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17 Feb 2022

Free and cheap things to do this February half term

These half-term hacks will help you keep your kids entertained on a budget

This half term, thousands of families will be looking for ways to entertain the kids - and the rising cost of living means most want to do this as cheaply as possible.

To help you fill a fun-packed calendar without breaking the bank, we've rounded up special half-term deals, money-saving hacks, and free activity ideas for this February half term.

Special thanks go to the Which? Money Facebook community for inspiring some of these ideas.

1. Save money with old lottery tickets

If you have any old National Lottery tickets hanging around, you can use them to get £25 off admission to attractions across the country this half term if you book through Visit Britain.

Destinations and brands taking part include:

  • Blackpool Tower
  • Clacton Pier
  • Gulliver's theme parks
  • Highland Wildlife Park
  • Sea Life
  • Tower of London
  • Zip World

Take a look at the Visit Britain website for the full list of participating attractions.

2. Travel by train for 2 for 1 attractions

National Rail's 2 for 1 promotion runs all year round. Buy a train ticket and you'll get two entry tickets for the price of one at a huge number of attractions nationwide.

There are so many places taking part that if you're planning to go anywhere, it's worth checking National Rail's Days Out Guide before you book.

3. Gobble up 'kids eat free' offers

A number of restaurants are offering free kids' meals this half term. Here's a taster of what's out there:

  • Leon: up to two free kids' meals with any adult meal
  • M&S cafe: free kid's meal when you spend £5
  • Morrisons cafe: free kid's meal with every £4.50 adult meal (from 3pm)

Find out more:six ways to save money on eating out

4. Snap up cheap cinema tickets

Some cinema chains offer cut-price screenings of family films at certain times, usually in the morning.

You'll need to check your local listings to see if they're available in your area, but here's the kind of thing you can expect:

  • Vue: 'Mini Mornings' screenings cost £2.49 for adults and children and take place daily from 10am during school holidays
  • Odeon:'Odeon Kids' screenings take place every day during the holidays with £3.25 tickets
  • Picturehouse:'Kids Club' tickets are £3 each for parents and children

Find out more:best home cinema systems

5. See the animals at a city farm

Tired of paying money to see animals? Many cities have urban farms which are completely free to enter (though you may have to pay £1 or so if you want to buy animal feed).

In London, you could try Mudchute Farm, Spitalfields Farm or Hackney City Farm.

Then there's Rice Lane City Farm in Liverpool and, in Edinburgh, Gorgie Farm. It's worth checking if your nearest city has anything similar.

5. Find free local events

Your local council might be running free half-term activities for kids.

Take Camden council, for example. It's running football, trampolining and badminton sessions, as well as social events for kids to just make friends with other children.

Manchester City Council has arts and crafts sessions, cat-themed fun trails, and a half-term 'playscheme' which has different activities daily.

Search your local council's name followed by 'half term activities' to see what's going on in your area. If you can't find anything, look for your local council's website here.

6. See another side of the seaside

Even if it's raining, a trip to your nearest seaside town could still yield other kid-friendly staples like arcades and piers.

Combine this trip with a free meal at one of the restaurants listed above, and see if you can get National Rail 2 for 1 entry to a seaside attraction if you've had enough of the claw machines.

7. Become nature experts at the woods

It might still be winter, but there's still plenty of nature for your kids to explore in the woods, from creepy crawlies on the ground to birds in the sky. The lack of leaves could even make them easier to spot.

Give your kids a checklist to turn the trip into a scavenger hunt.