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Best Cheap Places To Go Near Cambridge with Kids

Weekends and school holidays can turn into a total money-pit when you have kids. Trips to the cinema, swimming, soft play etc. all start to add up. To save money and stick to our frugal family budget we try and mix in as many cheap or free days out as we can.

To make your days out even cheaper always pack a picnic, snacks and drinks.
Check out our other money-saving tips for days out

As we live near Cambridge this list is rather region specific, but for those who live in another neck of the woods hopefully you can get some ideas and the types of places mentioned can be found local to you.

top 10 cheap things to do in cambridge with kids

1. Wandlebury Woods

Suitable for: All ages

Cost for parking: £3

Time spent: 2 to 4 hours

These beautiful woods on the outskirts of Cambridge are a haven, a little slice of nature just a few miles out of town. The parking here is plentiful but you do need to pay a couple of pounds which goes towards the upkeep of the woodlands.

There are paths aplenty, snaking through the ancient landscape (Wandlebury is the site of an old Roman Road and Earthworks).

There is a pond in which to espy tadpoles, myriad trees to climb, highland cows to encounter and birds to spot. Adjacent to the woods is a great field with a barbecue area (pre-booking essential), picnic tables, plenty of space to play ball games, Frisbee, cricket or rounders, plus a great den-building section all of which keeps children of all ages busy for hours.

Wandlebury Woods wild flower meadow

2. Lammas Land

Suitable for: 2 to 12 years old

Cost for parking: Free (but get there early!)

Time spent: 2 to 4 hours

This enormous playground with fabulous large paddling pool is always a hit in summer. To save cash jump on the Park and Ride at Trumpington and get off near the Botanic Gardens and walk across the fields. If you prefer to drive be prepared to get up early to secure one of the free parking spaces.

There is always tons of space on the park with plenty of trees providing welcome shade on a hot day. The kids love going into the pool with inflatables (these mini-lilos are perfect for little people) and water pistols (these ones are an especial favourite) – just be prepared to get wet!

3. The Zoology Museum

Suitable for: 4 to 100 years old

Cost: Free

Time spent: 30 minutes to 2 hours

This wonderful museum space has just had a refit, creating a more modern, light and comprehensive display. Stuffed animals, insects and skeletons abound, with fascinating and accessible explanations showing how different animals evolved. There is also a young zoologists club for your budding naturalists.

Grasshopper in glass cabinet at Zoology Museum, Cambridge

4. Cherry Hinton Hall

Suitable for: 2 to 12 years old

Cost for parking: Free

Time spent: 2 to 4 hours

This large park to the east of Cambridge has a small car free car park or if not there is generally on road parking to be found nearby. There are a couple of playgrounds there appealing to all ages plus a paddling pool.

My kids’ favourite place is the wild area near the river which has a huge sandpit. The shallow river has stepping stones allowing the children to pond dip for tiny fish.

5. The Sedgwick Museum

Suitable for: 4 to 100 years old

Cost: Free

Time spent: 30 minutes to 2 hours

This fascinating collection based around rocks, fossils and geology is a treasure trove. The dinosaur skeletons are a real favourite as is the mineral room with examples of gems from around the world.

Lots of the exhibits are very hands-on for kids with jigsaw puzzles, light up displays and drawers of goodies to open and explore.

Skeleton of woolly rhino at Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge

6. The Sculpture trails

Suitable for: All ages

Cost: Free

Time spent: 1 to 3 hours

A great activity to engage your kids with art and looking at the built environment. There are three trails (Trail 1, Trail 2, and Trail 3) around Cambridge each taking you round a variety of statues and pieces of public art.

My kids enjoyed searching out each piece, often realising they had walked past it many times before without noticing it, and then having a photo taken with each one.

8. Fowlmere Nature Reserve

Suitable for: All ages

Cost: £3 for parking

Time spent: 2 to 3 hours

A couple of miles south of Cambridge off the A10 near Fowlmere this great RSPB nature reserve is a small gem. These days you have to pay a couple of pounds to park at the site but it all goes towards the RSPB’s work.

There is a lovely circular walk around the reserve which includes boardwalks across the reedbeds, gravels paths alongside the creek (where you can spot fish) and a number of bird hides in which helpful displays help to inform what you are looking for.

This place has been a favourite since our kids were tiny as providing you have a solid pushchair it is pushchair friendly and the circular walk is just the right length for little legs, with the bird hides providing welcome stop offs.

8. Milton Country Park

Suitable for: All ages

Cost: £1 for half an hour up to £3.50 for all day parking

Time spent: 2 to 3 hours

This is a great park in the north of Cambridge with plentiful parking for a small fee. There are a couple of playgrounds plus numerous well-paved gravel paths winding through the gravel pits/lakes. The surface is perfect for cycling or scooting so makes a great place for youngsters to learn to ride.

In the summer there are often events on the lakes offering taster sessions in paddle boarding, canoeing, and open water swimming.

9. Wimpole Estate

Suitable for: 5 years and up

Cost: £2 parking

Time spent: 2 to 4 hours

National Trust members can park for free or non-members can park for a small fee. The house is beautiful and especially amazing to visit at Christmas when they decorate it in true festive style and provide some great craft activities.

There is also a wonderful farm with animals, tractors and playgrounds, however if you are not a National Trust member this can prove quite expensive so as this blog is focused on cheap days out instead I will recommend the wonderful (and free) walk from the parking up to the folly and back through the woodland.

The landscape is designed by Capability Brown and includes fields, lakes and woodland with the folly providing a great picnic spot.

10. The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Suitable for: 4 years and up

Cost: £2 parking

Time spent: 2 to 4 hours

This free museum was recently refurbished and is now a bright, modern space. The museum is spread over a number of floors with a mezzanine gallery allowing visitors to get the full-height of the fantastic totem pole.

There are tons of interesting ethnographic objects from around the world and some great children’s trails and activities.

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