How to have fun on a budget during the school holidays

It’s great to get out and about when the children are off, and make the most of your time together, making memories! But, it can be really expensive if you don’t plan carefully and make the most of the deals and discounts on offer. 

Here’s how to have school holiday fun on a budget…

Head to the cinema

Did you know that most cinemas offer their weekend movies for junior rates on weekdays too during the school holidays? If the weather takes a turn for the worse, a cinema trip is a great way to entertain the kiddies indoors! Odeon, Cineworld and Vue offer these screenings for just £2.50 per ticket.

You can also exchange your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers for cinema tickets, to see the new releases without spending a penny. For up to 40% off of cinema tickets, 7 days a week, you could also sign up to Kids Pass for a £1 trial.


Find a Groupon deal

Groupon deals can be a fab way to have a fun day out without spending lots of money. Use their ‘Local’ section to get the best offers close to you. A quick search in my local area revealed these brilliant offers…

  • Bowling for two for £6, or for four at just £10
  • Clip n Climb session for £9
  • Zippos Circus for under a tenner
  • Play Centre entry for £3.95 (one child), £6.95 (two children) or £8.95 (three children)


Visit the beach

The beach is one of our favourite places – the kids just can’t get enough of it. They don’t care if the water is cold, they’ll build sandcastles for hours and collect more pebbles then they can carry home! We always come back filthy and windswept but it’s such a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We love sports too, so beach rounders, frisbee and football are a must – pack some supplies and enjoy a free day at the seaside!


Enjoy in-store workshops

Pets at Home run free small-animal workshops throughout the year, including during the school holidays. These are designed for children aged 5-11 years – see what’s available near you.

Hobbycraft run craft workshops year round, usually for £2/3 depending on what’s being made – the perfect way to keep the kids busy when the weather’s bad. Check out what’s available at your local Hobbycraft.

Dobbies Garden Centre run free workshops on the first Sunday of every month and add additional dates during the school holidays. The workshops are all plant and nature themed, and suitable for children aged 4-10 years; take a look at what your local Dobbies has to offer.


Try geocaching

You can easily find a geocaching trail nearby, with just a few clicks on your phone. It makes a long walk a little more purposeful, and the kids enjoy it because it feels much like a treasure hunt.

Lots of country parks offer geocaching activities too – it’s just £5 per family at our local park and they provide the geocaching equipment, a route planner to complete and clipboards. So, pick a route to follow, pack up a picnic and enjoy an afternoon exploring.


Visit a museum

Don’t forget that so many museums offer free entry – London, in particular, has a lot to choose from. Some are more child-friendly than others; check out my post on the best free London Museums for a family day out. If you’re not near the capital, have a quick search online to see what’s available in your local area.


Head to the woods

A trip to the woods is always a hit with the kids, whatever the time of year. Pop your wellies on, build dens, search for fairies and, if you’re really lucky, you might even find a rope swing! My two love collecting bits to use in collages too – why not create some nature art when you get back home?


Save with Kids Pass

Sign up to Kids Pass for a month’s trial for just a quid!  Enjoy the perks and either continue your subscription or cancel prior to your trial ending to make sure no further charges are taken. If you want to continue your subscription, you can do so for just £4.99 per month – allowing you to enjoy the huge savings available year round. Take a look at my Kids Pass article for more information.

The perks are:


Make the most of Tesco Clubcard

If you’re a Tesco shopper, you can benefit from using your Tesco Clubcard points for free meals and days out. These points can be collected through Tesco services too – such as Tesco Mobile or through a Tesco Credit Card, so you can collect them even if you do your weekly shop elsewhere.

Points can be exchanged for theme parks, zoos, farms, castles and even trips to London. Read my post on Tesco Clubcard days out to make the most of your points.


Visit the capital

There are loads of FREE things to do in London with children, even if you’re not a fan of the museums. From to playgrounds, to lidos, to farms and zoos – there’s something to entertain everyone. Make sure you read my post on 10 freebie days out in London for more info.


Explore a country park

There are so many gorgeous country parks dotted all over the country – each offering a new (free!) adventure. Whether it be woodland walks, lakes or large green spaces, it’s always a winner for a family walk. Many have trails too, to keep the kids entertained, or themed activities dependent on the time of year, so be sure to check out what’s on offer before you visit.


Have fun at home

If you’re exhausted, or the weather is grotty, you might just want to snuggle up at home! Download my printable 30 day activity calendar for lots of ideas on how to keep the little ones busy at home!

Or get building with my printable 30 day lego calendar!

For my Kent families, make sure you check out my category – Free Days Out in Kent.


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