Easter Holidays: Money-saving ideas from Yorkshire families and their top tips for family days out on a budget

With the Easter Holidays now upon us, we’ve got some top money-saving tips from Yorkshire families to help you enjoy the holidays without paying a packet.
Thackray Museum of Medicine’s Programmes Curator Dr. Ruth QuinnThackray Museum of Medicine’s Programmes Curator Dr. Ruth Quinn
Thackray Museum of Medicine’s Programmes Curator Dr. Ruth Quinn

City Centres

Depending on where you live, check out your local Bid (Business Improvement District) sites. Wakefield, Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield all have Easter events on, for example, as they offer a range of free family-friendly activities to boost the local economy.

For a free Easter Egg hunt, those in Wakefield can start at The Ridings Shopping Centre, in Sheffield pick up a trail at the BID office next to the Winter Gardens and in Leeds head to the Easter Bunny Egg Garden located at Victoria Leeds on Sidney Street.

Andrew Cooper, LeedsBID Chief Executive, said:

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“As we see Leeds city centre coming back to life, LeedsBID is animating the high street with fun, interactive activities for families to enjoy during key school holiday periods. Working with key retail partners, we hope to provide that added appeal to encourage people to step back in to rediscover the city centre once again.”

In Harrogate head to Victoria Shopping Centre this Good Friday to meet the Easter bunny and grab a treat.

Also check out your local council’s website and social media for free ideas. As well as the local tourism sites such as Experience Wakefield, Welcome to Sheffield, Visit Barnsley and Visit Hull and East Yorkshire are all ideas for great tools to begin your adventures.

Free holiday camps for those on free school meals

Many local authorities have free holiday camps for families which include a free meal, physical activities and learning stimuli.

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“For families on free school meals, get your child signed up to the Happy Healthy Holidays which are being run in the Wakefield and district, said Mick Harrison at Inspiring Community CIC who are running two provisions in Portobello and Fitzwilliam.

Check out your local council’s website to enquire about free school camps.

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Free things to do in Yorkshire over the Easter holidays with the family - includ...


“Get a day pass on the train and hop on and off at stops.

“There are some great canal walks and you can do your own scavenger hunt too,” said mum-of-four Rachael Dennis who is Project Officer at 50 things to do before you’re five.

She also recommended enjoying a staycation such as a caravan holiday where swimming and kids clubs are included.

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Or if you’re staying at home, “check out your local parks and museums and galleries for free activities,” added Rachael who has recently helped to launch an app to help families with under 5s.

You can download the app here.

Free museums and galleries

“Take advantage of the many free museums and fantastic parks we have here in Yorkshire,” added Mum-of-two Erin EK at Yorkshire Tots blog.

In Sheffield there’s Weston Park and Millennium Galleries, Wakefield is home to The Hepworth (which is free for local residents) and Leeds Museums & Galleries offer a range of free activities for the whole family to enjoy this Easter.

Entry to Leeds Art Gallery and Leeds City Museum is absolutely free. There's Extinction Easter crafts in the museum from 12-14 April and if the weather's fine take a trip out to Kirkstall Abbey for a picnic in the sunshine. On rainy days Leeds Industrial Museum is the perfect place to catch a family favourite film in the retro Palace Picture House, a vintage inspired cinema which is one of the smallest examples of its kind in the world! A family of 5 can attend for just £11 and local residents from LS3, 4, 5 and 12 postcodes can enjoy £1 entry to the museum each and every day throughout the year.

There’s also the Thackray Medical Museum.

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Visitors are invited to eggsplore the museum as part of the ‘Eggcellent Easter Egg Hunt’, in which several eggs will be hidden throughout the exhibitions, and participants asked to complete a trail to get their hands on a mini Easter treat.

Discounts, Offers & Vouchers

Yorkshire Tots’ Erin added: “My tip is to Google the places you would like to go to with the word discount, sign up on email lists of places you like to visit to get any discount codes.”

Yorkshire Author and mum-of-two Rachel Dove also uses this strategy.

“Look for free events such as Royal Armouries shows, discount bus rides and the CEA cinema card for carers of people with disabilities to get their ticket free,” said Rachel.

Take packed lunches and get outdoors

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Rachel recommends making packed lunches with the kids before getting outdoors.

She said: “Make them together to encourage food prep skills and organisation and nutrition, and then eat together outside in a park or field, beauty spot.

“Cheap, outdoors, educational and you can take equipment to play games, make funny family tiktoks with Dad dancing perhaps.”

Children’s event coordinator Laura Truter who takes her daughter with her to arrange of free outdoors Easter events, said: “My daughter gets to be involved in family crafts, games and meals through my work.

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She said that you can’t beat going to local parks, however: “I enjoy visiting Anglers Country Park, Pugneys and Newmillerdam.

“I am always looking on facebook events to see if they have anything on in the school holidays.”

Angler’s Park normally have seasonal events for families in their hub and cafe shop. Laura added: “There's some great children's parks locally too, so no need to spend a load of money on fuel too. Although I do miss the beach.”

Family & lifestyle blogger Gemma at Life of a Mums a Lawyer, also said that preparation is key and encouraged families to get out:

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“I always take a snack box for the kids and drinks to keep costs down. We have a family national trust membership which includes free parking so if we go to a national trust property and take food the day out doesn’t cost anything. Our favourite places are Nostell Priory and Ripon Abbey.”

Eat out and explore for free

Many supermarkets and cafes such as Marks & Spencer’s offer Kids Eat Free offers.

Gemma added:

“A lot of supermarkets are offering kids eat free deals so always good to look up before you go out to see what is nearby.

“Look for free entry such as museums and art galleries. York National Railway Museum is free and a fab day out for all the family.”

Get creative at home

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You don’t always have to be out exploring, you can make the most of being at home.

“I have a craft box that I keep topped up throughout the year so we have lots to do at home. We also decorate a plain pack of biscuits by using icing sugar and sprinkles or baking cookies is cheap to do as all the basic ingredients you may have in your cupboard.

“Kids love baking at home, then they get to eat their creations,” added Gemma who encourages all mums to feel good and stylish @lifeofamumslawyer on instagram.

"You can get sporty at home too,” explained Dan a sports blogger at Yorkshire Families. He recommended making your own obstacle course inside or outside and setting up your own egg and spoon races.

Get Crafty at Churches near you

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There’s a range of Messy Churches and events throughout Yorkshire.

“We love going to Messy Church events. This has landed in the Easter holidays. Its free and lots of crafting, biscuit making and much more with a service and a healthy meal,” said Laura who works at St Helen’s Church and runs Grace Space at Portobello Community Centre in Wakefield.

Wakefield Cathedral is just one of the venues with free activities. On Thursday 14 April and on Saturday 16th April there’s Easter Family Fun: free arts, crafts and activities with an Easter theme. Drop in to Wakefield Cathedral between 10.00 and 15.00 on Thursday and from 11am on Saturday everyone welcome.

To find a Messy Church or activities to do at home, click here.

What are your top money-saving tips during the school holidays? Tweet us @YorkshirePost @SophieMeiLan_