Free and cheap family days out – where to take your kids this school holiday

7 min Read Published: 31 Mar 2023

Finding activities to keep the children entertained can be difficult - and can definitely be expensive. But you don't have to go to places that cost a lot of money, as there are lots of cheap or free things to do.

You can swap an expensive activity such as going to Thorpe park or the cinema for a free day out to the local park or woodland but if you wanted an activity or a trip out of the house - there are plenty of those too. Especially around school holidays, attractions nationwide will offer things to do with the kids on a budget.

In this article, you'll find our top picks of the best free and cheap family days out and activities this school holiday - most of which are happening nationwide. The below deals are updated regularly so be sure to bookmark this page and check back. You may also find lots of places local to you with deals. A good way to stay up to date with the latest activities is by searching for your local attractions' Facebook Pages and newsletters.

There will also be many restaurant deals, where kids eat for free or £1 when you buy an adult meal - you can find those offers on our Kids Eat Free page.

Have a great kids' deal we should know about?

Let the team know at [email protected]

Free days out with kids this Easter

Free Easter Events At IKEA

If you're near an IKEA, there are lots of events happening over Easter for kids to attend.

All of them are free, and events may vary per store, but every store nationwide has something.

Events include Easter egg hunts, breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Easter dEGGorating and Easter wreath making.

Some of the events require pre booking in advance for you to attend, but things like the Easter egg hunt is happening throughout Easter with no need for booking. You can just turn up and hunt for eggs!

For more information about the events, and to book, head over to the IKEA website. (Make sure you pick your local though).

The Catch: Some events that need booking may fill up fast

Expiry: 16th April

Free Lego Make & Take Events At The Entertainer

This Easter, you can head into an Entertainer, build Lego for free - and even take it home when you're done.

On Saturday 8th April between 2-4pm, you can head into any Entertainer shop and join in with your kids.

You can build Easter eggs made out of Lego - just make sure you don't eat them afterwards.

There may also be events in Lego stores themselves to build a Lego bunny - but this is yet to be confirmed.

To take part in a make & take event, head into store on Saturday 8th April.

The Catch: Only on one day

Expiry: Saturday 8th April

Adults Go Free At Merlin Attractions With Kellogg's Cereal

2 for 1 Merlin vouchers are back! Buy selected Kellogg's products, and you can get a big discount at theme parks, aquariums and major attractions nationwide.

When you buy a ticket to a Merlin attraction of your choice, you can get one adult ticket free with this offer.

Your full price ticket can be for either an adult or a child. If you have multiple people in your family, you can get this deal multiple times if you have more than one voucher.

You can use the voucher at big attractions such as Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers, Sealife Centres, the London Eye and many more.

To get the deal, once you've bought a Kellogg's product with the voucher on, head over to the Merlin offer website and book your tickets.

In previous years, you could just bring vouchers to the gate, but this year - you must book in advance.

For full details, and to claim your 2-for-1 code, head to the Merlin website.

The Catch: Have to book a date in advance

Expiry: Ongoing

Free Scavenger Hunt Nationwide With Geocaching

If you've never heard of Geocaching, it's a website/app where little treasures have been hidden all around the country (and the world).

These have all been marked on a map, and it's your job to go and find them.

Most of these treasures (or caches) are placed by other people, usually hidden away in secret spots.

Caches usually have logbooks, so bring a pen and write your names in the book when you've found the hidden cache.

Sometimes there are treats inside that you can take, but often they like you to put something else back in the cache to replace what you take.

For full details, and to download the Geocaching app, head to the website.

The Catch: Premium memberships unlock more caches - but there are still caches available for free members

Expiry: Ongoing

Free Visits To Lifeboat Stations Nationwide

Everybody knows about the RNLI, but not many people know that you can go for visits to the stations year round.

You can see all around the stations, see the lifeboats and meet with some real lifeguards who work there.

Some stations have gift shops, where you can buy some RNLI merchandise or make donations to the charity.

There are over 200 stations around the country's coastline, each with different opening hours.

For full details, and to find your nearest RNLI station, head to the RNLI website.

The Catch: Only on the coastline

Expiry: Ongoing

Cheap days out with kids this Easter

Easter Activities At National Trust Properties For £3 Each

National TrustThe National Trust has organised over 190 Easter events at its properties nationwide.

There are lots of activities you can take part in, including Easter egg rolls, egg and spoon races and egg hunts.

Most places have some sort of chocolatey treat too - it wouldn't be Easter without it.

For full details, and to find your nearest National Trust property, head to the website.

The Catch: May not be a property nearby to you

Expiry: Sunday 16th April

Easter Adventure Quests At English Heritage Properties

Several English Heritage properties are hosting Easter Adventure Quests for kids over the Easter break.

Quests invite kids to hunt for clues and complete challenges at a historic property. There are certificates and chocolate up for grabs if you manage to complete it!

Some quests and activities are free, and others cost a small amount to take part (usually between £2 - £5) - but it varies per location.

For full details, and to find your nearest English Heritage property, head to the website.

The Catch: May not be a property nearby to you

Expiry: Multiple dates across the Easter break

3 Games Of Bowling From £10.50 At Hollywood Bowl This Easter

£10.50 Bowling Hollywood BowlIf you wanted to go bowling over the Easter break, there are a few offers around if you book in advance.

When booking online at your local bowling alley, you'll see under the 'deals' tab a 3 game deal.

You'll see prices from £10.50 for kids and around £12.50 for adults (depending on location).

You can also choose another deal for 'eat, drink and bowl', '2 games and a drink' or '2 games and 2 drinks' all being offered for £16 or less per person.

To find out more, and to get the deal, head over to the Hollywood Bowl website.

The Catch: Prices vary on location

Expiry: Ongoing

Cinema tickets for £3 each over the Easter Holidays

Odeon Cinema TicketsA few major cinema chains offer deals for kids and adult tickets over the school holidays - and this Easter is no exception.

If you live near a Vue cinema, you can take part in 'Mini Mornings'. Every day during the school holidays, there is a film at 10am that you can go to with your kids. Tickets cost £2.49 or £3.49 for both adults and children. See full details here.

Odeon Cinemas also have a similar kids' screening that takes place every day throughout the school holidays. Adults can also get in for kids' prices for a number of films. See full details here.

Finally, Picturehouse cinemas also offer a 'Kids Club', where adults and kids can watch films for £3.30 each. These screenings aren't just new releases too - and include films such as Moana and Minions. See full details here.

The Catch: Only selected screenings

Expiry: Ongoing

£25 Off Theatre Tickets With National Lottery This Easter

Right now, if you buy a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard, you can unlock a deal for £25 off theatre tickets.

The discount can be used at over 3,000 theatres nationwide, including some big name shows in London.

To get the deal, you'll need to enter the serial number of the ticket onto the Theatre Tokens website, and you'll get a £25 voucher. You have 3 weeks to spend it from that date.

For full details, and to see what's included head over to the Theatre Tokens website.

The Catch: Only 3 weeks to book after you receive your voucher

Expiry: 28th May

£20 Voucher Code At Visit Britain - No Minimum Spend

Subscribe to the Visit Britain website email list, and within 72 hours, they’ll email you a code for £20 off an experience on their website.

This £20 off can be used on a number of attractions, and has no minimum spend, so you could get something for free!

There are also things like a Harry Potter walking tour for £10 each (gets 2 people free), and trips to a SEA LIFE Centre for £21 (£1 after the code).

For full details, head to the Visit Britain website.

The Catch: Have to wait 72 hours for email

Expiry: Ongoing

Tickets To Disney Shows For £29.50

Disney Tickets £25Disney has launched a new scheme called Magical Mondays, where every Monday, there will be tickets to Disney shows for only £29.50.

This includes The Lion King (London) and Frozen The Musical (London).

To get the deal, you'll need to sign up for an account, and every Monday at 12pm, you can log on and try to grab some cheap tickets for that week.

There are varying amounts of tickets available each week - but it's worth a go to get a top-rated ticket for just £29.50 each.

You can buy a maximum of 2 tickets, and your seat will be allocated randomly based on what is left.

You'll find ticket availability for a number of shows in that week, but the weekend dates will go fast.

To find out more information, and to claim the deal, head over to the Disney website.

The Catch: Not a guaranteed chance of getting tickets

Expiry: Ongoing

Kids Pass Discount Card For £1

Kids Pass is a scheme that gets you discounts and offers at places around the UK, from attractions to food.

It boasts offers such as 30% off zoos, 40% off cinema tickets and 57% off theme parks.

You can sign up for a free trial of 30 days for £1, which gets you access to all of the deals and discounts. You're able to cancel after the £1 trial - so you could just use it over the Easter break for £1!

A monthly fee to join Kids Pass is £4.99 after your trial.

One pass is valid for the whole family, and it can add up to big savings at some attractions.

For full details, and to see what's included head over to the Kids Pass website.

The Catch: Must cancel the subscription if you don't want to be charged after the trial

Expiry: Ongoing