Free things to do in Lancashire: Summer Holidays Childcare Challenge

Old Holly FarmOld Holly Farm
Old Holly Farm
Stuck for ideas of what to over the six-week holiday
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Free things to do:

Museums and galleries:Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, houses many exhibits and collections, such as sculptures and paintings, costumes and textiles, photographs, historical objects as well as archaeological items.South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre has a constantly changing programme of arts events.Wigan Museum of Life has a range of free exhibitions and activities. There is a permanent exhibition about Wigan and its rich history – with some items dating back to the Roman era.Grundy Art Gallery, in Blackpool, features a programme of different contemporary visual art exhibitions from new and established artists in the UK and abroad. Visitors will see Victorian oil and watercolour paintings, contemporary prints and photographs.Lancaster City Museum has regularly changing exhibitions, events and activities for families looking at Lancaster’s past from the Romans to the present day.Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery is home to the second biggest collection of Japanese woodcut prints in the UK, as well as the second biggest icon collection. Ceramics, medieval manuscripts and oil paintings are just some of the things that art and history enthusiasts can look forward to seeing.Bolton Museum, Art Gallery & Aquarium has an extensive collection of items covering areas as diverse as botany, geology, Egyptology and fine art. Within the aquarium visitors can find freshwater fish from around the world including places such as Brazil, Madagascar, Borneo and Peru.Brooks Collectables and Museum, Blackpool is a family run collectors shop with free entry to their first floor memorabilia museum which has exhibits to interest all of the family.Cedar Farm Galleries in Mawdesley has a wide selection of contemporary crafts ranging from ceramics and glass to wool, textiles, jewellery and cards.Ribchester Roman Bath House is a free tourist attraction in Ribchester.

Haigh HallHaigh Hall
Haigh Hall

Heritage centresBlackpool’s Lifeboat Station not only houses the town’s lifeboats but it also provided visitors with a unique view of the RNLI’s work both locally and nationally.A visit to the Heysham Heritage Centre provides not only the opportunity to discover the history of Heysham through informative exhibitions and displays but also the chance to see a surviving 17th century longhouse (a cottage and adjoining barn).The Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre is located in the former Wharfmaster’s House and Toll Office at Burnley Wharf and Leeds and Liverpool Canal. It includes displays about the canal and how cotton is made. It houses period rooms - a Victorian parlour and a weaver’s dwelling, plus the Burnley Fair Room, with a working model fairground and there is also a recreated Victorian schoolroom. Oak Mount Mill engine house is open for a number of occasions during the summer.

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Enjoy a day at the beachLancashire boasts a beautiful coastline and this is a wonderful county for enjoying a day at the beach. There is a fantastic choice of beaches to suit different needs and preferences, from quiet and secluded spots that are perfect for sandy strolls to bustling beaches packed with fun activities to keep the kids entertained and plenty of watersports for adrenaline-seekers to get involved in.

Explore natureBrockholes Nature Reserve offers a host of wildlife attractions and activities to suit visitors of all ages. Explore the floating visitor centre, enjoy beautiful guided walks and spot the local animal residents on wildlife walks. Children can also burn off some energy in the play areas and exercise their creativity with craft activities. Entry free - just pay for car park.Healey Dell Nature Reserve is a stunning beauty spot that will attract nature lovers as well as people with an interest in industrial archaeology. Visitors can discover the remains of old mills and bridges and perhaps spot some of the local wildlife that live in the reserve.Scotman’s Flash is the largest of the Wigan Flashes and is now a nature reserve and there’s a variety of birdlife, mammals and amphibians for you to see as you walk around the water.Beacon Country Park is free to enter and offers guided walks, craft fairs as well as a golf course. Wyre Estuary Country Park with its children’s play areas, stunning picnic spots and a variety of enticing events throughout the year. Haigh Hall is another great day out, with a free children’s play area.

Sculpture TrailsPendle Sculpture Trail tells the true story of the Pendle Witches through has ten ceramic plaques. Each has its own unique symbols which represent each of the Pendle people who were hanged.Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail in Clitheroe is a 1.5 mile walk through Brungerley Park and Cross Hill Limestone Quarry, featuring 20 sculptures.

The beachThe beach
The beach

Go for a woodland walkThere are plenty of woods in Lancashire to wander round, for example Fairy Glen in Appley Bridge; Forest of Bowland; Gisburn Forest, which has a Gruffalo trail, or look for the stone carvings at Burnley Way.

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Historic halls and gardensAstley Hall is a country house with a museum and an art gallery. The collections within Astley Hall span areas such as furniture, pottery and glassware, social and military history, archaeology as well as paintings and drawings, while outside you can enjoy a wander through the pretty landscaped grounds.Samlesbury Hall has a play area, a bee centre and has free guided historic tours.Ashton Gardens in St Annes are a beautiful Grade II listed collection of gardens. This delightful green space is ideal for exploring at a leisurely pace or providing a picturesque picnic location, and there is also a play area for children as well as a bowling green.Clitheroe Castle is £4.30 per adult but accompanied children are free.

FarmsAnyone who loves horses can get up close to these amazing creatures at Blackpool’s Penny Farm, the Lancashire centre for the World Horse Welfare charity. You can meet horses and ponies, as well as complete a choice of two activity trails that provide a pleasant way to explore the farm.Smithy Farm, in Esprick, near Preston, lets visitors come face to face with a variety of animals including alpacas, goats, chickens and rabbits. There is also a play area and youngsters will enjoy playing on the toy tractors.Old Holly Farm, Garstang is a family run, working organic dairy farm, with a play area and animals.

Family-friendly cyclingSeeing Lancashire by bike offers a variety of benefits – the chance to see beautiful landscapes, enjoy healthy exercise and have fun. There are lots of family-friendly cycle routes to choose from that cater to all levels of cycling experience and provide safe and varied cycling locations.


Keep fitGo for a walk or run in your local park.ABL Central Lancs is holding Junior Your Way to 2k at Moor Park, Preston: a six-week running programme for children and their parents. Sessions are held every Tuesday from 1pm until 2pm and Friday 10am until 11am. The sessions will increase pace and distance each week. The programme is free and there is no need to book. For more information call Kieran on 07966 312703 or Sarah on 07976 864677.

Comedy Carpet in BlackpoolHow long will you take you to read all the funny sayings and quotes on the Comedy Carpet?