Are you looking for some free things to do with kids in St Albans this Summer? The school holidays can be a wonderful time with your kids but all the activities and days out can easily and quickly make your spending money vanish. Luckily there are some fantastic places to visit in St Albans and Hertfordshire that are free, so make sure you check them out. Before you travel always check opening hours and to avoid disappointment. If you are making a special journey call your destination before you leave to make sure everything will be open when you arrive.
The Verulamium Museum tells the story of everyday life in Roman Britain and it is free to residents of St Albans District (take proof of residency for free entry). Special events take place throughout the school holidays so keep an eye on their website and take your budding archaeologists along for a step back in time.
The Tring Natural History Museum is a fascinating place. Although you may find that you need to park in one of the car parks in the town (the car park for the museum is tiny). Once you get inside the museum you are treated to a collection of fish, birds, reptiles and mammals including a polar bear, elephants and a rhinocerous. The museum is quite traditional and does not have many ‘hands-on’ experiences but it is a fantastic way for even very young children to get close to an enormous range of animals.
The Stockwood Discovery Centre not only contains the largest collection of horse-drawn carriages in the UK there are gardens to explore, outdoor play areas and it is a great place to go when the weather is changeable as there are indoor and outdoor activities. Entry is free but they do sometimes charge for special exhibitions or activities.
A charming, small museum that charts the social history of Luton. There are some interactive exhibits and the museum is next to Wardown Park so once you have been around the museum you can let the children run off some energy in the park or feed the ducks.
The Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, North London is a fantastic space and a great place to go on a rainy day (OK so it isn’t strictly in Hertfordshire but is too good to miss off this list). There are countless planes and military vehicles to see in two enormous aircraft hangers as well as a young aeronauts interactive zone which you will find towards the end of the exhibits near the exit. Although entry to the museum is free there is a small charge for the car park.
Garden Centres With a Difference
As well as having a large collection of fish in some beautiful aquariums Maidenhead Aquatics has a cafe and soft play centre and entry to the soft play is free. You can easily spend an hour looking at the fish and having a play and a cuppa.
This garden centre is just over 30 minutes from St Albans but it has lots to offer. On Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in school holidays there is a miniature train you can take a ride on for around £1 per person (under 2’s are free with a paying passenger). During school holidays they also host special events such as a circus, so it is worth keeping an eye on their website to see what’s on.
Butterfly Corner at Aylett Nurseries
Aylett Nurseries, North Orbital Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL2 1DH
Visit Aylett Nurseries this Summer from Monday 17th July to Sunday 17th September 2017 and visit the specially constructed Butterfly Corner in the Plant House, free of charge. Find out about the lifecycle of the butterfly and watch the butterflies feed and fly. When the Butterfly Corner closes in September the butterflies, eggs and caterpillars will be relocated to the Butterfly House at Whipsnade Zoo. The Celebration Garden will be in full bloom, so take some time to stroll around the garden, or have a bite to eat in the Dahlia Coffee House.
Parks and Open Space
Ashridge Estate has thousands of acres of open countryside and woodland to explore and entry to the estate is free. Take a picnic and you can spend the day picking up sticks, climbing trees or running in the fields.
The splash park is a great place to enjoy a summer’s day and entry is free. There are 12 water features to run and splash around and the area is surrounded by a fence to provide a safe area for children to run about. Take your swimming costumes and swim nappies for under 3’s and enjoy the water and once you’ve dried off you can enjoy Verulamium Park, feed the ducks or play in the playground.
This enormous park offers acres of space to run and play as well as paddling pools, playgrounds and if you do have some spending money you can try the miniature railway or the bouncy castles which are only available in school holidays and weekends.
Dunstable Downs offers plenty of space to run off some excess energy or sit and enjoy a picnic but it is also the perfect place to go on a windy day for flying a kite. It is so good in fact that every Summer Dunstable Downs host a Kite Festival with professional displays and activities.
Stanborough Park, just outside Welwyn Garden City, has a fairly large playground and large lakes, with plenty of ducks, to take a walk around. Be warned that the lakes are not fenced in many areas so this is not ideal for young toddlers and children who like to go running ahead, unless you take a pushchair or buggy or have reigns.
It is never too early to start ticking off the 50 things to do before you are 11¾ so check out the website for ideas of activities that don’t have to cost the earth.
Whatever you get up to have a fantastic time! I am sure that I must have missed some ideas out of this list so if you have any other ideas of free activities for kids then do please leave a comment below.