Free fun: How to survive the summer holidays on a budget

We are rapidly working our way through the holidays and we all know how expensive keeping the children entertained during the 6 week break can be  with families spending on average £251 on activities to keep their children occupied during the school holidays, and spend an extra £138 on other outgoings such as food.


Research has shown that the average family will spend on average £2,510 during the school summer holidays, with many families heading to UK destinations. The most popular destination, with over half of British families (53%) booking a trip, is the British seaside, such as Cornwall, Devon, Blackpool and Skegness. In second place, 28% of families are heading to The Lake District, North Wales and the Scottish Highlands, and in third place, families are opting for a city break and heading to London, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Heading Abroad

For families heading abroad the average spend per person is a whopping £860 the equivalent of two months’ pay after tax, based on the average wage of £26,500.

Childcare during the holidays

According to the Family and Childcare Trust, the average cost of childcare during the summer holidays is £125 a week in England – slightly less in both Scotland and Wales. The costs are double what most families spend on food and drink in a week.


With this in mind we thought we would share some free and budget fun to keep everyone happy.

  1. Odeon Kids. Imaginations run wild. At family-friendly prices. Share this experience with the whole family at our ODEON Kids screenings. Magical worlds come to life before your eyes every Saturday, every Sunday and every day when school’s out for summer.
  2. Summer Reading Challenge. The annual Summer Reading Challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence. The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six books during the long summer holiday.
  3. Free Walking Trails. The best Trails in England and Wales, whether you’re looking for a family day out, a short walk, ride, a really good ice cream or a life-changing long distance walk experience. National Trails pass through some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in Britain.
  4. Swim Safe. This summer, Swim Safe offers FREE outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged 7-14. Public and school sessions are in 20 coastal and inland locations across the UK.
  5. Orienteering. Orienteering is an excellent outdoor activity for practising and improving map reading skills whether as an individual, family or group.
  6. FA Skills. The FA Lidl Skills offers football coaching during the school holidays at venues throughout England.  Our holiday football coaching sessions are a great way for children to try the programme for the first time. FA Lidl Skills holiday football coaching is perfect for children who want to develop their football ability and also if they just want to have some fun during the holidays.  We welcome boys and girls aged 5-11 years of all abilities to our football coaching sessions, where they can learn new skills, develop their techniques and have lots of fun.
  7. Geocaching. Geo-caching is ideal for practising and improving GPS skills and is a world-wide outdoor treasure hunt using GPS-enabled devices.
  8. Tennis For Free. (TFF) is a community sports charity. The charity work with local councils, tennis clubs and coaches to provide FREE weekly coach led family oriented tennis sessions to the local communities throughout the UK in public parks.
  9. Cycle Routes. The National Cycle Network is a series of traffic-free paths and quiet, on-road cycling and walking routes, that connect to every major town and city.

Check out other places to visit and what’s on

Wishing you a fab and adventurous holidays, enjoy.


Have you tried any of these? What did you think?

Published on: 7th August 2017

By: Sarah Bates

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