19 low cost family days out

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The summer holidays can be an expensive time for parents, but it doesn’t have to be! We have found some great low-cost and free days out for you and the kids without having to splash the cash! 

Holkham National Nature Reserve

Lady Anne’s Drive, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1RG | Tel: 01328 710227 | www.holkham.co.uk


Visit England’s largest national nature reserve and explore the pinewood forests, sand dunes and marshlands. Try to spot the variety of wildlife, including natterjack toads, grey plovers, barn owls and little terns. Covering almost 4,000 hectares, the man-made nature reserve boasts stunning panoramic views of the beach, beautiful woodland walks and views of the reclaimed saltmarshes. 

Norwich Cathedral

65 The Close, Norwich NR1 4DH | Tel: 01603 218300 | www.cathedral.org.uk

Located in the city, Norwich Cathedral is a beautiful building, both inside and out, and can be explored for free! Learn all about its 900 years of history on a guided tour, or grab an explorer backpack, full of items to keep the little ones entertained! Have a go at finding your way through the twists and turns of the labyrinth and find out what it means to reach the middle!

Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve

Main Rd, Titchwell, King’s Lynn PE31 8BB | Tel: 01485 210779 | www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/titchwell-marsh,

Take one of the signposted nature trails and immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery at Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve. A brilliant spot for birdwatching, look out for marsh harriers, bearded tits and bitterns. Listen out for the noises each bird makes from the booming call of the bittern to the metallic ‘ping-ping’ of the bearded tit!

The Bunyan Museum

Mill St, Bedford, MK40 3EU | Tel: 01234 270303 | www.bunyanmeeting.co.uk/museum,

Learn all about the famous author and puritan preacher, John Bunyan. Discover how he transformed literature, and why he was imprisoned for his works. Go down to the basement which has been transformed into a creative paradise, using Bunyan’s most famous piece; ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ as inspiration. The basement encourages others to explore the possibilities of engaging creatively and spiritually, from artworks, bookbinding, calligraphy, drawing, painting, marbling, music and illustration – perfect for getting little ones creative juices flowing!

Wheldons Fruit Farm

Newton Leys, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 0QE | Tel:  01787 374322 |  www.wheldonsfruitfarm.co.uk

Have a go at picking your own at Wheldons Fruit Farm. Located in the stunning Gainsborough Countryside, the farm has been growing fruit for over 70 years and offers a range of traditional and modern varieties of fruit and vegetables. Pick up a punnet and fill it with your favourite fruit, for an afternoon of family fun!

Blake House Craft Centre

Blake End, Rayne, Braintree CM77 6RA | Tel:  01376 553146 |  www.blakehousecraftcentre.co.uk/maze.html

Visit Blake House Craft Centre and have a go at finding your way through the 10 acre maize maze! Use the lost souls map to navigate your way out, or if you get really lost, find your bearings on the viewing platform! There is also a wooden adventure playground for the kids, as well as 9-hole crazy golf course to let off some steam!

Jesus Green Lido

Cambridge CB5 8AR | Tel: 01223 302579 | www.jesusgreenpool.org

Spend a day in the sun at Cambridge’s largest outdoor pool, which opened back in 1923! Located alongside the picturesque River Cam, it is perfect for a spot of sunbathing after a dip in the pool! There is also male and female changing and shower facilities available.

Millside Canoe Hire

Hartford Marina, Wyton, Huntingdon, PE28 2AA | Tel: 07952 642 956 | https://www.millsidecanoehire.co.uk

Explore the Cambridgeshire countryside in a Canadian canoe! Discover the waterways and stunning scenery by boat, stop off and have a picnic beside the water or some lunch at a pub along the way! The boats can be hired at an hourly rate or if you’re feeling adventurous, hire it for the whole day to go further afield! The boats are fully insured and equipped with paddles and buoyancy aids.

Bishops Stortford Museum

South Road, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 3JG | Tel: 01279 710 200 | rhodesartscomplex.co.uk/themuseum

Learn about the history of Bishop’s Stortford at the local museum. Located in a Victorian building which was the birthplace of the famous politician, Cecil Rhodes, the museum is full of activities, which include African instruments to play, learning about Cecil’s venture to South Africa and a dressing up box. Get involved with some brass rubbing or explore the local history with the interactive touch screens! Follow one of the trails and tours to learn about the historic artefacts, as well as finding out what goes on behind the scenes of the museum! 

Scott’s Grotto

Scotts Road, Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 9JQ | Tel: 01920 464131 | www.scotts-grotto.org

Explore underground at Scott’s Grotto. Built by the Quaker poet John Scott in 1761, the grotto extends for 20 metres into a chalk hill. It is made up of six underground chambers that are linked by decorative passages and air tunnels, covered with shells, coloured glass and flints. Above ground, you will find a Grade II listed summer house and portal, nestled amongst green foliage. Make sure you wear flat shoes and bring along a torch as the tunnels are uneven and unlit!

Embankment Gardens and Russell Park

Russell Park, The Embankment, Bedford MK40 3RH | Tel: 01234 267422

Have fun outdoors this summer. Pop along to Embankment Gardens and Russell Park for open space to play traditional family games and burn off some energy! Check out the tennis, football, rugby, putting, bowling green, table tennis and basketball facilities, but make sure you book to avoid disappointment! Hire a family size rowing boat to explore the waterways or take a stroll and discover the scenic riverside walks by foot. There is also an adventure playground, perfect for kids between the ages of 3 and 13, for some physical activity!

© Sainsbury Centre

Free family events at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich

During the school holiday families can enjoy a number of free activities at the Sainsbury Centre including a ‘Family Art Day’ topped off with a picnic & BBQ, ‘Interactive Objects’; two brand new activities including outdoor stackable building blocks and felt objects that add a sense of touch to the gallery experience, Saturday drop in sessions, tours and trails and ‘Sunday Studio’; a hands-on workshop using new techniques and fun materials to create artworks. scva.ac.uk

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum

Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3X | Tel: 01234 718618 | www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk

Situated inside a Victorian mansion, the modern art gallery has a renowned collection of watercolours, prints, paintings, drawings, ceramics, glass and lace created by both local and national artists. It hosts both temporary and permanent exhibitions, as well as housing lots of local history so come along and learn all about where you live!

 Hadleigh Castle Country Park

Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, SS7 2PP | Tel: 01702 551072 | www.visitparks.co.uk/places/hadleigh-country-park/,

Named after Hadleigh Castle, discover the country park by foot, bike or horse. Keep an eye out for the wildlife, from rare birds to butterflies, which love to bask on the south facing slopes, as well as dragonflies and damselflies which dart about the ditches and ponds. The park also hosts many events and activities throughout the year from stargazing walks to a glow-worm hunt, so make sure you check out what’s on!

Southend Central Museum and Planetarium

Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6ES | Tel: 01702 212345 |  www.southendmuseums.co.uk/

Here, the displays tell the story of the natural and human history of south east Essex, with a range of artefacts from the Roman and Saxon times, as well as various collections of toys, games, photography and Second World War items. Visit the planetarium and learn all about the stars and universe in a fascinating live presentation.

Clacton beach

Marine Parade, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 6JS

Give the kids a taste of the past at the classic Clacton Beach. Considered as the jewel of the Essex coast, Clacton-on-sea is home to a Victorian pier, amusement arcades, cafés and entertainment, replicating a traditional great British summer holiday. The golden sandy beach is perfect for building sandcastles, and has a seasonal life guard to keep you safe whilst you have a paddle!

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 17.08.16 Watford, UK. Big Screen on the Beach.
Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

Big Beach Event Watford, 4– 19 August

The Parade, Watford, WD17 1NA | Tel: 01923 278388 |  www.watfordbigevents.co.uk/big-beach

The Big Beach is returning to Watford this summer. The Parade will be transformed into a beach resort for two weeks, with real golden sand and free fun for all the family, including arts and crafts, children’s activities and exercise classes, you are bound to have hours of fun in the sun!

Two for One Attractions – Greater Anglia Trains

Tel: 0345 600 7245 | www.greateranglia.co.uk

Ditch the driving and cut the costs by travelling with Greater Anglia Trains this summer. The train-operating company is offering 2 for 1 admission prices to a number of attractions across the region, when you travel with them during the holidays. The offer includes 2 for 1 entrance into the beautiful 17th century Audley End House, Broadlands bike hire around the Norfolk Broads and Camboats river cruises in Cambridge.

Family Rave Festival in Essex, 27 August

Garon Park in Southend on Sea, Essex

For the first time ever in Essex, Raver Tots is hosting its outdoor festival at Garon Park in Southend on Sea, Essex, on bank holiday Monday 27 August from 12-4pm.

Multiple outdoor stages will host some of the UK’s favourite rave, old school, dance and garage DJs, including Slipmatt, Brandon Block, Wideboys and Nicky Blackmarket. Plus, there’s masses on offer for kids, including free funfair rides, huge inflatables, giant parachute games, glowsticks, face painting, soft play and arts & crafts areas, as well as a range of delicious hot and cold food, ice creams and refreshments. Tickets start at £8 and are available from www.ravertots.co.uk


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