Great value and free days out with the kids
Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but there are ways to enjoy a few days off with family.
Since most households are short of money when it comes to electricity cost of living Crisis and schools on the verge of dissolution are even more at stake when it comes to finding fun and free ways to keep the kids entertained over the Christmas holidays.
Here are eight ways to create some Christmas memories without breaking the bank.
Track Santa: How to track Santa’s journey around the world
This is fun for the whole family because thanks to Norad – North American Aerospace Defense Command – you can track Santa Claus (opens in new tab) while racking up some serious airline miles on his epic trip around the world on Christmas Eve.
Check the whole day from dawn to dusk to see it at different times around the world – with Australia and New Zealand among its first visits.
Take a trip to see the Christmas lights
This depends on where you live on how sparkling and stunning your annual Christmas lights are, but if you live close enough to a major town or city it can be worth a trip after dark.
Manchester city center, for example, has many giant illuminated sculptures throughout the city, including a giant Santa Claus. In London, the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ light show will be on display around Regent Street until 3 January 2023. Carnaby is also very festive.
Some winter wonderland (opens in new tab) Sites like that in Exeter are free to enter. However, you have to pay for any activities, including rides or ice skating, so it can be an expensive night out unless your kids are just enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Snuggle up with a Christmas movie
There’s no shortage of Christmas movies – and you might even be able to stream them for free – see our article on Here’s how to get the best streaming deals.
Watch the TV schedule to find out when the great classic Christmas movies like Polar Express, Home Alone or Elf are on, and if you miss them, just watch them again to catch up.
If you have Netflix, add a few Christmas movies to your list ahead of time. If you have Sky you can Watch Apple TV Plus for free for six months – the offer is available until 31 March 2023, but just make sure you put a note on your calendar to cancel, otherwise payments will run at £6.99 per month.
Once you’ve chosen your film, pull out the blankets and pillows, whip up a hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream, and enjoy the cinema on the sofa.
Visit a museum
After Christmas, when you’ve all been sitting together for too long, why not have a family day out at a free museum?
Many of the major museums are free and when in London you can choose from museums such as the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the British Museum. Although entry is free, you may still need to book tickets in advance, and some exhibitions charge an entry fee.
A little further afield there are also plenty of free museums, including the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
Free nature trails
The suggestion of “going for a walk” might not get your kids excited (depending on their age), but if you find something to do along the way, they might even end up enjoying it.
The Woodland Trust is a conservation charity with a thousand woodlands across the UK, and many have both long and short journeys to make. You can find your next one (opens in new tab) with the postcode tool “find forest”.
at core forest (opens in new tab) Near Sandridge in Hertfordshire you can follow the Magical Meander Trail to see the woodland figures. This is a 1.5 mile trail that takes about an hour.
Try this free potter trail (opens in new tab) around Edinburgh’s Old Town – a fascinating free walking tour – but not suitable for children under the age of 7.
Takes about an hour and runs daily at 12pm and 4pm (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Starts at the statue of Greyfriars Bobby.
Visit your local library
Many local libraries run organized activities for children during the school holidays. And even if you don’t, stopping by is a good excuse to get the kids out of the house and borrow a few books for free. There’s also often free Wi-Fi, so if yours is to play – a trip to the library can mean all-round peace and quiet while the kids get online.
There may be different services depending on where you live – Libraries Unlimited (opens in new tab) run 54 libraries and 4 mobile libraries in Devon and Torbay and often offer a range of free events.
Most public libraries are usually open until December 23rd and then again from December 28th, but it’s worth checking first.
Take the kids for a free lunch
if you a tesco (opens in new tab) Shoppers can exchange Clubcard vouchers for triple their value and receive vouchers for restaurants such as Pizza Express, Zizzi and Bella Italia. Does mean a free family lunch if you want to go over the Christmas holidays though – probably worth booking in advance.
In most cases you can’t double the discount so you can’t normally count on using Tesco vouchers and all 2 for 1 deals and coupons.