Seven things to do for free on a rainy summer holiday

From free museums to free shows and free food - rainy days on a budget

Free things to do on a rainy summer holiday

Summer is always eye-wateringly expensive - a recent survey by Groupon found that it costs us £389 on average.

When it rains, things get even more ruinous, because going for a picnic, letting them run around the park, taking a trip to the beach, or having a walk in the country are all out of the question.

See also: Seven homes with holiday lets attached


See also: Labour: Holiday childcare costs up by 51% since 2010

Unless you plan to keep the kids cooped up all summer, you need a handy list of things to do for free when it rains.

Fortunately we've brought together seven handy options.

Track down a free museum
Childcare website Childcare.co.uk has produced a massive list of ideas - suitable for sunny days as well as rainy ones. One of the most useful things on it is this handy list, which shows a huge number of UK museums, including a number of free ones. If you've never been to the Natural History Museum in London, the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, the Army Medical Services Museum in Surrey, or the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow (or any of a huge number of alternatives), then a free day out awaits.

Go to a free pet workshop
Pets at Home is running free workshops at its stores throughout the holiday. You can learn about caring for small furry animals, play games, do puzzles, and cuddle a creature or two. The workshops are free, but you need to book, and it's worth doing so as early as possible as they tend to get fully booked.

Try a free craft
Hobbycraft is holding free craft workshops at its stores between 12pm and 2pm during the holidays. It's a handy distraction, and a great chance for the kids to get messy somewhere you don't have to clean up. The only possible downside is that you need to avoid getting sucked into the sale while you're there.

Get a free cinema ticket
The cinema is never a cheap treat over the break, but there are loads of great films out for kids at the moment, so a freebie comes in handy. If you buy one of a number of insurances or switch utilities with Comparethemarket.com, you qualify for Meerkat Movies. You then need to download the app, and you'll get 2 cinema tickets for the price of one every Tuesday or Wednesday. By far the best bet is to do this by switching utilities, because if you haven't switched for years, you could save a small fortune into the bargain.

Go swimming
The government is keen for kids to get fit, so councils all over the country offer free swimming for kids. You'll need to check with your council, and may need to apply for a swim card. Some councils offer an impressive array of swimming activities. In Wales, for example, in addition to the free splash sessions, there are weekly sessions ranging from snorkelling to canoeing and water polo.

Hide from the rain in a restaurant
There's nothing stopping you doing something outdoorsy if you plan a lunch/dinner stop during the worst of the weather. Naturally this is an excessively expensive option, unless of course the kids eat for free. There are loads of restaurants offering children's freebies this summer (you'll usually only get one freebie per adult buying a meal) including Jamie's Italian, Las Iguanas, La Tasca, Bella Italia and Giraffe.

Go to the theatre for nothing
Kids' Week in the West End in London is offering free children's tickets - when you pay for an adult one. Despite the name, the deal runs on selected days thought August. It's a great way to get to see a show without breaking the bank - and could save you as much as £70 - so is worth considering. This is an enormously popular offer, so remaining tickets are going to be thin on the ground, but it's worth checking the website, and bearing it in mind for next summer too.

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