SCHOOL’S out for the summer and keeping the family entertained during the six-week holiday can be brutal on the bank balance.
But family days out don’t have to cost the earth.
Emma Pietras and Laura Stott bring you our ultimate guide of 22 things to do in the summer of 2022 and – best of all – many of them are free . . .
Make a splash
TAKE the plunge for just £1 with bargain swimming sessions for children and teens at Better Leisure pools around the UK.
The Kids For A Quid offer gives under 16s the chance to dive into low-cost, family-friendly splash gatherings between 9am and 10am every day, at a price that will help to keep your head above water.
Swimmers from beginner to experienced are welcome. Book your dip in advance at better.org.uk.
READ MORE SAVING TIPS
Kids eat out for free
EVERY day throughout the holidays, kids can get a free breakfast at Hungry Horse restaurants with one bought adult breakfast.
Up to two children’s breakfasts can be claimed per adult.
At Bella Italia, youngsters can eat for £1 with the purchase of every adult main course on Mondays until Thursdays, between 4pm and 6pm.
From Monday, kids under 16 in England and Wales can eat for £1 in Asda cafés, with no minimum spend for adults.
Offer is valid seven days a week, any time, until September 4.
Most read in The Sun
ADULTS and children alike love Harry Potter so anything wizard related is sure to be magical.
Famed as the birthplace of the boy wizard, Edinburgh is home to The Potter Trail, the city’s original, award-winning and free Harry Potter tour.
You can discover the spellbinding locations that inspired the characters and scenes in the series, as well as visiting the spots where author JK Rowling wrote the books and learn a spell or two, so don’t forget to bring something that can be used as a wand.
Top telly series
IF you’ve binged all of Netflix’s Stranger Things episodes, Eighties sci-fi drama Paper Girls should help to fill the void.
Based on the comic book of the same name, it follows four teenage paper girls who get caught in a war between rival time-travelling factions. Available on Amazon Prime video from July 29.
True-crime series Black Bird is about inmate Jimmy Keene, played by Taron Egerton, who has to befriend a serial killer and get a confession in return for walking free.
Streaming on Apple TV+ now.
PLENTY of food outlets offer free food and other rewards when you download their apps and sign up for free membership.
Every time an app user buys an item from Greggs, they get a stamp. Collect nine stamps in a category and the tenth item is free.
When you sign up for the app, you get a free hot drink. You can also get a hot drink when you download McDonald’s app.
With Taco Bell you get a free Crunchy Taco.
Krispy Kreme also offers a free doughnut when you sign up to its app.
SPOTTING hot air balloons is a childhood favourite, but adults can join in too.
Next month, the market town of Oswestry, Shrops, will host its annual balloon carnival, which will see more than 25 balloons take to the skies.
The two-day family fun charity event, taking place on August 20 and 21, will also feature food and craft stalls, live music and street entertainers.
Entry is free but they are promoting an optional £1 donation to Nightingale House Hospice. See bit.ly/3z0BN3d.
RSC dress up and walks
IF sitting in a hot, stuffy theatre isn’t your thing, then head to historic Stratford-Upon-Avon, where the Royal Shakespeare Company is hosting fun, free activities running all day, every day.
Youngsters can dress up in costumes used on stage in Shakespeare plays or join in with a host of activities such as creating their very own plays.
For more information, go to rsc.org.uk.
Top Dog Days
SIGN up for alerts from topdogdays.com for a host of information on day-out offers and discounts to help keep you and the family entertained this summer, while also saving you pounds.
Some current listings include two-for-one offers to Sea Life centres in Birmingham and London, Kingsmill vouchers granting Kids Go Free entry to Legoland Windsor, and two-for-one vouchers for Thorpe Park.
VUE cinemas, which has movie theatres around the UK, is running Mini Mornings at 10am every day throughout the holidays where little ones aged two to 12 years old can enjoy the big screen for less, with tickets costing just £2.49 for them and any accompanying adults.
Family favourites including Sonic The Hedgehog will be showing but book in advance to get the best price. You can pay on arrival but it will cost slightly more. See myvue.com.
Keep an eye on sites such as vouchercloud.com for offers at other chains.
Butlins day visits
DAY entry for Butlin’s parks in Bognor Regis, West Sussex; Minehead, Somerset; and Skegness, Lincs; will give you unlimited use of most facilities and you’ll be allocated a swim time for Splash Waterworld with its wave machine and Helter Skelter water slide.
There is also a pool for under-fives. Enjoy live entertainment, kids’ activities, rides, soft play areas and arcades.
Day visits start from £10 for children (ages 2-14) and seniors (60+) and £17 for adults (15+) and can be booked in advance.
Merlin theme parks
A MERLIN annual pass gives you 300 days’ access to top theme parks across the UK including Legoland, Windsor; Alton Towers, Staffs; Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park, both in Surrey.
You can also visit The London Eye, thesun.co.uk/money/6538152/free-tickets-warwick-castle-sun-savers/ and Blackpool Tower.
A pass lasts for a year and costs £9.99 per month, but each pass-holder receives five free 50 per cent discount tickets for friends and family.
So you can take the family to ride on Oblivion for half price.
For further details see merlinannualpass.co.uk.
KEEP your eyes peeled on the products in your shopping trolley for big-brand offers on summer fun.
Kellogg’s Cereals is offering free adult tickets for 40 attractions including Alton Towers in Staffs and Madame Tussauds in London or Blackpool, Lancs, when pre-booked with another full-price adult or child ticket.
You’ll find codes to redeem the offer on cereal boxes, including Coco Pops and Crunchy Nut cornflakes, and inside Snack Packs (for more information see kelloggs.co.uk) which can be used until June 2023.
MAKE a massive saving and get a West End experience for less by booking adult tickets and taking an accompanying child, aged 17 or under, free to selected shows in August as part of the Kids Week scheme.
There are additional fun activities on offer including dance workshops and special Curtain Calls after the performance is over.
For further information log on to officiallondontheatre.com/kids-week.
Seat Filler websites are another great way to secure tickets to shows for less over the summer.
Tickets for comedy, theatre and big-name musicals are often last minute only but hugely discounted, starting from as little as £7.
Sign up to centraltickets.co.uk for access to these in-the-know bargains.
Score a strike
INDOOR bowling is a terrific way to spend the day inside when the great British weather isn’t being obliging.
And some top offers on alleys this summer mean it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
The Hollywood Bowl chain, which has venues all over the UK, is offering a Yum ’N’ Fun deal which consists of a bowling game, children’s meal and drink for £7.50 each before 6pm Monday-Thursday (check your local venue for specific offers at hollywoodbowl.co.uk).
Sign up to its newsletter for first dibs on upcoming deals.
NEST Friends helps children to identify the amazing variety of birds in the UK and to keep track of what they have seen in the garden or the local park – all helping to enhance their wildlife knowledge and education.
The website has all sorts of information about the various species and it also has beautiful illustrations of various birds.
Plus, there are free “birdspotter” sheets and colouring pages available to download on the website.
For more information, go to nestfriends.co.uk.
Tennis for free
SCORE an ace with a taster tennis match free this summer at your local Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) club or public park.
Served up by the charity Tennis for Free, there are two-hour lessons on offer, with racquets and ball provided.
Anyone can sign up, from complete beginners to those with more experience who want to polish their skills.
You will benefit from professional coaches’ knowhow and, with 120 locations, wherever you live in the UK there’s bound to be a participating court near you. See tennisforfree.com.
Free ice cream
THE Birmingham, W Mids, branch of Creams cafe is celebrating summer with its Sundae Funday giveaway.
To receive two free Oreo cookie sundaes, customers must sign up to The Creams Squad mailing list and spend a minimum of £10 in store.
The offer runs until August 8, so get your spoon in quick before this freebie melts away.
By signing up to its mailing list you will also be notified about upcoming discounts and special offers throughout the year. See creamscafe.com.
FREE My Pet Pal workshops are running in stores at Pets at Home, giving children the chance to meet and spend time with some fluffy pals.
They can learn how to care for them too, with tips from trained advisers.
As well as hanging out with the star guests, all kids taking part will also receive an animal activity booklet to keep them amused at home.
And they will also get a My Pet Pals certificate to show off for completing the workshop.
Book in advance at petsathome.com.
Go on a butterfly hunt
BUTTERFLY numbers in Britain are taking a battering, with half of our 57 resident species threatened with extinction due to the disappearance of fields and wildflowers.
But kids can help to turn back the decline and list some of the colourful species they can spot using the Free Butterfly Guide from the charity The Heart of England Forest.
For more information see heartofenglandforest.org/butterflies.
NEVER mind going on a bear hunt, it’s all about finding The Gruffalo. Forestry England has created the Gruffalo Orienteering Trail, where youngsters have to use a simple map and answer questions to find 12 Gruffalo markers hidden in the deep, dark wood as quickly as possible.
Before you begin the trail, be sure to pick up a Gruffalo orienteering leaflet with a certificate and map for just £1.50.
For more details about participating locations, see forestryengland.uk.
Be a treasure hunter
CHILDREN can go exploring on a Treasure Trail, all for the bargain price of just £9.99.
There are more than 1,200 trails to download and follow, with themes ranging from interactive spy missions and superhero challenges to detective trails – uncovering secrets that should keep even the most bored teen interested.
For the grown-ups, there are more serious local history or conservation trails.
This summer you can also get three trails for the price of two – under £20. For more details see treasuretrails.co.uk.
TAKE day trips for less thanks to rail discounts. Govia Thameslink, which runs the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern networks plus the Gatwick Express, has great offers.
Buy any adult off-peak or super off-peak ticket over the summer and you can take up to four kids aged five to 15 for just £2 each.
Read More on The Sun
Plus two-for-one offers give cut-price entry to attractions such as Kidzania in London, Oxford Castle and London Dungeon when you book your train ticket.