Free fun for the summer holidays!

The best deals, hints and tips for making the most of the summer break

The summer holidays are a perfect time to shake off the cobwebs, spend time with friends and family, and head out on adventures. With longer days and warmer weather, there’s no better opportunity to try out a new sport or simply enjoy some outdoor activities.

But coming up with new ideas for the whole six weeks, and getting tickets for everyone, can be expensive. Yes, there are family tickets and children’s prices, but we’re still only just making out of a period of incredibly high inflation.

That’s why we’ve compiled a few hints and tips about the best low-cost deals and free activities this summer. And keep reading to find out how you can join in our Summer of Fun, and win some amazing prizes!

Getting active

The summer holidays are a great opportunity to get active, and even try out a new sport. Here are some low cost or free ways you could get involved.


Parkrun is a free 5k run held every Saturday, for runners and walkers of all abilities. Find your nearest events here, which are usually at local parks, though some are particularly scenic. There’s even one at the Eden Project! Junior parkrun is every Sunday, though children can take part in the regular event too.


The Lawn Tennis Association runs club open days, where anyone can try their hand at the game. Equipment is provided, so simply search for upcoming events near you.


Swim Safe hosts free open water swimming sessions for children aged 7-14, to help develop their abilities. Learn more about the scheme here.


Cycling UK and Sustrans are two useful resources for route planning, inspiration, and details of upcoming group cycle rides.

Howden boot exchanges:

Equipping ever-growing children with football boots, and other kit can be expensive. Our Howden branches across the UK run community boot and kit exchanges for football, rugby and even cricket. We want to help as many young people get active and keep playing the sport they love. Find your nearest branch and see what’s on this summer!

Days out and excursions

With six weeks to enjoy together as a family, it’s a chance to explore new sights and have some exciting days out. But, these can quickly get expensive when you factor in the travel costs, tickets for every family member and other necessities for the day.

It may be hard to believe in this modern age, where everything seems to cost you, but there are hundreds of free museums, galleries and cathedrals in the UK. The top rated include:

Beyond the free options out there, Clubcard vouchers are an easy win for these kinds of activities, as you can double the value of your points for tickets to theme parks, castles, zoos and much more. What’s more, if you register with Days Out Guide and buy a National Rail ticket, you can get 2for1 entry to over 250 attractions.

Make sure you read the fine print for details about needing to pre-book, or only visiting on specific days. You wouldn’t want your plans ruined!

And speaking of things that could dampen the mood, the odd rain shower should be expected this summer. But some attractions now offer ‘rainy day promises’. The rules can vary, but essential a rainy-day guarantee offers you free return tickets if your first visit is ruined by bad weather.

Now, what counts as ‘bad weather’ is determined by the attraction, but an hour of rain at Warwick Castle and Chester Zoo means a free return trip, while others make decisions based on the level of rainfall or if rides have to close.

It’s worth noting that these guarantees may not apply if you bought your tickets with Clubcard points, voucher codes or partner sites. So again, check the T&Cs!

Rainy day plans

If the weather is truly terrible this summer, which let’s face it, is a real possibility living in Blighty, it’s always good to have some back-up plans. We’ve got plenty of ideas to keep you occupied at home, but what about something new?

You may be surprised to know that the likes of Ikea, Dobbies, Pets at Home and Hobbycraft all host various free and low-cost workshops. There’s plenty of activities to get stuck into, from Lego building to jewellery making.

This summer, the cinema is also a great rainy day or evening option. But the cost can quickly add up, especially with drinks and snacks too! Here’s a few handy hints:

  • Check your mobile phone provider: Vodafone, O2 and Three+ all offer specific cinema tickets on certain weekdays.
  • See what streaming sites offer: Sky Customers can get free tickets at Vue, and Prime customers can get discounted Odeon tickets.
  • Look out for family/children’s screenings, where groups tickets or family-friendly events may be cheaper.
  • Sign up for cinema membership: MyOdeon or Showcase Insider both have free options where you can get cheaper tickets.
  • Compare different days of the week: Friday and Saturday night tickets are often more expensive than weekdays.

Our £20k holiday giveaway!

Our Howden teams are ready to launch our most exciting Summer of Fun yet! To kick things off, we’re giving away £4,000’s worth of TUI vouchers to five lucky winners, so you can have the holiday you’ve dreamed of. Keep an eye out on our blog and social media pages for details of how to enter.

And, as always, your local branch will be joining in the fun with events in your community. Have a look at what’s on near you, and find your local branch here.

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