Have fun for free this Summer!

Some great inflation-busting tips to keep you busy this Summer.

Summer holidays - A-Plan Insurance

For many of us, the school holidays are when we can spend quality time with our families. But for some, that may mean trying to keep the kids constantly entertained and thinking of days out and activities that don’t cost the earth.

Try some of our venue suggestions and discount schemes to make your school holiday budget go further…

Free forest picnics

13% of the UK is covered in forest and woods! And did you know that the Woodland Trust owns over 1,000 woodlands and they’re all free to visit?

Whether you want to take a walk, have a picnic, help children build a den, hunt for fairies, spot wildlife or make some nature art, there’s plenty of fun to be had – just pack a picnic basket to keep you going!

You could even take a guided walk and forage for fungi – check out the latest events at Woodland Trust.

Walking adventures

According to the BBC, it’s estimated that there are over 140,000 miles of public footpaths in England and Wales and an estimated 9,300 in Scotland! There’s plenty of opportunity for us to not only get our 10,000 steps in each day but also enjoy the all the beauty Great Britain has to offer.

Whether you’re new to walking or have been walking for years, why not check out GetOutside. Founded by Ordnance Survey, they want to help more people to get outside, more often. They’ve got lots of useful guides, or you can download their app to find a route local to you.

Beach days

We’re very lucky that the UK has over 1500 beautiful beaches listed in the Beach Guide! And did you know that in 2021, England alone boasted more Blue Flag beaches than Mexico, Cyprus or South Africa?

Whether you want to sit on the beach, build some sand castles with the family, do a spot of body boarding, surfing or stand up paddle boarding, there’s so much to keep the whole family entertained. You don’t have to invest in lots of expensive or fancy equipment. You can hire a stand-up paddleboard from typically £15 an hour.

Have you ever tried sea glass hunting? Get your little ones hunting for sea glass along the shoreline, particularly where there are shingle beaches. Two of our favourite places for this are in Devon – Paignton beach and in Teignmouth – both are great for finding washed up glass chips.

Tip: Look out for beaches that offer free or cheap parking, such as Lympstone and Clacton-on-Sea, which boast the cheapest parking rate of just 40p an hour.

Fossil hunting

Whilst sea glass might be a little more common, the thrill of finding a fossil that dates back millions of years is exhilarating. Another beach, another adventure and another free activity that you can do with the whole family. You can check out the best places to find fossils on the Countryfile website.

Try watersports

And it’s not just paddle boarding, as a nation, we’re increasingly enjoying more watersports, including canoeing and kayaking. A survey carried out by British Marine and the RYA states that 11.8m of us enjoyed boating activities including paddle sports and dinghy sailing at least once in 2021. It’s great fun for all the family, with plenty of places to paddle around the UK.

Just remember, depending on where you paddle, you may need a licence. Find out more by visiting British Waterways.

Cheap meals out

Going away but concerned about the cost of eating out?

During the Summer holiday’s there are a number of restaurants and cafes that will offer “kids eat free” of “£1 kids meals”.

Find a local ‘Sizzling Pub’ where you can get cheap meals for kids between 3pm and 7pm, Monday – Friday when you pay for an adult meal.

And don’t discount supermarket cafes in the area – family favourites like Tesco, Morrisons and Asda are currently offering some great deals!

  • Asda Café – Children under 16 can eat for £1 without minimum adult spend!
  • Tesco Café – If you’ve got a Tesco Clubcard, then children can eat for free when you buy something from as little as 60p!
  • Dunelm’s Pausa coffee shop – kids eat free for every £4 spent in the in-store café.
  • Morrisons Café – One child can eat for £1 per adult when they spend £4.99.
  • Marks and Spencer Café – kids eat free when an adult pays £5 or more on food.
  • Café Rouge – Kids can choose 2 or 3 courses from the kid’s menu for just £1 with every adult main meal. Excludes Saturdays and only available to 31st August.
  • Sizzling Pubs – kids eat for £1 with the purchase of an adult main meal, running all day during the holidays, Monday to Friday.
  • Table Table and Whitbread Inns – two kids under 16 can enjoy a free unlimited breakfast with each £9.50 adult breakfast – or opt for a kids meal deal for £4.99.


Geocaching is a great way to treasure hunt. If you’re new to geocaching, it has become a popular outdoor activity, where you seek a ‘treasure’ based on GPS coordinates using a mobile phone. Follow the GPS to the location where will find a ‘treasure’. You can find out all about it here.

Simply go on the Geocaching website or download the app for your nearest geocache. Head out on an adventure to find it – and don’t forget to place a little keepsake for the next geochache explorer.

Explore more of England

Visit England also provide a wide range of activities that you can do for free. From city trails and medieval passageways to free museums, there’s plenty of activities to get involved in. One example is a self-guided tour around Bristol to view some of Banksy’s street art, or you could hire a boat, visit a museum for under a tenner per adult.

Tip: Check out local or city farms where you can make a donation, rather than paying for a ticket.

Collect the tokens, get the discounts

  • Merlin and Kellogs Theme Park tickets – uniquely, it’s the grown-ups that go for free – when you pay for a full “on the day” priced ticket.
  • Clubcard vouchers – you can get triple the value from your Clubcard voucher when you spend them at over 100 attractions across the UK.
  • Got Perkbox or another employee discount website? If the business you work for has an employee benefits programme which includes discounts, don’t forget to use them on things you’d normally be spending on at this time of year.

Spending the Summer at home?

If you’re planning a staycation at home, then there are lots of downloadable kids activity packs that you can print out at home. And when the weather is good, hours of fun can be had with water games – from paddling pools, water balls, sprinklers, slip and slide, you name it, if it involves the wet stuff, the kids will be happy and cool.

And why not camp out under the stars. There’s nothing quite like a garden sleepover. Invite some friends over, dig out the tent from the back of the garage and get some marshmallows and you’re all set for a night of fun and laughter.

So, whatever you’re planning on doing this summer, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it for free, or at a much-reduced cost. It may go some way to help you enjoy the fun for a little longer!