21 Jul 19
WORRYING about the cost of keeping the kids entertained over the summer hols?
We’ve got it covered.
We have loads of great ways to entertain the kids for free this summer
From secret spy trails around Canterbury to feeding alpacas in Preston, Coupon Queen Maddy Tooke brings you free or cheap activities up and down the UK.
And even if it’s raining, we’ve got the perfect solution to entertain your little ones – make a brilliant Forky character from hit movie Toy Story 4, below.
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is at Ashton Court Estate from August 8-11
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: Explore collections of art, nature and history including spooky Egyptian mummies and artefacts. Admission is free.
Bath, Royal Victoria Park: Botanical and woodland gardens with picnic and adventure play area. Free entry.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta: Free event with 130 hot air balloons at Ashton Court Estate, August 8-11.
Exeter, Ludwell Valley Park Trail: A self-guided trail with five information boards exploring the 200-acre country park. Free.
St Keverne, Roskilly’s organic farm: Experience a Cornish dairy farm in action for free while enjoying the countryside. Guided tours, walks, plus delicious local produce including ice cream and fudge to buy. Free music entertainment starts at 7pm this Thursday.
East of England
Sandrigham Estate in Norfolk has a country park and visitor’s centre
Sandrigham Estate: The Queen’s retreat in Norfolk has a country park and visitor’s centre.
Sothwold, Southwold Pier: Entry to the quirky pier with its oddball “arcade” machines is free, including sea life trail.
Norwich Cathedral: Free guided tours. Family Fun Day on August 1. Kids under five and adults get in free. But kids over five cost £3.50.
Clacton Airshow: Two days of free airshow fun on August 22-23.
Heachamh, Norfolk Lavender: Lavender fields and shop. Fee for the play area and tour.
The Great Tower at Guildford Castle has beautiful 360 degree views of the countryside
New Forest, Hants: Perfect for cycling, hiking and horse riding, plus camping nearby.
Canterbury Treasure Trail: Go on a mission solving clues around the city for a fee with treasuretrails.co.uk.
Guildford Castle: The Great Tower has beautiful 360 degree views of the countryside. Adult entry costs £3, kids £1.50.
Woking, WWF Living Planet Centre: A range of activities to inspire and educate. Free.
Portchester, Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson: Restored Victorian fort overlooking the city. Free.
Yorkshire and the Humber
There’s more than 8,500 objects too see plus live combat demonstrations at Leeds, Royal Armouries Museum
East Riding, Bridlington Beaches & South Beach: Long, sandy beaches plus traditional seaside activities.
Bridlington, Yorks, John Bull World of Rock: Working factory tour shows how rock, sweets, biscuits and chocolates are made. Also an indoor play area. £1.50 entry.
Leeds, Royal Armouries Museum: More than 8,500 objects too see plus live combat demonstrations. Free.
Leeds Urban Bike Park: An off-road cycling experience that offers mountain bike trails, a mini pump track, jump zone and BMX track.
Wakefield, National Coal Mining Museum: Free museum, adventure playground, soft play area and huge sandpit. Parking is £5 per car and includes the beach, most activities and train. Optional underground mining tour also available for an extra fee.
Visit life-size dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park
Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens: Kids will love wriggling through tunnels and sliding down the giant pitcher plant at the indoor play zone . The kid-size badger sett and 18m-high treetop walkway are just some of the family friendly attractions at this 250-year-old botanical garden. Adults pay £13.50 for admission, kids get in free.
Crystal Palace Park: Gasp at life-size dinosaur sculptures, get lost in the giant tea maze, visit the farm and spend time on the boating lake at the South London park. Entry is free.
Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Free entry and at 560 acres, there is always something new to explore. The adventure playground is amazing and for a small cost you can take a dip in a genuine Olympic swimming pool.
Nottingham, Green’s Windmill & Science Centre: Experiment with light, electricity and magnetism at this free family day out.
Wollaton Hall & Park: Adventure play area, den building, geocaching, natural history museum inside a Grade 1-listed Elizabethan mansion. Free entry but charge for parking.
Stanwick Lakes, Northants: Water play, water wheels, adventure playground, assault course. Entry is free but there is a small charge for the car park.
Leicester, Abbey Pumping Station/Museum of Science & Technology: Exhibits include beam engines, narrow-gauge railway and beautiful old vehicles. Free entry.
Nottingham, Stonebridge City Farm: Community project that is free to visit. Gardens, nature walks, farm animals to meet, guinea pigs and bunnies to pet.
The Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary is free to visit
Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary: Free but a donation would be appreciated by the charity.
Cosford, RAF Museum: Interactive displays and exhibitions. Free but there is a small charge for parking. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: See the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.
Birmingham, Midlands Arts Centre: A huge range of free exhibitions available until November 3.
Alrewas, Staffs, National Memorial Arboretum: 150-acres of trees and Armed Forces memorials. A free educational day out for the kids.
The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester has a free events programme now on
Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum: Learn about the city’s role in the Titanic story. Free workshops are available but must be booked in advance.
Museum Of Liverpool: Free activities include Sunday Stories and Little Liverpool for kids aged under six.
Preston, Smithy Farm: Creatures to see include alpacas, goats, hens, Shetland ponies and rabbits. Entry fees apply.
Manchester, Imperial War Museum North: Free events programme now on.
Salford Museum & Art Gallery: Displays and exhibitions. Free workshops.
There’s free glass-making demonstrations and exhibitions at the National Glass Center
York, National Railway Museum: A great family day out – for free – with interactive exhibitions, an outdoor play area and shows. Summer activities until September 1.
Gateshead, The Angel Of The North: Get up close to this iconic sculpture for free. Metrognomes Summer Shows, Intu Metrocentre: Great daily show for the kids until August 26 with a new show starting each week. Free.
Sunderland, National Glass Centre: Learn how glass is made and shaped with free glass-making demonstrations and exhibitions. Great fun.
Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Chain Bridge Honey Farm, Northumberland: Head to the visitor centre and learn all there is to know about bees and honey. View the inside of a hive from behind glass and see the bees working. Free admission.
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Cardiff Castle and its surroundings are stunning and steeped in history
Cardigan Bay dolphin spotting: Home to the UK’s largest pod of dolphins. A fantastic place to learn about marine life – and completely free.
Cardiff Castle: Enchanting building set in stunning parklands. One of our most-visited and most significant sites.
Swansea, National Waterfront Museum: Lots of free events for kids all summer. Pirate party on August 24. Kids can drop in any time to learn how to make cut-throat crafts and a treasure map. They can also enjoy some swashbuckling storying telling and meet an enchanting mermaid, as well as some fearsome foes.
Swansea, Clyne Gardens: Beautiful botanical garden in 27 acres of land with 2,000-plus plant species. Admission is free.
Caerphilly Mountain: An easy climb with spectacular views.
Make your own Forky
TOY Story’s new character Forky is proving a hit – and you don’t have to fork out for a pricey model of him at a toy shop.
You and your kids can make your own, just like Bonnie does at the start of the film.
Forky is the star of summer box office smash Toy Story 4
To find out how, I went straight to the top and visited Forky creator Claudio De Oliviera, at Pixar’s HQ in California.
For our one demonstrated on the right, we used a spork, felt-tip pens, wooden lolly sticks, googly eyes, glue, plasticine or clay and pipe cleaners.
Schools will have many of these. If not, a craft shop like Hobbycraft sells them all. And you can find sporks at takeaways.
Forky certainly proved a huge hit for five-year-old Henry Hinds.
Glue googly eyes on to top of spork. You need one big and one small. Don’t put too high or low on face as you have the fit to eye- brows above and lips below.
Use felt tips to give cheeks orange glow and blue colour seen in the film. Add colour then smudge with your fingers or a spare pipe cleaner.
Roll bits of red and blue plasticine into cylinder 1mm in diameter. Mould red to shape you want for Forky’s eyebrow. Use blue for the mouth.
Break the lolly sticks in half for the feet. The ones we got were a bit too long so we broke a bit more off each one.
In the film, Bonnie puts a rainbow sticker on Forky’s feet. We couldn’t find these – so we drew one on with felt-tip pens. Go slowly as the colour bleeds a bit.
Mould white plasticine into a pryamid- shaped blob. Then insert feet into it. Forky’s spork body can then be stuck into top of blob.
Use red pipe cleaner for arms and hands. Twist ends to make hands. Then wrap them round the spork towards the top, where it is thinner.
The guide here will get you as close as possible to the film Forky but you can mix it up. Try other colours for plasticine or glue on pom poms or glitter.
Forky certainly proved a huge hit for five-year-old Henry Hinds
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