We are a super active family and always find some fun stuff to do with the kids from ice skating at Planet Ice, farm visits to visiting Coral Reef in Bracknell. But family fun days are not always about doing paid for things. We do love to indulge in low cost or free days out with the kids too, which are super easy to find on the no-rainy days.
Bedfordshire has so much to offer when it comes to family days-out - lovely woodlands, amazing play areas, and parks. But we do live in the UK, and even in Summer can bring us many gloomy and rainy days. So if you are facing a gloomy day and you are stuck for ideas, here is my little blog post on 5 FREE things to do with the kids on a rainy day. Have a look!
1. Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton, Bedfordshire
We first visited the Stockwood Discovery Centre almost 2 years ago when my little girl was just a year and a half. It is one of two free museums situated in Luton (parking is free too) and it is great for everyone, even toddlers. There’s a play area and lots of space to run, explore and play or have a picnic. The climb-on tractor is very popular with my kids, especially my little boy who is mad about any vehicle that has wheels and steering wheel.
But what we really love about this place is the fact that it is a great place to visit on a rainy day too. There are multiple galleries to wander around which feature artefacts from the local area, the large Mossman collection of carriages with a possibility to climb some of them. And if you feel like having a little treat, the café serves great lunch. I highly recommend it for a fun family day-out.
The address is Stockwood Park Golf Club, London Rd, Luton LU1 4LX. It is about a 20-minute drive from where we live in Flitwick.
2. Visit your local library
The library is a perfect place to visit on a gloomy and cloudy day that is filled with adventure and wonder for kids and adults. My kids find the library visits very exciting and often prefer to head over there first before going to a playground that is located nearby. There are multiple books they can pick themselves and look through the pages on one of the sofas. There are often some toys they can play for a while and a craft table perfect for doing some colouring or activity which changes depending on the season.
They often pick a couple of books, we snuggle up on the sofa in the corner and read together. Towards the end of our visit they both choose the books they would like to take home for their bedtime story.
It is worth checking if your local library is running free storytime or nursery rhymes groups for the little ones. I used to take my kids to a singing class on a weekday which was fun! There are often lots of fun and creative activities run for the school kids during the Half Term.
We usually visit Flitwick Library (Facebook Page) and Ampthill Library. but here is a list of some of the other libraries located in Bedfordshire.
- Woburn Sands Library - Facebook Page
- Toddington Library - Facebook Page
- Bedford Central Libary - Facebook Page
- Wootton Library - Facebook Page
3. Stopfold Watermill in Stopfold, Bedfordshire
Again, we have been in this place a number of times and it is always fun for the whole family. The Mill stands in a local nature reserve with riverside and woodland walks which are worth a visit if you are going on a sunny day but there is still plenty to see and do if you are considering a visit on a wet day.
Stopfold Watermill is a working watermill with a collection of historic rural objects where visitors can watch the millstones grinding flour and learn about the process from exhibits and demonstrations as they explore the building.
The watermill is open to the public on most Sundays during the summer but always check the opening times before you travel. The admission is free unless there is a special event.
Address: Stotfold Watermill & Nature Reserve, Mill Lane, Stotfold, Bedfordshire SG5 4 NU
4. Bromham Mill near Bedford, Bedfordshire
If you live in Bedford, this is a great place to visit for an educational trip on a wet day. It is a restored water mill dating from the 17th century, and within the mill buildings are a craft exhibit, art gallery, and a fascinating museum of waterways and milling.
What is great about this place is that they often arrange guided tours, traditional crafts demonstrations and workshops, and historical baking lessons. Please enquire before going. You should also keep an eye out for the Apple day event in November. If you happen to go on a non-rainy day – kids will love climbing on the logs that are bolted together into a natural play area.
The admission is free and the opening dates are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm but again, please do check before you travel in case this has changed. The address is Bromham Mill, Bridge End, Bromham, Bedford, MK43 8LP.
5. National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire
This museum is free and even though it is located in Tring in Hertfordshire it is very close to the Bedfordshire border and within an easy reach from where we live in Flitwick. This place has a huge collection of stuffed creatures, great and small, from all over the world. They are displayed in the floor to ceiling glass cabinets. It is a truly fascinating place, where you can get really close to about 4,000 different species of animals, birds, and insects.
The displays allow even very young children to come face to face with a lion, tiger, polar bear, penguin, seal, porcupine or even a python! Every time we visit, the kids get to do the trail which is rewarded with the chocolate coin. If the weather is nice, we take a panic but on wet days we walk into Tring for something to eat.
There is a small free car park next to the museum and an overflow car park a short walk away, almost opposite the very top of Akeman Street, off Hastoe Lane. The museum is open Monday to Saturday 10 am-5 pm but only open 2 pm-5 pm on Sundays. I suggest you have a look at what’s on for families before you go and check the museum’s opening times. The address is The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman St, Tring HP23 6AP.
Know of fab free place to visit on a rainy day which is perfect for families? Please do let me know (email@example.com) so I can add this to this to my list. Thank you!
And here is my bonus tip!
If you don't mind getting a bit wet and you are up for a family adventure, why not pick up your wellies, a wetsuit for the kids and have some fun dancing in the rain and splashing in the paddles. It is free, it is always fun for the kids and adults (even dads!) and such a fab family bonding activity. After our wet walk & splash trip, we love to snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and watch a kids' movie. This is our kind of rainy day if we don't fancy driving anywhere far but want to get out of the house for a bit. If you haven't tried it, give it a go!