The best deals for saving money in the summer holidays

Six weeks with the children at home during the summer holiday can be a stressful time for a lot of parents - especially when it comes to budgeting. So, we've put together some of the best deals for saving money during the end of year break.

It’s lovely to spend some extra time with your little ones, as they enjoy time off from the daily routine of school runs, packed lunches and after-school clubs.

But finding things to do with children and organising cheap days out for a long 40 days (sometimes more) – without breaking the bank – can be incredibly tricky.

If you’ve got younger children, it’s unlikely that they’ll be content all summer with just a paddling pool set up in the garden. Even with older kids, there’s a limit to how much enjoyment they can get out of a summer spent in the back garden, or at the local park. And given the unpredictable British weather, this might not even be an option at all!

Read more: Free farms to visit with the kids in the UK

And while home-friendly activities such as reading, watching family movies, and baking with kids can be great, they can also get old pretty quickly.

However, days out, holidays, and trips away can put a huge pressure on your purse, with a 2018 National Citizen Service poll revealing that the summer holidays cost parents roughly more than £600 per child, factoring in all of the entertainment.

So how can you ensure that everyone’s having fun and enjoying some exciting new experiences, whilst still making sure that you don’t overspend on the budget?

We’ve put together a guide to the best deals for saving money in the summer holidays – proving that you and the family can still have fun without panicking about the damage it’s doing to your credit card come September!

‘Kids eat for £1’ restaurant deals

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Eating out, whether it’s grabbing a quick lunch during a day at the park, or enjoying a family meal in the evening, can be an expensive outgoing.

Add in drinks, starters and desserts to your main meal and for a family of four, you’re likely to be landed a bill well over £50.

But never fear, because several well-known restaurants are offering ‘Kids eat for £1’ deals during the summer break.

Eateries including Bella Italia, Prezzo, Harvester,  Toby Carvery, Sizzling Pubs and Carluccios are offering child’s meal for £1.

Visit their websites for terms, as time and day restrictions will apply. For example, Bella Italia’s offer is only valid from 12pm and not on Saturdays.

With Compare the Market, you can also get a whole year of 2-for-1 rewards on meals and movies if you sign up for travel insurance with them, at restaurants including Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny’s, and Ask Italian, using this secret trick one Latestdeals.co.uk member uncovered.

Save more than 50 per cent with advance theme park tickets

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You can actually save a hefty chunk of money on theme park tickets across the UK simply by buying your tickets in advance, rather than on the day.

At Chessington World of Adventures, you could save a whopping £20 on adult tickets by buying them five days ahead of time, with advance tickets costing £29.50 – while on-the-day tickets will set you back a huge £50 instead.

At the ever popular LEGOLAND, you could save an equally handy amount, with tickets at the gate costing £60, while the online price is just £47. When booking however, be aware that to get the money-saving deals, you’ll often need to book at least a couple of days in advance. For offers, visit moneysavingexpert.

National Rail also offer some brilliant money-saving deals when it comes to theme park days. Simply register and print out a voucher from the National Rail website while purchasing a train ticket for 2-for-1 entry to over 300 UK attractions. These include many of the major theme parks such as Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, as well as places like the SeaLife centres.

There are a few restrictions howver, one being that you’ll need to be heading to a station near the attraction to secure the deal.

Get unlimited access to National Trust venues

A membership to the National Trust means you always have a brilliant options at hand to entertain the kids with when you’re at a loose end.

Although an annual family membership does cost £126 a year (or £10.50 a month), it gives you unlimited access to all sorts of parks, nature reserves, houses, and gardens across the country that are perfect for a sunny-day visit, with plenty of room for the kids to blow off some steam.

Read more: Best castles to visit in the UK with the kids

Look out for bargain cinema tickets

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If your kids are more movie fans, there are also savings to be had at the cinema. Although a trip to see a new release has become more expensive than ever, scouting out deals for kids screenings can save you a whole heap of money.

On Moneysavingexpert, you can find deals where both you and an accompanying child (or children) can get tickets for as little as £1.75, for screenings on specific days of the week.

The deals vary from cinema to cinema, so it’s important to check out which deals your local specifically is offering – and whether it’s worth travelling a bit further afield to take advantage of an ever better money-saving steal.

A lot of the offers are only valid on weekend or school holiday mornings, so its worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to head out a bit earlier in the day to make the most of the saving.

Visit free museums for arts and crafts

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If your little sprogs love getting creative, there are plenty of free or reduced price crafty activities available for kids in the holidays.

Many art galleries in London, including the Tate Modern, Barbican Centre, and the National Portrait Gallery give free admission to kids and under 18s, meaning you only need to pay for yourself or an accompanying adult.

But before you discount them as not particularly good places for kids, the galleries actually have some great special events for children. On selected days at the Tate this summer for example, kids can take part in a creative sketching, sculpture-making and animation workshop – a great chance for them to be creative and learn whilst playing.

And if you’re outside of the capital, your local art gallery will likely be running a similar host of classes and events for young ones, so its worth checking their event schedule.

There’s also every chance that your local council is offering some brilliant free or low-cost events for kids over the summer. In Surrey, they can take part in a mosaics class or a £15 tennis class. Check out your local council website for more information.

Get the best deals for family holidays

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If you’ve still not booked a summer getaway abroad, there’s no need to panic, as it turns out there’s still time to bag a great bargain! Even though we’re in the  midst of summer, prices for a getaway within the next month are at an all time low, as it’s the ‘lates’ booking period of the season. Great deals can still be found on price comparison websites for travel in August, meaning you’ll need to be ready to jet off pretty soon.

So while most other people’s summer break has been and gone, you can have one to look forward to at a reduced price, before the return to reality in September!

Do you know about any other great ways of saving money during the holidays? Head over our Facebook page and let us know.