Summer holiday deals – free or cheap days out!

Looking for fun things to do this summer that don’t break the bank? Then look no further – here’s a guide to cheap days out!

Travel in style – and in budget!

Summer is a chance to get out and about and explore, whether it’s to a new city, the coast, or the countryside. You can always drive if you’ve got a car, but the cost of fuel is still expensive, as is parking at many places, so why not try public transport?

Did you know that, in England, bus fares have been capped at £2 on 4,600 bus routes, with 130 operators until the end of October? For train journeys, you can save by making the most of group discounts and split ticketing. Plus, through National Rail, you can unlock 2 for 1 deals for attractions – keep reading to find out how… (I think one train network halved train ticket prices last week)

Theme parks and attractions – where to find the deals?

Whether you’re a family of adrenaline junkies or prefer the laidback leisure of a pedal boat, theme parks and other attractions are a great day out. But they can come with a hefty price tag, especially when you visit as a group. Here are some handy tips for getting a great deal on theme park tickets!

  1. Book in advance – When you book online in advance of your visit, you could save up to 47%. An individual ticket for Thorpe Park costs £64 on the day, but £34 online ahead of time. You could also save £34 at Legoland and Chessington World of Adventures, and £36 at Alton Towers by booking in advance on the websites.
  2. Consider an annual pass – Depending on how often you visit, an annual pass might work out cheaper in the long run, especially if you can get one as part of an offer.
  3. Use Kellogg’s vouchers – Keep an eye out for ‘adults go free’ vouchers on selected Kellogg’s cereal packs and snacks! You could get these for Alton Towers, Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Sea Life aquariums and sanctuaries, Madame Tussauds and other Merlin attractions.
  4. Convert your Clubcard points – If you’re a Tesco Clubcard holder, you can turn the points you earn into vouchers to spend at reward partners, which include wildlife parks and other attractions.
  5. Take your own snacks – the food can often be an added cost at these kinds of attractions, but most theme parks allow you to bring in your own food and drink. There may be some requirements, such as making sure the food and drinks are sealed, so check the rules before you get there.

Action-packed activities this summer

The sunny weather of summer is a perfect opportunity to get outdoors, and there are plenty of exciting activities for the whole family to try. With the run-up to summer well underway, you’ll likely see adverts for all the latest sporting equipment, from tennis rackets and bicycles to paddleboards and inflatable kayaks! But when are these worth the investment, and where can you find less costly alternatives?

Free and low-cost sport activities

  • Parkrun & Junior Parkrun: Every 9am on Saturday mornings, Parkruns are local 5k runs, which are completely free to join, and children are welcome to take part. Junior Parkrun on Sunday mornings is a shorter run specifically for kids aged 4-14.
  • Cycling: If cycling is more your scene, see if there are any cycling festivals and events near you on the We Are Cycling website. For route inspiration, Sustrans has guides and recommendations for cyclists of all abilities.
  • Tennis: The Lawn Tennis Association holds free open days and events throughout the summer, with sessions designed to suit the whole family, so you can all get involved. Tennis For Free hosts events up and down the country, bringing tennis to even more communities.
  • Swimming: Book a free session with SwimSafe for kids aged 7-14 to learn how to stay safe at open water locations, with qualified instructors. Many council-run leisure centres also run free swimming sessions during the summer holidays, so check online for your local pool schedule.
  • Water sports: There are plenty of activity centres across the country, offering kayaking, surfing and stand-up paddle boarding lessons – find your local centre here. It’s worth having a trial session before taking the plunge and buying an expensive piece of equipment, to make sure you’ll get your money’s worth. Take a look at our cost comparison of buying versus renting a stand-up paddle board below!

Seeing a show? Save on theatre and cinema tickets

Who doesn’t love a trip to the movies or to see a big show? From the latest blockbusters to the bright lights of the West End, there’s fantastic entertainment to be had this summer. But, the tickets, travel and snacks can come with a hefty price tag at the end of the day.

Luckily, there are plenty of offers and deals to help you save as a family:

  • Cineworld offer Movies for Juniors screenings, with children’s tickets priced at £2.50.
  • Odeon Kids run a deal where adults pay child’s prices on tickets.
  • Vue has Mini Mornings screenings from 10am during the school holidays, with tickets for both adults and children cost £2.49 each.

If live theatre is what you fancy, then here’s a few deals:

  • Disney Magical Mondays: Every Monday at noon, a number of tickets for Disney shows, (Frozen, The Lion King) are available for £29.50 – but act quick as these sell out quickly!
  • Opt for cheaper seats: You could get a bargain with seats near the back, or with a ‘restricted view’. Check the view out on SeatPlan beforehand to see if a ticket is worth it.
  • Book directly: Third-party websites can bump up the price of theatre tickets, at your expense. You can usually get a better deal by visiting the theatre website directly.
  • Support your local theatre: it’s likely there will be a show on in your local theatre, especially over the school holidays! These tickets tend to be cheaper than in major cities or the West End, and you can save money on travel.
  • Try your luck on lotteries: some shows, including Hamilton, hold lotteries where you can win discounted tickets for £10-£35.

Your summer of fun with A-Plan

At A-Plan, we’ve got plenty of cost-effective ideas to help keep you entertained this summer – as well as some big prizes and giveaways you won’t want to miss!

Pop into your local branch to talk with our friendly team or find out what we’re up to on our social media channels, using #APlanSummerofFun

You could also read:

Sources: The Guardian, The Standard, Statista, The Mirror, Daily Mail, BBC, Which?, Grantchester Paddleboard Hire, Amazon