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10 cheap and free things to do in the 2018 Easter holidays

Brilliant ideas for family fun on a budget

The Easter holidays are almost here, which means two weeks to fill with activities for all the family to enjoy – but without going bankrupt.

If you’re stuck for inspiration on budget-friendly plans, don’t panic. Which? has some ideas to keep the whole family entertained without breaking the bank.


1. Get a free lunch

Lots of restaurants are offering kids a free meal over the Easter holidays.

Take Jamie’s Italian, for example. Between 26 March and 13 April, every adult main course you order will include a free kids meal deal which comes with a main, drink and dessert.

Similar offers are also running at Giraffe, Loch Fyne, Cabana, Belgo and Gordon Ramsay restaurants.

You can also cut the cost of a meal out with the family by hunting for a discount code using websites such as VoucherCodes.

2. Catch a discount movie

Most cinemas offer cheap kids screenings of the latest films over the Easter holidays.

Vue, for example, has £2.49 tickets for kids and adults on weekend mornings. Check out the films showing on the Mini Mornings offer page.

If you can’t face making the trip, stay at home and take advantage of a streaming service.

Netflix and Amazon Prime offer a 30-day free trial, or you can get a well-timed 14-day trial with the Now TV Cinema Pass.

3. Try an Easter egg hunt

Cadbury has joined up with the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland to put on Easter egg hunts at more than 250 locations across the UK.

The hunts take place at National Trust sites and cost between £1.50 and £4 for entry. You can find out if one is going on near you on the Cadbury website.

The Bank of England is also holding an Easter Eggs-travaganza between 3 and 13 April. This includes a hunt and workshops. All activities are free and there’s no need to book in advance.

Alternatively, try putting on your own Easter egg hunt. All it takes is buying a few cheap Easter eggs and hiding them in your garden or around your local park.

Read more: The truth about Easter egg packaging

4. Go on a train adventure

The Easter break is a great opportunity to explore new areas of the UK, and taking the train can make it seem like a big adventure for the kids.

A railcard can help you cut the cost of train travel. The Family and Friends railcard offers a third off for up to four adults, and 60% off for up to four children aged 5-15.

What’s more, the card offers big savings on days out and fun things to do, like saving up to 60% on theatre tickets.

Normally, a one-year card costs £30, but you can currently get 20% off a Family and Friends one-year railcard with the promotional code ‘EASTER20’. This you’ll pay just £24, which may be offset with the savings from your first trip.

5. Find free events where you live

You might not have to travel far to find some affordable fun.

Free Events is a website that lists events going on up and down the country that are cheap or free to attend.

Using the site, we found out there’s a Royal Horticultural Society show at Lawrence Hall in London, the 20th annual Cumbria Easter Rally and the 52nd World Coal Carrying Championships in Sheffield.

6. Save on expensive treats

Let’s face it, you might not be able to avoid splashing out, but you may be able to find a discount.

What to do with the Kids is worth checking out for savings. Right now, you can get 15% off your food bill at Rainforest Café and 15% off at Diggerland in Kent.

Little Bird is also worth a look. It offers limited-time discounts for a range of activities for kids, teens and families.

At the moment you can also buy tickets to KidZania – an indoor ‘city’ run by kids with more 60 role playing adventures – from £10, which is a saving of £28 on the normal cost.

7. Visit free museums and galleries

Your local museum or gallery is bound to have some exciting activities on over the holidays, and most don’t charge for entry.

The dofreestuff.com website allows you to find out which museums and attractions are free nearby, while Visit Britain has a list of free museums to try.

In London, the Natural History Museum which is holding ‘Dinosaur Lates’ on 30 March, allowing you and your family to visit the museum for free after hours.

Alternatively, the National Gallery is holding free art workshops between 11am and 4pm on 5, 6 and 7 April.

8. Spring clean to make money

If the weather is gloomy, use it as an opportunity to clear out your closets and earn some cash from what you find.

Old toys can be sold on Ebay, while other sites cater to specific items – for example, Lego can be traded in for cash on sites such as Zapper and Music Magpie.

9. Take advantage of in-store events

Some companies are putting on free events to bring more people to their stores.

Pets at Home offer free workshops for children over the holidays. You can find your nearest participating store and details of the workshops here.

If furry friends aren’t really your kids’ cup of tea, Lego offers a free mini build on the first Thursday of every month for 4 to 14-year-olds in its stores.

10. Get sporty

There are plenty of ways to get active for less over the holidays.

Most councils run sports schemes and events that are cheap or free to take part in – so see what’s on near you.

You can take advantage of free holiday football coaching at centres across England.

The National Trust also has a list of cycle and walking routes to try, while websites such as National Trail and Walking Britain also offer maps.

Tennis for Free is a charity that provides free tennis sessions in local parks across the UK (find your local session here.)

Alternatively, have your own family sports day at your local park with prizes for the winners.

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