / Open all year round 

Test their photography skills whilst searching for the giant murals that can be found around Glasgow city centre (Crazy Cat Lady is a personal favourite!) 

free Days out: SOUTH EAST 

free days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Check website for opening hours before setting off 

For all the budding David Attenborough’s, this is one of Brighton’s smaller museums but worth the visit for the incredible butterfly and beetle collection. 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Fridays-Sundays, 11am-3pm 

*Small donations are encouraged for the upkeep of the sanctuary 

For a day out with a difference, visit the goats at Buttercups. There are over 140 of them being cared for in beautiful surroundings. 

free days out: SOUTH WEST 

free days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Every day, all year round 

 With lots of free parking and plenty to see and do, this ticks all the boxes. Watch glassblowers in action and have a go at the interactive marble run.  

FREE / Age range – ALL / Every day, all year round 

The UK’s first cultural playground, Heartlands boasts an enormous range of activities for all ages, including a enormous adventure playground, gardens, indoor play area and cafes. 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Tues-Sat, 10am-5pm 

*Small donations are encouraged  

Situated in Taunton’s historic castle, this is a great day out for all the family. Nine themed galleries take visitors from prehistoric times through to the modern era  – there really is something for everyone. 

free days out: MIDLANDS 

free days out

FREE / Age range – ALL / Wed-Sun, 10am-6pm 

 Look no further for a fantastic day out with a difference. The Akamba Experience offers a taste of Africa with an exotic garden centre, reptile house and bird walk. 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / check website for exact times before you set off 

*the visitor centre, cafe and gardens are free, but there is a small admission for the mill 

This is the perfect day out for young fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Tolkien lived across the road from Sarehole and used the mill and surrounding area as inspiration for Middle-earth. 

FREE / Age range – ALL / All year round 8am on weekdays, 9am weekends 

The Tree Trail takes around an hour to complete (with some steeper sections) and takes visitors around the Arboretum, showcasing the oldest and most interesting trees along the way. 

free days out: LONDON 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Tues-Sun, 10:30am-4pm 

*Donations are encouraged but not expected

Go and meet Ben, Jerry and Tom – the crazy haired alpacas! The farm is also home other animals, an ecology area, herb and dye garden and a picnic area. 

 FREE / Age range – ALL / Every other day at 10:30am 

A must see for anyone visiting the capital, the changing of the guard is really popular so be sure to get there early and take plenty of snacks and drinks to keep the kids going while you wait. 

FREE* / Age range – ALL / Every day, from 10am-5:50pm (last entry 5:30pm) 

*tickets are free but it’s worth booking entry in advance to avoid queues or disappointment 

 No visit to London would be complete with a visit to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Family favourites include the dinosaur and volcano and earthquake galleries.


If you are looking for even more free days out then check out our monthly Bablands column here and sign up to our Instagram here.

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PayPlan - How To Save Money This Summer Holidays - Bedfordshire Police Federation
1 month ago

[…] the holidays. We found a wonderful article on Money Magpie listing all the activities by area –check it out here. We love a freebie and there’s plenty of fun things to do for all ages […]

Roman Banby
Roman Banby
11 months ago

This will help my family this summer. I cannot thank you enough for the research

Kelly Porter
Kelly Porter
11 months ago

Thank you

Jasmine Birtles

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