Christmas is an extremely expensive time of year and the holidays are long! Don’t worry there are tons of cheap and free things you can do locally in the build-up to and during the festive period. With all that excess energy from chocolate and excitement (and that’s just the adults) you’ll probably want to get the kids out of the house! Here’s my guide to some of my favourite things to do at cheap and free places;
Cliveden are running their Mother Christmas festive trail on selected dates in December. Cost £5 per child. Normal admission charges apply but entry is FREE for NT members. Read the full review
Ashridge estate has got lots of events going on; their free Christmas pudding trail (warning, it can get very muddy but takes you places you’ve probably not explored before) and their 12 Dens of Ashridge trail (£3 per trail, includes a gift). Entry and parking at Ashridge is FREE. Click for the review.
If you’ve overdone it on the Christmas chocs, mulled wine and mine pies then a lovely walk up Wendover Woods is a great idea. You can now buy a James and the Giant Peach inspired My Forest Adventure kit for £7.50 (Entry is free, parking charges apply).
Dunstable Downs is brilliant for Boxing Day strolls. The fresh air and fantastic views across Aylesbury Vale will soon get you back on top form. If you fancy visiting before then, their Christmas Carol trail is £2.50 per child and runs from the 1st to 23rd December. If you book their Breakfast with Santa (£7.50 Adults, £5.50 Children) then you get to do the trail for free. As if that wasn’t enough they’re also doing Christmas Crafts on selected dates for £2.50 per child. Entry is free but parking charges apply (except for NT members)
Rushmere Country Park do loads of great events and this Christmas they’re holding their festive fairy trail from now 25th November until the 6th January. If you’ve been to Rushmere before you’ll know that they have lots of sculptures hidden in the woods but they bring out new ones especially for this trail. Then you get to leave your wish in a tree at the end. Such a lovely idea. £2 per trail. Entry to Rushmere is free, you just have to pay for parking (£3, cash only). You can read my full review of Rushmere by clicking the link
World’s End Garden Centre is currently hosting a Winter Wonderland. It took us about 45 minutes to get round (with some backwards and forwards). It costs £3 per person (including Adults but under 2’s are free). There is also the option of a visit with Santa for an additional £7 per child. Have a look at my review here.
The Eden Centre in High Wycombe holds a completely free Elf School and Santa’s Grotto. Tickets are pre-bookable and there are still plenty of slots available. As well as meeting Santa you get to take part in crafts. I actually think it’s better than a lot of paid-for grottos. Have a look at my review here
The Christmas light show at Blenheim Palace looks like it will be spectacular! You may already know that your ticket is valid for a year but don’t forget it’s doesn’t allow free entry to the light show – just discounted entry. Don’t worry though, there will be plenty of other festive themed activities across the wider estate that you can still enjoy for free with your annual pass. Click for the full review.
Waddesdon Manor host a variety of Christmas events – Christmas is a big deal for them. They have a market, Children’s afternoon tea, bauble decorating, and Christmas carnival. Normal admission applies to all events but National Trust members get in FREE. Some activities have an additional charge. You can read my review here.
If you fancy a Victoria Christmas then a visit to Milton Keynes museum is in order. A visit to Santa is £7 per child. Open weekends in late November and December. Normal admission applies but tickets to the museum are valid for a year. If you are already a pass holder than you’ll only need to pay for the visit with Santa. My review is here.
Why not try the Polar Bear Trail at Tring Museum. Search the museum to find the 12 hidden polar bears and find out more about the other animals that live with them. £1 per trail. Entry to the museum is FREE. Follow the link to read the review.
Hughenden Manor is holding their own Victorian Christmas from late November until 1st January. The event is free but normal admission charges apply. If you’re a National Trust member then entry is free. Check out my review for the manor as a whole or herefor the review of the Christmas decorations and trail.
Every week Oxford Natural History Museum holds FREE family friendly Sundays with trails, crafts and backpacks from 2pm to 4pm. Entrance to the museum is FREE as well. You can read my review here.