A day out doesn’t have to break the bank; in fact the UK in particular has a wide range of low-cost or even totally free days out, and they can be lots of fun, educational, or both.
Here are five of the cheapest but perennially popular money saving options for families and people of all ages, with an honest assessment of how much you could have to pay for the day.
1. Nature Reserves
Many of us live within walking distance of a nature reserve, even if it is only a wetland area by the side of a river, and there’s plenty of wildlife to be found.
Kids will love the chance to get muddy – and if you’re on foot, you’ll be able to wash them down before letting them back into the house, without destroying your car’s interior.
Even if you’re driving, put a blanket across the seats to protect against the mud, and take a picnic with you, and you should only face the cost of petrol and sandwiches – you can often even find free parking within a stone’s throw of your local nature reserve.
Any good-sized town or city will have at least one museum, and most of these are now free thanks to government subsidies and private investment.
You might want to go on the bus if it’s a medium distance away, and the bus ride itself can add to the enjoyment for young children, as well as being the only essential cost, plus any drinks you might choose to buy in the tea room, or souvenirs from the shop.
3. Art Galleries
One for the grown-ups and more mature, artistic children, art galleries generally let you browse their latest collection for free, in the hope that you’ll buy something.
You’re not obliged to buy anything, of course, but if you happen to fall in love with a painting or sculpture here, you run the risk of facing quite a big bill – so try to keep your objective head on, and don’t end up taking home a masterpiece.
4. The Beach
Getting to the coast is likely to be the biggest cost of a beach holiday – especially if you’re only going for the day, and don’t have a hotel to pay for.
This will obviously depend on how far you have to go, and how you get there, so look at your options. Rail tickets can be affordable if you book them far enough in advances, whilst driving is the better option if you are going on a whim. Of course, if you don’t use your car very often, or are hiring a vehicle for the weekend, you will need to make sure you are insured (check out Auto and General Car Insurance for some good deals).
Once you’re there, you should be able to have a fun-filled day with just a minimum of extra expenditure, such as the cost of fish and chips, a stick of rock, or a few minutes spent in the amusement arcades.