10 FREE and Low Cost Activities for the Summer Holidays
With the cost of living at an all time high you may well be looking for some free or low cost things to do this summer. So fear not, we’ve put together a list of some of the best in Doncaster and some of the surrounding areas too…
Picnic at the Park
There’s something really lovely about having a picnic in the park on a summer’s day and it doesn’t cost a penny. We are lucky to have lots of lovely parks and green spaces in Doncaster with plenty of play equipment to keep the children happy. This year we’re delighted to have teamed up with Get Doncaster Moving to deliver a ‘Sporting Superhero’ challenge across 8 local parks. Complete all of the 5 sporting superhero warm up’s and don’t forget to share a photo with us using #sportingsuperhero on social media for the chance to win tickets to sporting events! Click HERE to find out more, see the locations for the challenge and access free downloads, activity sheets and certificates.
It’s also worth mentioning that some parks have their own programme of activities during the school holidays.
Sandall Park has some free event days this summer (including their popular Princess and Superhero Fun Day on 4th August) plus they have inflatables in the park every day for the holidays (£3 for 20 minutes play).
Campsall Park has a free ice cream and kite flying event on 3rd August (all children will get a free kite and free ice cream)
Quarry Park has a free orienteering course on 8th August.
The Thorne Summer Festival is back this year at Thorne Memorial Park on 30th & 31st July.
Find out more and see our What’s On Guide to this summer HERE.
Lakeside Village- Summer of Fun and Games
In addition to the outdoor and indoor play areas, Lakeside Village has so much going on this summer. From games, challenges, dance workshops, sports and sport themed arts and crafts, they have something to appeal to all members of the family (They’ll also have the #sportingsuperhero challenge there too!) What’s more is that all the activities are completely free to attend! Click HERE to see the full programme of events at Lakeside Village.
If you’re looking for a full day out then why not combine some of the activities above with a walk around the lake and a visit to Lakeside’s Summer Cinema? They have some fantastic family films (such as Encanto and Sing 2) showing at 3:30pm and 6pm every Thursday in August. Click HERE to see the full screening schedule and don’t forget to take your fold up chairs!
Danum Gallery, Library and Museum
This unique, purpose built cultural centre houses an art gallery, two museums, a library, and a rail heritage centre, so there’s plenty to see here! Throughout the summer holidays there will be a programme of free events aimed at children aged 4-12 years which usually takes place in the children’s library. See the full list of events HERE. The Moving Museum’s summer tour also kicks off on 4th August and will be travelling to a location near you. See the full list of dates and locations HERE. If you do go along you’ll see the new display, “Doncaster: City of Stories” and be able to get hands-on with history, make a badge and sign up to Doncaster Libraries‘ summer reading challenge, which is suitable for all age groups.
It’s also worth checking the facebook pages of your local libraries too as many of these also provide free children’s activities in the school holidays.
Pick Your Own Fruit and Flowers at Eastfield Farm
We love strawberry picking and do it at least once a year. Eastfield Farm is a family run farm with farm shops open during the soft fruit season (June/July). They also have PYO Sunflowers and Wildflowers this year from 21st July- 31st August.
The activity and parking at Eastfield Farm is free but the strawberries are charged at £3.90 per kilo.
Cusworth Hall is always on our list of places to go in the summer holidays. It’s free to visit but parking charges do apply. The Hall itself is not open every day so it’s best to check their facebook page for more information if you’re wanting to go inside and have a look. Even without a visit to the Hall though, it’s a brilliant place for children to explore some lovely scenery and a great playground. It’s also a fab place for a picnic or alternatively you can buy food, drinks and snacks from either Butler’s Tea Room or The Old Brewhouse. There’s always an ice cream van there in the summer holidays too!
Go for a Nature Walk
Doncaster has some stunning places to get outdoors and at one with nature, lots of which are completely free. We love visiting Sandall Beat Wood which has a fantastic new play area too. Bawtry Forest is also a great place for a nature walk and Sprotbrough Flash is a brilliant place for birdwatching. Thorpe Marsh Nature Reserve is free and a fantastic place to see butterflies, birds and cattle grazing; you can explore ponds, lakes and woodlands here too. Need some more ideas? Read our Mumbler blog here- 5 Nature Reserves near Doncaster.
Doncaster Summer Staycation and Doncaster Family Hubs
Click HERE to find free activities for all children and young people in Doncaster aged 0-18 years (or up to age 25 if your child has special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Doncaster Family Hubs will also be offering free activities for families at a variety of locations across Doncaster. These sessions are aimed at children aged 0-11 and will be based around a variety of themes such as countries and stories.
Rufford Park is free to visit and you can easily enjoy a full day out here. It’s one of our favourite places to go with family and if you take a picnic then you only need to pay for parking (which is £5 per car for the whole day). There’s plenty to explore at Rufford including walks around the lake, gardens and woodlands. There’s a fantastic adventure playground too which the little ones spend ages on!
This summer there will be lots going on at Rufford including free Punch & Judy shows on Tuesdays, free Teddy Bears Picnics on Thursdays and The White Post Farm Petting Zoo will be there on Wednesdays (priced at £2.50 per child).
Rufford Park has a range of other activities available such as boating, adventure golf and archery (all charged additionally). It will also be hosting Totally Roarsome this summer but tickets for this event need to be pre-booked online.
Clifton Park, Rotherham
Clifton Park is great for children of all ages. Of course there’s a brilliant fun park (with rides that you pay for) but there’s also a lot to keep the children entertained here without spending money on anything except your parking. The play area has something for everyone- the 10 metre tall tower slide and skate park is popular with teenagers, aswell as musical stepping stones and a huge sandpit for the little ones to explore.
The water splash area is also wonderful for children of all ages. There’s fountains, a paddling pool, a whirlpool and over 70 water jets that activate at random so it’s really good fun. It’s worth noting that the water splash area is sometimes closed for repairs or maintenance so do check the Rotherham Parks facebook page for any announcements before you travel.
The Clifton Express Land Train is by far the best way to see the park (£2 per rider). It has stops at either end of the park and does regular circuits from the activity area to the Museum and Cafe. It’s free to have a look in The Museum too!
Would it be really be summer without a trip to the beach? All you need is a picnic and your bucket & spade and you’re ready to go! It’s a great, free activity and you can spend the whole day there if the weather is fine.
Cleethorpes Beach only takes an hour to get to and there’s usually plenty of space on the beach for digging and building sandcastles. Last time we went we had to take a long walk to the sea for a paddle! There’s also toilets, arcades, cafes, and fish and chip shops nearby. We also like the boating lake at Cleethorpes where you can feed the ducks and the swans too.
If you’re happy to travel further, then Sutton on the Sea Beach is a great option. It’s not far from the bigger resort of Mablethorpe and is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a traditional seaside town with excellent sandy beaches that are perfect for families and great for swimming. Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe have both been awarded the Blue Flag for clean beaches and there’s lifeguard cover from June to September. There’s also a children’s play area here, paddling pool and a crazy golf course.
Other great options for a trip to the seaside are of course Scarborough (see photo’s below), Whitby and Hornsea.
There are also lots of places where kids eat free for summer 2022.
Check out this list!
The Harewood (Opposite Cast and Danum Gallery,Library and Museum) also have a Kids Eat Free Offer all summer. Call 01302 562 195
The Big Smoke – Doncaster are offering a FREE kids meal with any adult meal between 12.00 and 18.00 Monday to Friday during the summer holidays
The Coffee Club Doncaster, South Elmsall – Kids Eat Free during the whole of August, no minimum spend, no maximum amount of kids per adult. You must book by phone 01977 277140
Whatever you get up to this summer, we hope you have a great time! Here’s hoping the weather will be kind to us so that we can enjoy lots of free activities outside!
You might also like our ‘Free Activities’ area of the website HERE