With the summer holidays drawing ever closer, parents around the UK will be scrambling to plan exactly how to entertain their little ones for the coming months.
The holidays can be an expensive time, but thankfully Liverpool is bursting with great free things to do with the kids this summer.
See how many of these you can get done before the start of a new school year!
Have a Picnic in Sefton Park
Sefton Park is a magnificent 235 acre Grade 1 historic park in the Sefton Park district of Liverpool and it’s perfect for a summer picnic.
The huge park features large grassy fields, perfect for playing some outdoor sports, enclosed secret pathways, rock gardens, ponds and mini streams that will keep the children occupied for hours.
In the centre, there is a cafe and visitor centre and plenty of places to buy an ice cream, plus don’t forget to check out the magnificent Palm House.
Whether you are looking to enjoy a nice stroll in a picturesque location or you’re looking for somewhere to take the kids to feed the ducks, Sefton Park is the ideal spot.
Check out the Baltic Market
When: Thursday – Sunday every week
Liverpool’s first street food market has officially opened in the iconic Cain’s Brewery building in the Baltic Triangle and so far it’s been a roaring success.
This unique market is dedicated to all things food and drink, with live music and different markets on every week.
You and the kids can indulge in everything from Timmy Tikka, to hot dogs from Slim’s Pork Chop Express and shakes and cakes from The Midnight Delivery.
There are also stalls from famous Jamaican vegan food ItalFresh and exciting new fish restaurant Oktopus.
Go on a Magical Woodland Fairy Trail
When: 10.30am-3.30pm daily
A magical spell has been cast over the grounds of Speke Hall, a wonderful world of forest fairies and woodland creates are waiting to be found by young explorers.
The organisers at Speke Hall have created a beautiful installation based on a Midsummers Night’s Dream, featuring golden beds with painted quotations, stunning gardens and blossoming orchards.
This free event is perfect for adventurous children as they follow a magical trail to find fairy houses hidden away in the trees.
It’s also a great opportunity to get your kids dressed up as enchanting woodland themed characters, to really spark their imaginations.
Visit the Aquarium or the Planetarium
When: Open daily 10am-5pm
Blast off on a journey through time and space with the World Museum’s brilliant Planetarium exhibition.
This wonderful free event helps kids learn all about the Universe, with fun space facts, friendly friends like Astronaut George and loads of great activities for all the family.
Or maybe you’re more into your fish? The World Museum also offers a delightful underwater experience in their Aquarium section.
The aquarium combines fish from Australia to Anglesey with the very latest technology, you’ll be able to see a variety of fish from tropical, mangrove and native.
Be immersed in a watery world of wonder!
Spend the Morning at a Farmers Market
When: The 4th Saturday of every month
If you’re looking for a relaxing free day out, perusing a farmer’s market on a beautiful summers morning sounds about right.
Make your way down to Lark Lane on the fourth Saturday of the month and be treated to an array of butchers, baristas, cheese mongers, chocolatiers and much more.
You’ll be able to have a look through some beautiful craft work and paintings, smell the sweet delights of freshly baked bread and cakes and see some gorgeous plants and flower arranging.
It’s a great opportunity to support local business, plus lots of these stalls will offer free tasters of their products, so you can really indulge!
Have a Kick About on the Waterfront
When: Monday 24th July – Friday 11th August
Are your kids footy fanatics? Well a huge artificial football pitch is coming to the Albert Dock this summer and coaching is absolutely free!
That’s right, boys and girls of all ages and abilities are invited to drop by and join in with the action, pre-booking isn’t required.
Everton in the Community and the LFC Foundation have teamed up to launch Summer Football on the Dock.
Children will be able to learn basic skills and drills, as well as the chance to see what its like to play in the disability team.
Get your football boots on and get practising!
Head to the Pier Head Village
When: 30th June – September
The Pier Head Village has already kicked off, but don’t fear, it’s sticking around until September!
A summer long festival that features a brilliant mix of live music, street animation, food and drink outlets and a whole host of family-friendly activities including crazy golf, bungee jumping and Segway rides, the kids will love Pier Head.
Set on Liverpool’s stunning waterfront, this festival will deliver a programme of world-class entertainment, locally-sourced street food and artisan markets, high flying thrill rides and activity based family entertainment.
Pier Head Village is a celebration of independent city brands and showcases the beauty of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Go to a Free Event at LEAF
When: Most weeks
LEAF on Bold Street is a well known haven for all things cultural, plus they have an excellent choice of teas.
With regular free gigs, open MIC nights and an evening called Ignite, in which people are invited to enlighten the audience with a 5 minute presentation on a subject of their choice, this quirky cafe is a great place to bring the kids.
The atmosphere is always very friendly and relaxed and the food is delicious.
Enjoy Liverpool International Music Festival
When: 20th-23rd July
Set in the beautiful Sefton Park, with stages at the Palm House and surrounding areas, LIMF is back for its fifth year to celebrate all things music.
A wonderful family day out, this brilliant free festival features a mixture of home-grown talent, up and coming acts and household names, you’ll be treated to sets from Gorgon City, Corinne Bailey Rae, Katy B, Kate Nash and many more.
There is also a special family zone which will play host to a range of exciting activities including, face painting, a beach area, human sized traditional games, a comfy story tent for relaxing and plenty of performers.
Get the kids dancing to the eclectic music on the main stage or why not try out the silent disco or treat their ears to a performance from an orchestra, Liverpool International Music Festival is perfect for all of the family.
Explore the Cathedrals
Liverpool is home to not just one but two spectacular Cathedrals and they are a fabulous place to take the kids.
Walk towards Hope Street and you’ll come across the breath-taking Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, or ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ as its affectionately known by the locals.
You can explore the majestic exteriors and interiors of the Grade II* listed building for free, join in a service, take a guided tour or even catch a live show, which is nothing short of spectacular.
Don’t forget to look up and marvel at the stunning stained glass windows which make up the roof.
After that, walk down Hope Street and you will come across Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Britain’s biggest and the 5th largest in Europe.
The grounds surrounding the Cathedral are great for a stroll and you can take in the huge site whilst you do it.
Dance at Liverpool Pride
When: 29th July- 30th July
This wonderful festival returns to Liverpool for another weekend of colourful fun and festivities.
At the heart of this vibrant event is the famous Pride March which attracts thousands of people to the streets of Liverpool, but the entire festival runs over two days, with a number of amazing events.
This year the festival welcomes Atomic Kitten to headline, with stages covering various venues around the city including St George’s Hall Plateau, St John’s Gardens and William Brown Street.
The theme of this summer’s festival will centre around International Love, with Pride organisers looking to work with partners, businesses and Merseyside’s twin towns and cities to help spread the message far and wide.
It’s a brilliant, free day out.
See the Iron Men at Crosby Beach
One of the best free things to do with the kids this summer is visit a beach and there’s no better beach to soak up the scouse sunshine than Crosby.
Stretching 2.5 miles, your little ones will easily be kept occupied with the sand, sea, shells and sculptures.
Anthony Gormley’s famous Iron Men stand proud all along the beach, in total there are 100 cast-iron figures spread along three kilometres of the shoreline.
They’re great for taking a selfie with!
Have a Ball at KidsFest
When: 20th August
A brilliant festival first launched in 2015 to honour the short life of James Bulger, KidsFest has a packed programme of family fun that will keep the kids entertained all day.
Set in Stanley Park, this year the festival will include a main stage programme of entertainment for children of all ages and a toddler and pre-school area for mini festivalgoers.
Other attractions will include fairground rides and a bouncy castle world, a Royal Marines assault course and a giant dart ball game.
There will also be a balloon artist creating larger than life-size balloon sculptures, a zip wire, kid’s cookery classes, a mini food festival, yoga, sport, soft play and planting workshops.
Organisers have promised that this year’s festival will be the best and biggest yet.
Visit Rice Lane Farm
When: Open 10am-3.30pm everyday
Boasting 24 acres of beautiful countryside and a range of animals, from pigs, red cattle, sheep, goats and ponies, Rice Lane Farm is the perfect summers day out.
You and the kids can learn all about animal husbandry, farm skills and crafts at this unique farming experience within the city of Liverpool.
Meet farmyard favourites in the petting area, explore the nature trail and run wild on the adventure playground.
If they don’t go straight to sleep after a visit to Rice Lane Farm, we’ll be very surprised.
Take a stroll down Liverpool’s Waterfront
One of the city’s most beautiful attractions is sitting right in the city centre, and you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket to experience it. We’re talking about the Liverpool waterfront, of course.
It looks fabulous in the sunshine or when it’s lit up in the evening, there’s no greater waterfront in the UK.
Marvel at the beauty of the Three Graces, the history of the Albert Dock or catch a glimpse of stunning buildings such as 30 James Street – which was RMS Titanic’s port of registry.
Don’t forget to stop and say hello to the Beatles statues on the Pier Head as well.
Slide Down a Sand Dune
When: When the sun is shining
The ultimate in free things to do with the kids this summer, head to Formby Beach and check out the amazing sand dunes.
Play hide and seek, make some sandcastles or search for some of the famous pre-historic footprints of animals and people from the distant past.
This beach is one of the most beautiful around and features loads of activities that are sure to be a firm favourite with the little ones.
This glorious beach is also surrounded by sweeping coastal pinewoods, so if it’s a hot day you can get some well needed shade.
Sample Some Food at Liverpool Makers Market
When: Saturday 29th July
Set to drop its anchor in the Albert Dock, the very first Makers Market is coming to Liverpool this summer.
This brand new pop up event will showcase award winning local food, drink, art, craft producers and vintage artisans, as well as music, performance, cookery demonstrations and activities for the mini market visitors.
This market is sure to get your taste buds tingling with foodie treats from Indian and Italian to succulent steaks, deli specialities, pizza, pasta and contemporary cuisine.
Or if you and your family prefer a bit of retail therapy, check out the unique collection of shops and pop-ups, including Nauticalia and new additions, Leather Satchel Co. and Utility.
African Blooms at the International Slavery Museum
When: Sunday 30th July and Thursday 17th August
If you’re looking for a fun, free and educational day out, look no further.
Get down to the International Slavery Museum near the Albert Dock and introduce your children to colourful a African world.
This free workshop, just for kids, encourages them to learn about the beauty of African flowers.
They will also get the chance to make their own colourful blooms to take home!
Spot a Red Squirrel
When: 9am-5.30pm everyday
Explore the beautiful woodlands surrounding Formby that are home to the rare native red squirrel on the Red Squirrel trail.
The woods near Formby are one of 17 red squirrel reserves in northern England; the reds are attracted by the large numbers of conifers, as they feed on the ripe pine cones.
They are very shy creatures, but if you’re lucky enough to see one, you’ll never forget how cute they are!
Go to a Gallery
When: 10am-5pm daily
Whether it’s the Tate, the Walker Gallery or maybe the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool’s art offerings are always impressive.
The Walker Gallery offers an Afternoon rhyme time for little artists with story telling and arts and crafts.
Or take a look at some modern art in the Tate on the Albert Dock. This gallery stages a changing programme of special exhibitions throughout the year, which bring together artworks from all over the world.
In recent years, artists featured in Tate Liverpool’s special exhibitions have included Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Claude Monet.
All of these are worth a visit with the kids.
Enjoy a Walk Along Otterspool Promenade
Enjoy a fantastic riverside walk along Otterspool Promenade in Aigburth and stroll along the banks of the River Mersey.
You can wander through the narrow footpath or cycle to the Albert Dock along the cycleway, it offers one of the most beautiful sunsets in Liverpool.
Children can also spend hours of fun at the spacious children’s playground, and you can enjoy a spot of kite flying on the hills and parkland.
Find the Japanese Garden in Calderstones Park
When: Open everyday
As soon as the sun begins to shine, you have to make a visit to Calderstones with the kids.
This spectacular park stretches across 94 acres and features stunning grassy field, a secret Japanese garden and the Harthill Botanical Gardens.
You can also take a trip along to The Mansion House, which features a gallery, café, tennis courts, a lake and a child-friendly play area.
Merseyside Maritime Museum
When: 10am-5pm everyday
Boats, paintings, ship models, ship wrecked objects, uniforms and more bring Liverpool’s nautical history to life in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Discover the city’s pivotal role as the gateway to the new world with highlights including the Life at Sea display, telling the story of the merchant navy and the story of Liverpool’s role in The Battle of the Atlantic during World War Two.
They also hold regular free activity days including the bees knees, featuring buzzy bee related crafts.
Or kids can meet polar the titanic bear, based on a story originally written by Titanic survivor Daisy Corning Stone Spedden for her son, Douglas, this magical story will have your children mesmerised.
It’s official, Liverpool has it all! Stunning architecture, amazing attractions, fun and free events and some pretty amazing people.
If you think we’ve missed anything off our best free things to do with the kids this summer, let us know in the comments.
Still looking for summery activities? Check out our guide to the best family friendly activities in Merseyside.