Blog Cycling family

October half term is on the horizon and despite the ongoing impact and ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic - there are plenty of things to do with the kids in Newcastle and Gateshead. Rediscover a brilliant family day out in your own patch and explore some of your favourite attractions or venture to ones that you might not have been to in a very long time. 

October half term is a great week to explore Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland as well as enjoy being a tourist on your own doorstep. If you're looking for a family day out then check out our top guide to attractions, museums and castles to visit this autumn. If it's a spook you're after, then visit our Halloween events page to find out more.

Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland are packed with excellent family-friendly things to do. Look out for the Good to Go green tick for extra assurance that the venue you visit is open safely and responsibly. To help you with your day out, click here for a reminder of practical information about the local lockdown restrictions in the North East and visit our helpful blog 'Which attractions are open in NewcastleGateshead?' for a refresher of things you might need to know before you head out on your day trip. It is also wise to check the attraction's website directly before you visit so that you know everything you need to before you go. 

Venues may be a little streamlined while they work hard to keep you and their staff safe and meet current guidelines, but there is still much fun to be had. 

Over the rainbow

Blog Elmer Rainbow

At 11am on Tuesdays - Fridays during October, Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books in Ouseburn would like to welcome you one last time into their fabulously colourful Elmer and Friends exhibition. This is the first time the exhibition has been accessible since before the lockdown. Explore the gallery with one of their Story Catchers and share playtime, activities and a story together. Advanced booking is necessary.

Seven Stories have been very creative in the events they have hosted since reopening back in August. They are making full use of their imagination and the escapism of a good book with a series of family afternoon tea events (including a Halloween inspired Afternoon Tea with Meg & Mog) as well as creative writing workshops and a holiday club for older children during October half term.  You can find out more here

Once you're finished explore Seven Stories, why not spend the day exploring Ouseburn as a family including a visit to Ouseburn Farm to take part in some spooky half term fun. Book your timed slots for Tuesday 27 - Saturday 31 October. 

Escape to the moon

Science theatre 029crop 1

Life Science Centre in Newcastle is an award-winning attraction perfect for a family day out. Life Science Centre will open every day during October half term (24 October - 1 November 2020). Visit their Space zone to escape the everyday and imagine what it is like to be an astronaut in space or go back into the furthest reaches of history in their mega Dino Experience exhibition which includes plenty of LEGO® brick fun!

Witches, vampires and other monsters are invited to head to Life Science Centre in Newcastle this half-term. Wear your favourite fancy dress to the visitor attraction for an alternative, safe Halloween experience and a chance to win a prize. Watch their first live show since the start of lockdown: Spooky Science.

Join the team for some very up-to-the-minute pop-up science as they explore the ingredients in hand sanitiser, see how sneezes spread diseases and why soapy water is the enemy of the virus. Plus, discover what’s happening here in the North East to help fight the pandemic and delve into what we can all do to make a difference.​​​​​​ It will be a lot of fun, plenty to explore and a great day out for all the family. 

Free museums in Newcastle

Take a trip to uncover the history of Newcastle and the North East - from innovation, industry and invention at Discovery Museum to the Romans and more at Great North Museum: Hancock. Two of the best museums in NewcastleGateshead - there is always something new to discover. 

Discovery Museum have created some new, self-led trails around their museum to introduce visitors to a different side of Newcastle's history. They also have an RAF flight simulator so book your ticket before you take to the skies for some loop-the-loops. On 29 and 30 October, families can book to take part in Creepy Crafts too. Watch Discovery Museum's handy video to get an idea of what to expect when you visit: 

Over at Great North Museum: Hancock, you're invited to wander room after room of cabinets, curiosities and creatures and come face-to-face with a full-size T-Rex! Enjoy two exhibitions on display too: Other Worlds: The Art of Atomhawk and a British Museum touring exhibition Ancient Iraq: new discoveries which both end on Sunday 1 November... however, the two temporary exhibitions at Great North Museum: Hancock can now be experienced from the comfort of your home thanks to newly launched virtual reality tours. The exhibitions have been captured in 3D for you to enjoy long into the future. The new online exhibitions are compatible with smart phones as well as virtual reality headsets and feature added video interviews with curators and artists.

All aboard

Take a heritage ride at Stephenson Railway Museum. This is such a winning experience for all ages and a lovely, relaxing way to enjoy the scenery as you travel behind a vintage locomotive from the collieries to the River Tyne and back again. You will need to book in advance as the train rides are only on select dates and always very popular. Younger visitors can make sure they're suitably dressed ahead of their heritage train ride by making a spooky train driver's hat at the museum too. 

Tick off the must-see cultural hotspots

Blog Newcastle Castle view from roof

Pretend your on a city break to a new place and tick off NewcastleGateshead's top cultural hotspots. Zip around on your bikes or wander between them on foot - we'd love to see your photos as you rediscover NewcastleGateshead this October half term. Tag us @altweet_pet on Twitter, @NewcastleGateshead on Facebook and @mykindoftoon on Instagram #mykindoftoon.

Newcastle Castle is one of our recommended cultural hotspots to visit so why not dally a little longer there and pop in to discover some gruesome facts or take in the spectacular views from the top of the castle.

Last chance

Alnwick Castle has extended their season by an extra 7 days until Sunday 1 November (open 10am - 4pm each day) They will close for the winter at the end of October half term. So why not book your admission ticket and visit in their final week? Alnwick Castle has not reopened all areas of the attraction but there is still plenty to explore in their grounds, with uber popular activities like their Broomstick Training still taking place too. Download the Alnwick Castle map before you go to make sure you are familiar with what is open. 

Alnwick Castle also have a Twilight Tour during October which is great for older children or if you fancy an evening discovering the secrets of Northumberland's history without the kids. The tours are expected to be popular so book in advance on their website.

Get some fresh air

Blog flamingos at WWT Washington

Wander the grounds of English Heritage Belsay Hall to enjoy the spacious and lovingly tended formal gardens which have been newly replanted in line with diary entries from when the Hall was inhabited. Leave the everyday behind with a stroll through the woodlands. Imagine years gone by with a nosy in the castle. Belsay Hall has everything - beautiful gardens, a historic castle and stately home and an opportunity for a takeaway cuppa. That’s an Autumn day out!  

Or head south of the river to WWT Washington Wetland Centre to embrace the wide open space and meet their flamboyant flamingos - what more could you want?

Vintage Afternoon Tea

Beamish Museum near Gateshead is one of the best attractions in the region and a popular choice for families up and down the North East. They have created a fun way to incorporate safety measures whilst still retaining the illusion that you have stepped back in time! Beamish Museum offers pure escapism at the best of times but we're excited to hear that they have just reopened their Tea Rooms in The 1900s Town so we know you will need no extra persuading to visit in October half term. The Tea Room will be offering table service only, in line with COVID-19 Secure measures. The 1950s welfare hall also has sit-in table service on weekends – and will be continuing with takeaways daily. During October Half Term, take part in Halloween fun and explore their newly reopened 1940s Farm too. Admission tickets must be prebooked.

What do you want to do?

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