AS the cost of living crisis continues to make an impact in St Helens, it can be difficult to think of activities that don't break the bank.

However, from relaxing walks and hidden gems to museums and family-friendly activities, there is much to explore in and around St Helens that doesn't mean spending a fortune.

To give Star readers some inspiration for a cheap weekend activity, here are some places across the borough that can be enjoyed for free or at an affordable price:

READ > Town centre nightclub boarded up


St Helens Star: The Dream sculpture in Sutton Manor The Dream sculpture in Sutton Manor (Image: Alan Holland)

Unveiled atop the former Sutton Manor Colliery in 2009, Dream was commissioned by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, who worked closely with a group of local ex-miners.

The 20-metre structure is coated in white Spanish dolomite to contrast with the coal and mining industry which stood before it, and is carved to resemble the head and neck of a young girl who is looking forward and dreaming of a brighter future.

It is known as a good walking spot and can be seen by drivers travelling past on the nearby M62.

World of Glass

St Helens Star: World of Glass, on Chalon Way East in the town centreWorld of Glass, on Chalon Way East in the town centre (Image: Stock)
With a focus on local history and industry, the World of Glass has art galleries, museum collections, live glassblowing demonstrations, a cafe, and a 19th century glassmaking furnace to spark the interests of people of all ages.

A £1m investment has recently modernised the gallery space to take visitors on a walking tour of St Helens history, which also features a host of interactive elements free of charge.

While the Gamble building remains under construction, the World of Glass also contains the town centre's library service.

Carr Mill Dam

St Helens Star: Carr Mill Dam is a well known walking hotspotCarr Mill Dam is a well known walking hotspot (Image: St Helens Star)

Built in the 18th century, Carr Mill Dam is the largest body of water in Merseyside and a popular place for walkers in St Helens.

Offering picturesque lakeside trails, the Dam also hosts boating and angling events throughout the year while the popular Dam Bar and Grill offers food and drink with spectacular views.

Taylor Park

St Helens Star: Taylor Park is one of the borough's favourite parksTaylor Park is one of the borough's favourite parks (Image: Stock)
Officially opened in 1893, Taylor Park is the largest of the town's Victorian parks and designed amongst a dramatic sequence of woodland areas, bodies of water, grassland, and play space. 

Another popular place for walkers, pet owners, and families, the Mount gives panoramic views of the surrounding landscape while the Boat House cafe offers a space to eat, drink, and relax.

Other beloved parks include the Green Flag Victoria Park in Windle, Mesnes Park in Newton-le-Willows, Sankey Valley Park in Blackbrook, and Sherdley Park in Sutton.

Billinge Hill

St Helens Star: Billinge Hill offers spectacular views across the wider regionBillinge Hill offers spectacular views across the wider region (Image: Keith Griffiths)
With a maximum elevation of 179m, Billinge Hill is the highest point in Merseyside and views can be seen for miles across neighbouring areas. On clear days, observers can point out the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales, the skyscrapers in Manchester and Blackpool Tower.

With a beacon tower at the summit, Billinge Hill is another popular place for its mazy trails and walking routes around the open fields.

North West Museum of Transport

St Helens Star: The North West Museum of Road Transport attracts many visitorsThe North West Museum of Road Transport attracts many visitors (Image: Stuart Bonner)
Housed in a building originally constructed for the town's horse-drawn trams, the North West Museum of Road Transport is an admired spot for families and history buffs.

Taking guests for a trip down memory lane, the Hall Street museum showcases a wide variety of old-fashioned buses, cars, and emergency vehicles, and often lets guests get involved in workshops, model railways, and open-top buses.

Grassroots sport

St Helens Star: St Helens Town in action as part of a Festival of Football event at Saints' stadium last yearSt Helens Town in action as part of a Festival of Football event at Saints' stadium last year (Image: Mary Castrogiovanni)
With Saints' Super League season not yet underway, there is no better time than to support the rich network of grassroots sports across our borough.

As the amateur rugby league season has also not yet started, the borough's football teams can be watched such as FC St Helens, St Helens Town, Pilkington FC, or Newton-le-Willows FC

St Helens Cineworld

St Helens Star: St Helens Cineworld, on Chalon WaySt Helens Cineworld, on Chalon Way (Image: St Helens Star)
Located on Chalon Way, the town's main cinema has a variety of films currently on show such as Wonka, One Life, The Holdovers, Mean Girls, Argylle, and Migration.

Tickets can be bought at a price of £8.50 for adults and £5.50 for children, or a family of two at £11.


St Helens Star: St Helens Superbowl, off Liverpool RoadSt Helens Superbowl, off Liverpool Road (Image: Google Maps)

Located off Liverpool Road in the town centre, the family-friendly Superbowl facility has a range of activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

This includes tenpin bowling, a 'Crazy Club' soft play centre, and an arcade section.

Bowling for one adult and a child costs less than £20 and there are various cheaper offers throughout the week.

Darkstar Laser Arena

St Helens Star: Darkstar Laser Arena, on Central StreetDarkstar Laser Arena, on Central Street (Image: Darkstar)
Another activity enjoyed by people of all ages, the Darkstar Laser Arena sees up to 45 players competing in an intense and action packed laser tag game.

Located on Central Street, just out of the town centre, the complex boasts a huge 1250 sq ft multi-level arena for laser tag as well as a lounge area with food and drinks.

Players can play from as little as £7 per game with further deals for kids and parties.

Queens Park Health and Fitness Centre


St Helens Star: Queens Park Health & Fitness Centre, on Boundary RoadQueens Park Health & Fitness Centre, on Boundary Road (Image: Robbob)

Located on Boundary Road, Queens Park Health and Fitness Centre boasts a gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam room, and courts for badminton and table tennis.

Children and adults can access the swimming pool if they are a Go Active member, for a fee of £4.80 and £3.50 respectively.

Knowsley Safari Park

St Helens Star: Kids can go free at ids go free at Knowsley Safari until the end of FebruaryKids can go free at ids go free at Knowsley Safari until the end of February (Image: Knowsley Safari)
A short drive away from St Helens, Knowsley Safari Park is always a treat for families and people of all ages.

Showcasing African lions, Crumpet, the Congo buffalo calf, the cheeky baboons and more, Knowsley's exotic animals have recently featured in six episodes of the Channel 4 docuseries, Secret Life of the Safari Park.

Until February 29, children under the age of 16 can enter the safari park for free with a paying adult.