As the saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free’! Here are some of the best value quirky experiences on offer in Britain that you’ll remember for years to come.1. Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, south-west England
Every year Bristol hosts Europe's largest hot air balloon event for four days of free, family-friendly fun. More than 150 hot air balloons take to the skies with beautiful Bristol as their backdrop and illuminate the skies with an evening ‘nightglow' on selected days. The fiesta attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year and family entertainment includes fairground rides, food stalls, bars, face painting, acoustic music areas and air displays.
Getting there: The train from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads takes less than 2 hours.2. A bluebell wood in bloom, Skelghyll Woods, Ambleside, Cumbria, north-west England
Bluebells carpeting a forest floor is a distinctively British sight. Fifty percent of the world's bluebells are to be found in Britain, including among the beautiful oak woodland of Skelghyll Woods near Ambleside. All-year round you can walk Skelghyll Woods’ Champion Tree Trail, a 45-minute circular route past some of the tallest trees in England. Take a packed lunch and stop at one of the many picnic spots along the way.
When: April and May for bluebells
Getting there: The closest train station is Windermere, and a bus from Windermere to Ambleside is also available.
3. Free culture at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Every summer Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival incorporates thousands of free arts shows – from drama and comedy to cabaret, dance and spoken word. Wander the city’s cobbled Royal Mile and collect flyer invitations to see them for free.
Getting there: Edinburgh has its own international airport or you can fly from London. The train from London King’s Cross St Pancras to Edinburgh takes approx. 4 hours.
This extraordinary coastal precipice overlooks the English Channel, with far-reaching views towards the French coast. Pick up a leaflet at the Visitor Centre to learn about the significance of the coastline through the centuries; the cliffs were used for defence in both World Wars. Then take a walk along the coastal path towards South Foreland Lighthouse, and recharge at the coffee shop.
When: Year-round. It is a National Trust site, and entrance is free.
Getting there: There is an hourly high-speed train from London St Pancras to Dover Priory station.5. History comes alive at Warwick Castle, Warwick, West Midlands, central England
Step back through 1,000 years of fascinating history at this medieval castle, developed from an original castle built by William the Conqueror in 1068. History comes to life with enactments of great battles, with a chance to meet heroic knights and hear stories of ancient myths and princesses. Ticket prices vary depending on time of year; get the cheapest prices by booking online five days in advance.
Getting there: The castle is a 10 minute walk from Warwick train station. The direct train service London Marylebone to Warwick is less than 2 hours.6. Live lunchtime music, St Martin in the Fields church, London
One of the most budget-friendly and dazzling music venues in central London is St Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square. Throughout the week it hosts free lunchtime classical music recitals, offering a calm oasis from the buzz of the city.
When: Year-round Getting there: The nearest London Underground station is Charing Cross.7. Party at Notting Hill Carnival, London
It’s the largest street festival celebration in Europe – and it’s free! Every August bank holiday (a national holiday) the streets come alive with Caribbean colours, music and flavours. Costumed performers and elaborately decorated floats move to the sounds of steel bands, traditional calypso, reggae, R&B, funk, house music and more. Live stages feature local bands and top international artists and sounds from around the world. Watch the carnival parade, join in the fun and succumb to the tempting food stalls along the way.
Getting there: London Underground stations near the carnival area include High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise, Shepherd’s Bush and Paddington.