Free family days out
Keep the kids entertained this summer with our top picks of fun family days out that won’t cost you a penny.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
If art galleries feel a bit too restrictive for lively kids, try Wakefield’s Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where they can run about and wander through the sculptures in the open air. A family-friendly gallery set in 500 acres of historic parkland. Visit ysp.co.uk for details.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest.co.uk) takes place from 9-25 August in the beautiful Charlotte Square Gardens. As well as having plenty of events for adults to enjoy, kids can also make the most of the Children’s Programme, which includes storytelling, book signings and a line-up of children’s writers and illustrators.
Big Pit National Coal Museum
The Big Pit National Coal Museum in Torfaen is a great educational and entertaining day out for visitors of all ages. Enjoy exhibitions and a multi-media tour of a modern coalmine, then venture 300 feet underground with a real miner for their famous Underground Tour. The museum is open daily from 9.30am-5pm. Visit museumwales.ac.uk for more details.
If you can’t get to the beach this summer, your bucket and spade can still make an appearance at one of the UK’s top city centre beaches. A number of UK cities – including Nottingham, Cardwill be shipping in the sand this summer to recreate a beach experience, complete with deckchairs, beach games and live music. Although food, drinks and some facilities can come at an extra cost, visitors can make the most of free entry to the beach and entertainment.
Beaches include Nottingham Riviera (http://www.nottinghamriviera.co.uk), Cardiff Bay Beach (cardiffbaybeach.co.uk), Oxford Castle Quarter Beach (oxfordcastlequarter.com/event/whats/beach) and Camden Beach (roundhouse.org.uk), which will be open for various dates throughout July and August.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum (sciencemuseum.org.uk) in London offers a great interactive experience for the family. Featuring seven floors of exhibits, including Stephenson’s Rocket and the Apollo 10 Command Module, visitors can learn about space, modern inventions and more in this fun museum.
London’s outdoor ampitheatre, The Scoop, features free entertainment for adults and kids throughout the summer. As part of 2014’s More London Free Festival there will be a range of free live performances showing in August. See morelondon.com for more details.
If you go down to the woods today… you may bump into kids’ favourite The Gruffalo! As part of the Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary, you can take part in a self-led Gruffalo activity trail over the summer at several forests across the UK. Head to forestry.gov.uk for more details.
Sherwood Pines Forest Park
Sherwood Pines is the perfect place for an outdoor adventure, whether you want to follow a cycle trail, go for a walk or check out Robin Hood’s hideout. The forest is the largest forest open to the public in the East Midlands and is over 3,300 acres. Visit forestry.gov.uk for more details.
The Cardiff Festival runs from 21 June-6 September and offers a great line-up of entertainment including parades, live music, theatre, family entertainment, and sporting events. Many events are free, and there is plenty to get involved with this summer. Visit cardiff-festival.com for details.
Take the kids to Amerton Farm (amertonfarm.co.uk) in Stafford to see farm animals including Dexter cows, pigs and ponies. Entry is free and children are permitted to feed and pet the animals in the farmyard. Alternatively, head to Penny Lane Farm (worldhorsewelfare.org) in Blackpool to meet rescued horses and ponies. Penny Lane Farm is free to visit and open to the public on Wednesdays, weekends and Bank Holidays between 11am and 4pm.