Summer Holiday Information 2023
Follow this link to find out about events and offers
Summer Cycling Events Summer Cycling Club 2022 (for ages 7-12yrs) – Bike4Health
Stride out to the Lighthouse Event Stride Out to the Lighthouse Tickets, Sat 26 Aug 2023 at 10:30 | Eventbrite
Summer Festival – Rising Sun Country Park The Rising Sun Family Summer Festival Tickets, Wed 16 Aug 2023 at 11:00 | Eventbrite
Check out the above link for information about the Holiday Activity Fund. Activities are for everyone, however, they have funded places for children who are entitled to Free School Meals.
Check out this link for activities and day trips
Out and About for Free
Under-16s can have free admission to the likes Segedunum Roman Fort while all nine local TWAM attractions, which include Great North Museum: Hancock, Discovery Museum, and South Shields Museum, can be enjoyed for nothing.
In and around Newcastle
Jesmond Dene Newcastle, NE7 7DA
Jesmond Dene has provided generations of families with a scenic day out in the heart of Newcastle. Enjoy walking or biking through the extensive tarmac paths, visit Pets Corner to see the farm animals then why not enjoy a picnic on the grass near the ruined mill.
Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle, NE1 8AG
Situated opposite Newcastle Library, the Laing Art Gallery has regular exhibitions, from local artists to nationally-recognised paintings, as well as a children’s area for dressing up and interactive learning.
Newcastle City Library, New Bridge Street West, Newcastle, NE1 8AX
With its regular children’s events, the central library not just about reading – although the extensive book collection as well as computer access and heritage collections mean the family can spend a few enjoyable hours together. Head to the Newcastle Library website here to see what’s coming up.
Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle, NE1 4JA
Discovery Museum is made for families – parents and children will all enjoy seeing the display of science and engineering triumphs, with a particular slant on what the North East has contributed to the world. The main event is always Charles Parsons’ Turbinia, the first vessel to be powered by steam turbine.
Ouseburn Farm, Ouseburn Road, Newcastle, NE1 2PA
The much-loved farm near Byker has plenty to fascinate animal-loving children.
Leazes Park, Richardson Road, Newcastle, NE2 4BJ
Leazes Park was opened in 1873 and is the oldest park on Tyneside. The park is a much underrated sanctuary from the busy city centre; a real haven for people and wildlife away from the urban hub. It is also a great advert for lottery funding that has restored it to its former glories.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle, NE2 4PT
It’s now many years since the 2009 revamp of the former Hancock Museum, beloved of many a school trip, and it’s a hugely impressive place to visit, housing everything from natural history collections and a reconstruction of Hadrian’s Wall to Egyptian mummies and a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex replica – plenty to keep the children occupied.
In and around Gateshead
Angel of the North, Durham Road, Low Eighton, Gateshead, NE9 7TY
The dominating symbol of the North East, the Gateshead Angel – which recently celebrated its 25th birthday – is the welcoming sight beloved by those who travel the A1 regularly. Visitors can get up close and personal too of course and there’s on-site parking to make use of while families pose for that all-important picture of themselves under its outspread wings. Antony Gormley’s sculpture attracts at least 150,000 visitors a year, and if the weather’s nice you can enjoy the grassy areas with a game or a picnic.
Saltwell Park, East Park Road, Gateshead, NE9 5AX
With 55 acres of parkland, woods and ornamental gardens, the Victorian park also boasts sports facilities, playing areas and bird houses, as well as occasional events such as free live music and of course there’s acres of space just to enjoy a picnic.
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA
The Baltic has regularly changing exhibitions it has a children’s area too and does Wonder & Wander tours. Baltic can be reached on foot from Gateshead centre or Newcastle Quayside over the Millennium Bridge.
Shipley Art Gallery, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, NE8 4JB
The gallery’s collection of 800 paintings, art and crafts was designated as being of national importance in 1998. There are also regular events such as talks, craft groups and workshops. It’s a 20 minute walk from Gateshead Interchange and is also on some bus routes, or there is also limited free street parking near the gallery. And it’s very close to Saltwell Park is you want to combine a day out. See here.
Chopwell Woods, Gateshead, NE39 1LT
Chopwell Wood is 360-hectare mixed woodland set right on the fringe of Gateshead. Its miles of paths enable visitors to walk and cycle through this fascinating woodland. No two parts of this varied woodland are the same and visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the River Derwent and North Pennines. Horse riders are also welcome.
In and around North Tyneside
Stephenson Steam Railway, Middle Engine Lane, North Shields, NE29 8DX
Steam train rides and lots of locomotives still have to be many youngsters’ dream and there’s plenty of that action on offer at this venue.
Tynemouth Market, Tynemouth Station, Station Terrace, North Tyneside, NE30 4RE
Tynemouth Market takes place every weekend – 9am-3.30pm – at Tynemouth Station and combines a huge variety of goods, from vintage clothing and collectables to bric-a-brac and edible produce. Every third Saturday of the month there’s also a local farmers market which joins in with fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, preserves and homebaked goods.
St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay, NE26 4RS
Visitors can cross the short causeway to visit St Mary’s Island and explore the beach’s rockpools, clifftop grassland, and recently-created wetland habitat. However, if families wish to go inside St Mary’s Lighthouse and climb the 137 steps inside the tower to the lantern room to enjoy the spectacular views along the coast there is a charge.
Rising Sun Country Park, Whitley Road, Benton, Newcastle, NE12 9SS
The 400-acre green oasis is located in the heart of the North Tyneside and is open all year round. Visitors can enjoy the park’s rich and diverse wildlife and if can be lucky enough to spot its resident stag. At the centre of the park is a lake area, which is designated as a Local Nature Reserve.
In and around South Tyneside
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Ocean Road, South Shields, NE33 2JA
Easily accessible on Ocean Road, South Shields Museum and Art Gallery has lots of local art as well as personal memorabilia which belonged to late author Catherine Cookson.
Trow Point to Lizard Point, South Tyneside, NE33 2LD to SR6 7NH
An impressive landscape with plenty to look at, this is an ideal location for a family walk. While nesting seabirds cling to the cliffs, the magnesian limestone soils play host to a variety of rare flowers, including the most northerly site in Britain for the rare, deep blue perennial flax.
Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum, Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
The home of the Roman garrison that guarded the Tyne, the fort has a mixture of excavated remains and reconstructed buildings to give visitors a feel of what life for Centurions must have been like and child-friendly display boards add further to the story. This is the most extensively-excavated military supply base in the Roman Empire and includes the remains of the headquarters, barracks, granaries, gateways and latrines.
In and around Sunderland
Penshaw Monument, Chester Road, Houghton le Spring, Penshaw, Sunderland, DH4 7NJ
For a Sunderland’s alternative to the Angel of the North head to Penshaw Monument, the 19th century Greek-style folly which stands at the top of a hill near Washington is visible for miles around. It has impressive views for those who put the work in to climb to the top.
Search for Seaham Seaglass, Sunderland coastline, SR6 9LX
Seaglass is beautiful frosted pieces of glass, worn smooth over many years by the movements of the sea – and Seaham on the Sunderland coastline is world-famous for it. Thanks to Victorian glass factories throwing spoil out to sea, people over the last few decades have even travelled from other countries to see what they can find on the beach – and we have it right on our doorstep. The biggest pieces of glass have long since gone but children will love searching the sand for the glinting pieces of treasure which comes in white, green, brown, and the rarer blue and red. Parking is available at the top of the cliffs.
National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, SR6 0GL
The National Glass Centre in Sunderland brings to life the area’s glass-making heritage, which 100 years ago was a national hub for the industry. Learn how glass is made, watch craftsmen making glassware, and take part in children’s activities and creative workshops.
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP
A venue of two contrasting interests to keep the whole family entertained, the museum houses an ever-expanding range of displays that especially focus on the North East’s heritage and industry, while the winter gardens hold a botanical collection of 2,000 plants. The venue is close to Sunderland Metro and train station and Park Lane Interchange.
Hylton Castle, Craigavon Road, Sunderland, SR5 3PA
On a nice day, why not visit this imposing gatehouse tower which originally housed four storeys of family accommodation and was built by Sir William Hylton in about 1400. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic before exploring the surrounding area.
In and around Northumberland
Kielder Water and Forest Park, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 1ER
The 26-mile Lakeside Way at Kielder takes you along next to the river and through some truly beautiful spots. It’s not always flat but the well-maintained surface is suitable for walking or biking and will definitely tire out the children. Kielder hosts events too and wildlife lovers will also enjoy the deep forests.
The crags of Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, NE46 1BS
The wilds of Northumberland are spectacular, especially around Hadrian’s Wall. One of the best places to enjoy the scene is from one of the dominating crags such as Cuddy’s Crags or Crag Lough. The children no doubt will be impressed by the ruins of the forts at regular intervals along the Wall, as well as Sycamore Gap – the lone tree guarding the dip in the wall made famous by the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Castles tour, Northumberland, start North Haul Road, Hexham, NE48 1NE
Fancy finding out how many free castles you can fit into one day? You’ll have to drive but the area’s castles are spectacular sights and picturesque picnic-perfect settings which bely their violent pasts. Black Middens Bastle House between Falstone and Bellingham is a ruined 16th century fortified farmhouse with access to living quarters only on the first floor. There’s also good walking country nearby and the Reivers Route cycle trail.
Edlingham Castle, near the A697 to the west of Alnwick, is the tower of a 14th Century manor house and Norham Castle to the far north of the county, boasts extensive ruins of a 12th century castle which was besieged 13 times by the Scots, while St Andrews Church in Bywell is an interesting example of a church tower built for defence, with walls an extraordinary five metres thick. Built in 850, it is a Grade l-listed property.
Northumberlandia, Fisher Lane, Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 8AU
Rising from the ground in South East Northumberland, the huge female figure of Northumberlandia dominates the landscape. With free public access, the creation – completed in 2012 – lies in 46 acres of parkland which is perfect for a day out and picnic, and has four miles of walking paths.
The causeway to Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, TD15 2SE
This is a day out unlike anything else you can do in the world. Read the crossing time guide and make your way across the tidal causeway to Lindisfarne, surrounded by stunning coastal scenery.
There are plenty of free places to visit such as the museum of the Coldstream Guards and although there’s a fee to enter Lindisfarne Priory it’s still worth seeing from the outside. Those wanting to avoid parking charges could make use of the buses which run on certain days between Berwick and Holy Island.
Lindisfarne Castle, which was restored not so long ago, is always worth a look.
Castle, Dunstanburgh Road, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3TT
This stunning walk takes visitors through the picturesque village of Craster along the impressive Northumberland coast and past Dunstanburgh Castle. Another ideal spot for a picnic is Embleton Bay. Parking in Craster itself is restricted but there are plenty of car parks nearby.
Warkworth Hermitage walk, Castle Terrace, Warkworth, Northumberland, NE65 0UJ
While entering the Hermitage itself comes with a charge, the surrounding countryside is some of the most attractive in the North East so offers an ideal location for a getaway. Families could enjoy a picnic then head down to pretty Warkworth village itself, or walk the four miles to Alnmouth for a stroll through the town before heading on to the beach.
Tyne Riverside Country Park, Tyne Valley, Northumberland, NE42 6UP
Tyne Riverside Country Park offers 200 acres of meadows, grassland, woods and river bank, following the River Tyne for four miles. Passing Stephenson’s Cottage – the now-picturesque birthplace of railway engineer George Stephenson – takes walkers on to explore the industrial heritage remains and possible wildlife-watching.
Woodhorn Museum and Archive, QEII Country Park, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9YF
This former colliery site always has something of interest going on. Its changing exhibitions have previously included a history of video games and costumes from major films. The permanent displays commemorate South East Northumberland’s coal mining heritage; the communities and workers, and the famous Pitmen Painters.
Chain Bridge Honey Farm, Horncliffe, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 2XT
This farm boasts an incredible 2,000 beehives within a 40-mile radius. The visitor centre is free to visit and has information boards explaining everything there is to know about bees; wall murals of the surrounding areas and a glass panel showing the internal workings of an actual beehive where people can watch the comings and goings of those wonderful insects.
Northumberland beaches, NE76 5BW or NE69 7DF
We’re very lucky in the North East to have such an array of sandy, quiet, scenic beaches. And while the weather isn’t always great, at least it means families can sometimes find a whole beach to themselves. Try Beadnell Bay and enjoy birdwatching at the little tern and arctic tern breeding colonies at the National Trust Nature Reserve at Long Nanny estuary or why not head for Bamburgh beach under the imposing walls of Bamburgh Castle.
Berwick Castle and Town defences, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 1DF
Far north of Northumberland, the defences of Berwick stand as a testament to its position as a border town. The remains of a medieval castle from the Anglo-Scottish wars are complemented by the most complete and impressive town defences in England dating from Elizabethan times and added to in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors can walk all the way around the defences.
Druridge Country Park, A1068, Red Row, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 5BX
This is a living landscape, rich in wildlife and including a stunning seven-mile stretch of sand running from Amble to Cresswell. It is a popular place to ride, cycle walk, paddle and surf. Druridge Bay Country Park has all the amenities needed to enjoy a day at the coast with its cafe, toilets and children’s play area. The park is centred around a lake with surrounding meadows and restored woodland on the site of an old opencast coal mine which is now maturing into a very pleasant landscape for walks and picnics.
In and around County Durham
Durham Cathedral, The College, Durham, DH1 3EH
One of the truly spectacular man-made sights in the North East, the history of Durham Cathedral is fascinating and was one of Britain’s first World Heritage Sites. Walk through the town centre from the bus or railway station and enjoy the cloister, cathedral church and monks’ dormitory, as well as heritage trails, music recitals and talks.
Durham peninsular walk, Durham, DH1 1SQ
With a relatively flat path most of the way around the Durham peninsular, as well as attractive streets past the castle and cathedral, these walks take you along the river and past some calming green spaces. Durham peninsular walks, which can be downloaded from the internet, can take a few hours, such as the one starting at Freeman’s Quay Walkergate.
Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, DL13 3NL
The 2,000 hectares of Hamsterley Forest are great for all sorts of activities. As well as the walks and biking trails, there’s a children’s adventure playground and a Rainforest Rescue Discovery Trail, where you the sounds of the rainforest can be heart. There are usually regular events throughout the summer and beyond, such as bushcraft survival days, painting events, lathe workshops and fungi foraging. Although there’s a parking charge, a free way to get to Hamsterley is by taking a bike via public transport to the W2W cycle trail, which passes through the forest.
Locomotion: National Railway Museum, Dale Road Industrial Estate, County Durham, DL4 2RE
South of Durham, not far from Bishop Auckland, is Locomotion, the National Railway Museum. Young children and parents also set to love the 70-odd railway vehicles on display, while there are also regular family events and activities which previously have included the opportunity to build a miniature vehicle and race it.
Rainton Meadows, County Durham, DH4 6PU
Join the dragonflies among the quiet paths of this reserve, run by Durham Wildlife Trust. There are woodlands and wetlands, lakes and walks, and it’s the perfect place for birdwatchers as there’s the possibility of seeing all five British owl species as well as more than 200 other species of birds. There’s a car park and visitor centre on site, and a bike rail to chain up to for those travelling by bicycle.
Hardwick Park, Sedgefield, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, TS21 2DN
This area may be a newly-discovered treasure for those living further afield. The gardens are well worth seeing, with a visitor centre giving in-depth history of the park and its restoration.
Bowes Castle (The Street, DL12 9HP) Barnard Castle, County Durham
Bowes Castle is the remains of a 12th Century keep, built by Henry II on the site of the former Roman fort of Lavatrae which guarded the strategic Stainmore Pass over the Pennines. Visitors can enter through a former arrow slit and climb the stairs, seeing rooms built into the thickness of the wall. Visitors could park in Bowes village or take the Central 72 bus from Barnard Castle.
High Force Waterfall, Teesdale, DL12 0XH
This might be a bit of a drive from most of the North East’s towns and cities but it’s well worth the journey. The waterfall is spectacular and at 70ft is the largest uninterrupted waterfall in England. There are also forest walks where the falls are slowly revealed to you through the trees, and there is parking, a picnic area and gift shop on site.