Holiday childcare

In Southampton we recognise that childcare in the school holidays can be a challenge for parents and carers. This page outlines available childcare options during the holidays. 

If you need help, the Southampton Family Information Service has lots of experience helping parents find the childcare they need.


Nurseries and childminders can often offer childcare during the holidays. 

Your usual term-time childcare provider may be available during the holidays but this will vary by provider so check with them as soon as possible.

You may be able to use tax-free or funded childcare (if you're eligible) to help cover holiday childcare costs. For example, you could stretch your funded childcare hours to cover the holidays if your provider offers this. That means taking fewer hours each week but over more weeks of the year.

View childcare providers

Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme

The HAF programme is for children who are in receipt of benefits-related free school meals (Reception to Year 11). It provide a wide range of activities and healthy meals for all eligible children during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.

Find out about HAF

Holiday schemes

Holiday play schemes are specifically open during the school holidays. Opening times vary, and not all are open every school holiday. They are usually based near schools or community centres.

Like after-school and breakfast clubs, holiday clubs may be registered with Ofsted and inspected by them at regular intervals, provided they are caring for children of eight years of age and under, for more than two hours every day. If they take children of Reception age or younger they will be graded and inspected more rigorously. If they run for under two hours they do not have to be registered. All staff must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Holiday play scheme opening times vary a lot. Some offer full-time care 8am-6pm and some part-time. Contact the provider directly for confirmation before every holiday period. Some clubs only open for a few hours each day.