15 low-cost or free things to do on a bank holiday weekend

A summer outdoor event with people looking at different stalls.
Katie Lowe headshot.
Katie Lowe

Digital Content Producer

Make the most of your bank holiday weekend with our suggestions for 15 low-cost or free things to do. 

It’s always a nice surprise when you remember there’s a long bank holiday weekend coming up. For many people, it’s an extra day off to relax and do some of your favourite activities. But if the thought of finding things to do for an extra day without spending lots of money fills you with dread, take a look at some of our suggestions for low-cost or free things to do on a bank holiday weekend.

1. Free bank holiday events in your local area

Your local council will usually advertise free bank holiday events it’s hosting nearby in parks or public spaces. Local historical buildings or museums might have free, family-friendly activities running too.

2. Plan a treasure hunt

Plan a treasure hunt for your family or friends. Take the time to place your clues in your local area and you’re guaranteed a fun afternoon!

3. Go for a walk

It sounds obvious, but getting out in the fresh air if you can is a relaxing and free way to explore. If you walk around your local neighbourhood you might notice interesting architecture or things you’ve never spotted before. You could choose to go a bit further afield and explore somewhere new too.

4. Be a tourist in your area

Is there a museum in your city you’ve always wanted to visit but never gotten round to it? A local park you’ve not spent much time in? Enjoy exploring your local area and doing some activities you haven’t done before.

6. Go for a picnic

If the weather is good, a picnic always feels like a treat! Grab a blanket and some sandwiches, and find a cute spot to spend an afternoon.

7. Free or low-cost attractions nearby

Look out for cheaper ways to visit your favourite local spots. Parks sometimes offer free nature trails for families. You can usually visit the gardens of historical buildings for a reduced price if you don’t go inside. Keep a look out for vouchers or special offers for local attractions in your local paper.

8. Go camping

Camping is good for mental health and wellbeing according to a study by Sheffield Hallam University and Liverpool John Moores University. Enjoy feeling connected to nature and an increased sense of wellbeing with a low-cost weekend away. Borrow a tent from friends if you don’t own one already.

9. Go for a bike ride

A bike ride is another way to get some fresh air and some exercise too. You could borrow a bike from a friend if you don’t already have one.

10. Free city walking tour

Learn some new history about your city and find out some interesting facts about your local area you didn’t know before. You can find free walking tours in some cities on Google.

11. Volunteer

You could spend some time volunteering at a local event or for a charity. You’ll get to try something new and feel good about it.

12. Do some crafting

Dig out those craft supplies and get creative. Find low-cost crafting ideas on Pinterest. Even just a colouring book and some crayons would make a relaxing few hours.

13. Plant some seeds

Got a packet of seeds lingering at the bottom of your junk drawer? Grab an old plant pot and some compost and get planting!

14. Go to the library

If you’re new to the library, spend a few hours seeing what your local library offers. You might be able to find the new book you wanted to read, as well as audiobooks and DVDs. Libraries often run courses too. If you’re a regular to the library already, you could challenge yourself and try discovering a new genre by borrowing a book you wouldn’t usually read. Check your local library website for opening times.

15. Make a new recipe

If there’s a recipe you’ve been wanting to try but is going to take a while, now’s the perfect time. There’s plenty of time for marinating, proving dough or slow-cooking on a bank holiday weekend! Make a meal of it too by setting the table and lighting a candle to make it feel extra special.