Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Suzy
At some point this summer us parents and grandparents are bound to start running short on money. It can get so expensive taking your little ones here there and everywhere. So to make sure we all have fun yet don’t spend lots of money every day here’s my list of 25 free things to do in Lincolnshire over the summer (and beyond).
1. Go to the beach
This is my most favourite thing to do in the summer and you can go there for free. At Anderby Creek, Gibraltar Point and Saltfleetby Theddlethorpe Dunes you can park for free. Skegness Beach, Sutton on Sea Beach and Mablethorpe Beach there is free parking away from the beach. You have to walk a bit further but it can be done for free. Some are limited to 2 hours but free parking can be found by entering where you want to visit.
We had a good family day out here and we visited in the wintertime. I would imagine it’s even more fun in the summer as the kids can spend more time playing outside. There are lots to see and explore here inside and out. The museum is located in the north of Lincoln, up past the castle. Quote
“The museum has built up a collection of over 250,000 objects and visitors can enjoy our wonderful social history collection, with a working Victorian kitchen and printing press during special event days.” You can find out more here.
3. Visit the Collection Museum & Usher Gallery
This is a museum located in the centre of Lincoln. It has a café, an imaginative play area for smaller kids and a museum full of archaeological artefacts. There is plenty for young and old to look at. Plus you can take a discovery backpack into the galleries, or try one of the quizzes or trails. Find Out More
The park has paths suitable for bikes and walkers, a playground for the kids, a beautiful lake with a bridge that you can play pooh sticks over and gorgeous parkland to also walk around. We visited here many times in the summer. Find Out More
Quote about the park “The Arboretum was originally designed and laid out between 1870 and 1872 by Edward Milner, one of the most celebrated Victorian gardeners of his time. A well-maintained park, enjoy the beautiful gardens, lakes, fountains and bridges, Victorian bandstand and children’s play area”
Quote from the Visit Lincoln website “The Lincoln Roman Trail will take you around the remains of the Roman city in the Cathedral Quarter and to The Collection where a display of more Roman artefacts can be found. There are also points of interest further south in the city to discover. The trail is available in a printed version from the Visitor Information Centre for £1 or free online as an interactive smartphone web app.”
7. Visit the Beach in Lincoln Centre
We went last year and visited after a big dry spell. Therefore you couldn’t do a lot sandcastle wise but my son had a wonderful time rolling around in the sand and chasing other kids about. He soon made new friends while I chilled out on one of their many deck chairs.
Not bad for free! Don’t forget to take a bucket and spade along if you want to attempt sandcastles etc. There is usually a fairground ride (additional charge) and entertainment such as Punch and Judy. Check for open days.
Quote from their website “At the Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum you can discover the history of RAF Cranwell from its early days as a Royal Naval Air Service base to the current day. The experience includes interactive exhibits such as a Jet Provost flight simulator, Vampire nose pod, exhibitions and artefacts. There is also a courtyard area with Jet Provost aircraft on display.” Check their website in the title link for opening times etc.
Some ‘what’s on’ websites do state this as being free. Well yes, it is so long as you can cycle there. If like us you can’t do that it isn’t entirely free as you have to pay £2 to park. But with extensive walks to do, and play areas such as a sandpit and water area it is well worth the fee. It is worth checking out their website to see what extra activities they may have on over the summer. Find Out More
You are never too far from part of the route as it stretches from Boston to Lincoln and is 33 miles long. There are many access points to get on the trail and some parts of it are traffic free.
Quote from their website “Lincolnshire’s only open-air farming museum, situated in the heart of Skegness. There are so many things to see and explore at The Village Church Farm. Something for everyone” Find Out More
On various days during the summer holidays, you can take your kids pond dipping here. They also have a pirate treasure trail and Mini monsters bug hunt. Quote from their website “Families are always made welcome. You can get really close views of birds from the visitor centre, where we’ve provided telescopes for visitors to use.
There’s also an RSPB guide on hand who will be happy to answer your questions. Binoculars can be hired free of charge from the visitor centre and taken out around the reserve. There are wildlife explorer backpacks available for children to hire, and free games available to keep them interested as they walk around. The ‘Kids’ Zone in the 360 hides has been specially created for children’s activities” Find Out More
Although it is free to visit the nature reserve, unless you can get there by bike, you do have to pay to park. They charge £1 for 2 hours and £3 for all day.
Quote from their website “Gibraltar Point impresses by its sheer scale and diversity of wildlife but to appreciate it fully you need to see it in different seasons. In summer, little terns may be seen fishing in the shallows and skylarks are in full song above the purple haze of the saltmarshes.” Find Out More
This is a lovely little spot to let your kids run free on their beautiful tree and streamlined paths. On a warm day, your children will love being able to splash in the stream. Although pebbly it’s not too deep so it’s good for paddling. Why not take nets too and see if you can catch anything? Find Out More
15. Visit your local library
Great free activity for a rainy day. A lot of libraries still have things on for the kids in the holidays such as story time and craft activities. It’s always worth checking out your local library to see what’s on.
The donkey sanctuary is free to visit. They are a charitable trust so if you want to donate you can, no pressure. Check out their website in the link above for opening times. A lot of their donkeys have been rescued. Find Out More
Why not check out the link above for what’s on this summer at the museum? They have lots of free activities and craft sessions mostly themed around their exhibits. They also have sessions, especially for those under 5’s.
18. Go for a walk and maybe take a picnic to your local woods
There are quite a lot of woods to choose from in Lincolnshire. The Forestry Commissions’ website is a great resource to find your local woods with pathways. One forest we are yet to explore but would like to soon is Chambers Farm Woods up near Market Rasen. Quote from the website “Situated on the site of a medieval woodland it contains ancient limes and a wealth of butterflies. A joy for any nature lover at any time of the year. There is a small car park.”
Quote from the website “This award-winning, three-storey building has a low breast shot water wheel and two sets of millstones. You can watch the Mill in operation on special event days, producing stone ground flour as it would have been 200 years ago. Video footage of the milling process can be seen when the Mill is not in operation.” From here you can walk along the riverbank to another free place you can visit in Sleaford, Navigation House.
Quote from the website “This impressive, refurbished original canal company office, built in 1838, is a Grade-II listed building standing in the old public wharf area, now known as Navigation Yard, off Carre Street. The building, thought to be the only one of its kind still in existence, has a heritage theme covering the early development of the new River Slea and portrays the story of the Navigation and its significant impact on Sleaford’s history.
The building has interactive exhibits for all ages, as well as exhibitions and film footage for those who are fascinated by the history of trade and transport.” You can walk along the riverbank to Cogglesford Watermill from here.
This is yet another free thing to do in Sleaford. They have many events including family workshops over the summer. Quote “
22. Go to one of the free summer events at Springfields – Please see their website for up-to-date information
Events vary each year. It is worth visiting their website to see what’s on. My son met Sooty there one year.
There’s plenty to do for free at Woodthorpe garden centre just north of Alford. There’s a great dinosaur exhibition. They are really realistic as they not only roar but move too. They also have a good playground for the kids and a maze to try not to get too lost in.
If you’re looking for a full day out why not visit Lincs Aquatics just down the road too? It’s the biggest aquatic shop I’ve ever been in. They even have reptiles too. For a small fee, you can feed the giant fish up the wooden walkway. Find Out More
Quote from the website “Walk, cycle or ride the Spa Trail on 3 miles of flat, surfaced path/bridleway along the mid-section of the old Horncastle to Woodhall Junction railway line and part of the Horncastle Canal. This easy, traffic-free route is ideal for wheelchair users and families with young children and pushchairs.
This trail, part of the Viking Way long-distance footpath, passes through woods and rolling countryside. Sculptures made from wood, stone and metal are scattered along the way, reflecting local wildlife and links with the past.” You can join the trail at various access points listed above. While in Woodhall Spa why not visit the Cottage Museum? It’s free to visit and is just off the trail.
Free to park and walk around their 600-acre site and see more than 400 horses, donkeys and mules. There’s a café, a playground for the kids, you can take your own picnic. They have children’s craft days and there is a treasure hunt, for a small charge. Main walkways are wheelchair friendly and they welcome dogs on leads. Find Out More
Plus special bonus extra idea
26. Visit a Splash Pad – 3 free in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire boasts 5 free splash pads. One is at Queen’s Park in Mablethorpe where there is also a large paddling pool. Scunthorpe Central Park also has a free splash pad. Skegness has the Fairy Dell which is a lovely paddling area with fountains. Wyndham Park in Grantham also has a splash pad and Sutton on Sea has a small splash area near the beach.
If you are looking for specific events this summer please see – Best Summer Events East Midlands Family Friendly Things to Do or we have this post full of ideas for family days out in Lincolnshire