Best free days out in the South of England

Grab yourself a cream tea and head down south!

White Cliffs of Dover

by Lorna White |

Whether you live in the South of England or you’re heading down for a weekend getaway there’s plenty of free activities you can get up to. From scenic walking routes, to museums, cathedrals and beaches, there’s a whole host of things to get up to!

Walk-about Bath

Take a free, two-hour walking tour in beautiful Bath with a knowledgeable local guide. Tours take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm and take in sites including the Roman baths, the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey. Donations welcome.

Call 0207 558 8706 or visit the website [here](www.footprints-tours.comours.com).

Visit Gloucester Cathedral

More than 300,000 people all over the world come to visit this medieval Cathedral which has also been used in two of the Harry Potter films, The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.

Visit the website here. SAT NAT: GL1 2LX

The Forest of Dean

Symonds Yat
©Getty

Another must-see if you're heading down Gloucestershire-way. The Forest has many visitor sites, including Symonds Yat (which gives stunning views over the River Wye and beyond) and Beechenhurst, which is brilliant for families, with an activity and sculpture trail. It's also been the home for many film locations, including Harry Potter, Star Wars and The Secret Garden to name a few!

Visit the website here.

Purton Ships Graveyard

Again, if you're in the Cotswolds then this intriguing graveyard is well worth a visit. Just 1/2 a mile north of the port of Sharpness you'll find the remains of large ships and boats that were purposely abandoned to help reinforce the river bank.

Visit the website here****. SAT NAT: GL13 9HU

Oxford Museum of Natural History

The award-winning museum was established in 1860 and is a great option for families. It includes the world's first scientifically described dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and the world-famous Oxford Dodo.

Visit the website here.

The Marconi Centre, Poldhu, Cornwall

If you’re a fan of the radio, you have a lot to thank the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi for. Visit the Marconi Centre, in Poldhu, Cornwall, the site where he transmitted the first radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901. Watch a video, see the ruins of the old transmitter building and take a self-guided tour.

Call 01326 241656 SAT NAV: TR12 7JB

Marconi Hut
©National Trust - David Sellman

The South Downs

If some stunning scenery is what you're after then enjoy a ramble in the South Downs National Park, which is perfect for cycling, hiking or a picnic. Look for the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters and the 19th Century corn windmills at Clayton.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: BN1 8EJ

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral is a 900-year-old beauty that boasts an impressive collection of 20th Century paintings, sculptures and glass.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: PO19 1PX

Rochester Cathedral

Rochester Cathedral has been a site of worship since 604 AD and has a refurbished medieval crypt. Guided tours are also available for £4pp.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: ME1 1SX

Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral is one of the UK’s newest cathedrals – hilarious when you consider it dates back to 1223 and some of its stonework is Norman! It's located in the heart of the city, but on entering you'll notice an immediate sense of peace.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: CM1 1TY

Redwings Ada Cole Rescue Centre

Donkey's

Visit the UK’s largest horse sanctuary in Nazeing, Essex and make some four-legged friends. Home to more than 70 horses, ponies and Del Boy the donkey, the Redwings Ada Cole Rescue Centre offers walking tours and horse-care demonstrations. There’s a café and gift shop on site too.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: EN9 2DH

Cheddar Gorge

Look out for a gang of wild goats, roaming free over the glorious Cheddar Gorge. These hungry creatures are great at keeping the scrub away and preserving the stunning views. Other wild residents include Soay sheep, horseshoe bats, peregrine falcons, dormice and rare plants such as the Cheddar pink and rock stonecrop. For a four-mile walking route, pop into the National Trust information centre or download from the National Trust website.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: BA5 3BT

Cheddar Gorge
©National Trust - Ross Hoddinott

Bournemouth Beach

Rated the top beach in the UK back in 2019, Bournemouth Beach is well worth a visit if you love golden sands. It's 7 miles long and there's over 250 cute, multi-coloured beach huts for hire if you plan on spending the whole day there.

Visit the website here.

Brighton Fishing Museum

The perfect place for an insight into Brighton's rich fishing history. There you'll find photos, films and a traditional fishing boat.

Visit the website here. SATNAV: BN1 1NB

The Shoe Museum, Somerset

This museum is home to more than 1,500 pairs of shoes dating back to Roman times and a history of the Clark family. You'll even find the last made for Princess Diana’s wedding slipper, a replica of the shoes worn by the Queen when she married Prince Philip and shoes designed by Joanna Lumley.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: BA16 0EQ

Godolphin manor, Helston, Cornwall

Cornish gardens

The National Trust’s Godolphin has a glorious manor house and gardens, but the wider estate is yours to explore for free. Climb the hill (a haven for the endangered small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly) to enjoy views down to the coast and look out for evidence of the mineral mining that took place here from the 16th Century. Parking charges apply.

Visit the website here or call 01736 763194 SAT NAV: TR13 9RE

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Torpoint, Cornwall

Wander the Grade I listed Mount Edgcumbe Country Park for 865 acres of unspoilt parkland. As well as the landscape itself, there are 55 listed structures from a viaduct and ice house to a deer house and a Holy Well. It’s also home to the National Collection of camellias and more than 100 tree species. The park is free, charges apply for the house and gardens.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: PL10 1HZ

Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth, Cornwall

These gardens have been making people smile since 1907. They are set out formally with a rose garden and a secret grotto, plus lovely views of Pendennis Castle and Gyllyngvase beach. Make sure to check the events’ listings for the Princess Pavilion while you’re there, as there are often (paid- for) concerts.

Visit the website here. SAT NAV: TR11 4AR

Popular articles to read next

The best afternoon tea experiences in the UK

Free days out in Wales

Free days out in the Midlands

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us