Summer holidays are a fantastic time for families to create cherished memories, but they can also strain the budget. Fortunately, the UK offers a plethora of cost-effective activities that keep children entertained and engaged without breaking the bank. Here are ten money-saving summer holiday activities for children in the UK.


1. Explore National Parks

The UK is home to some of the most breathtaking national parks, offering endless opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re trekking through the Lake District, picnicking in the Peak District, or cycling in Snowdonia, these parks provide a perfect backdrop for family outings. Entrance is usually free, and with a bit of planning, you can spend a whole day enjoying nature.


  • Pack a picnic to avoid spending money on food.
  • Bring binoculars for bird watching and other wildlife spotting.


2. Visit Museums and Galleries

Many museums and galleries across the UK offer free entry or minimal charges. Places like the British Museum in London, the National Gallery, and the Science Museum are excellent for educational outings. These venues often have special children’s programs and interactive exhibits during the summer holidays.


  • Check out the museum‘s website for any free events or workshops.
  • Visit during weekdays to avoid the weekend rush.


3. Beach Day

A day at the beach can be an inexpensive and fun-filled activity. The UK boasts numerous stunning beaches like Bournemouth, Brighton, and the beaches of Cornwall. Kids can enjoy building sandcastles, playing beach games, or simply paddling in the sea.


  • Bring your own beach toys and snacks to save money.
  • Ensure you have sun protection to keep everyone safe.


4. Local Library Activities

Local libraries often hold summer reading challenges and various workshops for children. These activities are generally free and can be a great way to encourage a love for reading while keeping the kids engaged.


  • Sign up for the summer reading challenge for free incentives and rewards.
  • Participate in story time sessions or craft workshops.

5. Nature Trails and Hikes

Exploring local nature trails and hiking paths can be both educational and exhilarating. Places like the New Forest and the Cotswolds offer family-friendly trails that showcase the UK’s natural beauty. It’s a wonderful way to get some exercise and fresh air.


  • Print out a map or download a trail app to guide your hike.
  • Make it a scavenger hunt by looking for specific plants, animals, or landmarks.


6. Garden and Park Adventures

The UK is dotted with beautiful gardens and parks perfect for a family day out. Kew Gardens, Hyde Park, and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh are just a few examples. These spaces often have play areas, ponds, and plenty of open space for games and picnics.


  • Look for free events or workshops happening in the gardens.
  • Bring along a Frisbee or ball for extra fun.


7. DIY Craft Days

Hosting a DIY craft day at home can be a fantastic way to stimulate creativity and spend quality time together. Gather materials from around the house or inexpensive items from a local craft store and let your kids’ imaginations run wild. You can find countless craft ideas online suited for different age groups.


  • Recycle materials like cardboard boxes, bottle caps, and old magazines for crafting.
  • Set up a designated craft area to keep the mess contained.


8. Local Festivals and Fairs

During the summer, many towns and villages host local festivals and fairs. These events often include free entertainment such as live music, parades, and various activities for children. It’s a great way to experience local culture and enjoy a fun day out.


  • Check local listings or community boards for upcoming events.
  • Bring your own snacks and drinks to save on festival prices.

9. Outdoor Cinema or Theatre

Outdoor cinemas and theatres are becoming increasingly popular across the UK. These events can sometimes be free or have a minimal charge and offer a unique way to enjoy classic films or live performances under the stars. Look out for screenings in local parks or community spaces.


  • Bring your own blankets and chairs for comfort.
  • Pack homemade popcorn and drinks to avoid concession stand prices.


10. Geocaching Adventures

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt using GPS devices or smartphones. It’s a fun and engaging way to explore new areas and get children excited about the outdoors. There are countless geocaches hidden all over the UK, waiting to be discovered.


  • Create a free account on a geocaching website to get started.
  • Make sure to follow the rules and respect the environment while geocaching.



Summer holidays don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. The UK offers a variety of affordable and enjoyable activities that can keep children entertained, educated, and active throughout the summer. 

From exploring national parks and beaches to engaging in local events and DIY crafts, there’s something for every family to enjoy without the hefty price tag. So, pack your bags, grab your picnic basket, and get ready to make the most of the summer holidays with these budget-friendly activities!

By incorporating a blend of outdoor adventures, cultural excursions, and creative home activities, you can create a summer filled with fun and learning for your children, all while keeping your budget intact. Enjoy the sunshine and make unforgettable memories this summer!


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