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Things to do with the kids

Things to do with the kids deals

( 8 Current Deals )
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Merlin logo2for1 Alton Tws, Legoland etc with £1ish chocsGet one 'free' ticket with vch on selected Cadbury packs

20+ attractions

MSE Update Tue 2 Jan: As these promotional packs have been out for a long time, so you may not find them in shops. Yet as the vouchers can still be used (if you've already got 'em), we'll leave the info here a bit longer for your reference.

Look for promotional packs of Cadbury chocolates, including Chocolate Orange Minis, Dairy Milk Giant Buttons and Crunchie Rocks, to get a voucher for 2for1 entry at more than 20 Merlin attractions.

The voucher's valid until 31 Jul 2018 at attractions including Legoland, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Alton Towers, Sea Life centres and sanctuaries, the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. Some dates are excluded at selected attractions, including some in August - see 'more info' below.

Just present the voucher at your chosen attraction when buying one full-price on-the-gate adult ticket (usually up to £60) and another person will gain free entry.

Promotional packs were readily available in stores until Sep 2017, but they're subject to availability and will now be harder to find. 

How much can I save?

As on-the-gate tickets cost up to £60 at Legoland, this deal could save you £59 if you buy one of the cheapest promotional packs of chocolate and want two tickets. Even compared with buying tickets online in advance, where they’re generally cheaper (they’re up to £45 each at Legoland), you'd save a significant amount with this deal.

There’s also the added benefit of not having to commit to your plans seven or more days ahead – allowing you to wait and see what the weather’s like, and simply rock up at the gate with your voucher.

Before using the voucher, you should compare this offer against others to see if there's a better one for you (see all theme park deals).

More info

The participating attractions are Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park, Legoland Windsor, Warwick Castle, Shrek’s Adventure! London, Madame Tussauds London or Blackpool, The London, York, Edinburgh or Blackpool Tower Dungeons, The Blackpool Tower Eye or The Blackpool Tower Circus, Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, Sea Life Bray, Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park and Jurassic Skyline, Sea Life centres and sanctuaries in the UK (Birmingham, Great Yarmouth, Loch Lomond, Blackpool, Gweek, London, Oban, Brighton, Manchester, Scarborough and Hunstanton).

The age classification for an adult ticket varies between attractions so make sure you check before you go. Also check the venue's individual opening dates as some are closed at certain times of the year. For example, Chessington, Legoland Windsor, Alton Towers and Thorpe Park are closed in November. There are also some extra excluded dates listed below:

  • 21-31 Aug at all attractions
  • 31 Dec at Shrek’s Adventure! London
  • 27-29 Oct at The London Dungeon
  • 8 Oct-5 Nov at The Blackpool Tower Eye and The Blackpool Tower Circus (The Blackpool Tower Eye is open subject to weather conditions)
  • 20-31 Oct at Thorpe Park
  • 28-31 Oct at The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
  • 27-29 Oct at The York and Edinburgh Dungeons
  • 19 Aug-3 Sep and 1-31 Dec at Legoland Windsor
  • 25 Dec at all attractions

2018 exclusion dates will be available at the end of the 2017 season. Promotional vouchers don’t guarantee entry into attractions in the event of venue capacity being reached. Voucher can't be used with any other offer or concession, reward or loyalty schemes, pre-purchased/advance tickets, online or call centre bookings, combination tickets, two day passes, annual passes, Q-bot, Fastrack, rail inclusive offers, secondary ticketed events, hotel events, concerts or group bookings. Only one voucher can be used per person and per transaction. See full T&Cs.

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The National Gallery logoFREE art workshops and drawing sessionsAt The National Gallery. Every Sunday between 11am & 4pm

Sun only

If you've a budding artist in your family, you can visit The National Gallery in London any Sunday between 11am and 4pm where kids aged 5-11 can take part in free hands-on workshops and drawing sessions.

Entry to the museum is free and there's no need to book, but turn up early as places are allocated an hour before the workshops start. There are usually two workshops each day, most last for two hours and are ongoing throughout the year.

When are the next workshops?

  • 18 Feb, 11am-12.30pm or 2-3.30pm – A bird in the hand
  • 4 Mar, 11am-12.30pm or 2-3.30pm – Over the hills and far away
  • 11 Mar, 11am-1pm or 2-4pm – Stilled motion

Parents or guardians will need to stay with their children during the workshops.

Bristol Zoo logoBristol Zoo 15% off onlineBook in advance to get the biggest discount


Book tickets online at Bristol Zoo to get 15% off gate ticket prices.

Online prices are £13.13 for an adult ticket (£15.30 at the gate) and £8.50 for a child ticket (£9.90 at the gate), without the 10% optional donation. To book without the donation, you'll need to untick the box when you add tickets to your basket.

Dobbies logoDobbies free gardening workshops for kidsFirst Sunday of every month at 34 UK branches

Every month

If you call up your local Dobbies Garden Centre (find your nearest store), you can book your child a place on its free workshops for 4-10-year-olds, Little Seedlings, which run on the first Sunday of every month at 34 stores across the UK (excluding only its Bar Hill store).

Workshop times vary per store, so you'll need to ask the store for the relevant times when you call.

Little Seedlings workshops get children planting and learning about nature and wildlife. Each workshop is on a different topic and lasts around 45-60 minutes. Past activities have included planting seeds to take home, colouring in activity sheets and making sweet pea tepees.  

It's told us parents will need to stay with their children during the workshops.

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Important - This deal has expired

This deal has expired - you can't get it any more. We've kept it here for reference. Get our free weekly email to ensure you don't miss out in future.

Hobbycraft logoHobbycraft free workshops for kids*Over half term at UK stores


Arts and craft retailer Hobbycraft is running free workshops for kids in most of its 81 UK stores (find your nearest store*).

Workshops, dates and times vary from store to store, but could include craft activities, eg, craft with paper, cupcake decorating and face painting. Children do not need to bring anything as all materials will be provided.

Hobbycraft told us that children of all ages are welcome, but they will need to be accompanied by a parent.

You don’t need to book - just turn up. There’s always the small risk it’s full when you get there, but you can’t check ahead or book, so just arrive in good time. 

Chester Zoo logoChester Zoo 15% off when you cyclePrint voucher, get 15% off tickets if you ride a bike to the zoo


If you print a voucher and cycle to Chester Zoo, you'll get 15% off entry prices when you show the voucher at the ticket office.

At peak times, an adult ticket is £28 at the gate, but with this discount you can get one for £23.80. A child ticket is £20.40 (£24 at the gate).

This is a good deal if you're visiting the zoo spontaneously, but if you plan ahead and book your ticket online at least one day in advance, you can save a bit more and get a peak adult ticket for £21.81, or a peak child ticket for £18.18.

Colchester Zoo logoColchester Zoo up to 15% off onlineAdvance booking gets 10% or 15% discount

Book ahead

If you buy tickets online at Colchester Zoo at least a day in advance, you can get up to 15% off – see Colchester Zoo for included dates.

When we checked on Wed 22 Feb, the online ticket prices were:

  • Term time main peak season -  adult: £19.54, (£22.99 at the gate), child: £13.59 (£15.99 at the gate). 
  • Half-term main peak season - adult: £20.69 (£22.99 at the gate), child: £14.39 (£15.99 at the gate).
  • Term time non-peak season - adult: £15.29 (£17.99 at the gate), child: £11.89 (£13.99 at the gate).
  • Half-term non-peak season - adult: £16.19 (£17.99 at the gate), child: £12.59 (£13.99 at the gate).
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Tesco Clubcard logoUp to 75% off theme parks with Clubcard*Use at 20 theme parks, or over 200 days out venues

Convert Tesco Clubcard points into Tesco Boost tokens* and on some theme parks you get four times the vouchers' face value to use on tickets, eg, £5 in points converts into £20 worth of Boost rewards.

Here are some of the places you can visit:

The London Dungeon*
Alton Towers*
Blackpool Pleasure Beach*
Drayton Manor*
Lightwater Valley*
Legoland Discovery Centre*
Madame Tussaud's London*
Thorpe Park*
Warwick Castle*

For how to fully maximise Clubcard points, see the Loyalty Schemes guide.

Expired Deals

Merlin logoAlton Towers: How to earn a 'free' return ticketRide all 'Big Six' coasters in one day to claim Sept re-entry


If you're going to Alton Towers, until the end of August, there's a way you can earn yourself a free return ticket to visit the park again in September simply by riding all six of the park's biggest rollercoasters - Galactica, Rita, Nemesis, Oblivion, Thirteen and The Smiler - in one day.

To prove you succeeded at this 'Big Six Challenge', and claim your free ticket for re-entry (weekdays only in September), you'll need to scan a special barcode at the exit of each ride using the Alton Towers app on your smartphone.

You'll then get a notification via the same app, asking you to pre-book a return date and claim a free ticket for one person only (so families will all need to complete the challenge to gain free re-entry).

If you find that any of the coasters are out of order (like Galactica was when we visited) or you don't have time to ride them because the queues are too long, you should be able to scan the QR code near the ride and still collect all six, though do check with staff when you’re there. See how MSE Jordon got on when he tried the challenge.

Merlin logo2for1 Thorpe Park, Dungeons with £1ish spendCode found on promotional packs of Branston baked beans


MSE Update Wed 9 Nov: While promotional packs may no longer be available and you can no longer use the voucher at Thorpe Park, you can use it until the end of the year at The Dungeons, so we'll be leaving this deal online for reference until then.

Look for promotional packs of Branston baked beans, which include single cans for 65p and four packs for £2, to get a code for a free adult or child ticket when you buy one full-price adult ticket to Thorpe Park or The Dungeons (Blackpool, Edinburgh, London, York).

You need to purchase your ticket online (at the more expensive on-the-gate price) using the code, which can be found on the inside of your Branston beans product label or shrink wrap, or by presenting the promotional product wrapper at the gate when you visit your chosen attraction.

The promotional packs are available nationally at all major supermarket chains until September. The code's valid until Wed 2 Nov at Thorpe Park and Sat 31 Dec at The Dungeons, although some dates are excluded - see 'more info' below.

How much you’ll save

A full-price adult Thorpe Park ticket’s £51.50 on the gate, but only £27.99 if booked online five or more days in advance. While this 2for1’s only valid on the pricier tickets (even if buying online), it’ll still save you £3.50ish factoring in the cost of beans compared with buying two cheaper tickets without a 2for1.

There’s also the added benefit of not having to commit to your plans five or more days ahead – allowing you to wait and see what the weather’s like, and simply rock up at the gate with your voucher.

An adult ticket to the London Dungeon costs £28.95 on the gate, or £19.95 bought online. Including the cost of beans, as you have to pay the on-the-gate price with this deal, you'll be saving £10ish compared to buying two advance tickets online.

MSE Tom says:

Before using the voucher, you should compare this offer against others to see if there's a better one for you. For example, a current Kellogg's promotion also offering 2for1 tickets to Merlin attractions only requires you to purchase a child ticket to claim a free child or adult ticket (see all theme park deals).

More info

Not valid 21-31 Oct at Thorpe Park, or 28-31 Oct and 25 Dec at The Dungeons. York Dungeon is currently closed due to flooding in late 2015 and there isn't a timescale for when it will reopen.

One free entry per code. Excludes any secondary ticketed events/hotel events/concerts/Xmas events.

Not valid in conjunction with any other offer, discount, or attraction website/call centre booking.

Roald Dahl logoFREE Roald Dahl activity packIncl colouring, word search, quiz & crossword


You can get a free Roald Dahl Day party pack containing activities for kids if you go online to the Roald Dahl website and register your details. You'll then be able to download the pack and print it.

The party pack has been released to help people celebrate what would have been Roald Dahl's 100th birthday on Tue 13 Sep. As well as party ideas, it contains activities including colouring, a word search, quiz and crossword.

The Roald Dahl team told us the pack will be available indefinitely (there was a technical hiccup on its site on Mon 13 Sept which has now been fixed), and there's no limit on how many people can download it.

Kids Week logoKids go 'free' to West End shows in August*Free child with paying adult. 30+ shows incl Wicked


If you’re planning a trip to the theatre this August, you can get a free child’s ticket (ages 16 and under) to one of 30+ participating London shows at major theatres, including Wicked and Les Misérables, throughout the month when you buy a full-priced adult ticket via the Kids Week website*.

There were 150,000 seats (including full-price adult tickets, free child and 50% off child) released specifically through Kids Week when the deal went live at 10am on Tue 14 Jun, and you can book until the offer ends on Wed 31 Aug. As of 11am on Tue 26 Jul, there were about 44,000 tickets remaining and some shows had already sold out - so go quick if you have a specific performance in mind.

There are no booking or postage fees, and you can save £14.50-£72.50 depending on the show and seats you choose. You can also get 50% off for up to two more children per adult.

Shows this year include:

  • Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre)
  • The Gruffalo (Lyric Theatre)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
  • Stomp (Ambassadors Theatre)
  • The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre) - SOLD OUT
  • Les Misérables (Queen's Theatre) - SOLD OUT

See 'more info' below for full list of shows participating in Kids Week 2016 (more shows are likely to be added). You can order up to eight tickets per show.

Which performances can you get the deal on?

You can’t get the deal on every performance of every show, and some may exclude their most popular performances, eg, matinees and weekend performances. To find out which performances are included in this offer, go to the Kids Week What’s On* page, find a show, and click ‘more info’.

We’ve contacted Kids Week and it seems that the tickets are spread randomly over dates and performances, with no real pattern. So, if you’ve a certain show and performance in mind, check if it’s included via the link above.

For more ways of booking theatre tickets for less, see our Cheap Tickets guide. 

More info

All shows included in Kids Week 2016 (with Kids Week's age ratings):

Shows suitable for under-5s

Dinosaur Zoo, The Gruffalo and The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Shows suitable for ages 5+

Charlie and The Chocolate FactoryDisney's The Lion King - SOLD OUT, Horrible Histories: The Best of Barmy BritainJames and the Giant Peach - SOLD OUT, Mamma Mia!Matilda the Musical - SOLD OUT, The Railway Children, Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries, Stig Of The Dump, The Secret Garden - SOLD OUT, Stomp and That's Entertainment.

Shows suitable for ages 7+

Beautiful - the Carole King Musical, The BodyguardBugsy Malone - SOLD OUT, Guys and Dolls - SOLD OUT, ImpossibleLes Misérables - SOLD OUTThe MousetrapThe Phantom of the OperaThe Play that Goes WrongShow BoatThriller Live, Vamos Cuba! and Wicked.

Shows requiring parental Guidance

1984American Idiot, The Comedy about a Bank RobberyThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Go-between, Hobson's Choice, How The Other Half Loves, In the HeightsJersey BoysKinky BootsLittle Shop of Horrors, Romeo and Juliet - SOLD OUT, and The Woman in Black.

You can also book a free activity with tickets bought as part of a Show & Activity Package, including a dance session with Scooby-Doo and a design workshop with the shoe designer for Kinky Boots. Children aged eight or under will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Winterville logoFREE Winterville ice skating ticketsFor hour-long session at East London event. 16-23 Dec


If you're living in London or visiting, you can get free ice skating tickets for East London's festive event Winterville, via the specific link below. There are 1,500 tickets available for hour-long sessions (30 for each one) between Wed 16 Dec and Wed 23 Dec (excludes weekend).

How do I get the free tickets?

Go via this Winterville ice skating link and choose the date, time and number of tickets (maximum four per transaction) you want by Wed 23 Dec - though it could be sooner if all tickets go. There's no code required and the tickets are totally free. 

It may involve a bit of trial and error to nab free tickets as there are limited numbers per session - you’ll have more chance if you are flexible with the date and time you skate. You'll receive your tickets instantly via email and you'll need to print and show them at the rink.

Note: When we tested the link above, on a few occasions it wouldn't load. If it doesn't work for you, try opening it in a different browser - that sorted it for us.

Slots available:

  • 3pm to 8pm on Wed 16 Nov
  • 3pm to 9pm on Thu 17 Nov (8pm and 9pm slots are over-18s only)
  • 3pm to 9pm on Fri 18 Nov
  • 11am to 8pm on Mon 21 Nov
  • 11am to 8pm on Tue 22 Nov
  • 11am to 8pm on Wed 23 Nov

The tickets are for both adults and children. Under-12s need to be accompanied by an adult. Minimum age allowed is five, but entry is at the discretion of the ice rink manger. Tickets usually cost up to £12.50, varying with different dates and times.

Winterville suggests that you arrive 15 minutes before your allocated time. Skate hire is included.

use the money mantras

Before spending, use Martin's Mantras. If you answer 'NO' to any, Don't buy!

Skint? ask:
  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
not skint? ask:
  • Will I use it?
  • Is it worth it?
Section 75

Free protection for all shopping!

There's a little-known piece of legislation that turns any credit card into a financial self-defence superhero. 'Section 75' of the Consumer Credit Act means your plastic must protect anything you buy for more than £100 for free, so if there's a problem or the company goes bust, you can still get your money back.

And although Section 75 doesn't apply to debit cards, there is something else to fall back on if you've paid using a debit card, or used a credit card for a purchase under £100. Known as Chargeback, this is part of banks' and card companies' internal rules and not a legal requirement. Read full details of Section 75 or Chargeback, plus how to claim, in our guides.

If a link has a * by it, that means it is an affiliated link and therefore it helps MoneySavingExpert stay free to use, as it is tracked to us. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site.

You shouldn't notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

For the sake of transparency, so you can check there's no difference, here are duplicate versions of the * links that don't help Hobbycraft Tesco Clubcard

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