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Free Days Out, feature

Are you looking for the best free days out near you? If you want to enjoy a day out without spending a fortune, our guide to free days out in the UK is perfect!

From exploring eye-catching gardens to unearthing years of history during a cathedral tour, you’ll be surprised at the sheer amount of free days out near you!

There’s something here for any group too, including families, friends and couples; it’ll be an easy task to find something you’ll all enjoy.

Ready to plan your itinerary? Keep reading to find 11 free days out…

1. Enjoy a beach day

Family surfing at the beach

When it comes to free days out, little beats a day out at the beach! You can easily enjoy a beach day without spending a penny, and there are so many beaches in the UK to choose from.

Free activities you can do at the beach include making a splash in the waves, rock pooling, beachcombing, and of course, sunbathing. If you opt to bring snacks from home, you can also enjoy a coastal picnic!

Why not bring along your beloved pooch for a beach day, too? There are so many dog-friendly beaches in the UK you can treat your canine companion to!

If you want to make your free day out even more special, make your way to either Cornwall or Dorset. This pair of counties has exotic beaches that are subtropical in nature, making you feel like you’re on a Mediterranean getaway.

Where can I enjoy more of these free days out near me?

Pedn Vounder BeachCornwall | TR19 6LQ
– Camber Sands Beach | East Sussex | TN31 7RH
– Brighton Beach | Brighton & Hove | BN2 1TW
Bamburgh BeachNorthumberland | NE69 7DF
– St. Bees Beach | Cumbria | CA27 0EN
Whitby BeachNorth Yorkshire | YO21 3EN
– Skegness Beach | Lincolnshire | PE25 3BQ
– Borth Beach | Ceredigion | SY24 5HX
– Thorpeness Beach | Suffolk | IP16 4NP
– West Beach | Lossiemouth | IV31 6SP
Rhossili Bay BeachSwansea | SA3 1PP
– Ballycastle Beach, Ballycastle | BT54 6JZ

Plan your trip using the Beaches section on our free days out map.

2. Wander through pretty gardens

Formal Gardens

If gorgeous greenery and stunning architecture are things you prioritise on a day out, look no further than this array of free public gardens.

Promising a gorgeous outing with sculptures and flora in abundance, why not choose to spend a free day out at a garden?

There are a plethora of free public gardens dotted around the UK, including the idyllic green space of Treborth Botanic Garden in Bangor, which you can find in the heart of the university’s campus. This stunning spot boasts a Chinese garden and glasshouses; the perfect backdrop for a picnic!

For a very tranquil day out, make your way to the parkland of Temple Newsam in Leeds. The quaint Secret Garden is tucked away in the park, making for the perfect place to unwind.

Where can I enjoy more of these free days out near me?

– Northernhay Gardens | Exeter | EX4 3SA
– Westgate Gardens | Canterbury | CT1 2BQ
Morden Hall Park | South London | SM4 5JD
The Garden StationLangley | NE47 5LA
Sheffield Botanical GardensSheffield | S10 2LN
– Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden | Leyburn | DL8 3AJ
– The Walled Garden Baumber | Horncastle | LN9 5NL
The Dingle in The QuarryShrewsbury | SY1 1JA
Abbey Gardens | Bury St Edmunds | IP33 1XL
The Royal Botanic GardenEdinburgh | EH3 5NZ
Swansea Botanical Gardens | Swansea | SA2 8PW
– Bangor Castle Walled Garden | near Belfast | BT20 4BT

Plan your trip using the Public Gardens section on our free days out map.

3. Tour a museum

Natural History Museum, London

If you’re looking for free days out with the family, a trip to a museum is a must! The UK benefits from being jam-packed with several museums of all kinds, from science hubs to museums filled with ancient artefacts.

It’ll come as no surprise to know that London’s city centre hosts a large variety of fantastic, free museums, including the fascinating British Museum, where you can soak up a wealth of culture. Another great museum to visit in the city is the Science Museum, where the little ones will be amazed by the exhibits of the solar system.

However, London isn’t the only place in the UK featuring museums that are free to visit!

You’ll be amazed by the sheer amount of intriguing attractions peppered around the nation, from the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in the East Midlands to the Athelstan Museum in the Cotswolds AONB.

Where can I find these free places to visit near me?

Museum of Cornish LifeHelston | TR13 8TH
Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum | Ramsgate | CT12 5DF
The Natural History Museum | London | SW7 5HD
Discovery MuseumNewcastle-upon-Tyne | NE1 4JA
Imperial War Museum North | Manchester | M17 1TZ
National Railway MuseumYork | YO26 4XJ
North Leverton Windmill | Retford | DN22 0BA
Lapworth Museum of Geology | Birmingham | B15 2TT
Christchurch Mansion | Ipswich | IP4 2BE
The National Museum of ScotlandEdinburgh | EH1 1JF
Plas Newydd House MuseumDenbighshire | LL20 8B
Ulster Museum | Belfast | BT9 5AB

Plan your trip using the Museums section on our free days out map.

4. Go hiking

Group of friends hiking in a forest

If you’re an outdoorsy type, embarking on a hiking trail is the perfect free day out for you! The UK contains over 140,000 miles of public rights of way, so you’ll never be short of a trail to wander down.

The best thing about UK hiking trails is that there is a trail out there for any walking ability. Here at Sykes, we’ve created the ultimate walking guide, where you can find a variety of trails to try, including dog-friendly walks, wheelchair-friendly walks and running routes.

If you’re looking for a very way-marked trail to explore, the UK features 16 national trails for you to choose from. These include the renowned South West Coast Path, Hadrian’s Wall Path and the Yorkshire Coast-to-Coast Path.

Where can I enjoy more hiking trails near me?

Lizard Peninsula Walk | near Helston | TR12 7NT
Seven Sisters Walk | near Eastbourne | BN20 0AB
Virginia Water WalkSurrey | GU25 4QF
Hadrian’s Wall and Crag Loch Walk | near Henshaw | NE47 7AN
Rydal Water WalkLake District | LA22 9LR
Reeth to RichmondRichmond | DL11 6SE
Skegby, Teversal, and Pleasley Pit Walk | near Pleasley | NG19 7PH
Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge Walk | Hope Valley | S32 1BQ
Scadbury Park | Chislehurst | BR7
Arthur’s Seat | Edinburgh | EH8 8HG
Llyn Idwal Circular | near Bethesda | LL57 3LZ
Giant’s Causeway | near Bushmills | BT57 8SU

Plan your trip using the Hiking & Mountain Bike Trails on our free days out map.

5. Try fossil hunting

Family fossil hunting at the beach

The unique activity of fossil hunting is bound to be a hit with all the family when it comes to free days out. The UK benefits from having 1,500 beaches, many of which act as fossil hot spots.

One of the best locations for fossil collecting, however, is the Jurassic Coast. The 95-mile coastline is home to numerous beaches with countless fossils for you to unearth!

It’s a great way to seek out your inner historian and get the kids fascinated by the UK’s prehistoric past. And, after you’ve finished searching for relics, you can kick back and enjoy a well-deserved rest on the beach!

Whilst the Jurassic Coast is the most renowned location for fossil hunting, South Wales, parts of Northern Ireland and Yorkshire‘s Dinosaur Coast are other marvellous spots for searching.

Where can I enjoy more fossil hunting spots near me?

– Charmouth Beach | Charmouth | DT6 6LS
– Windmill Beach | West Sussex | PO20 9BJ
– Walton-on-the-Naze Beach | Essex | CO14 8AS~
– Redcar Beach | Redcar | TS10 3AA
– Herne Bay Beach | Herne Bay | CT6 5HZ
– Robin Hood’s Bay Beach | Robin – Hood’s Bay | YO22 4RD
– Danes Dyke | Bridlington | YO15 1PQ
– Parton Beach | Whitehaven | CA28 6PD
– West Runton Beach | West Runton | NR27 9QR
– Whitepark Bay Beach | Ballycastle | BT54 6NH
– Abereiddy Beach | Pembrokeshire | SA62 6DT
– Dunraven Bay | Bridgend | CF32 0RP

Plan your trip using the Fossil Hunting section on our free days out map.

6. Meet farm animals

Mother and child petting a goat

Regarding farms in the UK, you’ll be surprised to know how many you can visit for free! They’re perfect for little ones and animal lovers alike.

They’re also a great way to be at one with nature, allowing you to breathe in the fresh country air and get away from your phones.

During a free day out at a farm, you can look forward to greeting and feeding adorable animals, attending talks to learn more about the animals inhabiting the farm and more!

The farms often feature play areas too, so the little ones can let off steam whilst you watch on from a nearby field with a homemade picnic.

Where can I enjoy more of these free days out near me?

Roskilly’s Farm | St Keverne | TR12 6NX
Doniford Farm Park | Doniford | TA23 0TQ
Millets Farm Centre | Garford | OX13 5HB
Red Lion Farm | Haughton | ST18 9JG
Blaze FarmMacclesfield | SK11 0BL
Mainsgill Farm | Richmond | DL11 7PN
Farndon Fields Farm | Market Harborough | LE16 9NP
Farmer Copleys | Pontefract | WF7 5AF
Stonebridge City Farm | Nottingham | NG3 2FR
LOVE Gorgie Farm | Edinburgh | EH11 2LA
Tyddyn Mon FarmAmlwch | LL68 9TB
– Tannaghmore Gardens & Animal Farm | Lurgan | BT66 6RU

Plan your trip using the Farms section on our free days out map.

7. Explore a historic site

Hardknott Roman Fort, Lake District

The UK has an extremely fascinating and rich history, and this can be discovered whilst visiting one of the nation’s 400+ historic sites! The National Trust and English Heritage have made it possible to visit many of these for free.

If you dream of wandering around a castle, why not head to the fortress of Shrewsbury Castle, where you can climb the stairs to the roof and enjoy amazing views? Alternatively, wander through the grounds, where manicured gardens await.

Are ancient sites more to your fancy? The eye-catching site of Castlerigg Stone Circle should be at the top of your itinerary! The English Heritage site is over 5,000 years old and is a striking backdrop for a photo or picnic.

You can discover these and more wonderful sites by staying at accommodation near English Heritage properties.

Where can I enjoy more of these free places to visit near me?

Carn Euny Ancient VillagePenzance | TR20 8RB
Appuldurcombe HouseWroxall | PO38 3EW
London’s Roman Ampitheatre | London | EC2V 5AE
Finchale PrioryCounty Durham | DH1 5SH
Hardknott Roman FortLake District | CA19 1TH
Byland Abbey | Byland | YO61 4BD
– Fotheringhay Castle | near Peterborough | PE8 5JF
Haughmond Abbey | Shrewsbury | SY4 4RW
Creake Abbey | North Creake | NR21 9LF
Callanish StonesIsle of Lewis | HS2 9DY
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct | near Llangollen | LL20 7TY
– Nendrum Monastic Site | County Down | BT23 6EP

Plan your trip using the Historic Site section on our free days out map.

8. Soak up the sights at a gallery

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Is viewing masterpieces on the agenda for your free day out? Make your way down to one of the UK’s many free-to-visit galleries.

This type of attraction is ideal for all the family and allows you to kick back and soak up a wealth of culture. From the contemporary pieces in Firstsite to the renaissance-era delights in Tate Britain, to the photographs in the Photographer’s Gallery, there are so many wonderful and varied galleries you can visit.

Several galleries feature free, temporary exhibitions too, so you’ll get the chance to see something new every time you visit – at no extra cost!

Where can I find these free places to visit near me?

Falmouth Art Gallery | Falmouth | T11 2RT
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum | Coventry | CV1 5QP
National Gallery | London | WC2N 5DN
Hartlepool Art Gallery | Hartlepool | TS24 7EQ
Walker Art Gallery | Liverpool | L3 8EL
Ferens Art Gallery | Hull | HU1 3RA
Nottingham Contemporary | Nottingham | NG1 2GB
Mead Gallery | Coventry | CV4 7AL
Royston Museum & Art Gallery | Royston | SG8 5AL
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & MuseumGlasgow | G3 8AG
The School of Art Museum & GalleryAberystwyth | SY23 1NG
Naughton Gallery | Belfast | BT7 1NN

Plan your trip using the Art Galleries section on our free days out map.

9. Be thrilled by mountain biking

Two Teens Mountain Biking in a Forest

If you’re a thrill seeker who’s on an activity holiday, you’ll be pleased to know that the UK is home to 3.24 million hectares of woodland to explore. Many of these feature free-to-enter forests that contain winding trails for you to race down!

There are trails out there for every capability, whether you’re a cycling beginner or an expert biker. There are several family cycle trails too, including those at Sherwood Pines.

The Forest of Dean in the South West offers longer trails to explore, including the Verderers’ Trail and Family Cycle Trail. Both provide access to numerous picnic spots, where you can tuck into a post-cycle treat.

If you’re a cycling aficionado, why not book a stay at a cycling holiday cottage in the UK?

Where can I enjoy more of these biking trails near me?

Haldon Forest Park | near Exeter | EX6 7XR
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest | near Goudhurst | TN17 2SJ
Alice Holt Forest | near Farnham | GU10 4LS
Kielder Forest | near Bellingham | NE48 1ER
– Askham Fell Mountain | Lake District | CA10 2HH
Dalby Forest | near Pickering | YO18 7LT
Hicks Lodge | near Ashby-de-la-Zouch | LE65 2UP
Wyre Forest | near Kidderminster | DY14 9XQ
Thetford Forest | Thetford | IP27 0AF
Argyll Forest Park | near Cairndow | PA24 8AR
Afan Forest Park | near Port Talbort | SA13 3HG
Castlewellan Forest Park | Castlewellan | BT3 9BU

Plan your trip using the Hiking & Mountain Bike Trails section on our free days out map.

10. Tour a cathedral

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Ready to be mesmerised by breath-taking architecture and uncover years of history? Enjoy a day out at one of the UK’s 42 cathedrals! With several of these costing nothing to enter, free days out at cathedrals have never been easier.

One of the most well-known cathedrals in the UK is Westminster, which rests in the heart of London. Not only is the cathedral within reach of the renowned Westminster Abbey, but it’s home to gorgeous Neo-Byzantine architecture that’s waiting to be admired. However, one of the best parts of the cathedral is that it’s completely free to visit!

Many other free cathedrals in the UK offer fascinating tours, so you can look forward to exploring winding towers whilst learning how the cathedral came to be.

Chester Cathedral is a great example of this, offering the Cathedral at Height tour, where you can discover special, behind-the-scenes features.

Where can I find these free places to visit near me?

Truro CathedralTruro | TR1 2AF
Chichester Cathedral | Chichester | PO19 1PX
St Paul’s Cathedral | London
Durham Cathedral | Durham | DH1 3EH
Liverpool Cathedral | Liverpool | L1 7AZ
Beverley MinsterBeverley | HU17 0DN
Derby CathedralDerby | DE1 3GP
Coventry Cathedral | Coventry | CV1 5AB
Ely Cathedral | Ely | CB7 4DL
St Giles’ Cathedral | Edinburgh | EH1 1RE
Llandaff CathedralCardiff | CF5 2LA
St. Peter’s Cathedral | Belfast | B12 4BU

Plan your trip using the Cathedrals section on our free days out map.

11. Browse vibrant markets

Borough Market, London

Last but not least on our guide to the best free days out are UK markets! With over 1,100 of these in the UK, you’ll never be far from a bustling market offering plenty to see.

London is no doubt the hot spot for many of the UK’s amazing markets, including the colourful Camden Market, where you can spend the day wandering by vibrant stalls sporting vintage clothing.

New Covent Garden Market is another must-visit; here, you can admire delightful crafts and plants in a stunning location.

Browsing markets is also a wonderful festive activity to try, with the UK being home to many Christmas Markets! You don’t need to buy anything either, as a wander around the markets is enough to put you in a Christmassy mood.

They really are a fantastic activity, especially when it comes to cheap days out for couples!

The Manchester Christmas Market is a great option, hosting over 300 stalls for you to view and lots of festive decór peppered throughout the city centre.

Where can I explore more of these markets near me?

Bath Guildhall MarketBath | BA2 4AW
Norwich MarketNorwich | NR2 1ND
Borough Market | London
Grainger Market | Newcastle-upon-Tyne | NE1 5QQ
Bury Market | Bury | BL9 0BJ
Leeds Kirkgate Market | Leeds | LS2 7HY
Leicester City Market | Leicester | LE1 5GG
Ludlow MarketLudlow | SY8 1AX
– Market Square | Cambridge | CB1 0SS
Stockbridge Market | Edinburgh | EH3 6TQ
Mold MarketMold | CH7 1AZ
St George’s Market | Belfast | BT1 3NQ

Plan your trip using the Markets section on our free days out map.

Where can I find these free days out near me?

Ready to Explore

Feeling inspired by this guide to free days out in the UK? Find even more free things to do in our guides to North Wales, the Lake District and Cornwall. If you need a place to stay near these outings, browse this array of special offer cottages and last-minute holidays to find a getaway for a budget-friendly price.

Image Credits: a.canvas.of.lightCC BY 2.0; SomeDriftwoodCC0 1.0; Jorge FranganilloCC BY 2.0

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