Half term is here, and with it comes a familiar feeling of dread. How do you entertain the kids without spending a small fortune? But if you’re stuck for ideas of things to do with the kids this half term, don’t worry – find out what free events are going on near you!
Find free half term events across the UK
Looking for free (or very cheap) half term days out and activities near you? The sites below are a good source inspiring ideas:
- National Trust half term activities – including nature trials, bushcraft and den building, history for kids and more. (Special deal: You can currently get discount National Trust membership here).
- English Heritage half term activities – they have ideas come rain or shine. They do free events but many attractions you have to pay for (though they have plenty of family days out for under £20)
- Visit England – free and budget activities
- Visit Scotland – free attractions
- Visit Wales – free and cheap half term activities
- See your local library – not only will your library probably be running free half term events, it will also have details of what else is going on in your area. Find your nearest library here.
- See your local council – they will have details of free and cheap half term days out near you. Find your local council here.
…plus big online discounts on paid half-term days out
- Half term days out – online exclusive deals – for BIG discounts on days out, theme parks, zoos, Sea Life Centres and more!
Get active and learn a new skill for free this half term
- Tennis for Free – find free tennis courts and free tennis coaching near you
- B&Q free DIY classes for kids – children aged 7-11 can get to grips with DIY skills at these B&Q sessions (all materials provided). Kids can make everything from bird feeders to mug trees. These classes normally cost £5, but if you join the free B&Q Club you don’t have to pay a penny for the DIY classes – just quote your B&Q Club membership number.
- Get the bikes out – find the best family cycle routes near you
Cheap half term cinema tickets – from just £1
Ok, so you can’t get into the cinema for free – but you can get very cheap tickets if you know where to look.
- Cineworld Movies for Juniors – just £1 for parents and kids if you book your tickets online (£1.50 if you buy them from the box office)
- Vue Kids AM Movies – kids aged 2-12 can get tickets from £1.75 for movies shown in the mornings during the school holidays and some weekends. Even better, accompanying adults get in from £1.75 too. These showings often sell out fast – you can book online or by phone, but you’ll pay a booking fee (75p and 90p respectively).
See our complete round up of the best half term cinema deals.
Half term picks – North
If you want to experience life on the beat, take the kids to meet the city centre policing team at the GMP Museum, Manchester. There you can discover hints and tips on crime reduction, and what life was really life for officers in a busy Victorian police station. Get up close to a real police van with sirens and flashing lights, and see where Manchester’s criminals were charged and fingerprinted! Open Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout half-term, 10.30am – 3pm.
Take a trip back in time to the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh this half term – aside from the main museum itself, there have a free special events running throughout half term, with plenty of hands-on family activities for younger kids (from storytelling to making animal masks). See website for event times.
Liverpool museums have loads going on this half term – from tales of the Titantic to hands on activities with Meccano and polar bears! Find out what’s on here.
Half term picks – Central England
Do your kids love wildlife? Take them on an adventure to explore the great outdoors and enjoy learning all about wildlife, woodland, bird watching and more at the Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Venture out to the woodland and get up close and personal with British wildlife. Booking strongly recommended.
Or get your little ones involved in some brilliantly messy arts and crafts (using sponges, fingers and brushes to splodge and swirl to their hearts content) at PlaySpace in Bristol! The great thing is you don’t have to clear up the mess and it’s all free. Workshops take place throughout half term, though the times of the afternoon workshops vary – so contact Playspace beforehand through their website or call them on 0117 955 0070.
Half term picks – South
Want to get unbeatable views across the whole of London? You can get FREE kids’ tickets to the View from The Shard this half term. (Do note that a maximum of 2 kids can go free for each adult ticket purchased). Get to see the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and to the edges of the city and beyond!
The Southbank Centre in London has plenty of events for families this half term – from kids’ comedy clubs to children’s poetry school, plus plenty of dance, music and drama. See what’s on this half term here. Bring your own packed lunch to munch in the special picnic area for free.
Half term picks – Wales
Go ‘Geocaching’ in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. What is geocaching, you ask? Well, it’s where you use a GPS device to go on a guided treasure hunt (while taking in some stunning Welsh countryside at the same time). Kids love it and it’s a great way to get them out of the house. More details here.
20 cheap ways to entertain the kids at home this half term
If you want to keep it simple this half term then check out these other inspiring ideas for ways to spend quality time with your family. We’ve picked our top 20 ways to entertain the kids for less:
1. Have fun in the kitchen and bake a cake – yummy! Check out these 10 easy recipes you can make with the kids.
2. Keep the kids entertained with these 21 amazing toys you can make yourself – and they all cost less than £1 to make!
3. Get fit and experience nature by taking a walk in the woods. Watch out for the first snowdrops blooming to mark the edging towards spring time.
4. Grow your own vegetables – learn a new skill and eat cheap organic veg! Check out the Which? guide to start you off – including six vegetables that are super easy to look after and see how much money you could save.
5. Hire a DVD and sit around the telly with a bag of popcorn and enjoy your own film club.
6. School teachers will love you if you set one evening aside for everyone to read a book. Check out the Reading Eggs free trial if you want to discover extra educational fun online for your kids.
7. Take the kids to the beach and build sandcastles. If you wrap-up warm you don’t have to leave seaside activities to the summer months.
8. Buy a kite and go outside. It’s a treat that will give kids fun memories for years to come.
9. Create your own family tree. It’s a great way for your kids to find out what Grandad or Nan used to do!
10. Get fit and active and go for a swim together once a week. Some councils offer free swimming to under 16s and over 60s – check your local council website to see if yours does.
11. Take kids to the footie on a Saturday afternoon, or go to the park for a kick-about. During half term you might be eligible to get the Tesco FA Skills coaching sessions.
12. Take an interest in their interests and share music downloads.
13. Buy a crabbing line and bucket for under a fiver and while away hours catching crabs along our stunning shoreline.
14. Teach your kids how to play cards.
15. Get the bikes out of the shed and explore your local area. Find the best family cycle paths near you here.
16. Get arty and go on a ‘camera walk’! Get your digital camera out and take a fresh look at your community.
17. Do what you did as a kid – go fishing, roller skate round the park or get your own BMX out and show your kids what daddy used to do!
Find your inner Ray Mears and build dens in the woods.
18. Create a special meal time once a week. Turn off the telly and cook-up something special and enjoy each other’s company.
19. Find your inner Ray Mears and build dens in the woods.
20. Share your creative side and bring out the paints, chalks or pencils and make a work of art.
Want more ideas on how to entertain the kids this half-term? Check out these ideas for half-term happiness on a shoestring by one of our bloggers!