Frome is a small but very charming market town in Somerset that attracts many families each year looking for free or low cost things to do to keep the kids entertained. It's a great location for a holiday close to Longleat too.
Set on the eastern edge of the Mendip Hills, the town is sat on some steep hills above a river it takes its name from - "Frome" - the old English word for ‘brisk-flowing water’ - the town's Market Place grew up around the springs. Hundreds of years later, the springs continue to bubble up under St Johns Church and deliver fresh water to the inhabitants.
You’ll find plenty of things to do for free in Frome which can help keep the kids entertained. Please note some things may be low cost rather than "free", but I've tried to allow for everyone and their budget.
Here are my top things to do in Frome that you should check out whilst you’re visiting:
Take a stroll to the edge of the Longleat Estate on the Frome to Longleat Woods walk– this is a beautiful 8 mile hike (that’ll tire the kids out!) offering stunning views as you wind through the beautiful Somerset countryside. Whether you’re looking for just a gentle stroll or a more challenging fast paced walk, it’s perfect for all ages and walking abilities, do note there are some stiles to climb over and if you're taking your dog I'd recommend keeping it on a leash to stop it from chasing the wildlife!
Visit the Cheese & Grain – built in 1874 as a Cheese and Grain Hall (hence its name) this is one of Frome’s most iconic buildings and is ran as a not-for-profit social enterprise to promote the culture and social side of Frome. It hosts live music (it had the Foo Fighters play a secret gig there in 2017!), courses in languages and local history as well as many other events throughout the year. Worth checking out.
Cost: Free to enter
Thought not free you might want to enjoy a play or a local band or two at the Frome Memorial Theatre; built in 1925 and revamped by locals in 1980 (luckily before the council tried to sell the building off for housing!) it was originally built as memorial hall for townspeople who had fallen in World War 1. Nowadays it forms part of a multi-purpose leisure complex including the Frome Assembly Rooms. Though not exactly something to do for “free” the tickets for most events are fairly affordable and some well-known stars have played here, from the likes of Lulu to Marti Pellow from Wet, Wet, Wet.
Cost: Yes, but it isn't exhorbitant
Frome is home to some absolutely fantastic markets selling everything from vintage clothes to handmade “flea” market gifts – perfect for picking up something really unique! The Frome Independent market is a regularly held market in the town centre that’s held on the first Sunday of each month from March through to October from 10am to 3pm, with farmers, food, artisan goods and crafts all vying for your custom.
If you’re coming in by car, we strongly recommend making using of Frome’s Park and Ride, it’s free (on Sundays) though you can donate £2 per car for the bus ride to take you into the town centre and return you to your vehicle later on in the day. More details can be found on the Frome Independent website. The food stalls at the market are some of the very best, making this market highly recommended to visit whilst you’re holidaying in Somerset.
Other Frome markets you might want to check out:
If you’re coming to stay in one of our Somerset holiday lodges (or cottages) then you’ll definitely want to plan a visit to coincide with one of Frome’s market days! The markets are free to visit but your wallet or purse may take a hammering with all the goodies on offer so be warned.
Cost: Free to enter
Explore Frome’s many independent art galleries, such as SEED on Catherine Hill, who offer regular exhibitions from both established artists and new talent alike!
Other free to visit Frome galleries I recommend you should check out:
Cost: Free to enter
There’s plenty of places where you can enjoy some fresh air or play a game of tag or football with the kids – head down to Rodden Meadow, an ancient Somerset wildflower meadow, which delivers stunning views alongside the River Frome, you may even spot the odd otter or kingfisher too!
If you’re after to stretch everyone’s legs then check out check out Victoria Park which has large open areas just perfect for the kids to zoom around in! Created in 1887, it’s now a mature Victorian park very much loved and appreciated the by the Frome townsfolk as somewhere to relax or walk or jog around its circular footpath. You’ll find a seasonal café open for refreshments as well as a band stand to admire.
The Mary Baily Playing Field was an area of land generously gifted to the town by Mary Baily in 1930 and was named in her honour. It offers a perfect setting for kids, with dedicated and free of charge play areas for toddlers and bigger kids, skate park, ball sports completely allowed and tennis courts. It’s also completely dog free too.
Cost: Free to Enter
After you're all done exploring the town you might want to grab a bite to eat so check out my favourite 15 places to eat out in Frome and choose from some brilliant cafes, restaurants and pubs.
As you can see when you visit Frome you’ll be completely spoilt for choice, there is so much on offer for free in our wonderful Somerset town!
If you're looking to check out Frome and need somewhere to stay please note we offer luxury holiday cottages near Frome and Longleat.