Free and Cheap Family Activities to Enjoy in the UK This Term | consumer affairs

FFamily vacation days can be pricey, but it’s possible to stick to a budget during the February half-day school holidays by taking advantage of the cheap and free activities – everything from robot coding sessions to “sword school” classes and hip hop dance workshops.

The week-long break starts on February 13th for many schools in England, Scotland and Wales, although some schools end the following week.

For some of the free events you will still need to book, while for others you can just show up on the day.

outdoor activities

The National Trust is hosting events on many of its sites for free or for a small fee. At Brimham Rocks, the gigantic rock formations just a few miles from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, there is an hour-long rock exploration activity on 14th February and a session on 19th February where you can plant your own apple tree seed to take home. Activities are free, although parking fees apply for non-National Trust members. Check the website for times and booking details.

English Heritage has special events at its properties across the country, as do Historic Scotland and Cadw Wales. Members can usually access these events for free, but non-members are usually required to pay the normal entry fee. For example, at Dover Castle in Kent from 11th to 19th February there are storytelling events and ages 5 and up can attend “sword school” classes to learn how to be a medieval knight.

How about going to see a waterfall? Often, admission is free, but in some cases there may be a parking fee or entrance fee. Wikipedia has a list of waterfalls across the UK.

Woman with children and dog at the falls
Richmond Falls, a series of waterfalls along the Swale in North Yorkshire. Photography: Richard Saker/The Guardian

While getting out in nature has many benefits, sometimes you need an extra activity to keep things interesting. For example, the Woodland Trust is organizing a tree planting event at Yonder Oak Wood, near Exmouth in Devon. There are morning and afternoon sessions on the 18th and 19th of February. Participation is free, but booking online in advance is essential.

Rainham Marshes, the RSPB nature reserve in Purfleet, Essex, is hosting an arts and crafts session for children aged three to 10 on 14th February. Registration can be done online and tickets cost €3. It’s also organizing swimming activities in the lagoon on 15 February (up to £5.50) and a children’s event on 13 February (£2.50). These are among a range of low-cost activities taking place at RSPB locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On February 11th, there is the second night of a free “festival of lights” in the Kent town of Chatham. Medway Light Nights runs from 6 pm to 9 pm and features a variety of light displays, including a 12-story interactive installation.

Arts, crafts and museums

If you’re hoping to soak up some art and culture while on vacation, many museums and galleries offer specific activities for kids.

For Londoners or those visiting the capital for the holidays, the Southbank Center hosts the Imagine Children’s Festival (until 18 February), where many events are free, including hip-hop dance workshops, live music and arts and crafts sessions. crafts. Tate Modern is hosting Threads, a free family event running February 11-19 where you work together to weave your own art using colorful threads and fabrics.

The Royal Air Force Museum London (admission free) in Hendon offers a range of free activities on the same dates, including a robot coding workshop, a radar math challenge and bag making. The Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington is hosting free Korean-themed events, including a family-friendly workshop where you create a traditional Korean mask (15-17 February).

Children sit and gesture
An event at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Photography: Image courtesy of Young V&A

London Zoo is offering £3 tickets to people who receive certain benefits, including universal credit, until the end of March.

Elsewhere, the Jorvik Viking festival takes place in York from February 11-19, and there are plenty of free or cheap activities for kids on the agenda, including Viking crafts and boot camps. The complete program is available online.

Green’s Windmill in Nottingham are running free and low cost activities including fruit cupcake and chocolate chip cookie baking workshops on 16th and 18th February respectively (£4 per child, booking required).

In Leicester, the children’s arts event, the Spark festival, runs from 13th to 19th February, and free events include workshops to create mini posters and banners, a Belgrave Library ‘takeover’ and a tea party.

Free meals for kids

Families can save on meals by looking for “kids eat free” deals. Asda has partnered with Quaker Oats to provide children with a free bowl of porridge between 8am and midday every day during the holidays at over 200 of its cafes to help families struggling with the cost of living crisis. It will also continue with the £1 children’s main meal.

Westfield’s two shopping centers in London are offering a Kids Eat Free offer at many of their restaurants during the semester. The deal will run February 11-19 across networks in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford centres, including Franco Manca and Bill’s.

Offers and discounts

You can also get discounted admission to attractions by making the most of special offers.

If you travel by train, you can get two-for-one tickets to attractions such as Sea Life and Legoland Windsor centers through the National Rail website.

family in legoland
Legoland Windsor is part of the free adult ticket promotion on Kellogg’s cereal boxes. Photography: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

Kellogg’s is running a free adult ticket promotion on their cereal boxes. Participating attractions include Legoland Windsor, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Sea Life aquariums. One adult is free per entry voucher, and the adult must be accompanied by a second adult or child paying the full price “on the day”, pre-booking being essential.

You can often save money on shipping with deals for kids. For example, Transport for Wales is offering free travel for under-16s when accompanied by a paying adult. Children under 11 can travel free at any time, and children under 16 can travel free on off-peak services.

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