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15 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Autumn

09.11.2020 by Jack H


It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year - the leaves are all turning fiery colours of red, brown, and orange, the nights are getting longer, and the earth is cooling-down ready for the long winter sleep. What’s not to love?

A Tough Few Months

Over the last few month - and now the next few weeks - it’s been a bit difficult to go out. For some of us that’s been quite easy - but for others, it’s been really hard to be cooped-up. That’s where free or cheap outings come in!

We understand where you’re coming from: many people are looking to save money this autumn for a variety of reasons. You may have lost your job due to COVID, or you’re looking to be a little bit less frivolous with the money just in case. There are many reasons why people want to save money, and thankfully this is probably the best time of year to start!

Something for Everyone

If you’re looking for some free or very cheap things to do in autumn, keep reading.

We have gathered together some fantastic things to do, whether you’re an outdoor lover and want to get your hands dirty, or if you’re an indoor lover who enjoys the solitude, there’s definitely something on this list for you.

We haven’t forgotten the families either; there are plenty of things for the kids to enjoy, especially things that will tire them out so mum and dad can have some peace on those long autumnal evenings indoors on the sofa.

We've also got many activities perfect for the new couples, or the been-together-forever couples looking for some new excitement.

Things to Do in Autumn (that are free or almost free)

1. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

What can be more fun than a scavenger hunt in autumn? Autumn provides some of the best natural hunting options for kids and adults alike.

Try switching it up a bit, one of you hunt for nuts and berries, the other leaves, and trees. As the leaves begin to turn all colours of fiery autumn, you might want to collect up your scavenger hunt spoils to make a nice display at home (read on for decoration ideas).

2. Build a Den

While you are outside, why not hone your den-making skills? Join the kids in heading into your local woodlands and forage for the perfect building material to build a den to protect from oncoming pirates and marauders,.

Getting dirty in the great outdoors lets kids gain an appreciation for nature, and it also builds their immune systems up. Dirt is good!

3. Visit the Beach

Beaches are for summertime, right? Wrong! The roar of the autumnal waves is a sight to be seen, and a big bonus is that many beaches will allow you to take the dog right up to the waves during the ‘off-season’.

Autumn tides can be a bit fiercer than summer tides, so it is worth taking note, especially if you're taking the kids for some rock pooling. And if you’ve got a dog who likes to swim, a life jacket and a warm blanket afterwards wouldn’t go amiss either.

4. Have a Home Movie Night

Don’t fancy spending time in nature? The weather can be a bit unpredictable in autumn, so why not snuggle up on the sofa and practice some hygge with a nice indoor movie night? Popcorn kernels are very cheap to buy, so load up on sweets and treats and sit in front of your favourite film with some nice warm blankets.

Need some ideas? Check out this list of the best kids and family movies. And don't forget many streaming sites offer a free trial. Just don't forget to cancel before the trial period ends!

5. Visit a Deer Park

Autumn is the start of rutting season, meaning a rare chance to see stags compete in fierce mating battles. Make sure you're watching from a safe distance though, as the fighting can get quite intense, and you don't want to be standing too close! It's also important to make sure dogs are on leads. Rutting is most active after dawn, so make sure you get there early. You can see a list of Deer Parks on the British Deer Society website.

6. Learn A New Skill

If you’re facing the prospect of a few long rainy nights indoors, why not put your time to better use and learn a new skill?

YouTube is a wealth of knowledge, and you can learn practically anything from how to knit a scarf, right up to how to speak another language. What better way to spend a cold dark night than broadening your horizons and adding to your future skillset?

7. Explore A New Bike Trail

Are you feeling the lockdown load? Why not dust-off that old mountain bike and explore some of your local trails?

Google Maps has plenty of cycle routes, and there are plenty of free apps and maps online to show you some of the best cycle routes in your local area.

If you’re not much into biking, there are plenty of routes for walkers too, and after the lockdown - you might even end up at a nice cosy pub for warming drink by a roaring fire.

8. Make A Blackberry and Apple Pie

While you’re outside on your bike, why not pick some blackberries and apples ready for dessert? Autumn is prime season for the late summer and autumnal fruits such as apples, blackberries, raspberries, and all kinds of other fruits.

If you’re feeling brave, why not bust out a copy of Food for Free and go foraging with the family?

9. Get into Geocaching

Would you believe us if we told you there was a huge network of people across the globe who are, right at this moment in time, playing a massive game of treasure hunt?

No? Then you’ve never heard of geocaching! Geocaching has been around for decades and involves little boxes of things hidden across the world; usually, this is a tiny plastic tub that contains a notebook, and the fun is in trying to find the little tub and get your name on the paper.

Getting started couldn’t be simpler! Just go to your app store and download some geocaching apps to get started and we get there’s a few in your local area.

10. Make Autumn Home Decorations

Autumn has to be one of the prettiest times of the year, and many people begin to decorate their houses with pumpkins and Halloween inspired decor, but why don’t you try making some?

Natural leaves and branches make for wonderful decorations and washed out jars with tea lights can add to the mood!

11. Play an AR Game on Foot

What is an AR game? Augmented Reality is like virtual reality except it uses your location and adds CGI characters or other things (buildings, plants, etc.) onto it via your phone’s screen.

There are lots of popular AR games, the most famous being Pokémon Go, but there are also a host of more adult inspired games (still safe for under 18s!) like Ingress, which can turn your local area into a virtual battleground!

12. Experiment with Hot Chocolate Recipes

What's better after a long walk in the cold outdoors than coming home to a hot mug of hot chocolate? Or even during if you bring a thermos! Opt for something a bit more exciting than four spoons of instant cocoa - try adding real chocolate and mixing some warming spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Get some extras like marshmallows, whipped cream and maple syrup and you can have a family tasting session to see who can make the best tasting drink!

~After The Lockdown~

Hopefully, things will be going a bit more back to normal at the beginning of December, and when they do, there are a few indoor events worth checking out:

13. Visit an Acoustic Night

Are you tired of being indoors and you’re itching to get out? Once we’re all allowed out again, and the pubs are allowed to open, why not visit a local acoustic night?

These nights are usually free to enter, and there’s usually a great atmosphere between the players and the audience. Snuggle into a cosy corner booth with a pint of pale ale whilst listening to someone gently serenade you with their version of Oasis’ Wonderwall.

14. Visit A Museum

A huge building filled with natural wonders of the world, or a tiny backroom stuffed with treasures from faraway lands, visiting a museum is a great thing to do during the autumn months.

Most museums are inside, although there are a few open-air museums that are great fun the visit. They range from natural histories such as dinosaurs and fossils to science, and even the rich history of Kings and Queens past like King Richard III, the Last of the Plantagenets and Queen Victoria, the Queen who oversaw the Industrial Revolution.

Be captured by the stories and the sights of the past at your local museum; most are fairly cheap of not free to enter, especially for kids.

15. Visit Your Local Theatre

Many theatres have been left in dire straits over the last few months and, as the Red Alert campaign showed us, they could do with your help and support once they are allowed to open again.

Visiting a theatre can be a little more expensive. Still, you can mitigate the cost by using public transport and not buying the expensive snacks during the interval, and you’ll be helping out a sector that needs it after the pandemic.

We hope you enjoyed this huge list of suggestions for things to do for free or very cheap in autumn, it’s one of the best times of year because it’s usually still warm enough to be outside enjoying the change of season, but coming indoors feels perfectly cosy and warm too.

As the world begins to open up again, there are plenty of things we can still do whilst being distanced from others, and many things we can look forward to doing that will support our local businesses and community in these hard times ahead.