Looking for something to do...
...but don't want to splash the cash? It may seem too good to be true: fun events that don't cost a penny to get in.
Whether it's a free event organised around a seasonal holiday, free local county shows or free festivals there's sure to be something going on near you. Keep an eye on our Free Events page for all the latest goings-on in the UK. Make sure you let us know if there's any we've missed!
Free events are great for the community as they create a real sense of togetherness. Many are organised by local governments, so make sure you make the most of them and don't miss out on what's going on in your local area.
Want even more free things to do? Check out our Free Days Out page with all the best free days out across the UK, all year round.
What time of year is best for free events?
Free events are often seasonal, with Summer being top of the list for the majority. However, with every season and bank holiday, a free event is always sure to appear.
Whether you call it tradition, nostalgia or capitalism, the Western calendar is propped up by a selection of seasonal holidays: Christmas, Easter, St Patricks Day, Bonfire Night, Halloween... the list goes on. And each year that these roll around, so do a whole host of free events!
Free events in Summer 2018
When the summertime rolls around, so do the majority of the free events in the UK. May to September are very popular for free festivals and events, celebrating not just music but art, culture, food and drink.
There are loads of free events happening this Summer, these are just our pick of the bunch...
Godiva Festival, Coventry
On the last weekend in August get yourself down to Godiva Festival, the UK's largest free festival. 2018 marks Godiva's 20th year and they've pulled together a star-studded lineup to celebrate, with the likes of Jake Bugg, Professor Green, Gabrielle and lots more acts to follow.
Freedom Festival, Hull
Celebrate the very best of culture at Freedom Festival. There's something for everyone, including comedy, music, art, street theatre, spoken word, dance and much more.
Herne Bay Festival, Kent
For the month of August, Herne Bay Festival are hosting a wide range of family-friendly events perfect for this sizzling hot Summer. There's balloon modelling, open-air cinema, magic and lots more acts sure to keep the kids entertained.
Notting Hill Carnival, London
Bank Holiday weekend in August the streets of West London come alive with Europe's biggest street festival. Floats, colourful costumes, music, dance, food, drink - Notting Hill Carnival has it all. Children's Day Parade is on the Sunday; make sure you arrive early to get a good spot!
Free events at Christmas
Undoubtedly the most expensive time of year, free events around Christmas time are a necessity. Check out all these ways to get into the festive spirit for free!
The largest (and most well-known) Winter Wonderland finds it home at Hyde Park, London. It's one of the biggest events of its type in the world and features stalls, markets, rollercoaster rides, an ice rink and various bars. Entrance is free, although certain attractions do charge for tickets. If you've ever been before you'll know just how busy it can get, so it's best to avoid weekends if you can.
There are lots of other Winter Wonderlands dotted all over the country, including spots in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bath. There's no better place to visit to start feeling a bit more festive - with the help of a mulled wine of course!
Carol services at churches
Get ready for a sing-song and pay a visit to your local church for free carol services. These are a great way to get into the festive spirit and to meet other local residents.
Most churches will run several services throughout December, normally with at least one family-friendly service. Introduce your little ones to the true meaning of Christmas and get singing!
Christmas light switch-ons
The Official™ indicator for the Start Of Christmas = the lights switch-on.
Everything looks just that little bit nicer when the Christmas lights are on. Even the most boring of British high streets look like they fell straight out of a scene from The Holiday and it's socially acceptable to drink (mulled) wine in the street.
Most towns and cities have their own light switching on ceremony, normally headlined by a celebrity of sorts. It was rumoured last year that Lindsay Lohan would be turning on the Kettering Christmas lights...
Entrance for these events are normally free of charge, with several stalls selling merchandise, food and drinks. They can get pretty busy, so make sure to keep a watchful eye on children!
Free events at Easter
Not only do you have to cough up for the Easter Bunny's visit, but the Easter Holidays also means entertaining your children for two whole weeks. Luckily there are lots of great free events to keep the kids busy.
Pets At Home run free events during school holidays to educate children about pets and the responsibility of owning them. At Easter time, these events tend to be themed and are a great way to spend an afternoon. Check out what free events are on near you!
Free tickets to screenings of TV shows
Another great free way to spend a day is by scoring tickets to the live screening of your favourite TV shows.
TV shows that require audiences don't charge entry for tickets, rather they're given out as part of a free ballot. Chat shows, comedy panels, quiz shows all need live audience reactions and it's really easy to sign up for tickets.
- The Graham Norton Show
- The Voice
- Loose Women
- Mock the Week
These are just a few of the shows that you can score tickets for. Register your interest on the SRO Audiences website and if you're successful you'll be contacted with details on claiming your free tickets.
Popular shows like The Graham Norton Show are extremely difficult to get tickets for, but priority booking makes it a lot easier. SRO Audiences offer a scheme where if you go and see and new TV show (one that people are less likely to opt to see off their own accord), then you'll get priority booking for the more sought-after tickets.
Get free entry to top music festivals (Bestival, Latitude etc.)
It might surprise you, but volunteering at major UK festivals can often get you completely free entry, including top festivals like Bestival, Latitude and even Glastonbury.
If you've ever been to a music festival (or can picture what thousands of people in a field plus copious amounts of alcohol looks like), it will come as no surprise that the aftermath of festivals is A LOT of rubbish. Despite bin points located at spots all over festival sites, the scene Monday morning generally looks like something out of the apocalypse.
Volunteers are needed to help clear up the festival site and many offer free tickets in return.
Other free events to keep an eye out for...
If you're still looking for free event inspiration, have a search for these going on in your local area:
- Free theatre tickets
- Open-air cinemas
- Free gigs (for up and coming artists)
- Firework displays - grab a rug and enjoy the display with the kids!
- Local fairs
- Parades - make sure to find out when and where your nearest Pride event is.