With the school holidays just around the corner and (hopefully!) some sunny days ahead, many of us are looking forward to spending quality time with our families and friends. But with that comes the task of finding fun things to do in summer and replenishing hungry tums without breaking the bank.
It’s a tricky balance at the best of times, made more difficult during this cost-of-living crisis. Even the simple joy of the summer staple fish and chips has risen by 19% – costing as much as £14 per portion in some areas of the UK and giving your wallet a battering!
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy guide to eating out this summer.
Which restaurants offer ‘kids eat free’?
If you are on the lookout for a bargain this summer, we’ve compiled a list of where kids can eat for free or cheaply during summer 2023…
- At Asda, kids eat for £1 all day, every day, with no adult spend required. You can also add a free piece of fruit to kids’ hot meals.
- In Ikea, kids eat from 95p in Ikea restaurants, available every day from 11am.
- At Morrisons, kids eat free when an adult spends £4.49 or more on a meal.
- At Sainsburys, get one child’s hot main meal or lunch bag for £1 with the purchase of an adult hot main meal from £5.20, available from 11.30am.
- In Bella Italia, children eat for £1 with any adult main meal, 4pm-6pm, Monday-Thursday.
- At Beefeater, two children under 16 can get a free breakfast every day with a paying adult.
- In Brains Pubs, kids eat for £1 on Wednesdays, per purchase of an adult meal.
- At Brewers Fayre, two children under 16 can get a free breakfast every day with a paying adult.
- At Dobbies Garden Centres, kids eat free with an adult main meal in the garden centre restaurant. Available every day from noon.
- In Dunelm Pausa Cafés, you can get free mini meal deal with every £4 spent, available all day, every day.
- At Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, children aged 8 and under can eat for free from the set children’s menu, per adult dining from the a la carte menu.
- At Hungry Horse, up to two kids can eat for £1 each with every paying adult on Mondays.
- At Premier Inn, up to two under 16s eat breakfast for free when an adult orders a full breakfast or meal deal.
- At Preto, kids under 10 eat for free, with a paying adult every weekday after 4pm and all weekend. Make sure to download the voucher!
- In Sizzling Pubs, one child can eat for £1 with every adult main meal between 3-7pm, Monday-Friday.
- At Table Table, two kids under 16 eat for free with every adult breakfast purchased.
- At The Real Greek, get a free under-12s kids’ meal for every £10 spent by adults on Sundays.
- At Travelodge, up to two children aged 15 or under get a free breakfast, per each full paying adult.
- At Whitbread Inns, two children under 16 can get a free breakfast every day with a paying adult.
These kids eat free deals can come and go, change in value, or may exclude certain restaurants, so check the terms and conditions online before you set off!
Tips for packing a picnic
A survey from the end of last year showed how since October 2020, a half chicken at Nando’s has risen from £6.75 to £8.50 – that’s 26%! Over the same period, at Zizzi in central London, a plate of chorizo carbonara pasta has increased by 22%, from £11.70 to £14.25. Even the price of a small cup of coffee is up by 22% in some places.
Sometimes, packing a picnic ahead of time to bring with you on your adventures can keep the cost down, and can also be a fun summer activity in its own right. Just check out the cost comparison of a family meal at Costa versus a bringing food from home!
When it comes to choosing what to pack in your picnic, you’ll want a balanced variety of food that travels well, fills everyone up, and most importantly, tastes good! Portable snacks such as sandwiches, scotch eggs, pies, and sausage rolls are picnic classics for a reason; they’re easy to pack and stay fresh for when you’re ready to eat.
Leafy salads tend to wilt over time in the heat, so opt for crudites/veggie sticks like peppers, carrots and cucumbers that will keep their crunch. Pasta salads also work well, and you can add plenty of vegetables to make it a nourishing meal. Keep any dressings, dips, or sauces you want to bring in separate containers, to stop things going soggy in transit.
For pudding, traybakes such as flapjacks are simple and relatively inexpensive to make at home beforehand and can be portioned into squares for easy packing. Fruit makes for a sweet and refreshing treat too. If you’re chopping fruit ahead of time, a squeeze of lemon juice will stop it from going brown and keep it fresh.
When it comes to drinks, you can use flasks all year round, for hot and cold drinks. For an extra cold drink, freeze juice or squash in an ice cube tray the night before your picnic, then empty the frozen cubes into your flask. The ice cubes will melt en route to your picnic spot.
To pack your picnic, use a cool bag or box, with ice packs, to help everything stay fresh. Don’t forget your picnic blanket, paper napkins, and a rubbish bag for when you’re done, in case there isn’t a bin nearby.
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.
Sources: The Guardian, The Standard, Statista, The Mirror, Daily Mail, BBC, Which?, Grantchester Paddleboard Hire, Amazon