1. Home
  2. Personal Finance Hub
  3. Five Cheap or Free Easter Holiday Activities for Families
Published 28 March 2024
Reading Time
6 minutes

Five Cheap or Free Easter Holiday Activities for Families

School holidays can be expensive, but there are plenty of Easter holiday activities that don’t have to cost a fortune – and some of them are completely free. Here are five cost-effective ideas to keep kids occupied.

Written By

The school holidays can be a challenge for parents, not least because it’s easy to spend a fortune keeping kids entertained for two whole weeks. 

It doesn’t help that many families are already feeling the pinch. Our recent lifestyle debt worries survey found that adults between the ages of 25 and 44 – the time of life when many people have young children – are the most likely to fund their lifestyle using credit cards, overdrafts or personal loans, compared with other age groups. 

In fact, 9.6% of those aged 24 to 44 said that they fund their lifestyle using debt “very often”, compared to an average of 4% across all age groups. 

“While it is good to get out and about over the holidays, it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune,” parenting expert Kirsty Ketley told Nerdwallet in an email. So here are a few affordable Easter holiday activities to keep families occupied, whatever the weather. 

1. Easter egg hunts

Easter egg hunts take place in many areas, including local parks and gardens. Plenty of trails are free, or only have a small admission charge – and if you’re lucky, you might come home with some bonus chocolate.

The giant Easter egg hunt at RHS Gardens

An Easter egg hunt is taking place at all five Royal Horticultural Society gardens: Bridgewater in Salford, Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, Hyde Hall in Essex, Rosemoor in North Devon and Wisley in Surrey. 

Once you’ve explored the spring gardens and found all the giant eggs, you’ll win a free chocolate treat. Admission is free to RHS members and children under the age of five. Alternatively, a family ticket for up to two adults and two children costs £41.95 (or £48.85 at RHS Wisley), with Gift Aid. 

National Trust Easter adventures

The National Trust is hosting a range of family adventures over the Easter holidays, including Easter egg hunts, outdoor games and challenges. Admission costs from £3, and you’ll be given a trail sheet and some bunny ears to wear as you walk. “Pack a picnic and drinks and it’s a cheap day out,” said Ketley. 

If you take out a new National Trust membership between 23 March and 14 April 2024, you’ll get unlimited free Easter trails for all children under 18 who are named on your membership. Annual family membership, for two adults plus children, costs from £159 per year. 

2. Bargain days out

If you’re thinking about a day trip, plan ahead to save on travel and admission. 

National Rail Days Out 

When you travel by train you can choose from a range of two-for-one deals at popular attractions across the UK, including theme parks, museums, parks and gardens. This also includes London attractions, such as London Zoo, The London Eye and SEA LIFE London Aquarium. 

Children under five travel for free on most train journeys, and those aged five to 15 get a 50% discount on most tickets. You can save more money with a Family & Friends Railcard, which allows up to four adults and four children to travel together. Adults save a third on ticket prices, and children’s tickets cost 60% less. 

Redeem Tesco Clubcard vouchers

You get double the value of your Tesco Clubcard vouchers when you redeem them with one of its reward partners. You could save money on days at a range of attractions including Alton Towers, Cadbury World, The Eden Project and West Midlands Safari Park. To redeem, log into your Clubcard account and select the amount of vouchers you would like to exchange. 

3. Cheap meal deals for kids

Eating out is expensive, but lots of cafés and restaurants now offer school holiday discounts meaning kids can eat for free, or at a reduced price, with every paying adult.

Many supermarkets or in-store cafés offer these deals, including Asda and Sainsbury’s, where kids can eat for £1, and Morrisons, where kids can eat for free when an adult buys a main meal. “Check out places that kids can eat free or for £1,” added Ketley. “So if you are planning a day out and the weather isn’t quite picnic weather, you can feed the kids cheaply.”

4. Make the most of the great outdoors

As long as it’s not raining, Easter is a great time of year to get outdoors – whether that’s a walk in your local park, a trip to the countryside or a visit to a petting zoo. 

Farms and petting zoos

Most areas have a petting zoo or urban farm, such as Balsall Heath City Farm in Birmingham, Rice Lane City Farm in Liverpool and St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol. They usually offer free entry and give children the opportunity to interact with different animals. 

If there isn’t one near you, some garden centres offer animal interaction sessions.

Pets at Home runs My Pet Pals workshops throughout the Easter holidays, where kids can learn more about caring for different pets. Sessions are free, and children get a free certificate after the workshop. 

A walk in the park 

On a sunny spring day, there’s no need to go further than your local park to spend time in nature. “Go out on a daffodil [or] spring flower hunt,” said Ketley. “How many can you count? What colours are they?” This is a great activity for younger children – and doesn’t cost a penny. 

April is also the perfect time to see bluebells in bloom. The Wildlife Trusts website has a list of over 100 Wildlife Trust bluebell woods, all free to enter, in all areas of the UK.  

5. Rainy day activities

We can’t always rely on the weather, so it’s wise to plan a few Easter holiday activities that will still be fun when it’s raining. 


Look out for special offers during the school holidays, which can cut the cost of a family cinema visit. Cineworld charges from £2.50 for weekly Movies for Juniors screenings; ODEON kids screenings, where adults pay kids’ prices, happen every Saturday and Sunday; and Vue Mini Mornings, where all tickets cost from £2.49, run every day in the school holidays. Amazon Prime members can also get two standard ODEON tickets for £10. The offer is available Monday to Thursday and can be redeemed once per month. 

Crafts at home

Last but not least, why not spend an afternoon making homemade Easter decorations? Make cardboard rabbit ears, buy some inexpensive plastic eggs to decorate, or have an indoor egg hunt with a chocolate treat at the end. “Kids don’t need constant entertainment,” said Ketley. “Making their own is great for their development (imagination, creativity, problem solving skills) and it’s good to have some days to chill.”

Image source: Getty Images

Dive even deeper

NerdWallet UK Survey: Retirement and Emergency Funds are the Most Popular Savings Goals

NerdWallet UK Survey: Retirement and Emergency Funds are the Most Popular Savings Goals

New research by NerdWallet UK reveals that a majority of UK adults have clear savings goals and are taking action to reach them.

UK Lifestyle Debt Worries Statistics

UK Lifestyle Debt Worries Statistics

Almost a third of UK adults feel pressure to spend more than they can afford, using credit cards, loans or overdrafts. New research shows that debt worries still affect those earning above the average salary.

Childcare Funding is Changing This Year: Make Sure Your Family Doesn’t Miss Out

Childcare Funding is Changing This Year: Make Sure Your Family Doesn’t Miss Out

The government’s Childcare Choices scheme is expanding, so more families stand to benefit from 15 or 30 hours funded childcare. But accessing what you’re entitled to isn’t always straightforward. We explain how to claim what you’re eligible for.

Back To Top