How kids can earn a Blue Peter badge to bag free entry to 200+ attractions
Incl Tower of London, the Eden Project, Edinburgh Zoo & Jorvik Viking Centre
When you think about Blue Peter, whatever your age, its highly coveted pin badges probably spring to mind. You might assume they're hard to get hold of, but actually, with a bit of effort, kids can earn a badge fairly easily...
Kids with badges and accompanying badge card get free entry at 200+ UK attractions until they're 16. It can take about eight weeks for the badges to come through, so you may want to apply soon, ready for summer.
Due to the pandemic, some attractions have temporarily suspended the Blue Peter badge offer while visitor restrictions are in place. However, it's likely this could change as restrictions ease, so do check with each individual attraction before setting off.
Since 2017, Blue Peter badges no longer get free entry at Merlin attractions (Alton Towers etc). For info, see our Merlin scraps free entry news story.
How do you get a Blue Peter badge?
Kids aged six to 15 can tell Blue Peter about something they’ve created, such as a model or a cake, including a drawing or some photos of it with their application. They should also include their full name and address, date of birth, and which badge they’re applying for (see info on the different badges below), and crucially, why they deserve to have a badge.
Alternatively, they can write an interesting letter to Blue Peter (at least 50 words) and earn a badge that way instead. It’s a great way of teaching your kids how hard work can pay off. Kids' letters need to be sent to the following address:
Blue Peter, 1st Floor Bridge House, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2BH
Blue Peter says all children who write in will get a reply, and the majority of those will get a badge as well, but the application process can take as long as eight weeks. Apparently, current presenters Lindsey, Richie, Mwaksy and Adam open some of the letters themselves.
What's more, children might get to see their post on the 'Big Badge Wall' each week when they tune into the show on CBBC, or on catch-up via BBC iPlayer.
So how can you get in for free?
To access the discount, kids need to wear their Blue Peter badge and have a valid Blue Peter badge card – these are easy to get, but it's a separate application process. Once your child's received their badge, they need to complete this form (possibly with help from a grown-up) and they’ll get a Blue Peter badge card.
On it will be their date of birth, and as the scheme's only for six to 15-year-olds, they can only get in for free until their 16th birthday. This means they can get up to 10 years’ free access to the attractions. For free entry, kids need to be going in with a paying adult – though it doesn’t matter how much the adult paid or when/where they bought the ticket.
The full T&Cs don’t mention any need to book in advance, but do remember attractions reserve the right to refuse entry on the day (eg, if they’re already at capacity), and others might be closed or operating differently in the wake of the pandemic. Be sure to mention your Blue Peter badge at the time of booking, whether that's in advance or at the gate on the day.
Where can kids get in for free?
There are loads of places all over the UK, including some popular theme parks, zoos and museums – such as Jorvik Viking Centre, London Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo, the Eden Project, Highclere Castle, Kew Gardens and Stonehenge. Of course, some have their own discounts so do check first (see our Theme Parks guide).
Important: Not all attractions have reopened yet, following their closure during the pandemic. Before visiting, be sure to check the websites of individual attractions to find out if they're open and if there are any changes to the way they operate.
There's a full list of 200+ attractions on the BBC's website.
How does this compare to other attraction offers?
You can often find discounts or special offers when it comes to theme park and days out tickets, including 2for1 tickets with National Rail and convert Tesco Clubcard vouchers into tickets. However, you can't use this 'child goes free' badge alongside other offers such as these, so how does it compare?
Typically, if there's a 2for1 available, it'll trump the badge – it's more MoneySaving for the adults to use a 2for1 and then pay full price for kids. However, if you had an odd number of adults eg, three adults and three kids, you could split your group so the third adult goes in separately with the third child, who then uses their badge for free entry.
What are the different badges you can get?
There are eight badges in total but some are much easier to get than others. It doesn’t matter which badge you have for free entry, any will work.
1. Blue badge
The most iconic Blue Peter badge, which kids can get for sending an interesting letter, email, story, picture, poem, or for having appeared on the TV show – here's how to apply.
2. Music badge
Designed by Ed Sheeran, the Music badge is awarded to kids who demonstrate their passion for music by learning an instrument or taking part in a musical performance.
3. Silver badge
Kids who already have a Blue badge can get a Silver badge if they make an extra effort and do something different. For example, if they’ve already sent in a letter, send a poem or picture.
4. Green badge
The Green badge is for children who prove they're a Blue Peter Climate Hero by fulfilling three pledges (the categories are Power, Plastic and Plants) to help the environment for at least two weeks. Kids can apply just for themselves or as part of a group, and they'll need to upload photos or artwork to show how much they care about the planet.
5. Orange badge
Orange badges are reserved for winners and runners-up of Blue Peter competitions.
6. Fan Club badge
Your child can earn this badge by joining the Blue Peter fan club and answering a few questions about the show and website. They'll need to complete the Fan Club badge application form and send it off by post.
7. Gold badge
The Gold badge is the rarest of all the Blue Peter badges and the hardest one to get. Only a few are handed out each year and both adults (16+) and kids are eligible. Yet to earn it, you need to have done something seriously big, such as saving someone’s life or showing unique bravery and citizenship. Drawing a picture of your Nan won't cut it for the Gold badge I'm afraid.
8. Sport badge
Every year, a new limited edition Sports badge is released, available just for the summer, which means you could collect a new Sports badge each year. To earn one, kids must get active and try a physical activity they've never attempted before.
Has your child (or have you) got a Blue Peter badge? How did they get it? And how much money do you reckon it’s helped you save on days out? Let us know.
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