Keeping the whole family entertained in the school holidays doesn’t have to cost the earth, there are plenty of cheap and free days out all around the UK to suit all ages and interests. We’ve put together a guide of our favourite family-friendly days out that are perfect for when you are on a budget! Read on to learn more.

Free days out for families in the school holidays

Head to the beach

Children jumping over a sandcastle at the beach

  • Price: Free

Heading to the beach is a tremendous day out for all of the family. What’s more, it's completely free, providing you don’t divert to the nearest ice cream parlour or fish and chip shop. Instead, pack a picnic and plenty of games, before heading out to enjoy hours of fun at the beach. Even out of the summer season, the beach can make for an ideal day out - why not wrap up warm and host a sports day for your whole family to enjoy, or indulge in a leisurely morning walk along the promenade.

Some of our favourite beaches include: Small Hope Beach, Camber Sands, Druridge Bay, Fraisthorpe Beach, Robin Hood’s Bay, Woolacombe Beach, and Westward Ho! Beach, to name just a few. They're right on the doorstep of some of our best holiday parks, too, making them an ideal choice for an an affordable outing if you need to stick to a budget on your next staycation.

Forest walking

A family walking through the woods on an autumn day

  • Price: Free

Come rain or shine, distract from the digital world temporarily and instead venture outdoors into the wild. Explore the very best forestry that the UK has to offer on a glorious forest walk complete with free roaming wildlife and animals - a great day out, all year around. Be sure to dress suitably for the weather, equipped with walking boots, waterproof layers and thick socks! Don’t forget the backpack full of snacks and supplies too - there will be plenty of places along the trail to kick back, have a picnic and savour the surrounding views.

Some of our favourite forests in Britain include; Grizedale Forest, Hackfall Wood, New Forest, and Pressmennan Wood.

Head to an animal farm

A pig at a farm

  • Price: Free

Your tiny tots will love a visit to an animal farm and there are plenty to enjoy around the UK. If you're holidaying at one of our Cornwall holiday parks, Roskilly’s in Cornwall is one of our favourite animal farms in the UK, and with free admission it’s the perfect place to spend the day exploring. Here you can enjoy free walking trails, including the Top and Bottom Ponds, the Old Orchard, and more. And if your little ones are looking to spend their pocket money, they can also stop and get a delicious Cornish ice cream along the way… It would be rude not to after all!

Go geocaching

Friends taking part in geocaching looking at a map to find coordinates

  • Price: Free

Think of this as a treasure hunt for the digital generation. It's accessible to anyone with a GPS device and acts as a great way to learn about your local area or the region you’re visiting. To get started, simply sign up on the Geocaching website, enter your postcode, and enjoy a free of charge afternoon of Geocaching. This allows you to use the coordinates provided to hunt out items… What will you find?

Adventure playgrounds

A girl on a swing in a playground

  • Price: Free

Trust us, your little ones are easily pleased and will thank you for a run around an adventure playground, at Parkdean Resorts, the majority of our parks have an adventure playground as one of the facilities on site for guests to enjoy, however, there are plenty of playgrounds to explore in the surrounding areas, too! If you’re staying at one of our Cornwall holiday parks, be sure to head to the Heartlands - where the children can explore subterranean tunnels, a shipwrecked boat, and wooden climbing structures.

If you’re staying at one of our 5 holiday parks in Wales, The Land in Wrexham is well worth a visit. This junk playground has been engineered using recycled materials that children can play with and explore free of charge!

Top tip: Check out your local council website

If you’re staying local during the school holidays, be sure to check out your local council website - they are likely to offer a wide range of seasonal family activities within your area - some that even your teens will enjoy. A lot of these are completely free to attend and offer hours of fun for the whole family to savour. What’s more, you may also find a hidden gem listed that you’re yet to visit!

Cheap days out for families in the school holidays

Here are some of our favourite cheap days out for the whole family in the school holidays:

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

The exterior of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland

  • Price: Adults admission: £19.50, Children’s admission: £10.25, Under 4s: Free

Renowned films Harry Potter and Downton Abbey were filmed at this haunting spot - Alnwick Castle. Admire the palatial staterooms, show off your competitive streak with a game of archery, broomstick fly or watch an outdoor performance of Shakespeare. After paying a visit to the castle, be sure to stop by the Alnwick Gardens owned by the Duchess of Northumberland - here you'll find a bamboo labyrinth, water fountains, adventure golf and more.

If you’re holidaying at one of our holiday parks in Northumberland and County Durham, such as Church Point Holiday Park, Cresswell Towers Holiday Park or Sandy Bay Holiday Park, be sure to head down to Alnwick Castle for a day of fun.

BeWilderwood, Norfolk

  • Price: Adults admission: £21.50, Children’s admission: £19.50, Children under 92cm in height: Free

Explore the magical world of adventure at the award-winning forest of BeWilderwood, home to an array of family fun and outdoor adventure. BeWilderwood is based on the magical and enchanting books of author and creator Tom Blofeld. Here your tiny tots and big kids can explore the wonky world of treehouses, whiz their way down super slides, swing on giant swings, have hours of endless fun on zip wires, head out on muddy marsh walks and attend storytelling workshops. Get ready to create memories, get outdoors and play together!

BeWilderwood is the perfect place to visit if you’re holidaying at one of our 10 East Anglia and Lincolnshire holiday parks; Breydon Water, California Cliffs, Cherry Tree, or Heacham Beach holiday parks to name just a few.

Look out for cinema deals, Nationwide

A little boy enjoying watching a film in a cinema

  • Price: Tickets from £2.49 per person

A couple of hours in front of the big screen is sure to keep your little and big kids quiet (a rarity in the school holidays). Yet, heading to the cinema can often cost a small fortune - popcorn, drinks, sweets, travel, and on top of that you have the price of the actual ticket. However, today, most cinemas have great deals for children - for example, Vue hosts ‘Mini Mornings’ (cute right?) which allows yourself and your littles ones to watch a morning showing from as little as £2.49 per ticket, when booked in advance online. What’s more, Mini Mornings run every Saturday and Sunday morning, and everyday in the school holidays!

Simply let them pack and choose their own snacks at home (this avoids the tantrums when passing the pick 'n' mix and popcorn aisle) and head out for a cheap yet fun morning out! There are Vue cinemas located in close proximity to a number of our holiday parks across the UK.

Visit a museum, Nationwide

The outside of the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Price: Entry price varies between attractions

Museums are a fun and educational way to keep your little ones entertained. What’s more, many of them are free entry and make for the perfect location for rainy days! Whether you’re looking to soak up some long seafaring history at a British Maritime museum or searching to explore a little, independent museum for an unusual day out, the UK offers a whole host of museums; including history, art, architecture, science and more.

Some of our favourites include; the Tate Modern if you’re staying at one of our Cornwall holiday parks; such as White Acres or St Minver - here you can explore art and design from local upcoming artists in the area, as well as admire its fantastic views of St Ives. The National Railway Museum in York is well worth a stop-off to break your journey, if you're heading to one of our 4 Yorkshire holiday parks; Barmston Beach, Cayton Bay, Skipsea Sands, or Withernsea Sands - and are a lover of all things trains and history. Science fanatics will love a trip to the Discovery Museum in Newcastle City Centre, if they're staying at one of our Northumberland and County Durham parks.

Free things to do on our parks

When you book directly with Parkdean Resorts, you get a Hub Pass to use the on-site park facilities for free. Free activities include indoor and outdoor pools, sporting activities such as football and cricket, access into kids' clubs and interactive shows at the on-park entertainment venue.

If you’re looking for a staycation or big family getaway in the coming months, check out our range of cheap UK holidays.