Days out with the family don't need to cost the earth. Take a look at our top ten ideas for cheap or free family days out. With a bit of planning you can have a great day out and create lasting memories with your kids.
1. The park
Why not head down to your local park or try a park you've never been before. Kids love being outdoors and as well as the usual swings and slides there are nature trails and adventure areas to explore. Some parks have small petting areas or greenhouses that are open to all, so why not take advantage. If the weather isn't very good you can always wear some wellies and splash around in the puddles. For just a few pence you might be able to hire a tennis court for half an hour, much cheaper than heading to a leisure centre. Why not see if a friend would like to come along with their kids, they can have fun while you have a catchup. Going to the park is a great free family day out.
2. The beach
Second in our list of the 10 best cheap or free family days out is the beach. Kids love the beach, because it’s one of those places they only usually get to go a couple of times a year, so it’s a real treat. Take a picnic and have fun building sandcastles. If the weather is warm they can splash about in the sea, if not they can try and dig a tunnel to Australia!
3. The museum
Museums are generally free, and a great place for your kids to learn and have fun at the same time. Museums usually have fun activities running in the school holidays and at special times during the year so why not give them a ring before you head down to check what is on. Take advantage of the free kids packs on offer and have fun filling out the puzzles together.
If you live in a city why not head to your closest urban farm this weekend. They are a great place for children to get up close to farm animals such as pigs, goats, sheep, geese and chickens. It’s a great family day out and a great place to make memories with your family at a budget price.
Fifth in our list of the 10 best cheap or free family days out is going for a walk or a bike ride. It’s good to get out and exercise with your family. You can choose a route to suit how far you want to go for, try not to go too far on your first trip in case your kids get too tired. You can always plan a stop at a picnic area or at a cafe. Why not head to your local forest or coastal path. There may even be cycle hire facilities if you don't have your own bikes. Another option is that you could go on a bike ride or walk to your local park rather than travelling by car.
Pack your swimming cossies and trunks and head to your local swimming baths for a fun afternoon. Swimming doesn’t cost the earth and you can take something to munch on afterwards with you rather than purchasing something from the vending machines. Many swimming baths have fun floats you can borrow and slides/flumes. If your children are confident swimmers why not suggest swimming races, experimenting with different strokes. Family relay games are lots of fun, especially if a bit of cheating is involved!
7. Free events in your area
Make sure you check out your local paper to see what free events are coming up. Community centres, libraries and churches often have fun days and childrens' events that you can go along to for free.
If it’s not a nice enough day for the beach or the park, a day out kite flying could be a lot of fun. As long as it’s a bit windy, this could be a fun family activity that all will enjoy.
Ninth in our list of the 10 best cheap or free family days out is sightseeing. Whether it’s in the city or at a local beauty spot, it’s a cheap day out. Children love exploring new places and using local transport is a great way of making the trip more of an event. Make them pay for their own ticket on the bus and train, they will love the responsibility of handling the money you give them, even if it is just a pound or two. If you can, let them take photos using a camera so they can capture their favourite parts of the day. They could also collect leaves, shells etc. and make a collage when they get home.
10. Play areas
Soft indoor play areas are great places for kids when the weather isn’t good enough to play outside. Food and drink at these places can be expensive though so try to bring your own with you. If they won't let you eat/drink on the premises you can always tell your children you are having a picnic afterwards and eat when you get back to the car. Don't be afraid to research different play areas and choose one that is affordable – beware play areas that charge you just for watching.
For more ideas of places you could go check out the Visit Britain website. If you budget for Christmas with Park and have some Love2shop vouchers left over why not head to Alton Towers or one of the Gulliver's theme parks as they accept Love2shop vouchers.