Need entertainment on a budget? These are the best free tourist UK attractions

The summer holidays might be over, but if you’ve got kids, the need to entertain them doesn’t stop in September.

Equally, if you’ve overspent a little this summer (who hasn’t?) but don’t want to completely kill off your urge to explore, a free tourist attraction will go a long way.

You heard correctly: the UK might be expensive and we might be in the midst of a cost of living crisis, but there are ways of seeking entertainment that’ll help you conserve those precious pennies.

Starting off with an all-time classic, we’ve got the Natural History Museum in London.

Since opening its doors in 1881, its housed an infinitely growing collection of natural history specimens – that were originally displayed in the British Museum.

The museum doesn’t just offer ticketed exhibitions – there are plenty of free things to see and do, including the dinosaur exhibition, the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery and an array of skeletal friends, including the famous whale, stegosaurus and the blue whale, AKA the largest mammal on earth.

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Based at the Tregellast Barton Farm on the Lizard Peninsula, Roskilly’s is a working Cornish Dairy farm.

Naturally, admission is completely free – and four-legged furry friends are welcome.

The family-run business milks an impressive 125 Jersey cows, used to make Roskilly’s ice cream and fudges without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers. Get stuck in!

The National Football Museum, Manchester

The Women’s World Cup might be over (*cry*), but that doesn’t mean the football fever needs to end.

The Women’s Super League is just around the corner and the Men’s Premier League is in full swing: if you’d like to add to the excitement, a visit to the National Football Museum in Manchester is imperative for any sports fan.

The world’s biggest football museum, it’s open from Wednesday to Sunday.

Admission is free for residents of the City of Manchester, under 5s and National Art Pass and Museum Association Members, so get your bookings in now.

Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool

The most-visited free tourist destination in North West England, Liverpool’s beloved Royal Albert Dock offers museums, galleries, restaurants and more, including Tate Liverpool, The Beatles Story, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum.

Opened in 1846, it was the first structure in the UK to be built solely from cast iron, brick and stone, with no wood in sight.

In 2013, it was regenerated, and now more than six million visitors travel to stroll along its paths each year.

Parliament Buildings, Belfast

Eager to see where the Northern Ireland Assembly sits? A visit to the Parliament Buildings on Belfast’s Stormont Estate will cost you nothing, nada, zilch.

The buildings are open to the public from 9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday (except on public holidays).

Public tours are also available, but you’ll need to book your space.

Shambles, York

One of the most famous landmarks in York, Shambles is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval shopping streets.

Think cobbled streets, wooden beams and tiny doorways, as some of these buildings date back as far as the 13th century.

Shambles is believed to have inspired the famous Diagon Alley from the film adaptation of the Harry Potter franchise and, as such, it’s home to an array of Hogwarts-inspired shops.

The streets were originally comprised solely of butchers, with each shop specialising in a different form of meat. Fear not, vegetarians: these days it’s filled with a vibrant mix of independent retailers, ranging from sweet shops to woollen mills.

Devil’s Dyke, Sussex

Wanting to soak up some crisp, autumn fresh air? Pumpkin spiced lattes at the ready, for a trip to Devil’s Dyke in Sussex is completely free.

A V-shaped valley with a depth of 100 metres, it’s managed by the National Trust. Housing some incredible panoramic views, this remarkable piece of landscape offers the opportunity for walking, cycling, and even hang-gliding.

But be warned: bring a hair bobble, because it’s incredibly windy at the top.

The Helix Park, Falkirk

Spanning over 350 hectares of greenery between Falkirk and Grangemouth in Scotland, The Helix is home to the Kelpies – also known as the largest equine sculptures in the world.

An impressive engineering achievement, the Kelpies are 100ft tall and weigh over 300 tonnes each, a tribute to the horses that historically propped up the Scottish economy by pulling wagons and coal ships.

Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

And finally, housed inside Oxford’s Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum is inundated with fascinating things.

With over 500,000 items, including an Ethiopian Priest’s crown, Siberian reindeer knickers and a Roman shoe, it’s entirely possible to spend hours in here. Or, get lost entirely.

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