30 free things to do with the kids in the summer holidays

Are you wondering how you’re going to keep the kids busy this summer? Well worry no more, we have your back! 

Make the most of getting out and about without having to splash the cash. Take a look at our list of 30 fun and free things to do over the holidays!

1. Take a trip to the local beach

Children playing in the sun at the beach

If it’s a hot summer day and you’re looking to get a tan while the kids run loose, then why not pop down to the beach! Your local beach can provide all the entertainment your little ones need, including swimming, sandcastles and kite flying to make the perfect afternoon of entertainment. Why not check out our beach breaks to learn about the beaches near you.

2. Go rock pooling

Rock pooling

Rockpooling is a thrilling yet educational activity perfect for your little ones that don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Search the rocky terrain near the coast to find a creature or two, or maybe even a sea monster hidden in the depths! With buckets and fingers handy, take a snap with a prawn or touch a starfish!

3. Go crabbing at a nearby coastal town

Captured crabs in a pink beach bucket

Seaside towns are known for their sea life, including muscles, cockles and crabs. Many quays around the UK are welcome to the fun activity called crabbing. All you need for this is a fishing line, some bait and a bucket to put the nippy creatures in. Just make sure to return them where they came from! Why not visit The Embankment in Knightsbridge, the ideal quay in South Devon for catching crabs.

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4. Visit a museum

Kids looking at bones in the museum

There are plenty of different types of museums dotted all over the UK, perfect to keep little ones entertained. Science, art, and technology galore, there will be a free museum somewhere to keep the kids on their toes. The free and popular Natural History Museum in London will be a for-sure hit for all things fossil, whereas the National Railway Museum is one of the ‘Best of the Best’ among Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice.

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5. Visit an art gallery

Girl taking a photo at a gallery

From the words ‘art gallery’, you may picture lots of paintings and photographs hung on the wall, perhaps something most children may not find enjoyable. But, there are many different free-entry art galleries that feature interactive events fit for the little ones. Use the Money Saving Expert tool to find free galleries and museums in your area.

6. Head to the local garden centre

Mother and child smelling flowers

Whether your local garden centre has a pond and fish area, a plant area or an area to browse seasonal decorations, there will be something to excite the little hands waiting to explore. Take a walk around the bright summer-themed displays, check out the selection of back garden activities and accessories, and check out their animals while you’re at it!

7. Go geocaching

Children searching for geocaches

The up-and-coming thing to do this summer is geocaching – the act of finding small easily concealable capsules with gems hidden inside. With plenty of caches hidden all around the UK, wherever you are will be perfect for you to have a stroll and get the kids to find the treasures. Or, if you want to go somewhere more populated, why not try one of the better areas in the UK such as Margam, South Wales.

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8. Visit an animal farm or sanctuary

Children petting the farm animals

If your kids love all things animal, then why not visit one of the UK’s variety of free animal farms and sanctuaries. With plenty of goats, cows, pigs and chickens to pet and feed, you can spend all day meeting every animal at the farm. Why not visit St Werburgh’s City Farm in Bristol, there is sure to be an activity to suit all of your little ones.

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9. Visit a garden in the sky

The Garden at 120 on a clear sunny day

London has many rooftops which are open to the public if you know where to look! The Garden at 120 and Sky Garden are both well-known locations, perfect for taking in the iconic London skyline. You could bring your own picnic for the ultimate rooftop experience. Ensure to book your free ticket at the Sky Garden, whereas you can simply walk into The Garden at 120.

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10. Feed the ducks

Small child feeding the ducks at the pond

Perhaps if you’re out on a bike ride already, or just visiting your local park, why not stop at the lake to feed the ducks. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not healthy for ducks to be fed bread, but instead try to bring along some sliced grapes, lettuce, or frozen peas in water. The kids will love watching the ducks gobble up these treats!

11. Visit the Avebury stone circle

Aerial view of Avebury Stone Circle

This mysterious stone circle located in Wiltshire is reminiscent of the iconic landmark Stonehenge not too far away. Nobody knows where these stones came from, and that’s exactly what makes them so special! As well as being a national heritage site, the grounds also make for an excellent picnic area with plenty of grasslands and greenery.

12. Browse around the local shopping centre

Mother and child at the shopping centre

Pass the time this summer by having a browse at some of Britain’s best retail storefronts. Why not try out Birmingham Bull Ring, an iconic shopping centre in the UK. Here you’ll find the iconic Selfridges building, home to designer brands and, of course, the centre’s famous bull statue.

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13. Visit the local library

Child reading a book at the library

If your kids are bookworms or like immersing themselves in a good graphic novel, well then the library may be a great solution to the summer boredom. Browse your favourite local library and spend a day reading from the shelf. Even check out your book of choice to finish it at home for free!

14. Visit the Angel of the North

Angel of the North on a clear sunny day

There are plenty of free to-visit UK landmarks, including the iconic Angel of the North. Compared to your little ones, this giant structure towers 20m high and 54m wide. Constructed with weather-resistant steel and sitting just off the A1 visible to passers-by, this landmark is iconic among locals and tourists. It’s the perfect place for a funny snap, so make sure you visit on a beautiful day.

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15. Go on the Potter Trail around Edinburgh

Potter Shop in Edinburgh

If your kids are fans of the Harry Potter franchise, then we have the perfect afternoon for you. A magical tour filled with intrigue and insight into the wizarding world takes place around the streets of Edinburgh, with many references to the franchise dotted around the city. Don’t forget to bring your gowns and brooms to this exciting free tour!

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16. Have a picnic in the sunshine

Free things to do in summer - enjoying a picnic

When the sun’s out and blazing, what better way to spend your day relaxing in the sun. Head on down to your local park or field, and bring along a picnic basket and blanket. Bring along your cocktail sausages, pork pies and crisps to have a munch and some fun with the family.

17. Visit a botanical garden

Child uses magnifying glass to inspect plant

Lots of different types of flowers bloom all year round, making for some spectacular and exclusive shows in the summer. Why not take the family to a gorgeous botanical garden, where all sorts of flowers, bushes and plants are on display for you to learn more about. Why not bring a camera as well so that the kids can get some cool snaps!

18. Attend a free festival

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Across the summer, there are plenty of festivals and events going on. But, there are also a lot of other fun and free events to attend in the capital cities that create a lot of fun for the little ones without breaking the bank! Edinburgh Fringe Festival, held annually in the city centre, is a fantastic experience with plenty of free events, stalls and entertainment over August.

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19. Browse local city market stalls

Stall at a local market

Lots of capital cities have market stalls all year round, but they thrive particularly in the summertime. With stalls of food and fruit, clothes, ice cream and toys, there will be something to suit all of your little ones’ preferences. Why not try out Bristol or Cardiff market as these cities are well known for their rich community stalls!

20. Go to the local outdoor swimming pool

Family swimming at the local pool

The sun is peeking out which means it’s time to pull back the covers and get out of the pool! But if you don’t have a pool or inflatable pool, then take a walk down to your local outdoor pool! These are usually free, and will help the kids socialise with their local friends while you can sit back and relax in the sun!

21. Go for a dog walk around the park

Family walking the dog at the park

Stretching your legs and going on a family outing may be so simple but it can be a lot of fun just to get out of the house. Bring your furry friend along to the park for a walk, play some games and chill with the family. What more could you ask for?

22. Visit a local cathedral

Friends sat by the cathedral

If your kids are interested in the history of the UK, then why not visit a local cathedral such as St Davids Cathedral. The cathedral is the main reason for the city’s popularity, being the site of St David’s monastery. Wander the cobbled walls of the cathedral and learn the ins and outs of the rich welsh culture in their gallery, treasury and library.

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23. Go fruit picking

Family fruit picking

Apples, strawberries and blackberries are blooming galore all over the place in the UK summer. So, why not encourage some healthy eating while you’re at it and go to one of the UK’s free fruit picking sites! Or perhaps take a walk through the woods and pick some wild blackberries, just make sure you wash them before you tuck in!

24. Go roller skating at the local skate park

Child roller skating at the park

Lace (or strap) up the little one’s skates and get them down to the local skatepark! As well as skateboarding and biking among many different activities, roller skating at your local park can help the kids bond with each other as well as have some family fun. Will you lace up your skates as well or just watch from a distance?

25. Visit a UNESCO world heritage site

Bridge at UNESCO world heritage site

There are plenty of amazing sights to be seen across the UK, many of which are part of the UNESCO group. One particular attraction that you may recognise from many film shots is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal located in Wrexham, North Wales. The kids will be astounded at the views from this stunning location.

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26. Try wild swimming

Group of friends jumping into a lake

There’s no better way to launch into summer than with a bit of wild swimming. The UK is packed full with hidden pools, beaches and lakes for you to take a dip in and get back to nature. So why not pack the kids’ costumes and visit your best local wild swimming location to splash about and have some fun!

27. Go for a family hike

Family on a hike

What better way to enjoy nature and take a breath of fresh air than to go for a hike with the family. Spot some local wildlife, run around the woods, and experience the beauty of the British countryside. Just don’t forget your walking boots!

28. Try bird watching

Family on a sunny day

Whilst you’re out in the countryside, your local park or even on a hike, there are plenty of fun things to do to fill your time. One of the more popular hobbies currently is bird watching, so bring a pair of binoculars and see if you can spot some common birds!

29. Build a fort in the woods

Child climbing up the treehouse

As a kid, I bet you all remember running into the woods and creating a secret fort made from sticks and shrubbery nearby. Why not turn this into a family bonding exercise with your kids! Create a fun fort with sticks, leaves and dirt and create real memories with your family.

30. Visit the local playground

Children's playground

Playgrounds are always perfect for kids and ideal for the summer months. Sometimes the kids just need to let out all their energy, and where better to do that than on the monkey bars! Bring some snacks and drinks for after and let the little ones loose!