Which? is advising families facing cost of living pressures on how they can save money over the Easter holidays with these handy hacks for free, or cut-price, activities.
- Eat out for less
When dining out as a family, it is worth checking if nearby restaurants offer discounts for children. Which? found that lots of restaurants and supermarket cafés offer ‘kids eat free’ deals or similar during the school holidays.Some of the best deals we spotted include Ikea offering kids meals from 95p and Morrisons cafe giving free meals for kids when a parent spends £4.49 or more on a meal. Asda also offers kids meals for £1 all day with no adult minimum spend required – you can also add a free piece of fruit with kids’ hot meals.Bella Italia offers children’s meals for £1 with any adult main between 4-6pm, Monday to Thursday. Yo Sushi offers a free kids’ meal for every £10 spent by adults and at Bill’s restaurants up to two children can eat a meal for free all day, if one adult orders any main dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- See a theatre show
Although usually an expensive outing, it is possible to bag cheaper theatre tickets. Local theatres often host touring West End productions for a fraction of the cost of London shows.Every Monday at noon, a number of tickets for Disney shows (such as The Lion King or Frozen) are available for £25 through Disney Tickets but, beware, they get snapped up quickly.Some shows, including Hamilton, run daily lotteries to enter, with winners able to purchase tickets for between £10 and £35 for a performance that week.Often, seats at the back of the theatre cost less, but it is worth checking if the view is obstructed. Seatplan allows visitors to check out the view before purchasing tickets. You can often also find cheaper deals by visiting the theatre’s website directly, rather than buying tickets via third-party websites.
- Hunt for the cheapest Easter eggs
If you are planning to buy an Easter egg, search around to find the cheapest price. Which? analysed 19 popular branded Easter eggs and chocolate treats from some of the biggest supermarkets to find where you can buy them for less. We found that while the prices are often the same at multiple supermarkets, it’s still possible to save money. For instance, a pack of five Cadbury Creme Eggs cost £1.99 on average at one supermarket in our research, but as much as £2.50 at another.
- Get thrilled at the theme park
It can pay to check the prices at attractions in advance. For example, Which? found an adult day pass bought on the day at Alton Towers costs £68, but only £36 when bought in advance online – a 47 per cent saving.Shoppers can also save money on days out at theme parks and attractions up and down the country when purchasing groceries at the supermarket. Which? found that some Kellogg’s cereal packs and snacks are currently offering an ‘adults go free’ voucher for Alton Towers, Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Sea Life aquariums and sanctuaries, Madame Tussauds and other Merlin attractions. The offer is valid until June 2023, but tickets must be booked in advance, and some theme parks aren’t open yet, so check opening times in advance. Tesco Clubcard holders can convert Clubcard points into vouchers worth up to three times their value with reward partners such as Thorpe Park, Legoland and Alton Towers . From 14 June, Clubcard points with reward partners will be reduced by up to twice their value, so it’s worth converting your vouchers sooner rather than later.
- Save money on travel
If you aren’t travelling by car you could save by getting the train or bus instead.
Some bus fares are currently capped at £2 until the end of June, so it might be cheaper to get to a chosen destination than by train or car. Train companies Southeastern, ScotRail, Chiltern Railways, London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway will allow children (aged 5-15) to travel for just £1 on a single or return journey when joined by an adult during off-peak times.National Rail also offers two entry tickets for the price of one at a huge number of attractions nationwide, including The London Dungeon and Sea Life locations across Great Britain.
- Watch the latest movies for less
Some cinema chains offer discounts for family films at certain times, usually in the morning. Cineworld’s ‘Movies for Juniors’ screenings offer children’s tickets for £2.50. Odeon Kids has a deal where the adults pay the same price as a child, with the deal running every day during the school holidays, as well as every Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, Vue has ‘Mini Mornings’ screenings from 10am during the school holidays. Tickets for both adults and children cost £2.49 each.
Film fans can also get cinema discounts with dining cards Gourmet Society and Tastecard. Both offer up to 40 per cent off some cinema chains. Anyone who buys a policy through the price comparison website Compare the Market will get 2-for-1 cinema tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday for a year – those who may have bought a policy recently should check if this offer is available to them.
- Learn something new at the museum
Many UK national galleries and museums are free to enter and are an easy way to entertain the family for a day out. For example, Manchester Museum has a free self-led family art activity celebrating UK wildlife during the Easter holidays, and the Natural History Museum in London has a new exhibition opening on 31 March called ‘Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur’ – but you’ll need to buy tickets for this.Just remember they may need visitors to book a free ticket before arrival.
- Burn off the Easter chocolate with some sport
There are many free sporting activities available up and down the country during the holidays. It’s worth checking local council websites for opportunities, some offer free swimming lessons for children, for example. Alternatively, Parkruns are free weekly events, held every weekend in hundreds of locations around the UK. Tennis for Free also offers free tennis sessions for all ages in public parks around the country.
- Visit a city farm
Many city farms around the UK offer children the chance to get close to animals, from goats and chickens to alpacas and ponies. Some city farms even run special activities during school holidays. Search online to find city farms near you and check their websites to find out if they are running any events over the holidays.
Notes to editors:
- Over the coming months, Which? will be highlighting free and useful money-saving advice every Monday to help consumers manage the ongoing cost of living crisis. The series will cover a range of topics, from how to save money on household bills, to childcare and travel.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.The information in this press release is for editorial use by journalists and media outlets only. Any business seeking to reproduce information in this release should contact the Which? Endorsement Scheme team at email@example.com.