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How to keep your kids entertained this summer - without breaking the bank.

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Family Friendly Days Out in Herefordshire (that are genuinely free)

Entertaining you kids over the summer isn’t cheap. If you feel like you’re spending a fortune just to give them something to do then you aren't alone. Research commissioned by Trustpilot has revealed that 32% of parents are worried about the cost of keeping their families entertained over the holidays. A survey from Reassured revealed that parents expect to spend up to £1047 for every week of the summer holidays. A staggering amount considering the rise in the overall cost of living.

We believe that providing your family with an enjoyable and enriching summer holiday shouldn’t cost the earth, so we've come up with a selection of days out that won’t cost you a penny. Most will require a bit of DIY but that’s part of the fun!

A day out in the Forest of Dean

Where to park - Dean Heritage Centre.

As of 2017 it is free to park at the Dean Heritage Centre. This move has been made to enable locals and visitors to use the Centre car park area as a base for walks in the beautiful woodlands around Soudley.

Emma Smith, Centre manager, explained. "The Dean Heritage Centre is completely dependent on the entrance fee from visitors to the Museum areas and woodland trail. The parking charge was introduced, in line with car park charges in Forestry Commission car parks, to help with the Centre's income. However, we want Forest residents to enjoy the area around Soudley, as well as visit the Centre to help youngsters learn about the heritage of their Forest families, as easily as possible."

Adult admission to the heritage center is £9 but under 3s are free and free activity backpacks are available on request.

What to do - Nature scavenger hunt

Download this Free nature scavenger hunt PDF and have fun searching for bugs and beasties throught the forest.

What to eat - Back Yard Bug Snacks

Have fun making these edible insects with your kids before packing them up in a packed lunch to enjoy in the forest.

A follow-up activity to do at home - Leaf Lanterns

Grab an old plastic milk jug and have a go at making one of these GORGEOUS LEAF LUMINARIES.

These lanterns make use of all the gorgeous colours and shapes of leaves around us. They’re made using up-cycled plastic milk jugs so they really are a fantastic way to get kids interacting with Nature and caring for the environment too.

2. Discover Historic Ledbury

Where to park - Free street parking is available at the top end of Church street and on Homend Crescent.

Free parking (for up to an hour) is permitted alongside the Market House and elsewhere in High Street.

What to do - Visit the Ledbury Heritage Center

You will find lots of information about Ledbury over the centuries. Knowledgeable stewards will happily tell you more and point you to some of the most interesting places to see. There are quizzes for children to complete and objects for them to handle.

A walking tour of Ledbury is available HERE

What to eat - Pack a picnic and people watch sitting underneath the historic black and white market house.

A follow activity to do at home - Ledbury is a historic wool producing town so why not print off this Free Cotton Ball Sheep Craft

3. Discover your green finders at a community garden

Where to park - most community gardens have free parking nearby. Check out one that’s local to you for more information on how to get there and where to park

What to do - There are several community gardens with activities across the summer;

Talk Community will be at the Ross On Wye Community Garden every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, between 10:30am and 12pm to provide you with information and signposting to services, groups and activities in the local area or across the county.

What to eat - Use the visit to discuss with your little ones about where their food comes from. Take a trip to the supermarket and (as you do your weekly shop) talk about what’s been grown in the uk compared to elsewhere in the world.

A follow activity to do at home - Inspired to grow some veggies at home? Check out THIS GUIDE on how to start a children's vegetable garden.

4. Wild Swimming in the Wye

Where to park - Park at the crossroads on the East side of the Bredwardine bridge, then walk down the footpath to the river.

What to do - Paddle at Bredwardine, River Wye.

A charming spot near the grand old brick bridge, the River Wye has a gravel side with a slow and cooling stream. For families with children, it’s nice to come paddle and sit alongside the river and paddle on a summer’s day.

What to eat - have a go at making these super easy BOAT SNACKS for your kids to enjoy down by the river

A follow activity to do at home - Pebble painting

Grab a couple of pebbles (only 1 or 2) and take them home to paint. You can use any paint, felt tip pen or markers for this super easy craft. Get some inspiration HERE for how to paint them.

Other free resources

Free Parking

Finding a free place to park can be tough, The Park4Night app was originally designed for campervans to find a safe place to spend the night but it’s also a fantastic way to search for free parking spots.

The App is free and is available to download from the app store.

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