Free Attractions in the UK


Want to treat the children, got visitors coming to stay or just trying to beat the credit crunch?  You’d be surprised how many free attractions there are in the UK, from museums and galleries to outdoor activities - something for everyone.

It may be chilly winter days but there are still plenty of fun things to do:

***1st March St Davids Day celebrations in Cardiff (and other towns too) - the parade stars at 13:15

*** Friday 13th March welcomes Red Nose Day with events al around the country - please support your local event and do something FUNNY!***

*** and with Easter approaching there are lots of events around the country - here are some to choose from

Wakefield - world coal carrying competition, April 13th

Bradford - Mad Hatters tea part April 12 - 13th

Edinburgh - Easter Egg Bonanza 12th April

For later in the year, here are a few ideas, arranged by region please visit individual web sites to find out winter opening times and activities:

Southwest : Southeast : Midlands : Northwest : Northeast : Wales : Scotland


Walking Tours in Bath,  Bath. A number of free walking tours hosted by the Mayor’s Guides last about 2 hours cover the architecture and history of the city.

Cabot Tower, Bristol. Climb to the top for a fantastic view across the city and harbour

Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon. A lovely place to visit on a summer’s day – meet and feed the donkeys.

Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon. Founded during the reign of King Cnut in 1018, suppressed by Henry VIII in 1539 and refounded in 1882 it is now home to a Roman Catholic Community of Benedictine monks. Talks and concerts throughout the year.

Royal Abert Memorial Museum, Exeter. Lots of things to see and do for the family – quiz sheets, activity boxes, Hands on events and Saturday clubs for 11-16 year olds and even mummification sessions!


London attractions. See separate page.

Briighton Museum and Art Gallery. Having undergone a £10 million redevelopment the museum offers both national and local collections. www.brighton.virtualmuseum

The Walter Rothchild Zoological Museum, Tring, Hertfordshire.  Part of the Natural  History Museum, it offers great free days out on a large site, galleries covering 4,000 animals and a hands on discovery room.


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham. There are a number of museums and galleries within the city offering fun filled activates for children.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Interested in scientific instruments then this is the place for you!  Housed in the oldest purpose built museum building in the country (the Old Ashmolean) it covers the history of science.


Albert Dock, Liverpool. Something for everyone, wander round the Docks, visit the Maritime Museum or Tate Gallery together with quayside shopping.  Note the Beetles Story and Cruises around the South Dock are not free.

National Museums, Liverpool. The only group of museums outside London, they offer a whole variety of collections and special exhibitions covering 'Art in the age of steam', Photographs from the Stewart Bale collection and they're all FREE! The city is well worth a visit in this year of European Capital of Culture with lots of evemts planned.

The Dock Museum, Barrow in Furness. Tracing the history of Barrow from prehistoric times to present day.

The Lowry, Salford. Opened in 2000, the Lowry is a unique building set in the redeveloped Salford Quays, Greater Manchester. Offering a taste of the performing and visual arts in a number of galleries and theatres it has a focus on families and children’s activities.

National Media Museum, (formerly The National Museum of Photography, Film & Television) , Bradford. The Museum traces the history of photography, film, television, radio and the web through a number of collections together with cinemas and IMAX (Films and IMAX attract a charge).


Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (mima), Middlesborough. This £14.2 million landmark building in the centre of Middlesborough includes exhibitions and collections covering fine art, ceramics and jewellery.

National Railway Museum, York.The world’s largest railway museum, you’ll find over three hundred years of world railway history, from Japanese Bullet trains to Queen Victoria’s favourite carriage.  Charges apply to some special events.


National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Exhibitions and tours together with a ‘Hands on’ area.

National Slate Museum, Llanberis. Brand new museum with lots to see and do including the largest working waterwheel in the country!


National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. Specializing in paintings and sculpture from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, the Scottish National Gallery is considered one of the finest galleries of its size in the world. Charges may apply to special exhibitions.

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow. The Botanic Gardens known internationally for its superb glasshouses including the recently restored Kibble Palace glasshouse, has extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world.

They may not be free but don’t forget:

  • two for one when you go by train on a whole host of attractions from exhibitions to theatre tickets.  
  • if you collect Tesco clubcard ( or Nectar points ( you can use those on many attractions in London.

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