Enjoy free family days out with new guidebook

Garry Cook, author of Free Days Out in Lancashire.
Garry Cook, author of Free Days Out in Lancashire.

Everybody loves something for nothing so one dad’s new book is certain to catch on.

Garry Cook has just published Free Days out in Lancashire – a guide to his family’s favourite free days out in the region.

And it’s refreshing to see that the Aqua Park at Happy Mount Park in Morecambe makes it onto Garry’s list of his favourite four free places.

The other three are Withy Grove playground in Bamber Bridge, walking up Pendle Hill steps and going cycling at Dunsop Bridge.

Garry who lives in the Ribble Valley spent three years documenting days out and every one of the 24 venues featured in his book does not charge.

This makes his guide a godsend for parents trying to keep their children entertained over the fast-approaching long summer holidays.

The 39-year-old photographer and journalist said: “Finding things to do with the kids is one of the hardest jobs of being a parent, especially in the summer holidays.

“But the cost of some days out, particularly entrance fees to theme parks, can put a huge strain on the family finances.

“And after several days out over a few weeks, even the cost of a few hours at a play barn can leave a parent feeling stressed.”

But help is at hand. Garry said: “The reality is you don’t have to spend any money to entertain the kids if you know where to go – and that is where this book helps.

“Lancashire has some of the best parks, playgrounds and countryside in Britain – but it’s easy to forget this in the desperate rush to keep the kids entertained. I’ve spent hours searching online for great free days but they can be so hard to find.

“One of the Lancashire tourism websites lists a cinema in Burnley and a garden centre north of Preston as a great family day out.

“When it comes to promoting days out which cost nothing, I don’t think there is the information users need.

“That means people are missing out on visiting some amazing free locations and venues. I felt that I could do better and I have put together what I think is a fantastic list of Lancashire days out.”

Each venue profile consists of information about why the day out is so good, hand-drawn maps of how to get there and fact boxes, including any possible extra charges like car parking, plus there are photographs of kids enjoying themselves.

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle, with the Kindle version also including full-colour photography.

Garry’s children are eight-year-old Teddy, two-year-old Betsy and stepson Seamus, eight.