The school summer holidays officially begin today and hundreds of parents are wracking their brains about how to entertain their children. With a trip to the cinema for a family of three to see Toy Story 3 costing as much as £45, it can become an expensive time. Which? has come up with 10 great ways for parents to save money this summer.
Joining some chain restaurants’ own ‘clubs’ can save you a lot of money. These tend to be free to join via email, and are run by large chains such as La Tasca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pizza Express, Chez Gerard and Wagamama. Once you’re on the mailing list, you’ll get details of special deals sent straight to your inbox. For more on saving on food, visit Ways to save on eating out.
Free kids’ trips
There are loads of 2 for 1 offers on attractions in the Midlands at www.visittheheart.com as well as a Kids go free offer for trips to Cadbury World. For even more savings, see Ways to save on school holidays.
Children under 13 and accompanying adults can see selected films at Vue cinemas for 95p at weekends and in school holidays. Cineworld charges £1 per person for Saturday morning films, while an adult gets in free with each child paying £2.50 on weekend mornings at Odeon cinemas.
Discount days out
Visit www.enjoyengland.com for discounted vouchers for attractions across the country, including kids-go-free at Eureka!, the National Children’s Museum in Halifax, Cadbury World and the Isle of Wight’s Dinosaur Isle.
There is probably one within a stone’s throw of where you live. Alternatively spend a day at one of the UK’s 15 national parks, including the Brecon Beacons, the South Downs and the Peak District, to which entry is absolutely free.
There are hundreds of free festivals taking place across the UK during the summer. And many of them have loads of actibvities for children. The free Edinburgh Festival has over 130 free shows in August while Bristol kicks off its festival in September. Visit www.free-events.co.uk for full listings of free events.
With just a little bit of preparation, any budding young Darwin can enjoy the thrill of finding fossilised remains and impressions of prehistoric creatures, including ammonites, dinosaur footprints, shark teeth and other treasures. Visit www.discoveringfossils.co.uk for information such as locations, resources and tips.
Cheaper by train
Taking the family to the London Aquarium could set you back £50. But travel by train and you could get two-for-one tickets with National Rail’s Days Out scheme, saving you £22.25 (based on two adults and two children). Visit www.daysoutguide.co.uk for attractions in the south east, including Madame Tussauds and the Tower of London.
Free tennis and football
If your young ones are into sport, you can search for free tennis courts around England with free coaching programmes for children at Tennis for Free. Also Tesco offer free football skills coaching for five to 11 year olds – visit www.tesco.com/football.
Which? Money when you need it
You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.
Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.
Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what’s going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.