It can be very expensive to entertain the children during weekends and school holidays but there are loads of low cost things to do. Guest blogger MinionMum, a mum of 5 from Bridgend, shares her top activities in South Wales.
Many parents like myself are constantly looking for cheap or free things to do in South Wales with their children on the weekend or during the school holidays.
Keeping kids entertained can get expensive! I once paid £17.50 for my son and I to watch the latest animated film at the cinema.
But I know there are great bargains out there and ideas for cheap days out for families; all it takes is a bit of research and planning.
I have put together a list of activities I have done on the cheap (all under £5!) in the South Wales area.
If you’re looking for cheap and free things to do in North East Wales and North West Wales, picnic ideas, and splash pads and paddling pools in Wales, check out the links at the bottom of this article.
If you’ve got tips on cheap days out and family activities, please let us know in the comments below!
1. St Fagans and Margam Park
When we get some nice fine weather, this is where we tend to go for the day. Entry is free for these two parks. It costs £5 to park the car (if you don’t drive, there are buses you can catch), and we usually take some food with us for a picnic.
In both of these parks, there are plenty of places for children to run around, different farm animals to see and pet, and playgrounds to explore.
Cost: Free entry (£5.00 for car-parking)
I have heard plenty of good reviews for this science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay, but have always been put off by the prices.
A couple of weeks ago, I found out they were running a promotion on Sunday afternoons that charges £3 per person (same price for adults and children) to visit. This worked out to be 50% cheaper than if I had visited at other times.
They were running a number of different shows when we visited. We went to see a 20-minute Bubble & Blast show (free of charge), where we saw giant bubbles and gas explosions. It was really dramatic!
The rest of the afternoon, my 5-year-old ran amok in the centre, intrigued by the different exhibits and having a go at the interactive displays. A perfect place to check out if you were stuck for things to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon!
Cost: Normal admission charges £5.90 child; £7.20 adult but if you visit after 3pm you only pay £3 (closes at 5pm during school holidays).
Our local recreation centre has a family-friendly pool with a big slide and wave machine.
I recently found out that my local pool offers a free family swimming session on a Friday afternoon. There were only limited tickets to give out, so I made sure I arrived 20 minutes earlier to get them.
Bridgend Recreation Centre also houses a library and a great little sandy outdoor playground. Sometimes after our swim, we settle down for a little read in the library and have a run around outside before heading home.
Your local pool might also offer free swimming slots for children and families, check out their websites or give them a ring.
This is another one of our absolute favourite places to go to when we have a dry day. We find Ogmore Castle a great way to spend half a day.
We usually take a football with us to kick about, and you can also bring your wellies along to wade in the shallow river. Parking is free here and there is no entry charge.
5. Our local cinema
My son loves going to the cinema so I’m always on the lookout for good deals.
My local cinema does a Kids Club movie screening for different animation films every Saturday that costs only £2.50 per ticket (same price for adults and children). The films are not the latest ones but that doesn’t really matter to a keen little movie-goer.
The last time I bought our Kids Club tickets, we were given vouchers for a 2 tickets for £10 promotion. Though not as cheap as the £2.50 tickets, this promotion still makes it affordable for a family of four to enjoy the latest films.
Some of your local cinemas may even have screenings that cost less than this; it’s definitely worth checking out which ones they are.
Cost: £2.50 for Kids Clubs’ films
If you feel you need to talk to someone about any problems your family is having then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.