Me and my little family love to go out. We love to explore everything the world has to offer. If its nearby thats even better because we can make it home in time for tea! If its free, its a definite bonus because trips out for a family of 3, sometimes 4, can be costly when you’re doing them lots! So I thought I’d put together a little post about free things to do in the North West, mainly Lancashire!
Visit the Park
There are so many amazing parks in Lancashire, especially if you live in south Lancashire like we do. Our favourite for walking include Worden, Yarrow Valley, Cuerden Valley and Avenham & Miller Parks in Preston.
When it comes to play areas you want to try out Bamber Bridge’s Withy Grove Park for sure. This has an impressive 3 zones of fun, with specially adapted equipment for kids who have disabilities. Worden Park has a really extensive play area that Spike loves too! As it’s within walking distance of our house, we’ve spent a lot of time there! Astley Park deserves a special mention too for its beautiful setting, water feature and the Pets Corner area. Pets Corner is free but donations to keep it up and running are appreciated. Haigh Hall in Wigan has an amazing play area and is great for walking round too, but charges apply for parking there. We’ve heard amazing things about Happy Mount Park in Morecambe, which has a splash park. The park is free and the splash park used to be free but has recently changed to be a pound per session, per person. I guess its not too much though! Park View play area in Lytham also looks amazing with a designated water play area.
Museums and Historic Homes
Though these do ask for donations, you can visit some awesome museums in Lancashire for free. The Harris Museum in Preston is linked to the city library which we visit often. Its such a brilliant museum and in a stunning building. There’s also Samlesbury Hall, which is a beautiful tudor building just outside Preston which is on my to-do list in the Summer. Its got a play area and cafes and things like that. What’s more its got lots of areas for Spike to just run riot! Bolton Museum is a little on the small side but has an aquarium and offers a little bit of fun for kids to enjoy too.
The history of our area is very much steeped in the industrial age and you can see signs of that everywhere. One of our favourite free things to do on nice days is go and explore the canal sides. You can spot the ducks on routes along Lancashire’s very fine canals, including the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the Lancaster Canal and Ribble Link Canal. There are some beautiful spots to enjoy down these routes. Including at Blackburn – which holds a canal festival every year – Bursough, Galgate, and Chorley. Because these routes are fairly flat with paths running along side them, they are often great for prams and offer fun puddle splashing spots when the weather isn’t so good!
Take to the hills
If you are the active type you have plenty of options for free days out in the North West and Lancashire. The Lake District has a number of peaks for you to enjoy but if you aren’t up for those there are some fantastic walks in the Pendle Hills, through the Forest of Bowland and let’s not forget the amazing Rivington Pike near Bolton!
Go for a paddle
You have to take advantage of the fact you are close to the seaside when you live in the North West. Even if it is freezing! And who needs convincing to take a trip to the beach? Its fun and its free and you won’t be frowned upon for taking your own food! We love Lytham St Anne’s and Morecambe Bay loves like fun too (though it was raining when we went so we kept away from the sand!) They both have a number of attractions down the sea front including play parks and bouncy castle type places. Some of these do cost money, but are lots of fun! The beach at St Anne’s has a free paddling pool for the kids too, perfect on a hot day!
Take advantage of some amazing free activity days!
There are always fun days out going on in this part of the country. Chorley held a Picnic in the Park last week, and we went to Morecambe’s Catch the Wind Kite Festival too. Leyland Festival was so much fun and the parade through the town was free. It cost £5 for us to get into the actual event. Lancaster do lots in their Market Square and Preston City Centre often has amazing events on in Avenham Park and the City Square. So keep your eyes pealed for this kind of thing throughout the year!
Feed some animals
Farms tend to charge admission in most case but there are two in Lancashire that I know of that don’t and they are well worth a visit! Old Holly Farm in Garstang is little but perfectly formed and is the first place that Spike got to meet a bunny rabbit up close! There are charges for the soft play area but the farm itself is free. Smithy Farm is also free and you can see Llamas, goats, alpacas, miniature shetland ponies and more! Ceder Farm also has a few animals close to its shops and cafes which i’m sure will keep the kids happy!
You can take a look at other great attractions over at Chilling With Lucas’ blog too!