I have previously written about accessible days out in Lancashire, so I thought I would also find some free days out in Lancashire for the family too as an easy reference point. If you are looking for things to do as a family, here are some free activities for all ages.
Free family days out in and around Lancashire
Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes
Fairhaven Lake is situated between Lytham and St Anne’s, the saltwater lake is positioned directly on the coast next to Granny’s Bay and Stanner Bank. Facilities include a children’s play area, lake with boat hire, crazy golf, crown green bowling, skate park, tennis courts, a picnic area, Spitfire memorial, RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre and a cafe.
Lancaster City Museum
Discover more about the City of Lancaster, one of England’s Heritage Cities, from the pre-historic era, through to today. Their immersive galleries are packed with objects and stories. Visit the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, housed within the same building, and explore the history of this wonderful city and its people. It is free admission to the City Museum and King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum though donations are appreciated.
You are welcome to explore the castle and its surrounding area, free of charge, any day of the week. From the top of the castle, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the captivating and historic Ribble Valley landscape, making the ascent well worth it.
You can visit the award-winning Museum, which is situated in the previous Steward’s House. This building, built in the 18th century, was originally used to accommodate the Steward of Clitheroe Castle.
You will be taken on a journey spanning 350 million years of local history. Begin by exploring how the current landscape was formed and why the Ribble Valley is home to such diverse and unique wildlife. As you progress through the museum, you will be enthralled by the unfolding story of the Castle and the surrounding area. From showcasing the local industries and heroic figures to sharing folklore and legends, the museum offers a shared experience for all to enjoy with its exhibits, touchscreen animations, and sound points.
Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington
Haworth Art Gallery is Lancashire’s finest Arts and crafts house and garden. It was designed by the architect, Walter Brierley and houses the internationally important Tiffany Glass Museum, Accrington Art Gallery and artists studios in the former stables.
Experience beautiful artistry and craftsmanship, enjoy garden walks with stunning views and relax in the friendly atmosphere of an outstanding Arts and crafts home.
Happy Mount Park, Morecambe
Happy Mount Park is proud of its reputation as a traditional park for people of all ages.
You can sit and relax or stroll in the attractive parkland setting. Visit the popular cafe, enjoy the delights from a varied menu, or partake in any of the park’s other attractions and activities. These include a train ride, splash park, play areas, adventure golf and trampolines.
Park View 4 U, Lytham
Park View 4 U is a charity based at the QEII Park View Playing Fields, Lytham. The park was established in 2003. Since then, the Charity has successfully raised funds to develop what was a boggy field into an award-winning park that provides facilities for three generational users. They have a bespoke Sand and Water Play area, Toddler and Teen Zones, BMX track, Skate ramps, Playfit equipment, Multi-Use Games Area, Amphitheatre, Football pitches, Woodland Walk and more.
Penny Farm, Blackpool
Penny Farm is located near Blackpool and is a great day out for all the family. They are open all year (on Wednesdays, Bank Holidays and weekends) and have a packed programme of events during the school holidays. Penny Farm is home to around 65 horses at any one time. Their volunteers will show you around and introduce you to the horses. Explore the farm with ‘Dale’s Trails’. You can choose from one of two routes around the farm and complete a fun activity trail. You will be able to see their horse and ponies relaxing in the fields and learn about our farm environment and the wild birds and animals who live here.
Worden Park, Leyland
As well as offering more than 60 hectares of meadows, woodlands and playing fields, the park also includes a range of attractions on its historic grounds. Ride on the model railway. The Leyland Society of Model Engineers provide free rides to the public, operating on Sundays, bank holidays and Tuesdays during school holidays (all weather dependent).
Try and find your way around the maze. This historic feature is open to the public at all times. Worden Park’s maze has the extra feature of having two entrances. One is the “real” entrance, and the other is false, leading only to dead ends in either direction. The playground is the largest in Leyland! It has 22 pieces of equipment for toddlers (ages 0-6); including swings, climbing frames, springy toys and a large sandpit complete with sand diggers. There are also 14 pieces of equipment for juniors (ages 7-12), including swings, a see-saw, climbing frames, slides, a rope climbing frame and a cableway.
Cuerden Valley, Bamber Bridge/Whittle le woods
Cuerden Valley in Bamber Bridge/Whittle le Woods is a great option for free days out in Lancashire. There are 650 acres to explore, discover and relax in. You can picnic, walk the dog, and let the children play in the river. Or explore the Pinetum, visit the walled orchard and experience the many valley and woodland walks. There is a cafe in the visitor centre and plenty of activities during school holidays.
Astley Park, Chorley
The park stretches over 43.75 hectares and offers families, friends, the young and the old a great day out. Walking from one side to the other, you will find several walkways leading to beautiful woodlands where you can spot the snowdrop trail or stumble amongst the summer flowers. As you venture further into the park, you will also find sports pitches, tennis courts and a bowling green, all available to use by the public. There are also some very exciting playgrounds, including the Royalist’s Retreat and toddler play areas which will keep your children entertained for hours. Next to the Royalist’s Retreat is a special Pets Corner introducing children to small fluffy animals, reptiles and birds.
Cedar Farm, Mawdesley
A small playground is suitable for younger children; it has swings, a wobbly bridge and a slide. A larger adventure playground was built as an integrated part of our animal farm. Here children can enjoy themselves, big or small; there are dens, wicker tepees and wooden tractors. Visit the goats, sheep and chickens on the farm. There are independent shops and cafes to explore too.
Brockholes Nature Reserve is full of natural moments just waiting for you to discover. It’s a 250-acre nature reserve to explore. You can walk along the River Ribble, explore our ancient woodland and amble around our lakes. Hides, paths and viewing points are specifically designed to allow you to get closer to nature and wildlife without disturbing it. In addition, there is also our spectacular floating Visitor Village, which plays host to a lakeside restaurant and shop! There are also play areas for children of all ages.
A farmers market is a great idea when you’re looking for free days out in Lancashire. A shopping village of fresh local produce, a craft and gift centre, a licensed tea room, a leading Art Gallery and high-quality Butchers. There is plenty to look around, and you can participate in crafts at the crafty cafe.
Mere Sands Nature Reserve, Burscough
Nestled amongst the peaceful agricultural landscape of Rufford, Mere Sands Wood is a true wildlife haven. Spring and summer see new life bloom in the form of marsh orchids and broad buckler ferns while the air buzzes with dragonflies and birdsong. Keep your eyes peeled for species like bullfinches, tree sparrows, great spotted woodpeckers and even sparrowhawks as they fly to and from their nests in the woodland.
Autumn and winter mark the arrival of overwintering birds like charming teal, handsome pintail and comical shoveler. Over 170 bird species have been seen on the reserve, and 60 are known to have bred. But Mere Sands Wood isn’t just a birder’s paradise – mammal lovers will relish the opportunity to try and spot roe deer, stoats and foxes as they creep through the broadleaved and conifer woodland. A mature Scots pine plantation supports a small population of red squirrels, while water voles inhabit the ditches bordering the neighbouring arable land.
Formby Beach is ideal for families, with a large car park (chargeable), picnic areas, and waymarked paths to the beach, dunes and woods. The high dunes afford excellent views across the Irish Sea, and on clear days after rain, even the mountains of Cumbria can be seen.
Beacon Country Park, Up Holland
Beacon Country Park consists of over 300 acres of rolling countryside spread across the slopes of Ashurst Beacon between Up Holland, Dalton and Skelmersdale. The site boasts flowing wildflower meadows, grassland, natural ponds and areas of semi-natural woodland. It commands majestic panoramic views across most of Lancashire, with viewpoints overlooking the Lancashire Plain to the west and the Pennine Hills to the east. An extensive path network means that everyone can explore the park, and there is plenty of space to walk, run, ride horses or bicycles, fly kites, or just get away from it all and relax.
Open all year on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. As one of the first purpose-built free museums to open outside of London in 1874, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery houses a rich and fascinating collection. You can find fine art, decorative art, Egyptology, coins, manuscripts, natural history, social history and South Asia. With over 1000 Japanese prints, 5000 examples of coins and money, 500 books and manuscripts and the largest icon collection outside London, you certainly won’t be short of things to see.
Visit the Pendle Sculpture Trail in an atmospheric woodland setting. Art, history and nature come together against the stunning backdrop of Pendle Hill. Four artists have created a unique and intriguing range of sculptures. Their work is inspired by the history of the Lancashire witches, Pendle Witches of 1612 and the natural world in this wild and beautiful corner of Lancashire.
Smithy Farm, Preston
They have various animal attractions, including Alpacas and Goats, not forgetting the free-range hens you can feed. There is also a seating area for you to sit, relax and watch your children play on their toy tractors.
Yarrow Valley, Coppull
Chorley’s increasingly popular Yarrow Valley Country Park is a 700-acre facility. It includes a café and information centre built using Heritage Lottery funds. Yarrow Valley Country Park has been awarded Green Flag status. “Yarrow Rocks”, is a radical play space in which young people are encouraged to challenge themselves and take calculated risks. This includes a giant rope swing, natural climbing wall, rock stacks, storytellers throne, embankment slide and basket swing.
Greenlands Farm Village, Carnforth
Come and meet their animals – including pygmy goats, our Kune-Kune Pigs, reptiles, bunnies, guinea pigs, and lots more! Why not have a donkey ride, feed the lambs, play on the tractors and new go-karts, let off steam in the straw barn and then wander down the paddocks? There is mini-golf, shops and cafes. In the soft play, confident toddlers and children love their shark attack zip wire, wonderfully bumpy four-lane slide, aerial rope bridge, huge scramble net, and super squeezy rollers. They will also love the challenges and games set on our four stories.
Young toddlers and babies delight in their dedicated section. It features padded slides, steps, blocks, wobbly characters, shiny mirrors, fun puzzles and other equipment designed to promote agility, mental development, and, best of all, fun. The village is free to enter, but there is an admission price for the open farm and soft play.
Marton Mere, Blackpool
Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve is home to hundreds of species of wildlife. It is nationally recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is not bad considering it was once a part of the town’s rubbish tip! Visitors can enjoy the site, from dragonflies to orchids, via designated footpaths and bird hides. In the winter, you might just glimpse a long-eared owl!
Old Holly Farm, Garstang
This is a working dairy farm, but they also have many other animals for you to come and meet. The animals live in the inner courtyard and in the summer in the outdoor animal paddocks. You can meet donkeys, goats, alpacas, pigs, sheep, free-range chickens and rabbits. There is also a cafe and soft play. The farm is free to visit, but you pay for the soft play. The play barn has been specially designed to encourage your child’s development through play, with interactive elements throughout. The ground floor level is designed for babies, with the upper levels for stretching little legs.
Harris Museum, Preston
The UK’s first blended museum, art gallery & library. There is an abundance of exhibitions and plenty of activities during the school holidays. There is also a cafe and shop. As well as the Harris Museum is free to enter, and the activities are usually free to participate.
Shores Hey Farm, Burnley
Get to know the horses and ponies in their care and discover the work they do to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome equines in need. You may even be able to watch the Yard Team at work in their Indoor Arena. Let the kids loose in their Children’s Play Area, or stretch your legs on their Welly Walk.
Stanley Park, Blackpool
Stanley Park contains a fantastic range of facilities, including all-weather pitches, football, rugby, an indoor sports centre, an outdoor sports arena, a golf course, a cricket ground, a model village, a national BMX race track, a skate park, tennis courts, flat and crown green bowling, historic art deco café, classic children’s playground suitable for 2 – 8-year-olds, timber adventure playground suitable for 8 – 14-year-olds, crazy golf, trampolines and boat hire.
The Weavers Triangle, Burnley
Take a trip back in time and visit their Victorian schoolroom, Edwardian bathroom and weaver’s dwelling. You can find out how cotton was made and have a go at weaving. There’s plenty for children as well – with a children’s corner, trails and quizzes and a wonderful working model fairground based on the old Burnley Fair. Display rooms house changing exhibitions of artwork, crafts and local history.
The Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge
Nestled on the side of Parbold Hill above the rural village of Appley Bridge, Fairy Glen has a tranquil, secluded atmosphere. The site follows Sprodley Brook which has, over time, cut down through the underlying sandstone to create the steep Fairy Glen valley with spectacular waterfalls and cliff faces. These features, interspersed within the ancient broadleaved woodland, make Fairy Glen one of the most picturesque woodlands in the borough. Designated as a Biological Heritage Site for its oak, birch, ash and alder, the site boasts a rich and mature woodland biodiversity. There is a wide variety of flora growing at the site and, depending on the season, the woodland floor may be covered with bluebells, wild garlic, ferns, and red campion.
Samlesbury Hall, Preston
A stately home, a haven for history lovers, where the past meets the present. Go on a witch tour. Visit the animals from the bees making honey, the hens, rabbits, goats, sheep and pigs. Just to the right of the animal area, nestled in the woods is their brilliant new playground. You can climb in through the windows of the miniature Samlesbury Hall replica & climb the rope bridge to the Mayflower ship! There is also a charming wooden trail. This trail has bridges, swings and lots of fun obstacles for the whole family to enjoy; a challenge for adults as well as children!
Avenham and Miller Parks, Preston
These parks are created from a natural amphitheatre. There’s also a Japanese Rock Garden with a wide variety of unusual ornamental plants and beautiful water features. Avenham Colonade, the splendid riverside Ribble Walk, The Belvedere and majestic Derby Walk are amongst a few of the features to be found. For children, there is also a play area for all ages.
Witton Park, Blackburn
Witton Country Park covers 480 acres of mixed woodland, grassland, and farmland. There’s a great play area, sports turf, athletics track, show field and cafe.
Barrowford Park, Pendle
Barrowford Park was first awarded a prestigious Green Flag in 2008, and has maintained its flag ever since. The park has a bowling green, war memorial, two children’s playgrounds, and outdoor fitness equipment.
In the heart of the park are a lake and a wetland area. The lake was once the original mill pond. The pond is populated with moorhen, ducks and coots.
Bold Venture Park, Darwin
Bold Venture park opened in 1889 and is both a historic and picturesque park. Lying in the valley of Bold Venture Brook, it connects Darwen town to the countryside of Darwen Tower, Jubilee Tower and beyond.
Brock Bottom, Preston
Located about ten miles north of Preston and on the very western edge of the Forest of Bowland. the picnic site and nature trail (sometimes mistakenly called ‘Brock Bottoms’) is a beauty spot along the river.
Much of the river is very shallow and perfect for paddling. And if you head off along the paths, you eventually come to the mill ruins. Built around 1790, the site housed about 20 cottages for the workers at the cotton spinning mill.
Cradshaw Castle Rocks
Situated on the sunny side of a scenic valley, this small natural gritstone outcrop gives many pleasant low-grade trad routes and is an ideal place to take beginners.
Corporation Park, Blackburn
Corporation Park is a traditional Victorian park close to the centre of Blackburn. English Heritage now registers the park as a park and garden of special historic interest. The park has many sports areas, including tennis courts, all-weather courts, multi-use game areas, a cycle track, playgrounds and bowling greens.