Activities – things to do for free or cheap

A brief note on finance:

Big Sibs is run on a very tight budget and so where possible volunteers will engage in activities with Little Sibs that do not cost any money. Please see below for a list of ideas. If you come across new free activities that are not included in the activities below please let us know. If the parent would like to pay for the volunteer and child to take part in an activity this is acceptable and you do not need authorisation to do so as long as you carry out a quick risk assessment to ensure you are covered by our insurance.

If you feel your Little Sib would particularly benefit from a particular activity that the parent is not able to pay for then this can be discussed with the SCA office ( but authorisation must be given in advance (this excludes the Sat / Sun 10am cinema showings which are only £1 and we will always refund this, see below for details). SCA reserve the right to refuse refunding expenses if authorisation has not been given in advance.

Student Community Action will ALWAYS refund any out of pocket travel expenses for the volunteers to get to and from Sib visits. Where possible volunteers will keep this to a minimum, preferably using a bike / walking or if not a bus. Taxis will only be refunded if used in an emergency or agreed in advance. To be refunded you must keep the receipts and bring them to the SCA office during the hours of 1-4pm weekdays.

Student Community Action will organise regular trips and parties for Big Sibs to bring their Little Sibs along to. We will not charge anything for these events although parents are welcome to give a donation. Your Big Sib leader will keep you informed of these events but you must let the SCA office know if you intend to participate so we keep a record of the numbers.

Things to do for free

Things to do for cheap

Seasonal events

Things to do for free

Bring your Little Sib to Bounce!

An SCA run free sports club on Saturday afternoons at the Squeaky Gate (next to the Box Cafe) on Norfolk Street. Term time only, 2pm – 4pm.

Visit a museum

(check the website for opening times, exact location, and to learn more about the exhibitions)

Visit the city library in the Lion Yard

Fully accessible to all, this is a fantastic resource. The library has a children’s book section and good range of videos, DVDs and CDs for hire. There is also a supply of books in foreign languages, an on-site cafe as well as computers, printers, fax machines and photocopiers which can be used for a small charge. Any Cambridge resident can become a member for free – you just need to take along proof of address.
For the opening hours, check the website:…

Let off some steam at a playground or a park

  • Alexandra gardens – Carlyle Road, CB4
    Small park with a bowling green and play area the small play area has a playhouse, swings and springers for the under 6’s and a climb net for older children.
  • Arbury Court play area – Arbury Road, CB4
    Next to the shopping centre, this small green area has a tower, swings, and trim trail for small children and a modular climb unit, nest swing and rotating items for older children.
  • Arbury Town park – Campkin Road, CB4
    Large recreation space. Situated behind the Arbury Community Centre. There is a car park nearby.
  • Brooks Road play area
    Springys, a slide and swings suitable for all ages
  • Cherry Hinton Hall park
    Two small paddling pools, one of which is specifically aimed at the very young toddlers. Aerial runway, climbers, group swing, springers, slide, tower unit, disabled kit and space net for older children. Small play area for very young children
  • Cherry Hinton recreation ground, Cherry Hinton Road
    Two football pitches, all ages play area with a climbing frame, skateboard ramp, swings and a slide
  • Chesterton recreation ground
    Two pitches. For the under-6’s there is a climber, swings and springys and for older children there is a skate ramp, and climber swings.
  • Chestnut Grove recreation ground
    Climber, swings, and see saw for all ages
  • Christ’s Pieces
    Toilets with disabled facilities. Four free tennis courts that are very popular in the summer. Play area for the under 6’s with swings, climber, springys, and graphics.
  • Coleridge recreation ground
    Football field, tennis courts and children’s playground.
  • Ditton Fields Recreation Ground
    Basketball court.
  • Dudley Road recreation ground
    Skate ramp, modular unit, swings, spinning unit and springys suitable for all ages
  • Flower Street play area
    Swings and a cabin slide.
  • Green End Road recreation ground
    For younger children’s there is a town climber and springys and for older children a runway, climbing net, and swings. Outdoor gym equipment.
  • Gunhild Close play area
    Slide, swings, springys, and a modular unit, timber goals.
  • Histon Road recreation ground
    Climber, swings and springys for younger children, and runway, football goals, modular climber and rest swing for older children
  • Holbrook Road Recreation Ground
    Climber, goal end and springys
  • Jesus Green – Victoria Avenue
    Toilet block with disabled facilities. Outdoor swimming pool open from May to September (check for opening times). Six tennis courts on the park, two of which are tarmac and four that are grass. Play area caters for children of all ages and is based on the theme of railways, the younger children can play on the railway engine itself with its wagon, a mini roundabout, spring tractor, cradle seat swings, and agility climber, while the older children can use up their energies on net climber, group swing or slide
    When the outdoor pool is operational, the tennis courts need to be hired and bookings can be made at the outdoor pool or by calling 01223 302579. During the closed season, October through to April, only the tarmac courts are available and can be used free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.
  • King’s Hedges recreation ground
    ‘The Pulley’ play area has children’s play equipment – swings, modular climbers, springys, trim trail, goals, sliders – for all ages. Learner pool.
  • Lammas Land – Fen Causeway/ Newnham Road
    For young children there are springys and toner units and for older children a space net, climbers, swings, and a toner climber. The play area is close to a large shallow paddling pool. Hard surface tennis court, public toilets. There are large areas of mown grass, which are ideal for picnics and sun bathing.
  • Lichfield Road play area
    Suitable for all ages with swings, springys and climbing unit
  • Nightingale recreation ground
    Four pitches, bowling green: for younger children there’s a springy, climber, slide and spinner and for older children, a runway, swings, spica, and rotating unit
  • Nuns Way recreation ground
    Two football pitches, sand play and a climber for small children. High nets, spinners and running area for big children
  • Petersfield – Mill Road/ East Road
    All ages play area
  • Peverel Road play area
    Springy, climber and swings
  • Ravensworth Gardens play area
    Springys and swings
  • Riley Way play area
    Springys and a slide. This play area is suitable for younger children.
  • Romsey Recreation Ground – Vinery Road, CB1
    This is a public park with children’s playground.
  • Scotland Road recreation ground
    Springy climber and swings for younger children, basketball half court for older children
  • Shelly Row play area
    Springy, swing, tot town climber for small children
  • St Albans Road recreation ground
    Football pitch, basketball, skateboard ramp, play area for the under 6’s with a springy, trim trail, swings, runway, MUGA (Multi Use Game Area) and mobiles
  • St Matthew’s Piece
    For young children there are springys, swings and a climber, for older children a modular climber, nest swing and a basketball half court
  • St Thomas Square play area
    Seesaw, swings and a slide
  • Stourbridge Common, Off Riverside and Newmarket Road
    Large open space that leads you right out into the country following the river. Good children’s playground near Stanley Road entrance. Cows and horses graze on the land here.
  • Tenby Close play area
    All ages with springys and a slide
  • Tennison Road/Ravensworth Gardens play area
    For older children: a tower unit, swings and a springy. For younger children springys and swings. This play area is located on a roof garden.
  • Thorpe Way/Fison Road play area
    Climber, swings and trim trail for younger children, and for older children there are toners, rotating units, swings, a surf rider, runway and full ball court, fitness zone and climbing boulders
  • Woodhead Drive play area
    Swing and a slide

Visit a nature reserve

  • Bramblefields provides an idyllic haven in the midst of a residential area. Along with its importance for birds, especially Song Thrushes, it is a brilliant site for families to visit. It is a place of discovery, with a mixture of grassland and scrub and also contains a pond in which newts, frogs and other pondlife can be spotted.
    Location of Bramblefields
  • Logan’s Meadow is a small site located next to the River Cam and is an oasis for nature within a recently developed area of the city. The site is a great place to get away from it all in the heart of the city with a circular path and benches along the banks of the river. Previously used by Otters, the proposed management objectives will help re-create their favoured habitat.
    Location of Logan’s Meadow
  • Barnwell East: A circular path around the reserve provides an excellent walk at any time of year, highlights being the Bee Orchid in early summer and the beauty of the changing colours in autumn.
    Location of Barnwell East
  • Barnwell West provides an important wildlife corridor along Coldham’s Brook and is used by a variety of birds including Kingfishers and Nightingales. Dominated by scrub, the reserve is being managed to try and increase the number of insects for young Nightingales. Water Voles have previously been recorded at the site and efforts are being made to continue to improve their habitat. A linear path provides an opportunity to observe the Brook and wander under the Hawthorn canopy whilst listening out for the sharp whistle of the Kingfisher.
    Location of Barnwell West (it’s not marked as Nature Reserve, but basically it’s the path that runs along the river)
  • Paradise: This pleasant woodland contains a central marsh area, wet woodland and a number of riverside mature willows. A newly installed boardwalk has improved access to the site but flooding is common in the winter and some paths may become difficult. Paradise is aptly named and should be included on you walk by the river.
    Location of Paradise
  • The undulating terrain of Limekiln Close and West Pit LNR are unique to Cambridge’s usually flat landscape. Previously quarries. Access to both sites has recently been improved with the installation of more steps. Probably the best time to visit the sites is in the summer when species such as Meadow Cranesbill are in flower, however a visit at any time of year is enjoyable.
    Location of Limekiln Close and West Pit LNR
  • Byron’s Pool: This pleasant woodland site offers a lovely circular walk next to the River Cam where Kingfishers and Grey Wagtails can be seen on the weir. The site also contains a number of small ponds, which are managed for the benefit of amphibians.
    Location of Byron’s Pool
  • Nine Wells is a historically important site containing several chalk springs, which form the source of the Hobson Conduit. Nine Wells once contained some rare freshwater invertebrates, however following the drought of 1976 these were lost. Today the chalk watercourses are being managed with the aim of re-creating the conditions favourable for a possible re-introduction of these rare species.
    Location of Nine Wells

Things to do for cheap

See a movie on a weekend

At the weekend both local cinemas offer children’s films at £1.75 (Vue, showings on Saturday and Sunday) or £1 (Cineworld, showing only on Saturday) per person for their 10am showings. You will need to check their websites to see which films are on as you only get a choice of one. These films have usually due for release on DVD so have been around for a few months but are brilliant value.

Visit the Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden runs events throughout the year.
For more information and list of upcoming events visit:

Join the Cambridge Community Circus
Cambridge Community Circus offers weekly workshops for children aged 7 or over.
The one which is most appropriate for children is the Beginners Juggling Workshop (Sundays, 4pm-6pm)[Please check their website for up-to-date session details]. All the sessions take place at the City Life Building, exactly the same place as Bounce! (see map, link to be added). The cost is £2 per hour.

Seasonal events

Most of the events listed below take place every year. If the links aren’t working, just google the name of the event together with “Cambridge” – this should give you the information you need.

ChYPPS Reccy Sessions – school holidays & half term

During school holidays/ half term etc, free outdoor activities are organised by Cambridge City Council’s Children and Young People’s Participation Service. Try looking on to find the latest sessions.

Twilight at the Museums – early February
Hugely popular annual evening event sees Museums turning down their lights, running special family events and trails, and encouraging torchlight exploration.

Science Festival – March
A variety of free interactive events exploring aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics available to visitors of all ages.

THE BIG DRAW – October

Launched as a one-day event in 2000, The Big Draw is now an annual month-long festival of over one thousand events across the UK. Every October, museums, galleries, heritage sites, libraries, schools and parks join in – inviting people of all ages to discover how drawing can connect them with their surroundings and the wider community.
For more information, and to find this year’s events, please visit

Festival of Ideas – October
The Festival is a celebration of the arts, humanities and social sciences with dozens of free performances, taster sessions, film screenings, workshops and exhibitions.

Bonfire Night Fireworks – Early November

Bonfire Night Fireworks take place on Midsummer Common. Check the internet / local newspaper for information about exact timing etc.

Mill Road Winter Fair – early December
Takes place on the first Saturday of December on Mill Road.