If you’re thinking of what you can do with your little ‘uns that won’t break the bank, here are some ways to spend less on days out and activities.
Days out aren’t cheap so here I’ll share special offers where you can bring down the price of tickets, as well as any special free events and activities. I’ve also had a look at schemes such as Kids Pass and Little Bird and shared whether I think they’re any good.
Kids Pass and Little Bird memberships
What do Kids Pass and Little Bird do?
Both Kids Pass and Little Bird are essentially memberships which gives you discounts on the places and things kids like to do.
Kids Pass promises:
- Up to 57% off at “family days out” such as theme parks, bowling and play centres
- Up to 40% off at cinemas, seven days a week
- Kids eat free or for £1 at hundreds of restaurants
- Savings on places like Butlins and Haven
You only need one card per family, rather than per child.
Little Bird promises similar offers, as well as a shop to buy discounted tickets.
Are they any good?
The discounts generally look pretty decent, especially the restaurants and cinema deals. They’re pretty similar too, though Kids Pass seems to have more options – possibly because it’s been around longer.
Some of the restaurant chains involved are Giraffe, Garfunkels, Barburrito, Handmade Burger Co, and Bella Italia each offering free food for kids or £1 meals. There’s also BOGOG at Pizza Hut (delivery) and second pizza for £1 at Papa Johns. There are hundreds of independent ones too. You can see those involved without getting a membership.
The cinema discounts through Kids Pass are available at most of the major chains and various independent places. You get up to 40% off tickets for kids and adults, making it a good option even if you don’t have kids. A quick look at a few different chains and it generally works out as £8 per adult ticket.
Little Bird has fewer cinema chains, with only Vue and Odeon included. At the time of writing, you’ll pay:
- Odeon: £7.78 or £9.51 (inside the M25)
- Vue: £4.25 or £8.50
Do make sure though that it’s not cheaper to buy your tickets with a different deal. For example, my local Vue in York now charges £4.99 for all showings all the time, but when I last checked it would cost more than £8 via Kids Pass.
You’ll need to buy your tickets through the website or app – you can’t just show your pass at the box office.
The theme park and other family activities look good, though as with most entertainment it’s worth shopping around for other offers. It does look like it includes all the major theme parks and places like MadameTussaudss and London Dungeon.
You can also save up to 50% at places like Eurocamp, Haven and Butlins.
Kids Pass offers
At full-price – £40 a year – it’s possibly a bit pricey. However, there are ways to save which make it worth a go.
Kids Pass: One year for £28
Living Social is selling an annual pass for £27, plus a £1 admin fee. This saves you £11.99 on the standard annual price.
Kids Pass: 45-day trial for £1
For £1 I’m confident you’ll save some money with the card. Sadly my exclusive 90-day offer has ended and all trials have been cut to 14 days. But I’ve found an offer from Currys that’ll give you 45 days for a quid.
After the 45-days it will auto-renew for at full price. Make sure you remember to cancel if you don’t want to keep it.
Kids Pass: get paid for a 30-day trial
Alternatively, if you go via TopCashback or Quidco you’ll get more than £1 back in exchange for a trial (duration can vary when you click through).
Little Bird offers
Little Bird: 30-day trial for £1
There’s also a 30-day trial for £1 offer. After this, it renews at £34.99.
“Days Out” offers
Another scheme is the Days Out website. This works slightly differently. You pay £5 to download five vouchers a year, or £15 for unlimited offers. Worth a look for different attractions.
Theme park deals
Check out my separate guide to paying less for theme park tickets such as Alton Towers and Legoland.
National Trust offers
National Trust: Free one-day family pass
If you buy the Daily Mirror between 20 and 27 January 2023, you can claim a free pass for two adults and three children to visit a National Trust location before 31 March 2023.
English Heritage offers
English Heritage: 50% off entry with M&S Sparks (expired)
If you have the free Marks & Spencers Sparks membership you can save 50% off prebooked tickets to English Heritage sites. More about Sparks here.
English Heritage: 25% off annual membership (expired)
Sign up for a membership in August and you’ll save 25% with the code AUG25SUM. You’ll need to pay by Direct Debit and be a new member. Six kids go free per adult.
“Open House” events
In September each year many buildings open their doors for free across the UK. Here are some of the main organisations, but do check locally to see if there are other places offering something similar.
Open House London
From 8 to 21 September 2022 you can get free or discounted access to hundreds of buildings and gardens in London, many of which are normally closed to the public. Details here.
Heritage Open Days (England)
From 9 to 18 September 2022 there’s a similar open day festival in Scotland giving you access to buildings and events across the country. Details here.
Doors Open Days (Scotland)
On weekends from 3 to 25 September 2022 Heritage Open Days will provide free access to events celebrating Englands history and culture. Details here.
Open Doors (Wales)
Throughout September 2022 you can get free entry and guides tours to more than 200 historic sites in Wales. Details here.
Other day out deals
National Lottery Open Week: Free or discounted entry (expired)
Between 19 and 27 March 2022 you can get free or reduced entry to hundreds of attractions, including National Trust venues, the Eden Project and more if you present a Lotto ticket or scratchcard.
Some require prebooking and not all are open every day. Find out what attractions are taking part and when.
English Heritage: 2-4-1 on Mother’s Day (expired)
Tesco Clubcard members can use the code TESC220311CG16B to get a free adult entry with every full paying adult at any English Heritage managed site on Mother’s Day weekend (26 and 27 March). Must be prebooked online before your visit. You’ll have to show your Clubcard at the entrance. More here, including some excluded locations.
National Lottery Days Out: £25 voucher (expired)
If you’ve bought a Lotto ticket from the National Lottery since 1 October 2021 you can use it to save £25 on a day out in the UK at attractions such as Legoland, London Zoo, Bletchley Park and much more (full list here).
Once you’ve requested the voucher it needs to be redeemed within seven days, though you can book until 31 March 2022. If the ticket you buy is worth less than £25 you don’t get to use the leftover value.