10 free summer holiday activities


Two weeks left of the school hols and we’re running low on ideas, energy, and – most of all – cash. Here are 10 free summer holiday activities to fill the next fourteen days.

Apple Stores: Kids Hour

Designed to ‘spark imagination and creativity through fun, hands-on projects’, Apple’s Kids Hour takes place in stores across the country for ages 6 to 12 and is totes free. Your nippers can learn to code, design mazes, navigate robots and more, all while you noodle about on your phone or browse the expensive device cases.

Book it

Free films

Still raining? Head to the movies, sneak in your own cheapo snacks and maybe grab 40 winks while it’s dark. Sign up to Show Film First and you’ll be notified of free cinema tickets when they become available, first come first served.

Sign up



Yes, this requires a coastal location, but rather than knock elbows with the next family on the beach head to the harbour instead. Crabbing equipment is pretty cheapo – all you need is a bucket, a line, a hook and some bait (bacon works well, as does tinned sweetcorn). Hours of fun.


Notting Hill Carnival

If you find yourself in the capital over the August bank holiday weekend, head to London’s famous carnival. The Sunday is family day, making for a calmer atmosphere. Plenty to see and do, plus lovely food and drink to sample.

More info

The Birmingham Tolkien Trail

If your kids are half-Hobbit they’ll love the Birmingham Tolkien Trail. Grab a map from the Tourist Information Centre (or download one here) and head out onto the streets in search of Midlands, sorry Middle Earth.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Kids get to dress up as junior doctors and take a journey around the body in this free, interactive event in The Glades, Bromley’s shopping centre. Dressed in white coats, the mini-GPs get to learn the sorts of facts kids love (eg over a lifetime, humans produce two swimming pool’s worth of spit) and jump around inside a giant lung. And the journey ends with a graduation ceremony where kids will get their certificates.

Find out more

Tennis for Free

Now that spendy Wimbledon is done and dusted for another year, we can concentrate on playing games for fun. Tennis for Free is a charity giving communities free access to tennis lessons and courts across the country.

Book now

Pets at Home

Admit it – who’s taken their kids to Pets at Home with no intention of actually buying a pet but just because it’s an easy way to kill an hour? Look at the little, wittle guinea pig, isn’t he cute? Well, clever Pets at Home have realised how much kids love pets (and how powerful pester power really is) and are offering free workshops and activities across the country.

Find a workshop

Gromit Unleashed 2

Back in Bristol after a crazily successful year in 2013, the charity sculpture trail features 60 sculptures across the city and surrounding area. Download the app, pick up a map and head out to find the colourful characters – joining Gromit this year is Wallace and Feathers McGraw. Just try not to get Gromit Rage (it’s a thing) when a toddler photobombs your ninth picture of the day or a parent tuts at your kid and their wining.

Gromit FAQ

Summer Reading Challenge

Finally, there’s still time to join this years Mischief Makers Summer Reading Challenge. Just head to your local library, sign up and read six books in order to complete the challenge. You get a free wall chart and stickers for each book you read.

Find out more


Have a read of more Beano summer holiday ideas

Five things we’ve learned so far this summer

10 summer holiday ideas for kids by kids

How I survived the first day of the school holidays