free and cheap places to go with toddler

19 free and cheap places to go with your toddler

We’ve put together some fab free and cheap places to go with your toddler.

These are places to escape the four walls and where your little one can burn some of their boundless energy. Especially when it’s cold and rainy.

Some of these may not sound too thrilling. But those that sound like simple or mundane trips to us feel like a wonderland for toddlers, so try them out! A day of exploring for your kids doesn’t need to break the bank.

1. Your local library

Make your local library a weekly go-to. Your toddler will love reading and choosing a pile of books to take home. Often you can ask for colouring sheets and crayons to sit down and enjoy some creative time together in a cosy corner. And libraries also hold free (or cheap) story telling and activity sessions too.

2. The garden centre

We don’t mean to buy plants! Although that’s certainly an option. Garden centres are actually a great place to go with little ones. There are loads of places to explore – running down paths to see all the plants and flowers, stopping to look at the water feature displays. Some even have pets or fish for sale, which your child will love looking at too.

Garden centres often have fab shops – with loads of books and things your little one will love to look at. And almost every one has a great cafe so you can stop to refuel with coffee (for you) and cake (for both of you)

3. Your local pet store

free days out for toddlers - pet store

These are like free min-zoos in a toddler’s eyes. There’s so much fun to be had. Your child can look at all the pets – hamsters, goldfish, chinchillas and all. There are often child friendly pet sessions too – especially in the school holidays.

4. Baby & toddler classes

Whether it’s once or twice a week booking a baby or toddler class gives you and your child a reason to get out of the house and a session where you can meet and socialise with others. They’re great fun. And give you a chance to find support and friendship, which might lead to other play dates and meet ups too. There’s a bunch of cheap or free classes being offered on Happity, including church groups and community groups. Check us out to find classes near you.

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5. Soft play

Little ones LOVE soft play! And entry prices are often pretty reasonable too. This is a great option on rainy or cold days. There’s often a cafe too to eke out your visit.

6. Free and cheap places to go with your toddler – Museums

free and cheap places to go toddler - museum

We love museums. They’re mostly free and there’s so much to entertain little kids. Buttons to press, interactive displays, interesting things to see. Museums often hold free kid’s activity events too – especially during school holidays. It’s well worth a visit. Or two. Or three!

7. Parks and playgrounds

Little ones love play parks. Many a happy afternoon can be spent on the swings and slides – whatever the weather. Take snacks or a picnic to make your trip last longer or visit a cafe on the way back to warm up and refuel.

8. Take a trip on the train

Head to a town or city near you for a fab day out. For little ones, the journey on a busy train is as exciting as the destination. Off peak tickets are a great price too meaning a day out by train is cost effective. And on National Rail, under 5s actually travel for free with fare-paying passengers! Check with your rail line’s website to find out more.

9. Animal farm

City farms are a toddler’s mecca. They’re often free or cheap for entry, and your little one will love seeing all the animals up close. There are often play parks, cafes and kid’s activities too. Even better, some offer petting zoo opportunities so your child can hold and stroke rabbits and feed lambs.

10. Castles

Castles are amazing places to explore with kids. You can often buy family memberships to make them more affordable. Try The National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Scotland for castles to visit near you.

11. Charity shop rummaging

Charity shops are exciting places for your toddler. There are loads of cheap toys to browse and buy. You can give your child a few pounds to pick out a toy to take home. And have lots of fun looking at what’s on offer before making your purchase.

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12. Hit the beach

free and cheap places to go toddler - beach

Even in autumn and winter beaches are a child’s paradise. Wrap up warm and enjoy beach walks and building sandcastles and collecting shells. You can take along some toys to play games – such as a ball or a kite. And a picnic with a flask of hot chocolate is the prefect way to top off your visit.

13. Explore a mall

Shopping malls have loads of space for toddlers to roam, and places to explore. You don’t have to go into the shops, just enjoy the space.

14. School fayres

Schools often hold fayres and family events throughout the year and these are great places to visit with little ones. There are games and activities as well as really cheap stalls selling second hand books and toys. Look out for local school events near you for a fun and cheap day out.

15. Toddler groups

Baby & toddler groups are often either free or only cost a pound or two to attend. You almost always get a cuppa and a biscuit too! There will be local toddler groups near you – often held in church or community halls. You can find lots of toddler groups on Happity too.

16. Swimming pool

Pools are not free but there are often family deals and discounts. They are a great place to go on cold and wet days to burn off some of that toddler energy.

17. Country park

So many country parks have beautiful grounds for walks and play parks too. There are often activities for children – especially in the school holidays. And great cafes an places to grab snacks too. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do in your local country park.

18. Your local bookshop

Not only great places to browse and choose a new book. But lots will have storytelling sessions for little ones too. Check if any of your local book shops have some activities running that you can join in.

19. Free and cheap places to go with your toddler – Toy library

Like libraries – but for toys instead of books. You can browse and choose toys to borrow and take home for a while. Then come back and replace them with others the next week. If you don’t have a toy library near you there are online toy libraries – such as Whirli

You might also like:

15 rainy day activities for toddlers

Sensory play ideas for toddlers

A-Z of activity and craft ideas for toddlers

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Happity Author

Happity Author

This blog was written by an author from Team Happity! Created with research, love and care to make sure the information you are reading is useful, insightful and accurate. By reading this blog, you've made Team Happity do a little happy dance. Check out our main site to find a class near you!