The top five places to get free drinks in a child friendly environment.

Taking your child out most days can get very expensive. it is therefore always good when you can get something for free. Especially somewhere where your child feels comfortable and enjoys. Most of these free drinks entail joining a loyalty reward scheme, but all bar one are free to join.

  • Waitrose:With the My Waitrose loyalty card you can get a free cup of tea or coffee every day. This is especially good in Waitrose stores that have a cafe as you can give your child their lunch/snack whilst you have a drink (and maybe a cake or sandwich if you want to spend some money). The card also gives you additional benefits such as a free newspaper, to read with your drink, when you spend £5 in store on weekdays or £10 at weekends. You can check for your nearest store and join the programme online here.
  • Toddler groups: I have 3 local toddler groups that I attend regularly. Not only are they great for the kids it’s also a great way of getting to know local parents. One group charges £1.50, another £2 and the third, which is church run, is free but asks for donations. the two paid ones run for about an hour and a half and they give free snacks to the children. The church one runs for an hour and don’t offer child specific snacks, but have biscuits which both adults and children can have. All of them offer  free tea and coffee and usually biscuits as well. This is great value compared to going to say a soft play which is much more expensive and don’t offer the routine of familiar faces.
  • IKEA: With the Ikea family card, which is free to join, you get unlimited free tea and coffees during weekdays (I wouldn’t want to take a child to Ikea at the weekend anyway) as well as discounts of food. A 6 piece breakfast comes in at £1.50 with the card which is amazing value considering the drink is free as well. They are also very child friendly with a play area withing the restaurant. The last time my daughter went she also loved going to the children’s showroom, where she was exploring ther beds and play tents that they had on display. For over 3 year olds they also have a creche where you can leave your child for an hour. To join Ikea family and/or to find your local store click here.
  • Dobbies Garden Centres: Although not technically free as it’s a paid membership it is very good value and my daughter loves walking around looking at the plants and indoor displays and especially the aquarium. To join the Garden Club costs £10, but you receive 2 vouchers to use each month, so 24 in total. As drinks are about £2.50 you effectively get £50 worth of drinks for £10. The restaurants are also very spacious and have a little play area. Also you get rewarded on money spent at the garden centre as well as 10% of plants so if you buy £100 worth of plants you will actually get a discount of £10, which is your membership fee as well as a £2 voucher in your annual statement. To find your local store and/or to join click here.
  • John Lewis: When we joined the My John Lewis reward programme we got several vouchers for a free drink and cake. This was always gratefully received. I have heard that John Lewis are changing their reward scheme so you might not get these vouchers. However it is free to join so is probably worth doing if you have a local store. To find out more and/or to join click here.
  • O2 priority: A bonus one for O2 customers. If you have an 02 phone you can get a free cup of coffee every Tuesday at Cafe Nero. If you like your coffee, and are not with O2, it might even be worth getting a free 02 pay as you go sim for an old phone to get this reward. To find out more click here.

What do you think of my suggestions? Can you think of any more, then let me know.

The List