Budget friendly, Issue 11

LiveMore, SpendLess: Free Attractions

Enjoying yourself doesn’t have to be pricey. Often, it doesn’t cost anything at all. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the very best free attractions (although many welcome donations) in five different parts of the UK. Who says you can’t get something for nothing? 

Snowdonia

The mountains

Proof that the best things in life are free. Snowdonia’s ridges, peaks and valleys are the stuff of dreams for outdoor-lovers. All ages and abilities catered for, and sunshine guaranteed. Possibly. 

Conwy Town Walls

The medieval market town of Conwy has some of the best preserved walls in Europe. You’ll pay to enter the castle, but the ancient walls themselves – all three quarters of a mile of them – are free. 

Tre’r Ceiri Hillfort

Sitting at a height of 450 metres, this is unquestionably one of Britain’s most spectacular hillforts. It’s a good walk to get up there, and you’ll find the remains of more than 100 Iron Age houses.

Discover more about places to stay in Wales.

Manchester

National Football Museum

Know your Pickles from your Pele? This excellent museum plays home to a massive range of football exhibits, including the very ball which won England the 1966 World Cup. (Yes, it was over the line.)

John Rylands Library

This glorious neo-gothic library building first opened in 1900 and welcomes visitors year-round. The architecture’s mighty impressive, as are the collections themselves. It’s now part of the University of Manchester.

Museum of Science & Industry 

Step into Manchester’s industrial past with a visit to this superb museum, which covers the city’s world-changing journey in fascinating detail.  Get there before 13 May to see Tim Peake’s spacecraft. 

Book your stay at YHA Manchester

Liverpool

Tate Liverpool

One of two Tate galleries outside London (the other is in St Ives, Cornwall), this Albert Dock attraction holds a brilliant collection of British and international modern and contemporary art.  

Liverpool Cathedral 

Sir John Betjeman called it “one of the great buildings of the world” – and he wasn’t speaking idly. Step inside and be awed by the sheer scale of the place. It’s the fifth largest cathedral on the planet. 

Palm House Sefton Park

This Grade II-listed Victorian palm house gives as fine a reason as any to visit Sefton Park in the south of the city. The plants cover countless species, and the domed glasshouse itself is a peaceful – and warm – spot

Book a stay at YHA Liverpool 

Brighton

Brighton Pier - View to beach

Walk in the South Downs

One of the city’s greatest gifts is its location. Not only is it on the coast, it also gives easy access to the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park. Which, whether you’re on two feet or two wheels, can only be a good thing. 

Brighton Pier

Seaside pleasures don’t come much more iconic than Brighton’s colourfully lit pier, which costs nothing to walk along. Although we’re not going to stop you taking along a few pennies for the slot machines… 

Pavilion Gardens

You’ll pay to enter the Royal Pavilion itself, but the neatly manicured gardens are free – and make for a princely picnic spot once the warmer months arrive. Pick up some provisions and take a lazy lunch.

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Peak District

YHA Ilam Hall weddings

The hills

Whether you’re walking the Mam Tor ridge, bouldering on Stanage Edge or hauling yourself up Win Hill, the Peak District makes for one of the best outdoor playgrounds in the country. Get your boots on and get out there.    

Monsal Trail

You may have to pay to hire a bike, but there’s no cost to enjoy the eight and a half miles of the Monsal Trail. The former railway route includes tunnels, mills and even a viaduct – and there’s not a car in sight. 

Dovedale

Come for the limestone ravines, come for the river walking, come for the stepping stones. Don’t expect to have the place to yourself – this is Dovedale we’re talking about – but do expect charm aplenty. 

View our hostels in the Peak District

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