Money-saving experts reveal cheap (and free) things to do with your kids this half term

Money-saving experts have given parents tips on free and inexpensive things to do during the February holidays.

Reena Sewraz, of consumer watchdog Which?, said the hacks are particularly relevant given the cost-of-living crisis, which is taking a toll on household finances.

“Millions of families want to cut back on their spending,” she said. “However, there are plenty of fun, cheap and free activities during the school holidays that shouldn’t break the bank.”

Here’s what they recommend to keep the little ones busy this week on a budget.

Take advantage of ‘kids eat free’ offers

Plenty of restaurants and supermarket cafes have “kids eat free” deals or discounts during the holiday season, including Bella Italia, Hungry Horse, and The Real Greek.

Several supermarkets also offer discounts at certain times, including Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.

For example, Asda will offer children a free hot breakfast in its cafes during the spring break in February. Kids can get a free bowl of Quaker porridge from 8am to noon. This is in addition to Asda’s current £1 main meal offer for children.

At M&S ​​Cafés you can get a free Kid’s Munch meal (usually £4) when you spend £5 or more on non-child food or drink.

Learn something new in a free gallery or museum

Many of the UK’s national galleries and museums are free to enter and are an easy way to entertain the family for a day. Some highly recommended by Which? members include:

  • St. Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff

  • Beamish: the living museum of the north in County Durham

  • The National Railway Museum in York

  • The Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford, Shropshire

  • The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

Be aware that they may require you to book a free ticket prior to arrival.

Watch the latest movies at a discount

Some movie theater chains offer family movie discounts at certain times, usually in the morning.

Odeon’s ‘Odeon Kids’, Vue’s ‘Mini Mornings’ and Cineworld’s ‘Movies for Juniors’ all offer discounts for both adults and children.

For example, Vue ‘Mini Mornings’ 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 dinner cards Gourmet Society and Tastecard, both of which offer up to 40% off some cinema chains. Gourmet Society currently offers a 60-day free trial, while Tastecard gives you 60 days for just £1.

Take advantage of local libraries

Libraries are a great source of entertainment, especially for younger children.

In addition to borrowing physical books for free, most libraries allow users to borrow e-books and audiobooks. Some also have games and toys.

There are some libraries that can also provide access to digital magazines and newspapers. View the offers and events of the local library via the website of the municipality and register for free.

Explore the great outdoors

Take advantage of the free parks across the country. Out of inspiration? Check out the Which? for the best national parks in the UK.


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