Queen Victoria Square in Hull
There are plenty of free and low cost events for all the family this Christmas holidays

Free and low-cost family friendly activities this Christmas holidays

With the Christmas holidays almost upon us, keeping the kids entertained for two-and-a-half weeks isn’t always easy.

Add in the fact that days can be expensive and that the nation is in the middle of a cost of living crisis, it could make life difficult for some families.

To help ease those worries, Hull City Council has compiled a list of just some of the many free or low-cost activities taking place within the city for all the family this Christmas holidays.

There’s everything from live music, museums, workshops and holiday camps, enough to keep everyone entertained.

Trinity Live

The final instalment of Trinity Live at Trinity Market will take place on Thursday 22 December. The evening begins at 6pm, when you will find great live music, tasty food and welcoming crowds.

The weekly live music event has been ongoing since September and gives a platform to many local bands and performers.

As well as the live music, various different market traders support the event by serving up their diverse selection of food and drink.

Enjoy the music, the food, bars and shopping all on offer in the heart of the Old Town – all for free!

Queen Victoria and Hull

Queen Victoria is one of the most recognisable British monarchs across the world and her name is seen throughout the streets of Hull.

An exhibition at Ferens Art Gallery is celebrating Queen Victoria’s relationship with Hull, telling the tale of Victorian Hull and showcasing the long-lasting relationship the throne has with the city.

At the heart of the exhibition, an ongoing partnership with The Royal Collection Trust brings Queen Victoria’s Jewel-Cabinet to Hull, generously lent by His Majesty The King.

This Victorian masterpiece, designed by Ludwig Grüner, was commissioned as a gift from her husband Prince Albert.

It was an important exhibit at the nation’s Great Exhibition of 1851, a celebration of Victorian advancement and cultural sophistication.

Queen Victoria’s Jewel-Cabinet marks the fourth of five exceptional works of art from the Royal Collection to go on display at Ferens Art Gallery as part of the Masterpieces in Focus from the Royal Collection series.

The Queen Victoria exhibition will showcase Hull’s Royal Charters, affectionately known as Hull’s birth certificates, generously lent by Hull History Centre.

Visitors will also see Victorian costume and artefacts from across Hull Museums’ collections. The event is free and opens daily from 10am.

Lord Mayor’s Christmas Tree Festival 2022

Come along to Hull Minster and enjoy the wonderful display of decorated Christmas Trees.
Each tree is decorated or sponsored by a local business.
The Lord Mayor’s Christmas Tree Festival ends on Saturday 17 December, but until then, families can visit for free daily from 10am.

Kings Christmas Children’s Party

Come and join us to celebrate Christmas on Sunday 18 December with an afternoon of party games, festive fun and special guests.

Open from noon, entertainment is from 12:30-2:30pm, with games are aimed at under-10s, but all the family are welcome to Kings at 41 Market Place.

All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are £5 for adults and £1 for children, plus £1 booking fee.

Santa’s Workshops

Children will be guided by experts to learn how to make beautiful Christmas decorations in one-hour workshops at Hepworth Arcade on Silver Street.

The first will be on Saturday 17 December, when they will have the chance to create Christmas bunting, while on Sunday 18 December, they can design Santa Pants Sweet Pots.

It’s a fun, interactive session where children can learn how to make different Christmas-related decorations!

The workshops are suitable for children aged five and above and cost £2 per child, with accompanying adults not requiring a ticket. You can book your place here.

Free holiday camps and activities

The Healthy Holidays programme is back with a bang, with activity sessions starting on Monday 19 December. In total, 350 sessions will be held over the break – all are free, open to all and include a nutritious food offer.

They take place across the city and include free bookable holiday camps, swimming, ice skating, sports, theatre workshops, go-karting, dance, family-friendly events and so much more!

There are sessions for all ages and a range of SEND-specific activities. Visit healthyholidayshull.org for full details, including session times and booking info.

There’s also a full programme of free activities from Hull Culture and Leisure (HCAL), including float and splash sessions for those aged five to 11 on Wednesdays 21 and 28 December from 2.15-3.15pm.

Places are limited, so booking is essential. Accompanying adults pay £1. Short indoor family tennis sessions are at Woodford on Tuesday 20 and Thursday 22 December at £1 per adult, with children free, and England Netball leads a free camp at Ennerdale Leisure Centre on Tuesday 20 December for those aged eight to 12, with food included.

In addition to these programmes, throughout the Christmas break, the Animal Education Centre in East Park will be hosting several free and low-cost activities for families, including a Christmas trail, zookeeper talks and Christmas crafts where children can create baubles and magical reindeer food.

Hull Ice Arena is open across the holidays, with public, family, under-seven and SEND sessions available.
For more information on all the festive fun, visit healthyholidayshull.org and hcandl.co.uk/sport-and-leisure-and-parks/holidays/christmas-holiday-activities.

Family swim and water play

Frederick Holmes School pool in Hull is hosting family swim and water play for SEND children and their families.
There is a morning session from 10-11am and an afternoon play from 2-3pm on Monday 19 December.
Entry is free for SEND children aged five to 11 and their parents and siblings. You can book your place here.

Hull and East Riding Museum

Enter a world where 235million years of history is brought to life.

From majestic mammoths to Saxon invaders, visitors to the Hull and East Riding Museum of archaeology can look forward to an experience that is unique, educational and fun.

Walk through an Iron Age village, enter a Roman bath house and look at the stunning mosaics. Discover a mysterious crew of wooden warriors and see our medieval treasures!

Entry to the museum on High Street is free with no booking required. Just drop in!

Winter Pattern Art Workshops

Cultural Activity Centre at 70-72 Charles Street will be hosting two Winter Pattern Art Workshops next week.

From 1pm-5pm on Monday 19 and Thursday 22 December, children will make small patterns to help create one big pattern.

The workshops are for children aged five to 11 and those interested simply turn up on the day.

For more information, call 07434 880009 or email groundarts@hotmail.com.

Lego Creations and Make & Take Craft Club

Hull Central Library on Albion Street is hosting two free Christmas events next week.

Christmas Lego Creations will take place from 2pm-3pm on Wednesday 21 December and is suitable for children aged five and above.

Christmas Make & Take Craft Club will be held the following day at the same time and is suitable for those aged four to 14.

Spaces are limited, so booking is essential, including for adults and babies. Under-eights must be accompanied by an adult.

More information can be found here.

All Hull Libraries are also spaces where you can visit to spend time completing jigsaws, playing games or reading.

Friendship with Ukraine concert

Hull City Council Arts Development presents a Friendship with Ukraine concert on Friday 16th December from 7-9pm in the Reception Room at the Guildhall on Alfred Gelder Street.

All are welcome for an evening of festive song and friendship with Hull Freedom Chorus, Freedom Men’s Chorus, Answers on a Postcard and Hull Visual Choir, whilst Singing City will bring people together through song.

Tickets are £6 and £4 unwaged, whilst under 18s, refugees and asylum seekers are free. Advanced tickets are available here.

Santa claus walking towards some bins carrying a filled bin liner