Free summer holiday events 2015

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portrait of a group of children running on the beach

With six weeks to fill until the kids go back to school, the long summer holidays can end up being an expensive time if you're constantly forking out to help keep them entertained. Fortunately we've put together a list of some of the best free events taking pace across the UK over the next month and a half...


Glasgow Riverside Museum Summer Beach – until September 1
With a selection of fine museums and a proud industrial history, Glasgow has got plenty going for it already – but Scotland's biggest city will also boast a beach for the duration of the summer holidays. Located at the stunning Riverside Museum on the bank of the River Clyde, the giant sandpit is a focal point for families and tourists with youngsters whenever the sun comes out. And if it does rain, you can always pop into the museum for free anyway – where your offspring will be captivated by the assembled boats, cars and trains on display.

Bristol Harbour Festival – July 17 to 19
Bristol's harbourside is a bit of a tourist draw most weekends anyway, but it's going to be even busier from July 17 to 19 when its annual free festival takes place. Arts, circus performance, dance, music, food and drink – and of course boats – will all by vying for your kids' attention. And there will be free ecology workshops to teach youngsters about, for example, the importance of bees to the environment. Check out the website for full details.

Cardiff Bay Beach – July 25 to September 5
Another urban beach, but this time in the heart of the Welsh capital's impressively revamped waterfront district. The Cardiff Bay Beach is located on Roald Dahl Plass and features a shallow water play area and seaside rides. It's open from 10am each day and entry is free – with small charges for certain activities. And while it might not be worth a long journey by itself, it could provide an exciting focal point for a walk around the bay – which is home to the Welsh Assembly building and a wetlands reserve (which is also free) among other attractions.

RideLondon Free Cycle – August 1
The junior counterpart to the hugely popular Prudential RideLondon cycle sportive (mass participation event) is free to enter and gives families the chance to ride together on traffic-free roads in central London. Taking in famous sights including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral, the event will also feature music and entertainment along the route - with music bikes, bands on bikes, stilt bicycles, Penny Farthings, stagecoaches and rickshaws. There will even be mechanics on hand to fix your bike up in the case of a technical hitch. You can register in advance on the RideLondon website or just turn up on the day.

Brighton's Big Screen – from August 14
Forget taking the bucket and spade to the beach this summer (you won't have much joy with them on Brighton's stoney beach anyway) and stock up on popcorn instead. The ever-popular East Sussex seaside city will be staging free daytime movie screenings throughout the latter part of the summer holidays. These include new blockbusters such as Paddington, Cinderella, Big Hero 6 – and a sing-along screening of Frozen. All together now: Let It Go, Let It Go...

Coca-Cola ParkLives – Various locations throughout summer
Fancy trying your hand at a new sport or fitness activity along with the kids? The Coca-Cola sponsored ParkLives initiative will see grassroots sporty activities staged in parks in a selection of UK cities over the summer – and all for free. Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, London, Manchester and Glasgow will all be hosting the activities, which range from Athletics to Zumba – via tennis cricket, yoga and much, much more. Most of the events are for over-13s, but there are a good selection of family activities such as pond dipping or conservation walks too. Check out the website for locations, dates and activities.

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