Everyone loves a family day out!
Yet the effort to plan days out for kids (financial and energy-wise) often leaves parents doing nothing, with kids getting bored at home and parents getting even more stressy.
So often, it’s just easier to stay home. But NO! This is the wrong attitude!
You’ll find this list of days out for kids and their parents right up your street if this sounds familiar in your family.
I’ve listed free or low-cost options for days out (depending on the season), which kids will LOVE no matter what. So you’ll all enjoy yourselves.
Just a tip from one parent to another – don’t leave planning family activities until the last minute.
It just adds to the stress of getting ready, particularly if you’ve got pre-school age children.
Decide a few nights before where you’ll go for the day, and that way you’ll get everything ready beforehand and jump in the car on the day, eager for some family fun.
Days Out For Kids & Parents
Always free! And fantastic for the whole family.
Going to a beach is an excellent option for a family day out. However, you may shrug it off if the weather is bad – think again and consider it.
Family fun can happen in the rain or wind, as there are loads of indoor activities to do together at the coast (or, you know, raincoats…) Think amusements, gift shops and cafes, to name a few.
Our favourite beaches to take the kids to are Bournemouth Beach, Weston-Super-Mare and Milford-On-Sea.
Living in Warwickshire, these three beaches are all within 2.5 hour drive of us (depending on traffic).
Bournemouth is great because it’s a sandy beach, so a bucket and spade is all you need (and some change for ice cream!)
Milford is a shingle beach, and has a beautiful walkout on Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle. Plus the views over the Isle of Wight are exceptional.
Weston-Super-Mare has stunning views from the beach and a lovely wide promenade to stroll along; great for kids if they have scooters or bikes or if you’ve got the pram.
There’s delicious fish and chips in the town centre of Weston-Super-Mare and I recommend paying the small fee to sit on the pier and eat it watching the sunset. That way, you escape the crowds from the town in the evening.
2. Free Museums
Museums are great for kids, as there’s always something to look at to distract them when they have a meltdown!
Jokes aside, museums are excellent because they’re educational, fun and escape the rain, and on the whole, quite accessible.
Our top choices are the Science Museum – London (free) for its interactive features, experiments and buttons to press (there’s an infinite amount it seems!) Plus, there’s an IMAX that may be appealing to you.
We also love the Natural History Museum- London (also free) as there are dinosaurs to gaze at (amongst floors and floors of other attractions) Great for toddlers.
Then you’ve got free museums in Oxford, including the Ashmolean Museum which is full of art and ancient treasures. You can easily spend a day here enjoying what’s in the exhibitions, teaching your kids history, and taking a step back in time.
3. Paid Museums
There are enjoyable activities at paid museums that don’t cost tons of money. I have a not so secret love of art, and any of the Tate galleries are lovely to visit.
What better gift to children than introducing them to art?
The location of the Tate St Ives in Cornwall is something of a dream (we were there only last week), right on the seafront overlooking Porthmeor Beach and the ocean.
The Imperial War Museum Duxford (near Cambridge) is undoubtedly one of the best family-friendly places. Which kids don’t love big planes and tanks?
If you’re lucky, you might visit when there are flying displays, but if not, it’s still great.
Having several hangers you can walk through, you and the kids can spend hours gazing in awe at the aviation on offer.
Think going to a town is boring? Think again! Kids love going to new places, and towns offer so much to see.
We love ambling round Stratford-Upon-Avon for its oldy worldly buildings, links to Shakespeare, and by the river in the summer is great when there’s markets and street food to savour.
You can also check out the Butterfly Farm on the edge of town (next to a car park, handy enough). Finally, depending on which way you drive in, pop into Redwings Horse Sanctuary (donation only), the UK’s largest horse sanctuary.
The towns in the Cotswolds offer something different too.
All beautiful, made from sandstone and very quaint and unique in their own way. We love visiting Broadway for the breezy walk along the top to Broadway Tower.
Another favourite is Bourton On The Water, home to Birdland, which is fantastic to visit for its layout, design, and beautiful surroundings.
Our kids loved it last year, plus it was a nice hot day, so the flamingos were in good spirits.
5. Theme Parks
One answer from us here! Legoland!
Now, I’m aiming this post at parents of pre-schoolers (just to be clear). In my opinion, Legoland is worth shelling out for, as pricey as it is, simply for the joy on your kid’s faces.
But, of course, you can get tickets cheaper if you book in advance.
Legoland is one of those family-friendly places where the whole day is just extraordinary. There are rides galore, and the ‘Miniland’ miniature village is incredible (made from Lego bricks, obvs!)
You can also spend an extortionate amount of money in the gift shops there (be warned!)
6. Farm Parks
Another great option is popping into a search engine ‘farm parks near me’, which will bring up a host of local farms.
Teaching children from a young age about animal welfare is super important, and visiting a farm park is an excellent opportunity to do so.
Our top choice near us is the Cotswold Farm Park by Adam Henson. There are the not-to-be-missed animal feeding opportunities (fluffy animals too) and particularly intriguing rare breeds that the kids love.
When we went, we also camped overnight (before kids), and the campsite was clean, quiet and flat, which is always a bonus for getting some sleep.
Many zoos around the UK are fantastic for kids, including the London Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo, and Whipsnade Zoo.
Many of them have educational programmes for children, which is a great way to introduce kids to the wonders of the natural world.
You can visit zoos in the summer months but my advice to save your pennies is to visit in the low season, either early Spring or late Autumn. The kids can get a lot more out of it (less crowded), and it is cheaper.
8. National Parks
The UK’s National Parks are a fantastic place for kids to explore and see nature, plus entrance is always free.
We’ve done hikes in many of the national parks (we are exercise junkies, I’ll admit), the Brecon Beacons and in the Lake District, being two of my favs, and the always kids love it.
The hikes range from being easy to challenging, and the kids keep up with us somewhat – a hiking rucksack making this possible most of the time.
In total there are 15 national parks across the UK. Highly recommended for a free and healthy day out with the kids.
9. National Trust & English Heritage Sites
Some amazing places, which are a must-visit with kids are the National Trust and the English Heritage.
Some of my favourites include Stowe for a walk around its stunning gardens, and Upton House which has an impressive house and equally stunning gardens and views over surrounding countryside.
If you prefer mansions, then Wrest Park is another level altogether. You can easily spend all day wandering the gardens here, enjoying a picnic, or mix it up with a ticket to the grand house too.
Stonehenge is magical, being the most well known prehistoric monument in Europe.
In truth there’s too many options to list, but if you’re a member of these organisations, you can visit as often as you like. The memberships are worth it if you do 2-3 visits or more per year.
Going somewhere with lots of space is a must with kids, because kids love running, and many of these locations are wonderfully spacious.
10. Green Spaces
Simple is best in my world! One of my favourites for a day out with the kids is an old-fashioned ‘green space’.
It’s an open space managed by the local council or local community.
They are usually very green, well kept, and can be used for various things, including playing football, tennis, cricket, catch games, frisbee and picnics.
You don’t need to spend cash to enjoy a family day out – that’s my motto. You can enjoy any number of free parks and attractions which the kids will love, as will you!
If you enjoyed reading this post please share it. And try reading this one next.