With the cost of living so high right now, money is tight for everyone. So we’ve put together a great list of 20 free things to do this weekend.
Our bank accounts might be running on empty, but why should that stop us from doing fun things?
Free things to do this Weekend – Our Picks
It isn’t all about expensive breaks and fancy tourist attractions, sometimes we enjoy doing things that don’t cost the Earth.
Or, well anything at all.
That’s why this post looks at some of the best places to see and things to do that don’t break the bank.
So, here are our picks of the best free things to do this weekend.
A Walk Over Cannock Chase
Because we live close to Cannock Chase, this is a no brainer for us.
Located in south Staffordshire and covering a huge 26 square miles of countryside, Cannock Chase is the perfect spot to go walking, jogging, or mountain biking.
There are plenty of quiet and really scenic routes, suitable for everyone at all levels of ability.
Most of the Chase is owned by Forestry England, and so is open for public access all year round.
If you drive there, you will likely have to pay for parking (generally a small charge). But, if you walk or bike onto the Chase, it’s absolutely free.
This is definitely one of our favourite things to do in Staffordshire and indeed one of our favourite free things to do at the weekend, full stop.
Of course, if you are nowhere near Cannock Chase, going for a nice long walk is always a good idea.
Pick somewhere picturesque and quiet in the countryside.
As well as being good exercise, we find it really helps get away from it all and clear your head.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Looking for free things to do this weekend in Manchester? This could fit the bill.
As Ben has lived pretty close to Manchester for most of his life, he can highly recommend the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
Having spent several school trips there and been quite a few times since and has enjoyed it every time.
Take a walk through 250 years of innovation and ideas, all of which started life in the great city of Manchester and went on to change the world.
From the history of the railways, to the textile industry that formed such an important part of Manchester’s history, you’ll be hard pushed to come away without learning something.
At the Science and Industry Museum, you can explore Manchester’s rich history of scientific discovery and it’s generally just a fantastic day out.
Best of all, it is absolutely free to enter. Just head over to their website to book your free ticket.
Natural History Museum, London
The first of our free things to do this weekend in London.
If you are in the capital, the Natural History Museum in London is probably one of the absolute best free things to do this weekend.
Where else can you travel through 4.6 billion years of our planet’s history without paying?
Here, you’ll learn about everything from Dinosaurs to asteroid samples.
Make sure you check out the 28 metre long model of a Blue Whale in the Mammals Hall and this year (2022), Dippy the Diplodocus makes her triumphant return to the museum.
She’s only around for a limited time though.
Located in South Kensington in London, the Natural History Museum is understandably one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. There’s something there to capture everybody’s imagination.
So, definitely get there early if you want to see everything with a reasonably unobstructed view.
Book your free tickets on the Natural History Museum Website here.
Next up on the list is quite a recently visited place for us in Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucestershire.
As well as being an impressive structure from the outside, the incredible architecture inside will blow your mind. Particularly the beautiful cloisters, that are some of the oldest and most well preserved in the country.
They are so beautiful in fact, that film producers of the Harry Potter film series chose Gloucester Cathedral as a setting for Hogwarts.
The cloisters can be seen in multiple scenes in the Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Half-Blood Prince.
If you are interested in reading more about the cathedral and its Harry Potter connection, head over to our blog post here.
The cathedral is completely free to enter and we highly recommend it.
The Falkirk Wheel, Scotland
Heading all the way up North to Scotland for this one. If you are in the area, seeing the Falkirk Wheel is a fascinating free thing to do this weekend.
If you want to see something you don’t see every day, then this might be for you.
Amazingly, the Falkirk Wheel is the world’s first and only rotating boat lift.
It was designed and built to connect the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Union Canal in Scotland. As such, the East and West coast of Scotland are joined.
At 115ft tall, it is an impressive sight.
However, it is incredibly energy efficient, requiring only the equivalent power of 8 domestic kettles to transfer boats between the two canals.
You can also book a boat trip to view the Falkirk Wheel up close and personal.
We haven’t been yet, but we definitely will be adding this to the list for next year.
Next on our list, it’s the Venice of the Cotswolds – Bourton-on-the-Water.
Located in the very heart of the Cotswolds, it is famed for its five stone bridges, its uncommon beauty, and quintessentially Britishness.
The village of Bourton-on-the-Water has been around since at least the 1650’s and is extremely popular with tourists.
But with good reason, it is a simply fabulous place to be.
Particularly when the sun is shining, the ice cream is flowing, and the shallow streams are glistening like crystals.
It is like something from the front of a postcard.
If you don’t count the cost to park, you can quite happily spend a morning walking around the village for absolutely nothing.
Having said that, the village is full of cute pubs and souvenir shops.
So, we won’t judge you if you want to stop for a beer or two, or a bag of sweets.
Cosford RAF Museum, Shropshire
We will be producing a stand-alone piece at the RAF museum at Cosford, but for now, it definitely makes it into our ‘free things to do this weekend’ guide.
Aside from the parking charge (£5.00 for 0 to 7 hours), entry is completely free.
For anyone interested in aviation or the history of aviation, this is like a Mecca.
Even though we aren’t necessarily aircraft fanatics, we couldn’t help but be impressed with this place.
There are incredible feats of human engineering everywhere you look.
From the Spitfires in the Battle of Britain section, to the massive Vulcan in the cold war section, the sheer scale of the machinery is incredible.
We spent around 2 hours exploring RAF Cosford. Well worth the Free entry price and 5 quid parking charge.
Look out for the upcoming blog post about this, in the meantime why not check out our RAF Cosford gallery page here.
St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff
Ask anyone in the area and St Fagans National Museum of History will be high on the list of free things to do this weekend in the Cardiff area.
This museum has a long-held reputation of being one of the most popular heritage attractions in Wales. From what we know, it holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Wales.
St Fagans styles itself as the people’s museum. It details the history of the area and the local people that live there.
It’s an absolute gem of Welsh cultural history with amazing indoor displays and great outdoor exhibits to walk around.
It’s completely free to enter, so happy days.
National Museum Cardiff
Staying around the Welsh Capital, the National Museum Cardiff is one that Ben has been to and would happily recommend.
There are not many places where you can see fabulous artworks by masters such as Rodin, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, and Manet – for free.
With so much to see, it would be relatively easy to spend several hours here. Clearly, a lot of money and time has been invested in the upkeep of the museum.
There are a real variety of exhibits to see. The Natural History and Evolution of Wales area are particularly interesting.The ‘How the Earth came to be’ and ‘Dinosaur Exhibitions’ are similarly cool.
With its free admission fee, why not give it a try if you are staying in Cardiff at the weekend?
Lacock Village, Cotswolds
Next up is another free thing to do in the cotswolds this weekend.
If you are finished visiting Bourton-on-the-Water and have a free hour or two, we recommend you travel a bit further towards the Southern end to Lacock Village.
If (like us), you are big Harry Potter fans, you might well notice some of the locations that were used in the films.
In fact, we talk you through the Harry Potter filming locations in Lacock Village (and its Abbey) in our post here.
Like Bourton, Lacock is a really pretty place – again straight off the front of a postcard.
And, as with much of the Cotswolds, it’s a really old village where you can expect beautiful buildings in Cotswolds limestone, an abundance of really old pubs, and traditional shops.
The village is completely free to walk around, however there is a charge for parking.
Since the village is owned by the National Trust, a membership card would be handy as it will allow you to park for free too.
If you’d like to see more of the village and abbey before you decide to visit, check out our Lacock Gallery page.
The British Museum, London
Again, heading back to the English capital for another free thing to do this weekend.
The British Museum is a brilliant idea for anyone visiting London, it’s “a museum of the world, for the world.”
With over two million years of human history and culture on display inside its four walls, some of the most intriguing and significant artifacts in history are here.
Items that the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked much of our modern understanding of ancient Egyptian culture.
With around eight million objects, the number of items and antiquities in the British Museum is mind-blowing.
Like the Natural History Museum, it is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions so get there early. It’s always crowded, so be prepared!
The admission price is completely free, although the website does ask for a small donation on its ticket page. You don’t have to pay this though.
National Railway Museum, York
It’s every Yorkshire Man’s favourite price – free. So says the sightseeing tour bus whenever we visit the great city of York.
The city is incredibly popular with tourists and you struggle to find things to do for free at the weekend in York.
So, this is a rare treat!
The York Railway Museum is vast and is obviously ideal for anyone interested in the railways.
But, like Cosford, even if you aren’t necessarily interested in the subject, you can probably appreciate the level of engineering that goes into these machines.
The National Railway Museum is home to iconic locomotives and an unrivalled collection of engineering brilliance.
Celebrating the past, present and future of innovation on the railways.
If you have an hour to kill when in York, definitely have a look at the museum.
Ordsall Hall, Salford
Back for the second of our things to do for free in Manchester this weekend, we’re nominating Ordsall Hall in Salford.
Relatively little-known and absolutely free to enter, Ordsall Hall has been on our list for a little while.
It has been relatively recently refurbished to a great standard, having had a long and interesting history with many different uses in its storied history. In fact, Ordsall Hall has been around since the 12th century!
Supposedly, Ordsall Hall is very haunted, so any ghost hunters out there may be interested in having a walk around its many chambers.
Absolutely free to visit, close to the Salford Quays – looks like a hidden gem.
Straight off the bat, we have to say that we love Ironbridge.
It is such a pretty and quaint place, particularly when the sun is shining and you have an ice cream in your hand!
The Iron Bridge from which the town takes its name, is completely free to walk across.
Built in 1779, it was the world’s first iron bridge and it spans the River Severn in Shropshire.
Naturally, this bridge marked a turning point in English bridge design and engineering.
The town and surrounding valley is a real beauty spot.
Reminiscent of Cotswolds villages, it is filled with small traditional shops, tea rooms, and pubs.
Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Northern Ireland
One of the more spectacular potential free things to do this weekend on the list – the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
It’s amazing to think that this is a natural structure and not in fact made my humans.
How does something like this happen by chance? Mind boggling!
Made from 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, this natural wonder was actually made by an ancient volcanic eruption.
The tops of the columns form hexagonal stepping stones that lead from the cliff into the sea.
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whilst it is technically free to enjoy the Giant’s Causeway if you are travelling on foot, parking your car will cost a tenner.
The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
This is the second of our free things to do this weekend in Scotland.
This time we’re listing the Royal Botanic Garden in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh.
350 years of history and 70 acres of beautiful landscape, Edinburgh’s beautiful botanic garden was established all the way back in 1670.
This is home to numerous rare plants, including the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside China.
Fragrant Scottish Heath Gardens give you the impression of walking amongst the Scottish Highlands and the stunning Rock Garden, is home to 5,000 alpine species.
Head into the World glasshouse, for a tropical paradise experience featuring ten different climate zones.
In here, you’ll find a habitat including everything from rubber and banana plants, plus rare flowering species from Asia, Africa, and Australia.
The Tate Modern, London
This is the last of our free things to do in London this weekend – the Tate Modern.
Obviously this is perfect for art lovers, from the casual fan to art experts. Its dull, drab, and industrialist exterior is a ruse for what’s contained inside.
Tate Modern boasts over a hundred years of art, from modernism in the early 1900s, to the exciting works created today.
This includes paintings, sculptures, and more made by artists all over the world such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and Jenny Holzer.
Absolutely worth a visit at least once if you are in London for the weekend.
Check out more information and book tickets on the Tate Modern Website
Jesmond Dene, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Free things to do this weekend in Newcastle? Look no further.
Jesmond Dene is hands-down the jewel in the crown of the parks and green spaces near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
This place is the home to a huge amount of historic and natural formations, including waterfalls. Plus, it is packed with wildlife, flowers, and ancient woodland for everyone to enjoy.
It is simply one of those lovely places to visit, the Dene is a well maintained, spacious, and picturesque park.
There’s a children’s play area and a pets’ corner and even a little train runs around in school holidays.
Brilliant free location for families.
Winter Garden, Sheffield
Something free to do this weekend in Sheffield? Why not try the fabulous Winter Garden.
This is one of the largest glasshouses built in the UK in the last century. In the heart of the steel city, you have a green and lucious oasis under (practically) one roof.
In this place, you’ll find over 2500 plants from every corner of the world and the gardens are meticulously well tended.
The variety of plant life means that there is plenty to see throughout your visit.
Plus, there are lots of benches where you can rest, drink a coffee, read a book and just generally take it steady.
It’s not somewhere you are going to spend all day, but if you have some time to kill in Sheffield, definitely pop in.
It’s absolutely free to enter.
University of Oxford, Oxfordshire
It might seem a bit odd suggesting a place of learning as a beauty spot, but it genuinely is.
Oxford is a treasure trove of history.
There’s been a place of learning of some form or another on the site of Oxford University for nearly 1000 years (1069).
The University and surrounding campus is quite beautiful and at nearly every turn, there is something Instagram worth to capture.
As cities go, Oxford is quite small.
But, with the impressive architecture and University buildings, there is enough to keep you sightseeing for a couple of days.
Plus, for the Harry Potter fans amongst you, Oxford was used in filming some of the scenes for the films.
You have to pay to access some of the major attractions, but there is still quite a lot you can do without paying.
Suggest More Free Things to do This Weekend
No matter where you are in the UK, we hope that we have given you a few ideas for free things to do this weekend.
If you have any of your own suggestions, please leave us a comment and we’ll try to check it out!