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Low-cost summer fun listings launched in time for school holidays

Families with young children take over Town Hall Square for the annual Playday

FAMILIES looking for a low-cost day out this summer should check out what’s on in Leicester’s children’s centres, parks, libraries and museums.

As schools prepare to close for the long break, the city council is getting ready to open its venues for a summer of affordable fun, offering youngsters the chance to explore a heritage building, ride on a steam train, hook ducks from the Town Hall Square fountain, or simply enjoy the sound of a brass band in one of Leicester’s parks.

Ideas for dozens of free and low-cost things to do in Leicester during the school holidays ­– organised by the council and other partner organisations – are listed at

Highlights of the six-week-long programme include Roman-themed free family activities in venues across the Cultural Quarter on Saturday 13 July, a family-friendly guided bike tour through the Glenfield Tunnel (Monday 15 July), weekly Railway Days at Abbey Pumping Station (Tuesday 16 July, and every Tuesday until 20 August), and a fun day inspired by Leicester’s larger-than-life legend Daniel Lambert at Newarke Houses Museum on Wednesday 17 July (£4 charge for crafts).

There’s also a Magical Gardens craft day at Belgrave Hall (Wednesday 24 July, £4 charge when booked online), a Cops ‘n’ Robbers fun day at the Guildhall – Leicester’s first police station – on Thursday 25 July (£4 charge when booked online), a Heritage Sunday on 28 July, when buildings including the ancient Magazine and the Great Hall of Leicester Castle will be open to the public, a Summer Garden Party for all the family on Wednesday 31 July at Belgrave Hall (£4 charge for children when booked online; no charge for accompanying adults), and a Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Newarke Houses Museum on Monday 5 August (£4 charge).

Young children can enjoy an afternoon of storybook-inspired crafts and activities at Belgrave Hall’s Story Book Forest on Wednesday 7 August (£4 when booked online), there’s magical fun at the Guildhall’s Wizard School on Thursday 8 August (£4 when booked online), youngsters can ‘meet the beekeeper’ at Wings & Wildflowers at Newarke Houses Museum on Saturday 17 August, while all the family can enjoy a fun day at Abbey Pumping Station on Sunday 18 August, with vintage vehicles, craft stalls, rides on the steam locomotive, refreshments from the café, and drinks from a gin and cocktail bar (admission £6 when booked online).

From Monday (15 July) until Friday 23 August, young children and families can enjoy free activities at Leicester’s children, young people and family centres.

The Get Up & Go programme will include lots of indoor and outdoor fun, such as skipping, circus skills and giant games, as well as a chance to have a go on the smoothie and spin art bikes.

Times vary at each venue so people are advised to check the timetable at or to call their local children’s centre

Town Hall Square will host mini Playdays on Wednesdays throughout the summer, with giant outdoor games, story-time, arts & crafts and a dedicated area for babies. Mini Playdays will take place from 11am-2pm on Wednesday 17 July, 24 July, 31 July and 14 August, with the big one – National Playday – transforming Town Hall Square into a giant playground on Wednesday 7 August (11am-3pm).

A free Summer Extravaganza on Victoria Park on Wednesday 21 August will bring the Get Up & Go programme to a close.

Leicester’s libraries will be promoting a summer of reading, with a brand new Summer Reading Challenge.

‘Marvellous Makers’ – which runs until Sunday 15 September – challenges youngsters to visit their local library three times and read at least six books over the summer. In return, they’ll pick up stickers, collectibles and a certificate when they complete the challenge.

A free family fun session, with games, puzzles, crafts and stories, will also take place at each of Leicester’s libraries between 22 July and 15 August. Families can find out when their local library will be hosting its Fun Afternoon here

Some libraries will also be hosting additional workshops and activities, which are free to attend but must be booked in advance. Activities include Simple Science, Lego Coding and National Space Centre workshops.

More information is available at

Another idea for a low-cost day out is to pack up a picnic, a ball and some outdoor games and head for one of Leicester’s beautiful parks. At 3pm on Sundays throughout the summer, the council’s Bands in the Parks programme brings live music to one park each week – and the timetable of free performances is available here 

Other free events taking place in July include For the Love of Jazz in Jubilee Square (Saturday 20 July, 12noon – 8pm), Bike Fest at the Leicester Cycle Circuit at New College on Saturday 27 July and Leicester Open Streets on Sunday 28 July.

More ideas for free and low-cost summer fun are listed at, with suggestions for other activities available at