When you have a young toddler at home the days can be long. It's always good to get out of the house if you can, but the costs of day trips soon add up. Here are some of the places that I take my toddler that are free or very cheap.
The playground. Perhaps this is the obvious one, but also the easiest and most fun. Most new large housing estates have playgrounds tucked away between the houses, I have found new ones by hunting on Google maps! You can go in the pushchair, walk, scooter or ride a bike for a bit of variety, and take along some snacks or even a picnic lunch.
The Garden centre. We are lucky to have several garden centres close by, including one that is large and walking distance, and they all have free parking. Almost all garden centres have fish tanks, and if you are lucky other small animals too. They are often decorated seasonally, which is particularly good at Christmas time. Ours also has small running fountains which fascinate toddlers, and many have a small indoor or outdoor play area.
The beach. Not practical for everyone of course, but if you live fairly close to the sea it's a great place to visit for an hour or so. Our local beaches are pebbly, so we collect pebbles and take them home for painting.
The forest. Again, this depends on where you live, but if you have even a small wooded area near by it's great fun for little ones. I often take a small bucket so that they can collect little treasures to bring home, and they love stomping around in the mud with their wellies on.
Feeding the ducks. Save up ends of bread and find a local duck pond to visit. Check when you are there though as not all parks like you to feed the ducks bread, so you might have to just visit them instead!
What ideas would you add to this list?