Free (or low cost) things to do with your kids this summer

From exploring the many free museums across the country to hunting high and low for little critters, whatever the weather, you won’t be stuck for free or cheap things to do with the kids this summer.

Here’s our guide to some of the best:

Big shows for little ones

Keep the kids quiet for a couple of hours (we hope) and visit your local cinema to watch the latest blockbuster. There are savings to be had if you know when to go.

ODEON Kids have tickets from £2.50 and no online booking fees. Try Vue’s Mini Mornings, with tickets from £2.49 or Cineworld’s Movies for Juniors, available at the weekends from £2.00. All you need to do is buy the popcorn.

Enjoy the thrill of a London show for less this summer where kids can go free with Kids Week. From musicals such as Wicked to edgy and educational Horrible Histories, there’s something for everyone. Or, sign up to Applause Store and be in with a chance of bagging your family free tickets to a TV show. Just keep your eyes on the show calendar.

Little explorers

Typical British summer? Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do with museums nationwide offering free admission. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and learn about the history of the first industrial city, see a working steam engine and when you need a break, take the kids to see if they can lift a Mini or discover how their skeleton works while riding a bike! There’s also a number of action-packed workshops to take part in across the holidays.

Visit the National Museum in Cardiff where kids and families can take part in one of their many exciting workshops. Little paleontologists will love the Baby Dinosaur workshop for £2 per child, or brush up on your art skills and attend the Create and Make Family workshop. It’s completely free and guaranteed fun for the family.

Explore the British Museum in London and wander around Ancient Greece, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Ancient Egypt, where you can see a sand-dried mummy and the famous Rosetta Stone. Take a look at the Family events calendar for opportunities to get crafty with the kids.

If the weather is being kind, little ones will love taking part in the Woodlands Trust’s Nature Detectives. Fun for all ages, you can print off a downloadable activity pack at home and hunt for little critters in and around your local area. For £1.50 a month you can become a member and your Nature Detective can receive their very own folder packed with stickers, activities and outdoor adventure ideas.

Get sporty

If you have a budding sporting hero itching to get outdoors this summer, there’s a number of free events happening around the UK. FA Lidl Skills are running football coaching sessions for boys and girls aged between 5-11. Make sure to search for your nearest venue, and book to save your space – depending on where you choose, some venues charge up to £5.

Dive into swimming safety with Swim Safe – located nationwide, who offer free outdoor swimming & safety lessons, suitable for 7-14 year-olds.

Have you been inspired by Wimbledon? Book a free 6-week tennis course for your child through Club Spark. They must be aged between 5-8 years old, but the racket, teacher and fun are all provided.

Paws for thought

Is your little one animal mad? Let them take part in a free nationwide Pets at Home workshop. They’ll learn how to care for their furry or fishy friend, play games, and activities and even get to meet some of the pets. Make sure you book onto your preferred date in advance to save disappointment.

Rather admire from afar? Visit one of the UK’s free open farms. From Kentish Town City Farm in North West London; with over 50 animals, a wildlife pond and the opportunity to try a pony ride for £2, to Old Holly Farm in Lancashire – this working dairy farm has a petting area, alpacas and you can even try ice-cream made from the farm cow’s milk at the cafe.

Great value meals for kids

Stay at one of our hotels with a Bar Cafe and kids eat breakfast for free. There’s also a great meal deal option for dinner time too.

If you’re out and about and need a break from making the packed lunch, there’s a number of popular high street restaurants offering great value kids meal deals for only £1. Simply buy your main meal at Harvester to take advantage of their offer. Visit the Hungry Horse on a Monday – 2 children can choose any small main when you buy yours. Both deals valid until 3rd September. Buy your main at Prezzo and your little one can feast on a 3-course meal and drink from the Kids and Tot’s menu – valid until 31st August.