Free Days out around the UK


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Union FlagHere are a few great ideas on what you can get up to around the UK, for free.  Despite the gloomy winter months, there are some interesting and surprising places to visit that will cost you nothing to enjoy.  Local churches and city cathedrals often have lunchtime or early evening concerts that are free, check their noticeboards for information.

So whether you have a morning or afternoon to spare and fancy doing something different, why not try one of these suggestions?

The Imperial War Museum, London
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Based in Lambeth and open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm, this museum tells the stories of people’s experiences of war and conflict. Visit the galleries to explore people, places, ideas and events from the First World War to the present day.  Some specialist exhibitions do cost extra, however the main museum is free and full of remarkable exhibits.  If you are helping grandchildren with history projects or maybe writing your memoirs, it is an absolute must!

The Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
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Based in the city centre, this museum and art gallery are completely free!  There are over 500,000 objects in the collection, some of them thousands of years old, covering art, social history, archaeology and ethnography from every continent on the globe.  Weoley Castle is also part of BMAG and is free to visit.  Other places, charging just a few pounds for entrance, are Aston Hall and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park
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Combine culture with exercise at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Wakefield. Explore 500 acres of historic landscape, where you’ll find open-air displays by some of the world’s finest artists, plus five stunning indoor galleries.  Admission is free, although there are parking charges and it’s open almost every day.  There are always at least 60 sculptures in the park, with a shop and restaurant for a cup of tea once your walking is over.  Dogs on leads are welcome.  A great place to work as a volunteer too.

The Lighthouse, Glasgow
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Scotland’s centre for design and architecture celebrates the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh along with many other designers.  If you climb the helical staircase, which leads you up to the viewing gallery at the top of the Mackintosh Tower, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Glasgow. With six exhibition spaces over six floors, including a Digital Design Gallery, there is a busy programme of creative exhibitions and events running throughout the year.  A fabulous, free day out.

Creative Minds Festival, Cardiff
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An eclectic collection of exhibitions, lectures and workshops provided by Cardiff University in the main costing nothing.  The Festival really has a varied cultural programme and hosts some unusual speakers, considering surprising concepts.  A more permanent exhibition features King Arthur in Literature.  Running alongside the free activities are paid for, ticketed events, many available with concessionary rates for seniors.

Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
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Wonderful free music concerts in Christopher Wren’s twin-domed masterpiece on the river, in the most beautiful chapel.  It is the gateway to the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and all its attractions, Greenwich Palace and the Royal Hospital for Seamen for example.   The Royal Observatory is close by and the highly regarded market, with a huge range of stalls and shops to browse in, is on hand to.  You’ll find plenty of interesting, fun activities to fill your free day out.  

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • Silver-Travel-Advisor
    about 7 years ago
    What a lot of wonderful suggestions! You've really inspired us to take another look at Greenwich. Thank you
  • 3D
    about 7 years ago
    Greenwich is my favorite London destination, there is so much to see and do, and you can easily spend a day there, and still have not seen all there is to see. The Cutty Sark an old tea clipper is a must view. It is dry docked between the Thames and the picturesque suburb, and has not longed been completely rebuilt, due to a serious fire that all but destroyed a National Heritage. Walk through the town, and through the large ornate gates, leads you to the splender of Greenwich Park, walking up the hill, which is no mean feat, leads you to the Greenwich Observatory with its Time Ball clearly visable from some distance. The Time Ball was used by mariners as a method of calculating longitude to solve the problem of navigation. The quickest and simplest way of calculating longitude was to compare the difference between 'local' noon - on the ship - with noon at Greenwich. For this, an accurate sea-clock - a chronometer - would be needed, unaffected by the motion of the ship and changes in temperature. The time was accurately observed from the ship, as being noon when the Time Ball was raised to the top and subsequently dropped. The Greenwich Observatory is a museum in its own right, containing collections of astronomical instruments, chronometers and clocks. Housed within The Royal Observatory is the Planetarium returned to its former site. Here you can observe the sky at night, from the comfort of luxury type cinema seats, without getting cold, especially during the winter months. The view from the top is spectacular, and provides a wide vista to the River Thames and beyond. Here can be observed the Old Royal Naval College, and The National Maritime Museum, both worth a visit after a casual stroll back down the hill, not so exhausting this time. Learn about Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, and the ships he sailed, amongst them the renowned HMS Victory, the fleet which he was responsible for and the campaigns he led and was involved in. The National Museum star exibit is the uniform Lord Nelson was wearing when he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. The Royal Naval College built by Sir Christopher Wren, has opulent ceiling paintings in "The Hall", breathtaking in its artistry and depictions. A stroll through the grounds and beyond takes you to the Thames Embankment. A short distance from the Cutty Sark, you can take one of the Riverbuses or Cruise Companies Boats for a trip down towards the Tower of London and beyond to Westminster. A great day out for all.