It’s finally the Easter holidays and if you’re a parent, this means finding things to do with the little ones. But it can be hard to entertain your children on a budget, especially now with rising bills and taxes.
For many parents, life post-April will be hard. “With the rising cost of living taking its toll on household finances, millions of families are looking to cut down on their spending,” says Natalie Hitchins, Which? home products and services editor. “However, there are plenty of fun, cheap and free activities you can do during the Easter holidays that don’t need to break the bank.”
Below, Which? has provided some tip tops on where to find discounted days out. We’ve also added a few cheap and cheerful ideas of our own. It’s also worth checking if your local council or community centre is running and free events or workshops. Enjoy!
1. Enjoy a meal out with ‘kids eat free’ offers
When dining out as a family, it is worth checking if nearby restaurants offer discounts for children. Many restaurants and cafes run ‘kids eat free’ offers during the holidays. Which? found several popular chains offered discounts at certain times, including Yo! Sushi, The Real Greek and Morrisons Cafe.
2. Visit a theme park for less
Check the prices at attractions in advance to save. For example, Which? found an adult day pass bought on the day at Alton Towers costs £62, but only £34 when bought in advance – a 45% saving.
Shoppers can also save money on days out at theme parks and attractions up and down the country when purchasing groceries at the supermarket. Which? found that some Carex handwashes have vouchers for half-price entry for Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Sea Life Centres and Sanctuaries valid until May 31 2022. Meanwhile, selected Kellogg’s cereal packs and snacks offer ‘adults go free’ vouchers for Merlin attractions valid until June 2022.
Tesco Clubcard holders can convert points into Tesco Reward Partners Vouchers, which can be used for as much as three times the saving at theme parks, wildlife parks and more.
3. Learn something new at a free gallery or museum
Many UK national galleries and museums are free to enter and are an easy way to entertain the family for a day out. Which? members highly rated: St. Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, Beamish: The Living Museum of the North in County Durham, National Railway Museum in York, Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford, Shropshire and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Just remember they may need visitors to book a free ticket before arrival.
4. Burn off the Easter chocolate with some sport
There are many free sporting activities available up and down the country during the holidays. It’s worth checking local council websites for opportunities, some offer free swimming lessons for children, for example. Alternatively, Parkruns are free weekly events, held every weekend in hundreds of locations around the UK. There are 5k events on Saturday mornings, and junior runs for children on Sundays. Tennis for Free also offers free tennis sessions for all ages in public parks around the country.
5. Baking some Easter treats
Easter is a great time to make some treats with your children and you can find some easy recipes on TikTok, like this recipe for delicious mini egg Krispie treats.
Or these yummy Easter chocolate nests
6. Watch the latest movies at a discount
Vue’s ‘Mini Mornings’ all offer discounts for both adults and children. For example, Vue ‘Mini Morning’ tickets cost £2.49 or £2.99 if you buy online (£3.49/£3.99 at the venue). Film fans can also get cinema discounts with dining cards Gourmet Society and Tastecard. Both offer up to 40% off some cinema chains and currently offer 90-day free trials.
7. Catch a theatre show for less
Although usually an expensive outing, it is possible to bag cheaper theatre tickets. Local theatres often host touring West End productions for a fraction of the cost of London shows. Which? found tickets for The Book of Mormon in Leeds Grand Theatre starting at £15, while prices begin at £40 in London on the same date (note: this particular show is definitely one for sixth form or university aged children, not the little ones!).
Most theatres offer cheaper tickets for under 30s. For example, the National Theatre offers £5 tickets if you’re under 18, and £10 tickets if you’re under 26.
8. Take advantage of local libraries
As well as borrowing physical books for free, most libraries allow users to borrow e-books and audiobooks. Some can also grant access to digital magazines and newspapers. Check local library offers via on the local council website and sign up for free.
9. Get into some arts and crafts at home
Children love arts and crafts and all you really need is some paper, paint, pens and some scissors. How about making this easy handprint bunny?
Or this cute paper bunny:
10. Explore the great outdoors
Take advantage of the free parks up and down the country. Check out this guide on the best national parks in the UK. Alternatively, plan a walk using this guide to the best UK walks. Those in search of adventure could try geocaching, tracking co-ordinates on a smartphone app to find hidden boxes known as ‘caches’. The National Trust has 10 places to try.
11. Seek out free local events
Many local councils offer free events during school holidays, so it is worth checking their websites. Search the local council’s name followed by ‘half-term activities’ to see what’s going on in that area. For example, Manchester City Council will be running springtime craft sessions and Haringey Council in London will offer free Easter workshops for teens aged 11-16 in creative writing, drama and film.