More for less: Kids

More for less: Kids

Like the slot machines in Vegas, a day out with a family of four can drain your resources in the blink of an eye. So, until they start bringing in a wage of their own, here are a few places where children can have fun for zero pounds.

Glasgow City Council gets a big thumbs up, with its range of free museums, most of which have events for all ages. The Art Gallery & Museum Kelvingrove runs its regular Family Fun Weekends, the Burrell Collection holds its ‘Burrell for Families’ on alternate Saturdays and the Gallery of Modern Art’s Art Club every Saturday morning has heaps of free materials. The Council also comes up trumps by allowing children under 18 to swim for free in all its pools.

For something more off-beat, visit Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre inside Glasgow’s new Trongate 103. Adults cost £4, but two accompanying children can watch the spellbinding carved figures come to life to free.

Edinburgh City Council may not be quite as generous, but you can still swim in their pools for free until you’re 12 (excluding Leith Waterworld), and there are a few free museums worth checking out. In particular the Museum of Childhood has dolls houses, dressing-up, puzzles and more for those still young enough to play, and a stroll down memory lane for everyone else. Also on the Royal Mile, the Museum of Edinburgh has costumes and art activities, and is home to Greyfriars Bobby’s old collar and bowl.

Despite being renovated, the National Museum of Edinburgh is still worth a look, with lots of free events at the weekend. The National Galleries also run arty activities that cost absolutely nothing. One Sunday a month, you can pick up a ‘Bag of Art’ at the Gallery of Modern Art or visit the ‘Art Cart’ in the National Gallery and produce your own masterpiece.

Meanwhile, down on Gorgie Farm you can hang out with the sheep, goats, pigs and hens for free.

If you shop at Tesco, it’s worth saving up your Clubcard points for free entry into Edinburgh’s Butterfly & Insect World, Glasgow Science Centre and M&Ds theme park in Strathclyde.

But, given the glorious countryside we have in Scotland, perhaps the best free day out you can give your child is a visit to one of the fantastic country parks in the Central Belt. From Vogrie and Beecraigs in the Lothians, to Mugdock and Calderglen in the west, plus many more besides, there are adventure playgrounds to be climbed, trails to explore, animals to pet and energy to use up.

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