Keeping the kids entertained this summer doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are lots of family fun things to do even if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some ideas on how to keep everyone smiling during the school holidays.

See a film for less

Cinema chains like Odeon and Vue offer discounts at weekends and mornings during school holidays. Tickets cost around £2.50 for adults and children on selected movies – check out your local cinema’s website for more details.

2 for 1 attractions with National Rail

If you register and print a voucher from and then buy a National Rail ticket, you can get 2 for 1 entry at over 300 UK attractions, including Sea Life Centres, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers and Legoland Windsor.

Half price entry to Alton Towers and Sea Life

Pick up a promotional bottle of Carex hand wash or Carex shower gel, and you can use it to get a half-price on-the-gate adult or child ticket at Alton Towers, Sea Life Centres, or Warwick Castle until 31 May 2020. For full terms and conditions, visit

Museums, libraries and art galleries

Did you know that there are around 170 museums and art galleries across the country that are free to visit? Find your nearest one by going to: Or pop along to your local library and get your children to pick out some books that you can read together.


Dobbies Garden Centres run free gardening workshops for four to 10 year olds on the first Sunday of every month and during school holidays. The ‘Little Seedlings’ workshop lasts about an hour and introduces children to planting and nature. To find out more and book a place, visit: and click on ‘events’. If there isn’t a Dobbies near you, find out if your local garden centre runs similar events.

Free audience tickets

Become an audience member and watch live TV shows for free with your kids. To find out what shows you could be clapping along to, visit the Applause Store at:

Closer to home

Other free activities your kids will love include: going on a bike ride, nature trails, taking a picnic to the park, making a den in the garden and doing arts and crafts. And don’t forget to check out what’s going on in your town or local area. Galas, fetes and other public events are popular during the summer months.

You can find out more about activities for children under 11, by visiting: or download the Hoop app to your phone.