10 ways to save on family fun
A great day out needn't cost big bucks if you follow Mumsnetters'
top money-saving tips
1. Think ahead - and do your research
This is possibly even more important than how much you actually spend: plan ahead, and shop around - because getting a bargain will put you all in a good mood before you even leave home. Browse online and see what your options are.
2. Get your money's worth with membership
Attractions like theme parks and museums often offer annual memberships - great news if you're pretty sure you'll visit more than once.
Thinking further afield? National Trust membership gives you entry to more than 300 historic houses and gardens across the country, including many that have special attractions for families, like adventure playgrounds, and seasonal events.
3. Don't pay full whack
Trips to the theatre or theme parks can be memory-making family occasions - but the price for going en famille can soon add up. Search for cheap tickets, two-for-one deals or discounted entry if you want to go to top attractions - sites like lastminute.com or half-price ticket booths in major cities are great if you're willing to be a bit flexible.
It's also worth remembering that, for children, it's more about the magical experience than the latest, biggest, shiniest event. So check out suburban theatres, local events and smaller attractions off the beaten track.
4. Don't forget trusty museums and galleries
These doughty stand-bys have got much more child-friendly in recent years, and lots are getting very good at programming kid-focused events which are both genuinely fun, and edumacational. Don't forget to visit the website beforehand to see if there's an indoor, as well as an outdoor, picnic area - sarnies in the rain are a bit of a downer.
5. Cinema trips don't have to be pricey
Big cinema chains like Vue, Odeon and Cineworld often offer cheaper kids' screenings at weekends and during school holidays - bringing the cost of a visit down to fraction of the usual price. See their websites for more details.
6. Grab an all-in deal
If you fancy a day out in London or another major city, look out for train deals that include discounted tickets to attractions once you arrive.
7. Travel together for less
Don't forget to invest in a Family and Friends Railcard - you'll nab 1/3 off adult fares, 60% off child fares.
8. Don't spend money on things you have at home
Always, always take your own snacks and bottled drinks on days out. Also, picnic rather than visiting cafes and restaurants at attractions - an eaterie bill can easily double the cost of a family day out, and the food is never going to be the main draw as far as the kids are concerned.
9. If you are eating out, bag a bargain
Invest in a restaurant discount deal card, which costs an annual membership fee in return for discounts at thousands of restaurants across the country.
Online voucher codes also pop up fairly often for a number of chain restaurants, offering two-for-ones, half-price mains or discounted children's menus etc. Just remember to read the small print about exclusions, which often include bank holidays, and sometimes certain weekend times.
10. Clamp down on extras
Explain to your children that it's already costing you a lot of money to have a day out (even with free entry, no day out is actually entirely without expense), and that add-ons - extra rides that aren't included in the entry fee, for example - mightn't be possible. Perhaps agree in advance to one special treat - an ice cream, perhaps - so that they know there's a little extra to look forward to.
- Reviews: days out and attractions
- Local: find things to do near you
- Talk: promotional codes and vouchers
Last updated: about 3 years ago