A daughter is feeding her father sandwiches in a cafe

15 places kids eat free or cheaply this summer

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox

Finding ways to keep the kids entertained through the summer holiday can be challenging at the best of times.

This year, though, the challenge for many parents isn’t just finding fun activities, it’s keeping the cost as low as possible. And, this can be easier said than done!

We’ve gathered the details of 15 restaurant or café chains where kids can eat for £1 or less this summer, so you can give them a budget-friendly treat.

Asda

Children aged 16 or under can eat for just £1 at any time of day in Asda’s cafes. Depending on the store, a hot or cold meal option will be available – some cafes may be offering both. Babies can also benefit from the offer and enjoy a free pouch of Ella’s Kitchen baby food in their local Asda café.

This is a great offer, but the best bit is undoubtedly that adults don’t have to buy any food or drink for themselves for their children to be able to get a cheap meal.

When and where? All Asda cafes from July 25th until the end of the year.

Bella Italia

Kids can enjoy a three course meal and a drink for just £1 at Bella Italia this summer, as long as they’re dining in with at least one adult who has a main course. The children’s menu is suitable for 2-11 year olds, with different menus and portion sizes available depending on the age of your child.

When and where? Bella Italia restaurants nationwide, between 4pm and 6pm Monday – Thursday. Some exclusions do apply, and the offer may not be available at all restaurants during the Commonwealth Games.

Café Rouge

Treat your children to a taste of France at Café Rouge this summer, with two or three courses from the kid’s menu available for just £1 with every adult who buys a main course. This offer is available from 12pm daily and it’s worth bearing in mind that the adult has to eat from the A La Carte menu – this deal isn’t available on the set menu

When and where? Café Rouge restaurants nationwide (excluding Centre Parcs), from July 22nd until August 31st. This offer isn’t available on Saturdays, and may not be available at Café Rouge O2 or Café Rouge Cardiff St David’s on event days.

Dobbies garden centres

National garden centre chain Dobbies are also offering low-cost ways to feed the kids this summer. For each adult main meal purchased, your children can now get a meal of their choice from the kids’ lunch menu, or a pick ‘n’ mix lunch box meal, plus a drink, for free!

Some Dobbies garden centres have soft play for kids alongside their restaurants (for a small cost per child), making a visit a great family treat!

When and where? At Dobbies garden centres nationwide, from 12pm daily.

Dunelm

Kids can get a free mini-main, two snacks and a drink when you spend £4 or more in Dunelm’s in-store cafes this summer.

When and where? At Pausa Cafes, in-store at Dunelm from 27th June. Available nationwide.

Hungry Horse

Hungry Horse are here to make your summer holiday mornings epic, with free breakfast for children when they’re accompanied by a paying adult spending at least £3.49.

When and where? Hungry Horse pubs nationwide, from 8am till 12pm daily. Dates depend on when your county has their summer holidays – in Scotland the offer is available from July 4th until August 20th, and elsewhere the deal is available from July 22nd until September 4th.

IKEA

Throughout the summer, kids under 16 years old can enjoy a meal from the IKEA children’s menu for just 95p. Or, they can get a combo meal, which includes a hot meal, jelly, fruit and a drink, all for £1.50. The offer is available from 11am daily while stocks last. Although there’s no requirement for adults to buy food or drink to be eligible to get this offer, the deal is limited to one meal per child, per day.

When and where? IKEA cafes from July 11th until September 3rd. Availability may vary by store though, so do check your local store’s events to make sure you can get this offer before you make a special trip!

M&S

M&S are bringing back their Kids Eat Free offer for the summer! You’ll be able to get a free kids’ Munch Menu breakfast (until 11am) or lunch (11am onwards) when you spend £5 or more in one go on food or drink for adults.

Breakfast includes a freshly made hot meal like blueberry pancakes or dippy eggs and soldiers, and a drink. The lunch menu includes a freshly made hot meal like a jacket potato with beans and sausages or mini ham munchie rolls, a drink and a snack.

When and where? All M&S Cafes nationwide from July 25th until August 12th.

Morrisons

Kids under 16 can get a free meal from the children’s menu, including a piece of fruit and a drink in Morrisons Cafes at any time of day this summer. They will need to be with an adult who’s buying a meal for themselves, though, and the adult meal will need to cost at least £4.99.

When and where? All Morrisons Cafes nationwide, at any time of day.

The Real Greek

Fans of Greek food can get their fix for less this summer, with The Real Greek’s offer for kids to eat free. For every £10 spent by an adult, one child under the age of 12 can get a meal of their choice from the children’s menu, and an ice cream or sorbet for dessert, for free!

When and where? The Real Greek restaurants nationwide, on Sundays only.

Sizzling Pubs

If you fancy a midweek meal at a Sizzling Pub this summer, then you’ll be able to get it for less. For every adult meal bought, you’ll also get a main course from the kid’s menu for just £1. Options for children include fish fingers, pasta, chicken wraps, pizza and even vegetarian options like Birdseye Green Cuisine nuggets, so there’s bound to be something to suit even the fussiest eaters.

When and where? At 200+ Sizzling Pubs around the UK throughout the summer holidays. Weekdays only. Outside the summer holidays, kids can still eat free between 3pm and 7pm on weekdays.

Tesco

Tesco Clubcard holders can claim a free kids’ meal with any café purchase this summer. This means adults can spend as little as 60p to get a kid’s meal worth up to £3.25. The free children’s meals include breakfasts like beans, eggs or avocado on toast, hot meals like sausages, chicken goujons and fish fingers, and cold pick ‘n’ mix deals including a sandwich and snacks. All options come with either fruit or veg on the side and a soft drink.

When and where? Tesco Cafes nationwide from July 25th until August 26th.

Whitbread Inns

Whitbread are the company behind Table Table, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn, and all of these brands are offering free breakfasts for children with every adult breakfast bought this summer.

The adult breakfast is £9.50 per person for the all-you-can-eat cooked breakfast, or £7.50 per person for the continental-only option. With every adult breakfast purchased, two children aged 16 or younger can have whatever breakfast items they like – cooked or continental – for free.

When and where? Table Table, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, and Premier Inn restaurants nationwide, from 6:30am until 10:30am on weekdays and 7am until 11am at weekends.

Yo! Sushi

Yo! Sushi’s ‘after school club’ allows a child under 10 to eat for free when they’re accompanied by an adult spending at least £10 on themselves. The child’s meal must come from the children’s menu, and the deal is only available when you dine in.

When and where? Monday to Thursday from 3pm until 5:30pm at Yo! Sushi nationwide, until September 29th.

Go local

As well as the big, nationwide chains, remember to look out for local deals at smaller, independent restaurants and cafes, too.

For example, Angus Steak Club in London are offering free meals for children under 10 when they’re with a full paying adult, and Welsh chain S.A Brain & Co are also doing £1 kid’s meals on Wednesdays, when they’re purchased alongside a full price adult main meal.

Check out local groups, business social media pages and noticeboards to see if any of your local favourites are offering special deals through the summer!  

Looking for more ideas for free fun this summer? Try these activities on days when the weather is against you!

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox

A daughter is feeding her father sandwiches in a cafe A daughter is feeding her father sandwiches in a cafe