Skip to main content

Family fun that doesn’t cost the earth

11TH JULY 2023


children eating marshmallows from a stick

Rachel Kerrone, Starling’s Director of Brand and Marketing and mother of three, shares ideas for pocket-friendly, fun family days out.

Filling the summer holidays with fun family activities, while keeping your spending in check, is key for many of us with kids. My number one thing is to get outside. Depending on where you live, a trip to the beach or a park with a picnic makes a brilliant day out. Activities like going for a bike ride or den building also keep the kids entertained.

Three children having fun in a den made of tree branches
Den building is a fun, free activity to do together

To gather some more ideas, I asked fellow parents at Starling to share their tips.

Cheap and cheerful day trips

“Loads of museums have free entry,” says Zuzanna, mum of a seven-year-old boy and our Internal Communications Manager. “I’ve spent countless hours at the Natural History Museum in London and we always take a packed lunch to eat in the beautiful grounds, which makes it a very reasonably priced day out.”

A family having a picnic on a field, taking a photo on a mobile phone
A summer picnic can be great and save you money

Family days out with the National Trust

Lots of National Trust properties also have free Summer of Play activities running during July and August this year. At Castle Ward in Northern Ireland, you’ll find a fortress made from straw bales full of challenges. While at Hare Hill near Manchester, you can follow a trail to find Sandra, the missing dragon. Summer of Play activities, all of which we’re sponsoring this year, are usually included in the price of your ticket to the property.

If you’re a Starling customer and successfully refer a friend, you'll both get a free National Trust day pass for two people, if your friend opens a Starling account. Simply share your referral link from the Starling app, and once their account is open, we’ll send you both separate passes, which you can use at a National Trust property of your choice.

Two children exploring, pointing at something in the distance
Castle Ward in Northern Ireland. Photo credit: © National Trust Images/Christopher Heaney

Until the end of 2023, your child could also enjoy a free kid’s meal at one of the National Trust cafés, provided you’re a Starling Kite customer. Starling Kite is the debit card we designed for 6-16 year olds.

Sleeping under the stars

Camping is what Vicky recommends. Because who doesn’t love toasting marshmallows round a campfire? Vicky works as a Customer specialist and is a mother of two daughters, aged nine and eleven.

“They enjoy the freedom and I love them not being on electronics. We always have loads of laughs and proper family time - fresh air and a cheeky toasted marshmallow or two.”

Getting creative

How about a creative challenge?

As Thomas says: “We’ve tried to instil a sense of imagination in our kids. The older ones love to get involved and will plan out games, quizzes and challenges when we’re on holiday, so the younger ones have something fun to do.” Thomas, a fraud investigator, has eight kids - the youngest is eight months, the eldest is 23.

Katie also loves setting creative challenges. “We do obstacle courses in the park with random items - jump over the jumpers, run wearing my shoes, army rolls to the finish line. Or nature treasure hunts to find things like a feather, pine cones, or something shiny.” Katie is Head of Facilities and mum to a five-year-old son.

A child looking through a magnifying glass
An outdoor treasure hunt to engage with nature

Go local

Lucy, mum to a one-year-old boy and Head of Consumer PR at Starling, says: “Swimming at the local council pool is usually around £6 for you and an under-three. It exhausts them and keeps you both fit!”

A family having fun in a swimming pool
Local pools often offer discounts for toddlers

Free activities for a better world

A free thing my kids love to do around us, weirdly, is litter picking. They did some through school and loved it, so now they each have their own litter picker. The last time we went, they filled a whole bag each. I took a photo and sent it into their school and they ended up doing an assembly about it!

Article updated: 4 September 2023