Including free kids places and free child activities to entertain everyone.
With half-term first approaching, you won’t be the only one feeling the pinch of the dreaded holiday season.
There’s no need to break the bank though, as there’s loads of free for kids activities that will keep everyone busy, and a few deals and tricks to help you enjoy your family day out more.
We’ve included everything including outdoor and indoor ideas that cover the whole of the city of Southampton.
If you are looking for things to do in Southampton then have a look at:
11 Fun Things to do in Eastleigh for the Whole Family – Not far from Southampton, Eastleigh is a great place for the whole family.
Things to do in Romsey with Kids – We love Romsey! It’s not far from Southampton and has some great walks and parks to visit on sunny days.
21 Portsmouth Attractions for the Whole Family – Not only has Portsmouth got the seaside but it’s also got loads to do for a family of mixed ages.
Free Things To Do Ideas
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Walks and Country Parks
Going out for walks or bike rides are the best days out with kids of all ages. Make sure you have a look at our full list of walks in Hampshire that are great for kids here.
Netley Abbey (Southampton)
This makes a great half day activity. Netley Abbey is an old relic of a church that is great for a run around. Parking is free and it’s just along from Weston Shore and Victoria Country Park.
You can find Netley Abbey at Abbey Hill, Netley, Southampton SO31 5FB.
Itchen Valley Country Park (Southampton)
A start drive from the center of town, Itchen Valley Country Park has everything you need for a great day out. Bring a picnic and park in one of the five car parks (parking charges apply.)
Walk-in one direction and enjoy the huge field that also hosts a playground and woods that are waiting to be explored.
The other way hosts a smaller park with a cafe and toilets.
You can find Itchen Valley Country Park at Allington Lane, Southampton SO30 3HQ.
New Forest National Park
A short drive from the center of Southampton, The New Forest is full of great places to let the kids run.
A lot of the landscape is flat and is great for long cycle rides and walks with the whole family. Many of the walks are signposted too.
Pick a spot and see how many ponies you can spot or donkey’s that roam free.
Our favorite places to stop are The Cricket Ground which is a huge area that can get busy in the summer but is great for kids to ride their bikes as the grass is kept low.
Boulderwood is another great place with parking and toilets. If you are really lucky then you may spot some deer wandering in the woods.
The best places in the New Forest though are those that you find off the beaten road. Take a drive and find your own little bit of treasure.
Manor Farm Country Park (Southampton)
Based on the other side of Southampton, Manor Farm isn’t just a country park but a working farm as well. This is a great rural family day out that shows the inner workings a Victorian farm.
There is a charge to visit the farm but you get to learn how the farm is run including how the Victorians lived by visiting the on-site school, cottage and forge.
The country park surrounding the farm is just as fun too. Park up and walk one of the many paths and see how much wildlife we really do have in Southampton.
You can find Manor Farm at Pyland’s Lane, Southampton SO31 1BH.
Walk around the out parts on Southampton. Follow steps you’ve never climbed and see Southampton from a different view. There’s printed guides if you prefer to take your own walk or regular meet ups to walk with others.
Southampton Treasure Trail
While the guide is expensive, I’d suggest having a quick Google and making your own. Grab a A4 sheet and start writing a few things you know you’ll see and a few bits you might see. Get the kids to tick them off and photograph them as they go. It makes a great half-day of fun.
Junior Park Run
The Junior Park Run is free and a fun way to get the whole family moving. Based at Riverside Park, it’s held every Sunday at 9am.
In Southampton, we’re lucky enough to have a load of large open spaces with FREE parking. Many of these have green fields to play games on or to have a picnic too.
Mayflower Park (Southampton)
Based in the middle of Southampton right on the seafront. This park has plenty of green space, parking and has a park at the top end.
It’s not huge but is great for a sunny day and a cycle or scoot around. It’s completely flat and a great place to do circuits.
You can find Mayflower Park at Town Quay, Southampton SO14 2AQ.
Mayfield Park (Weston)
This park is right opposite the Mayfield Leisure Center. It does have a small car park on-site which does get busy in the summer.
It’s got a great big field and a huge play park which is great for all ages. You can also tale a walk through the trees which leads you to a little river which is great for spotting wildlife.
You can find Mayfield Park at Weston Lane, Weston, Southampton SO19 9HL.
St James’ Park (Southampton)
Just before you hit center Shirley, St James’ Park is great for all occasions. It was a nice park and a green flat field for playing. There is plenty of parking on the road and some shade in the afternoons.
You can find St James’ Park at St James Road, Southampton SO15 5SD.
Southampton Common (Southampton)
Southampton Common covers a huge area of Southampton is great for scooters and buggies. There’s plenty of parking around the outside and you never have to take the same path twice.
There’s a kids playground, loads of fields and a cafe and toilets. We love riding our bikes or scootering around the park as it’s mainly all paved.
You can find Southampton Common at The Avenue, Southampton SO15 7NN.
Dowd Park (Southampton)
This park is in Hedge End and is great for all ages. The playground has two sections, one for smaller kids and one for older kids.
Parking is completely free right by the playground. They have lots of green space for picnics and playing games plus a small lake which is perfect for spotting fish and some ducks.
You can find Dowd Park at Wellstead Way, Southampton SO30 2LE.
Bartley Park Skatepark (Totton)
Bartley Park Skatepark is based around a figure eight. It’s a huge metal concrete park that also has smaller mini ramps for beginners. It has flat banks and quarter pipes for those who love to skate alongside things.
All the surfaces are smooth and there is a lot of space between them which helps if you are practicing.
Bartley Park skatepark does not have the most original set of obstacles or arrangement but the surfaces are smooth and there is a lot of space between the obstacles giving you a lot of space to adjust between tricks. It is not the most challenging of skateparks but it is a good place to go and practise the basics.
You can find Bartley Park Skatepark at Ashurst Bridge Road, Totton, Southampton SO40 7EA.
Bursledon Skatepark (Southampton)
Bursledon Skatepark is a concrete park that that quarter pipes and a fun box that is great for all skaters. It has a basket ball court and a playground with plenty of green space.
Burlesdon skatepark is on Foundry Crescent, postcode SO31 8FY.
It may surprise you, but Southampton has loads of beaches. Whatever the weather, enjoy a free day out on one of these amazing beaches. Read our full guide here to the best beaches in Hampshire.
Lepe Beach (Hythe)
A stony beach with patches of sand, Lepe has lots to offer!
It was a tarmac path along the seafront and plenty of rock pools when the tide goes out.
There’s a huge car park right by the beach and a playground a short walk up the hill.
You do have to pay to park but it’s so worth it!
You can find Lepe Beach at Southampton SO45 1AD.
Weston Shore (Weston)
Plenty of parking either end, this is a shingle beach with a playground on the beach and a tarmac path that is perfect for scooters and bikes.
Toilets and the cafe are open seasonally.
You can park along the road or in one of the two free car parks.
Take the kids scooters or bikes as the ground is flat. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon walk.
You can find Weston Shore at Southampton SO19 9EF.
Victoria Country Park (Netley)
Open all year around, this is a great place to let the kids run wild. There is plenty of parking (charges to apply) throughout the country park with three giant fields, a cafe and toilets.
You can easily walk down to the seafront and enjoy the stone beach. This is a great place to watch all the cruise ships come in and out as well.
You can find Royal Victoria Country Park at Netley Abbey, Southampton SO31 5GA.
What to do while you are outside
If you are struggling to find something to do that doesn’t cost money then visit one of the above places and:
Go for a bike ride
All the places above are great for bikes or scooters.
Be a nature detective
The Woodland Trust have a free stuff for kids guide that has a choice of 100 activities. All involve nature but can be done inside or out. Some of the free kids activities include making bird feeders, spotting insects and building nests.
Download the app and get playing with the kids. It’s made to get everyone walking and is a great way to get the kids interested in local attractions.
It does use data though when you’re out and about so watch your bill and check how much you pay if you go over your data limit.
Grab your wellies and get everyone to race to the nearest puddle and jump. Kick water, make footprints and generally let everyone go crazy.
Make your own hidden den
Great for any of the country parks or in the New Forest.
Mini golf circuit
Find whatever you can, like logs and sticks and make your course. You can do this anywhere!
Inside free things to do
If it’s raining outside and you need something to do that’s free then have a look at our ideas below.
Pets at Home runs free workshops for kids between the ages of 5 to 11 that are anything from 30 minutes to an hour long. You don’t have to bring anything and they get a very cool certificate and/or stickers helping out. You need to book online for your chosen store, date and time though.
Forgetting their very cool soft play creche, Ikea Southampton also offer craft weekends in the kids section, have tablets in the restaurant to keep them amused and have local clowns and entertainers visit in the holidays. Check the website for more details.
Free Museums and Castles
Southampton City Art Gallery (Southampton)
Exhibitions change regularly so there’s always something to do and see. Opening times are Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays.
You can find Southampton City Art Gallery at Civic Centre, Commercial Rd, Southampton SO14 7LY.
Netley Abbey (Southampton)
Netley Abbey may be ruins, but it’s a great half-day out with the kids. Just along from Weston Shore, Netley Abbey walls still have all their 13th-century charm to share. Take the kids for a runaround and fully explore the grounds as you’ve never done before.
Parking is free of charge but is limited.
You can find Netley Abbey at 1 Abbey Hill, Netley, Southampton, Hampshire, SO31 5FB.
Calshot Castle (Southampton)
Built by Henry VIII, Calshot Castle once protected Southampton’s water from passing ships. Make sure you visit the basement, 1st-floor barracks room, and 2nd-floor gun room to get the full history of the castle. You can bring pushchairs but any of the staircases are really narrow so it’s not recommended.
You can find Calshot Castle at Calshot Road, Calshot, Southampton, SO45 1BR.
- The Ultimate Guide to Things to do in Southampton With Kids
- 9 Fun Walks in Hampshire That Are Child Friendly
- 33 Half Term Activities in Hampshire That Are Free
Most Southampton libraries run free stuff for kids including craft, singing and reading challenges. The best local libraries are:
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.
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