Free things to do during the summer holidays

With the summer holidays in full swing, here are some ideas to help you keep the whole family entertained. Throughout the summer, we have a special deal on car hire when booked for 4 days or more. Find out more here.

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Visit Arthur’s Seat

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Arthur’s Seat is a 2,000-year-old extinct volcano that sits 251m above sea level in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. The spectacular landscape of Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park overlooking Scotland’s capital is the perfect backdrop to a summer day out.

If you’re taking the kids, it might be worthwhile driving half way up to the carpark at Dunsapie Loch. From Dunsapie, you'll find the famous rocky knoll which is a favourite resting spot and viewpoint for locals and tourists.

  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Dunsapie Loch (Holyrood Park)
  • Queen's Drive
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8JD
  • Google Maps: EH8 8HG


Go to Luss beach

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With lots of beautiful beaches within driving distance of Glasgow, the summer holidays are the perfect time to pack a picnic and hit the sand.

The idyllic village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond is only a 40-minute drive from Glasgow. Watersports enthusiasts can take advantage of the cool activities nearby like paddle boarding, water skiing and kayaking. Or, for something a little more relaxing, admire the picturesque views of Ben Lomond while touring one of the several walking trails around The Trossachs.

  • Car park address:
  • 7 Murray Place
  • Luss
  • Alexandria
  • G83 8PG


Take a trip to Manchester Museum

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Open seven days a week, the Manchester Museum is a great place to visit for a free family day out. As an extension of the University of Manchester, the museum is only a short walk away from the city centre. Parking is also reasonable, costing only £5 for a six-hour stay.

  • Manchester Museum
  • The University of Manchester
  • Oxford Road
  • Manchester
  • GM13 9PL

  • Google Maps: M15 6ED
  • iMaps: M15 6AR


Drive the scenic Golf Coast

Liverpool is well known in the golfing community for being a world-class destination. But, even if golf isn’t your thing, the ‘Golf Coast’ road trip is home to one of the country’s most beautiful scenic routes that you won’t want to miss.

Teeing off your road trip in the borough of Sefton in Liverpool, you’ll enjoy stunning sandy beaches and the UK’s finest golf courses on this 22-mile coastal route to Southport.

Boasting seven of the ‘Top 100 Courses of the UK & Ireland’ and nine of the courses listed in the 'Top 100 Courses in England', this short road trip is jam-packed with championship-standard golf courses. It’s the ultimate golfer’s paradise!


Feed the animals at Ouseburn Farm

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Opened by local people 1976 to give children the opportunity to work with farm animals, you’ll find Ouseburn Farm in the very heart of Newcastle city centre. From furry farm yard friends to exotic reptiles, it’s hard to believe that Ouseburn farm is free to visit!

There are special feeding and petting events which are available to book at a small cost. But, they usually sell out fast so you’ll need to book in advance.

As a non-profit organisation, they rely on donations to stay open which you might want to keep in mind if you’re paying a visit this summer.

  • Ouseburn Farm
  • Ouseburn Road
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 2PA

  • Small car park:
  • Foundry Lane
  • NE6 1LH


Walk around the Tate Modern

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The Tate Modern, housed in the former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the Thames, is family-friendly, modern art gallery. Families with young children don’t need to worry about making noise because kids are encouraged to run and play freely among the installations and world-famous pieces of art.

With no parking facilities at the Tate or in the surrounding area, public transport is the easiest way of getting to the gallery. Entry is free all year round, except for special exhibitions.

  • Tate Modern
  • Bankside
  • London
  • SE1 9TG


Visit the National Railway Museum

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Home to some the UK’s most important historical artefacts, you really don’t need to be a train enthusiast to enjoy a day out to the National Railway Museum (NRM). Set across 20 acres, you’ll be able to spend the entire day admiring the locomotives and rolling stock, as well as the other 5,000 historical pieces the museum has on display. The NRM is well known for its events and exhibitions during school holidays, making it the perfect place to take the family this summer.

Entry to the museum is free, but if you’re travelling by car, the visitor car park costs £10 per day.

  • National Railway Museum
  • Leeman Road
  • York
  • YO26 4XJ

  • Google Maps: YO26 4WT


Walk the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail

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Soak up some culture this summer by visiting Rome’s best-preserved great frontiers. Built by the Roman army in AD 122, Hadrian’s Wall stretches across 73 miles of rugged moorland and rolling hills.

The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is an 84-mile route following the line of Hadrian’s Wall. Along the way you’ll find ancient Roman settlements and forts, as well as cosy pubs and quaint shops. But don’t let the distance put you off, there are plenty of other shorter trails which can be done in an afternoon.

  • Hadrian’s Wall Walk
  • Carlisle
  • CA5 6EA


Picnic in Sherwood Forest

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The National Nature Reserve is the legendary home of Robin Hood, where the famous major oak tree still produces acorns after standing for over 800 years! With a unique ecosystem, if you visit the Sherwood Forest this summer, you’ll be able to admire the ancient trees that have been twisted and weathered into living, breathing sculptures.

With the park extending over 450 acres, you’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect picnic stop.

  • Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and National Nature Reserve
  • Forest Corner
  • Edwinstowe
  • Nottinghamshire
  • NG21 9RN


Road trip to Brimham Rocks

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A #RentalRoadTrip from Leeds to the Brimham Rocks is an Instagrammer’s dream. The dramatic natural landscape of the rock formations and picture-perfect backdrop means it’s easy to capture the perfect shot. Known as a source of real inspiration for many famous photographers, Brimham regularly hosts photography workshops throughout the year.

The area surrounding of the Brimham Rocks is owned by the National Trust. It’s free to visit and is open all year round. There’s also a really convenient on-site car park where you can stay all day for just £9.

  • Brimham Moor Road
  • Summerbridge
  • Harrogate
  • North Yorkshire
  • HG3 4DW

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