How to Save Money on Days Out with Kids During the School Holidays

Following on from last week's post on how to make £400 before the summer holidays, let's look at how to save money this summer.  On average, UK parents spend an average £389 extra when their children are off school for the six week holiday, on entertaining, occupying and feeding them.  Here's how to save money all summer long, so you reach September with happy memories, not credit card stress.


Of course, children need to be fed year round, but there are higher expectations of snacks and treats during the summer holidays, not to mention the demands for ice creams and lollies.  One trick is to find a local small supermarket when you're out and about and buy a multi-pack of ice creams, rather than individual ones from the ice cream van.  You'll save several pounds each time.

In the run up to the summer holidays Tesco has lots of great deals on typical kids snack and picnic foods, so it's worth stocking up in advance.  Most of these kind of things have a long life, so won't be out of date for a few weeks.  Our tip is to keep your stock in various locations so it doesn't all get snaffled the first week!

Always take a picnic when you go out, a refillable water bottle and lots of snacks so you can avoid spending at expensive on-site caf├ęs or service stations.  We love these stainless steel water bottles which keep water cool all day.  Refillables and your own food and snacks could save you around £50 on each big day out!


If you are ravelling by train to visit grandparents or friends, book tickets as far in advance as posible for the cheapest prices.  When travelling by car, find the cheapest petrol available near you on  Prices vary so much that getting petrol in the next town could save you money, just make sure you combine your petrol buying trip with some other errands or a journey you were making anyway!

Days Out

Sit down with your children in advance and plan out on paper what they would like to do.  Tell them about some of the possible free days out this summer or these cheap things to do this summer and ask which ones can go on your plan.  If a big theme park trip is an expectation, book tickets as far in advance as possible from the attraction's website.  Always check prices on AttractionTix as they have some great deals and bargains - plus some great value days out you might not have thought of.

If there is somewhere you go to regularly, consider buying a season ticket, it could save you significant amounts if you use it regularly throughout the year.  Or choose a nationwide scheme like the National Trust or English Heritage for unlimited days out all year long.

Kids Pass is the ultimate app for saving money.  It offers cheap days out at 1000s of attractions like Diggerland or Go Ape!, 40% off cinema tickets and kids eat free at restaurants like Giraffe, Prezzo and Bella Italia.  And it costs just £1 for a month's trial membership to see how much you could save.

Don't overlook the possibilities for free days out, there are endless parks, beaches, rivers and lakes to explore, all for nothing.  Many museums and art galleries are free or cheap for family visits too, and will have lots of educational and fun activities on over the school holidays.

Holiday at Home

Make your own garden an adventure playground with bikes, scooters, paddling pools and outdoor toys.  Check on Freecycle and Freegle for any amazing freebies, or try the local collect option on eBay to see what bargains are to be had in your neighbourhood.  We spotted a trampoline for £10 and various slides, Little Tikes cars etc.

Check out our guide to the best new outdoor toys to turn your garden into a summer wonderland and invite the friends and neighbours round.

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