The school summer holidays have finally arrived, but you don’t need to break the bank to keep the family entertained.
There are dozens of different cheap or free activities happening across the UK to help you keep the kids occupied and discover new things.
Here are 19 budget-friendly options to try around the country.
1) Eat for as little as £1
At Bella Italia, children can get a Piccolo or Grande meal for £1 when bought alongside a full-price adult main until noon on Sunday 18 August. All you have to do is sign up with your email address to get your coupon code.
Sizzling Pubs have a similar offer. You’ll just need to download the Sizzling Pubs app to get a voucher for a £1 kids’ main meal for every full-priced adult meal purchased. This deal runs Monday–Friday between 3pm and 7pm.
2) Watch a film for under £5
A number of cinema chains are offering low-cost tickets to children’s films this summer.
3) Go to Apple’s summer camp
Every summer Apple allows children aged 8-12 to take part in a free three-day workshop at its stores.
Sessions include learning to code, video editing, and beat-making and songwriting with GarageBand.
To sign up, head over to Apple’s site. Spaces are limited and some stores already have a waiting list for their camp.
4) Go to a music festival for free
There are lots of free music festivals up and down the country this summer.
5) Get creative at an art gallery
Unleash your inner artist at one of the National Gallery’s family workshops this summer. Some classes are open to people of all ages while others are designed for younger children.
Alternatively, National Galleries Scotland is offering daily activities with visiting artists.
6) Buy one, get one free theatre tickets
Under 16s can get free theatre tickets to selected performances at West End shows for the whole month of August, as long as they’re accompanied by a full-paying adult.
You can search for popular shows and book on the Kids Week site.
7) Build a free toy worth £5
Children between six and 14 can take part in the Lego Mini Build on the first Thursday of every month between 4-6pm at their local Lego store.
Staff will demonstrate how to make the model of the month in a 15-minute session. These models, worth around £5, can be taken home for free. It’s ‘first come, first served’ so be sure to get there early to bag your spot.
8) Do a free arts and crafts workshop
Get crafty this summer with a range of projects, from painting your own ceramics to making your own slime.
Hobbycraft, an arts and craft retailer, runs free workshops for children across most of its stores. Check out the Hobbycraft website for its full calendar of events.
9) Hang out with some cute pets
Pets at Home runs free workshops for children aged 5-11 during the school holidays.
The sessions teach how to interact with animals such as guinea pigs and hamsters. Your children will get a certificate or sticker once they’ve completed the workshop too.
10) Visit a horse sanctuary
If your child is horse-mad, why not visit a horse sanctuary this summer?
Hall Farm in Norfolk has an open day with pony grooming and horsey events every Wednesday this August between 10am and 4pm.
11) Learn to fish for free
Fancy sitting by the river bank with a rod and reel?
Aspiring anglers can take free lessons from the Canal & River Trust, with events held throughout England this summer.
12) Take a free tennis lesson
Sports charity Tennis for Free is offering free lessons at locations around the UK.
The lessons are open to children of all abilities.
13) Go for a bike ride
There are cycling routes across the UK that suit all levels of riders.
You can find safe cycling routes from the National Trust.
14) Explore a national park
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Act that established national parks in the UK.
In celebration, there are events for you and the family to enjoy across the UK’s 15 national parks.
Head over to the National Parks events page to find out what’s coming up.
15) Go to a carnival
The famous Notting Hill Carnival is a vibrant multi-day event held in London for more than 50 years.
Your family can get involved on Sunday 25 August for the Children’s Parade and Family Day.
16) Fall in love with books
The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged four to 11 to read six library books over the summer holidays.
Children who take part will receive a special reward each time they finish a book and will get a certificate once they complete the challenge.
All you have to do is head to your local library to take part.
17) Learn about British History
Delve into Britain’s past through free digital workshops at the British Museum this summer.
There’s also a full summer program of events for kids at the Bristol Museum too.
18) Check out your local authority
Local authorities across the UK are running a host of free activities and events for families.
Simply enter your postcode into the local authority finder and find out what’s going on in your area this summer.
19) Visit a heritage-listed home
Grand houses throughout England and Scotland are open to visit during the summer months, and many host events to keep the whole family entertained.
How to save up for the holidays
Even if you stick to mostly free events, the holidays can be an expensive time.