Free things to do in newcastlegateshead

    A trip to Newcastle and Gateshead doesn't have to break the bank. The city is well known for being a place where you don't have to fork out the cash to enjoy your time here. From museums to art galleries, parks to historical buildings, there is plenty to do in NewcastleGateshead for free!

    Free museums, attractions and galleries in NewcastleGateshead

    Museums free Newcastlegateshead Great North Museum Hancock Newcastle

    Are you wanting to immerse yourself in culture without spending a penny? There are an abundance of free art galleries and attractions that you can visit whilst in Newcastle and Gateshead. Each museum and gallery has changing exhibitions, meaning you can visit multiple times and experience something new after each visit. 

    1. Discovery Museum

    Discover all about life in Newcastle and Tyneside at Discovery Museum, from the area's renowned maritime history and world-changing science and technology right through to fashion through the eras and military history. The museum is bursting with interactive displays, which makes it the perfect place to learn and have fun. With free entry and displays that are regularly updated, this is not just a one time visit. Take advantage of the free, fun learning activities that are available.

    2. Great North Museum: Hancock

    Great North Museum: Hancock is an award-winning family attraction in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is free to enter and open daily for visitors who want to explore centuries of history. The Living Planet gallery spans the ground and first floor of the museum and tells the story of wildlife and habitats alongside the Hadrian's Wall gallery which enables visitors to discover the detailed history of the World Heritage Site. Be sure to try and spot the T Rex skeleton on your visit.

    3. Shipley Art Gallery

    Open from Tuesday- Saturday, Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead has a fantastic range of arts and design on show. It is the North East's leading gallery for contemporary art and design and has one of the best collections of ceramics, wood, metal, glass, textiles and furniture outside of London. It is also home to William Irving's painting The Blaydon Races and The Henry Rothschild collection of studio ceramics. 

      4. BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

      Located on the Gateshead Quayside, BALTIC is a free to enter, modern art museum. Housed in a historic, renovated flour mill, BALTIC presents a dynamic, diverse and international programme of contemporary visual art, with an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and activities designed to give a unique and compelling insight into a contemporary artistic practice.

      BALTIC's year-round programme ranges from blockbuster exhibitions to innovative new work and projects created by artists working within the local community. Visitors can experience innovative and provocative new art, relax, have fun, learn and discover fresh ideas.

      5. Laing Art Gallery

      The Laing Art Gallery, located in Newcastle city centre, has changing exhibitions, meaning there is always something to keep you entertained. There are regular exhibition talks, family-friendly activities and artist hosted events, most of which, like entry to the gallery are free.  The works that make up the exhibitions at Laing Art Gallery change regularly to show the impressive range of art in the collection as well as showcase touring exhibitions. 

      6. Lit and Phil

      The Lit & Phil is the largest independent library outside of London, and retains its original purpose as well as all of its charm. The interior of the main reading room is sky lit with three enormous dome lanterns set into the roof. The walls of the galleried, double height space are lined with some of the 160,000 book collection. It’s a phenomenal, inspiring and welcoming space, that is free for all. A great place to spend some time.

      7. The Common Room of the North

      The Common Room is a unique heritage venue in the centre of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, formed to lead the restoration of Neville Hall and home of The North of England Institute of Mining & Mechanical Engineers.

      The historic building, which underwent major conservation work and reopened to the public in 2021, celebrates the North East's engineering history through education and engagement, with a vision to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers. It is free to enter, with frequent free exhibitons and events also taking place over the course 

      8. Angel of the North

      Since spreading its wings in February 1998, Antony Gormley's Angel of the North in Gateshead has become one of the most talked about pieces of public art ever produced.

      Rising 20 metres from the earth near the A1 in Gateshead, the Angel dominates the skyline, towering above all those who come to see it and has become a symbol of home for many Geordies. Made from 200 tonnes of steel, it has a wingspan of 54 metres and a red-brown colour that comes from the weathering steel which can withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour. It is free to visit, 365 days a year!

      9. The Biscuit Factory

      The Biscuit Factory is the UK's largest independent art, craft and design gallery set in the heart of Newcastle's cultural quarter - Ouseburn Valley. Housed in a former Victorian warehouse, the beautiful and dynamic art gallery is set over two floors, displaying a range of exciting contemporary fine art, sculpture, original prints and jewellery, quality craftsmanship and design-led homewares.

      The Biscuit Factory hosts four major exhibitions a year and is free to enter, with the exhibitions changing on a quarterly basis and representing the work of around 250 artists each season, so there is always something new to see every time you visit.

      10. Hatton Gallery

      Newcastle University's Hatton Gallery has been at the heart of cultural life in the North East since the early 20th century. It can be found on Newcastle University's historic campus, meaning it's extremely accessible from the city centre. The Hatton's collection comprises over 3,000 works, including painting, sculpture, prints, and drawing, with pieces from the 14th century to the present day. Every year the gallery plays host to several Newcastle University student exhibitions, where you can view the work of talented emerging artists. 

      Free things to do in NewcastleGateshead with children

      Children free newcastlegateshead Ouseburn Farm Newcastle

      11. Seven Stories The National Centre for Children's Books

      Seven Stories is The National Centre for Children's Books and can be found in the heart of Newcastle's cultural quarter, Ouseburn. The book-lover's paradise is committed to preserving British literature heritage for children and future generations and is guaranteed to spark creativity and imagination in all ages. 

      The collection includes work by over 250 authors and illustrators including Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman, Robert Westall and Judith Kerr. All situated in a beautiful listed building, over seven storeys, it is free to enter and a perfect place to bring children for a day out. Regular events and workshops are hosted throughout the year. 

      12. Ouseburn Farm

      Ouseburn Farm is a community-led project located in Ouseburn Valley, just a mile from Newcastle city centre. The purpose-built barn and the farm's fields and meadows provide the perfect home for sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. You’ll never tire of visiting Ouseburn Farm due to its regular event schedule which includes animal petting and feeding sessions and child- friendly activities to entertain and educate during school holidays. Ouseburn Farm is family friendly and it's easily accessible for both pushchairs and wheelchairs.

      13. Segendunum Roman Fort

      Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum is the gateway to Hadrian's Wall and the ideal attraction to explore the incredible story of Roman life in the north of England. Whilst visiting you can walk around the excavated archaeological site of this important fort and view the original remains of Hadrian's Wall as well as see the fort brought to life with interactive exhibits, a reconstructed Wall section and models in the award-winning museum. Climb the viewing tower and experience stunning views 35 meters high, and if that wasn't enough enjoy the outdoor children's playing area. Over the year, there are temporary exhibitions and events taking place.

        14. Pet's Corner at Jesmond Dene

        Pet's Corner, in the heart of Jesmond Dene, is a popular, family-friendly visitor attraction. You'll find animals of all shapes and sizes, including alpacas, pot-bellied pigs, goats and sheep alongside rabbits and colourful birds and much more! It is a perfect day out with children. Try to spot all the different animals within Pet's Corner and relax in the leafy surroundings of Jesmond Dene.

        15. Newcastle City Library

        Make a trip to the Newcastle City Library, located in the heart of town on the corner of John Dobson Street and New Bridge Street West, and climb the six storey building to get a unique view of the city from the viewing platform. If you want to borrow a book, the library has a staggering book collection and is also the home of Newcastle's local studies and family history section. 

        Free historical things to do in NewcastleGateshead

        Monument historic free newcastlegateshead Grey's Monument Newcastle

        16. Admire Grey Street

        Renowned for its beautiful Georgian architecture, Grey Street has long been a favourite with residents and visitors. Built by Richard Grainger in the 1830s with the aid of several architects, including John Dobson, it contains the Theatre Royal designed by John and Benjamin Green and the Central Arcade and is renowned for its Georgian architecture. Today, it is a magnet for discerning diners and drinkers who frequent the wine bars and restaurants lining the magnificent street. 

          17. Bessie Surtees House

          The two buildings now known as Bessie Surtees House stand on a stretch of Newcastle riverfront that has been used as a quayside since Roman times, when the first bridge was built over the Tyne. The two buildings, originally numbers 41 and 44 Sandhill, were known respectively as Surtees House and Milbank House. One of his tenants was Aubone Surtees, whose daughter Bessie is said to have eloped in 1772 from a first-floor window with John Scott, a coal merchant's son. They ran away to Scotland where they were married (and were remarried in Newcastle after the families were reconciled). Scott eventually became a successful lawyer and, as Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor of England.

          You can still see the timber-framed window through which Bessie Surtees eloped. A cast iron plaque below tells the story. 

          18. Hadrian’s Wall

          For around three centuries, Hadrian’s Wall was a vibrant, multi-cultured frontier sprawling almost 80 miles coast-to-coast. Built by a force of 15,000 men in under six years; it’s as astounding today for its sheer vision as it is for its engineering. Milecastles, barracks, ramparts and forts punctuate a diverse landscape that provides a dramatic backdrop. It was built to protect the Roman Empire from attacks by Picts and other tribes to the north, to establish customs and trading point and physically mark the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

          Visitors to Newcastle and Gateshead can journey out on a day trip to experience this significant slice of history at attractions along the Wall. However you discover it, Hadrian’s Wall is a unique, must-see monument and a remarkable place to experience.

          Unlike many other historic places, Hadrian's Wall Country has something for everyone - world-class archaeology, spectacular landscapes, rare wildlife, complete solitude, vibrant cities and a population of friendly and welcoming people.

          19. Local Heroes Trail

          Over thirty of NewcastleGateshead’s most inspiring people from the past 60 years have been honoured with a bronze plaque embedded into the pavement along the NewcastleGateshead Quayside, making up the Local Heroes Trail. Take a walk along the Quayside and spot names like Sir Bobby Robson (CBE), Ann Cleeves, Ant & Dec and many more. Make your way along and try to spot them all!

          20. Grey’s Monument

          A visit to Newcastle wouldn't be complete without a wander to the foot of Grey's Monument in the heart of Newcastle city centre. Situated at the head of Newcastle's finest streets - Grey Street and Grainger Street - the striking monument is one of Newcastle's most famous landmarks. It's also a pretty handy meeting point! You will often find entertainment, markets and activity taking place around the base of Grey's Monument.  Grey's Monument column stands at 134ft, it was intended to be 150ft but not enough money was raised, yet you can still see the landmark from many spots in the city.

            21. The Grainger Market

            Newcastle’s historic indoor market, Grainger Market, opened to the public on 24 October 1835 following a huge celebratory banquet. The market is known as Newcastle's first supermarket and is a gem in the heart of the city to this day. Grainger Market is a busy, vibrant market which still plays a role in Newcastle's bustling shopping and dining culture, nearly 200 years after it first opened. Known for its unique hidden treasures, Grainger Market is also home to Marks and Spencer Original Penny Bazaar, the world's smallest Marks and Spencer store.

            22. Newcastle Cathedral

            Newcastle Cathedral holds the story of the city in its stones and monuments and is the only cathedral in the UK dedicated to St Nicholas. The cathedral represents over 900 years of Newcastle’s development with its iconic Lantern Tower having been a guiding light for ships sailing up the River Tyne. Visit the Cathedral for free to discover interactive displays which tell the stories of some of the notable characters commemorated in the Cathedral’s vast collection of ledger stones. 

            23. St Mary’s Heritage Centre

            St Mary's Heritage Centre is based within the former St Mary's Church which dates from the 12th century and is a Grade 1 listed building. For many years, this building was the only church in Gateshead and has often been described as Gateshead's mother church. Visit for free to discover permanent and changing displays celebrating various aspects of Gateshead's history, along with a wide ranging programme of events takes place throughout the year.

            Free parks and gardens in NewcastleGateshead

            Parks and gardens free newcastlegateshead Leazes Park Newcastle

            24. Leazes Park

            Leazes Park is Newcastle city centre's oldest park with a tranquil lake and a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to feed the ducks and is the oldest green space in Newcastle. It is the perfect spot to spend a day, and all for free!

            25. Saltwell Park

            Saltwell Park, based in the heart of Gateshead, is one of Britain's finest examples of a Victorian Park. In recent years, the park has seen an impressive transformation and has been restored to its Victorian splendour.

            It encompasses 55 acres of landscapes, woodland and ornamental gardens as well as public sports facilities, a refreshment house, a lake, play areas, bowling greens, Saltwell Towers, the animal house, an education centre and a maze. Saltwell Tower's a fairy tale mansion house, now houses a visitor centre and cafe.  There is something to discover at every corner of the park. 

            26. Jesmond Dene

            Jesmond Dene is a unique haven of peace and tranquillity for the people of Newcastle. It is a narrow wooded valley that follows the river Ouseburn between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale. This provides an important wildlife corridor right into the centre of Newcastle. There is a spectacular mix of native and exotic trees, and the Dene is home to a lot of wildlife, notably the Kingfisher, the Red Squirrel and many woodland birds. The Dene stretches for over three kilometres and has many areas of tranquillity, as well as honey pots of activity.

            27. Exhibition Park

            You are never far from the tranquility of a leafy park in Newcastle city centre. Exhibition Park is a beautiful park complete with Victorian bandstand and small, boating lake, home to swans and ducks. Exhibition Park stretches from the edge of Newcastle's stylish suburb Jesmond and merges with an expanse of open land - Town Moor - where you'll often find cows grazing.

            Exhibition Park is an ideal place for runners and hosts a weekly Park Run for all abilities; dog walkers and families can also enjoy the outdoors without travelling too far from the city. Take in the fresh air with a stroll around Exhibition Park where children can burn off their energy in the children's playground.

            Free fitness, sports and activities in NewcastleGateshead

            Free fitness sports and activities in Newcastle Gateshead The Quayside

            28. Run along the Quayside

            The Quayside is the perfect place to serve as a running route. Stretch your legs and run past the dazzling Tyne and under the shadow of the Old Tyne Bridge. Newcastle is home to the biggest half-marathon in the UK, The Great North Run, meaning every year over 57,000 runners flock to the city. You won't be alone on the Quayside, as joggers aim to hit their personal best, running groups run in force and runners take in the breath-taking views.  If you are an avid runner and are staying in the city, it is a must. 

            29. Swim in the North Sea

            The North East coastline is famed for its beauty and is a great draw for people wanting a day out of NewcastleGateshead. From bustling seaside towns like Tynemouth to the rugged and isolated stretches of Northumberland coast north of NewcastleGateshead, the North East coast boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK and charming towns and villages ready to be explored. The North Sea is suitable for swimming, if you dare to take the dip! Known for being a brisk swim, the sea does reach higher temperatures in the summer where you will find beachgoers taking the plunge. 

            30. Shoot some hoops

            The parks in Newcastle and Gateshead have basketball and tennis courts that are free to use! If you fancy a game, head down to Saltwell Park, Exhibition Park, Heaton Park or Leazes and make use of the courts.

            Other free things to do in NewcastleGateshead

            Other free things to do newcastlegateshead Millennium Bridge NewcastleGateshead

            31. Quayside Market

            Newcastle Quayside Market has been part of North East culture for as long as anyone can remember. Taking place every Sunday between 9am and 4pm on Newcastle Quayside, the outdoor Quayside Sunday Market features independent traders from all over the region selling handcrafted goods and local products.

            Boasting a vibrant and varied showcase of quality goods and produce, you'll find everything from jewellery and accessories, to artwork, ceramics, clothing, toys and handmade crafts from the vendors who attend each week. There are also a number of street artists and buskers to help create the warm, friendly atmosphere that the North East is known for, so you'll be fully immersed in Geordie culture.

            32. Admire the city’s seven bridges

            The seven famous bridges across the Tyne, which link the city to Gateshead on the south bank of the river are from west to east; the Redheugh bridge, King Edward VII Bridge, Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, The High Level Bridge, the Swing Bridge, the George V Bridge (or Tyne Bridge) and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Each bridge is architecturally unique, each with a story to tell. View them all and revel in their individuality. 

            33. Visit Ouseburn and discover street art

            Ouseburn Valley has a long and rich history. Once known as the cradle of the industrial revolution, recent regeneration has transformed Ouseburn to become Newcastle’s cultural quarter and one of the most vibrant creative communities in the North East. Home to artists, musicians, designers, printmakers, brewers and even sheep.

            Ouseburn is a thriving community that attracts an eclectic crowd. It has been transformed by street art from local artists, most notoriously, Mul Draws. The unique love heart brand welcomes people into Ouseburn, and offers a quirky backdrop to any photo! Wander through the leafy valley, uncovering the quirky street art trail that lies beneath the arches of Byker Bridge and around each corner. The arches artwork was originally created as part of Great Exhibition of the North 2018 and was inspired by ‘New Flash Fiction’ by David Almond, one of the North’s best-loved writers – while other pieces have been dotted around by artists unknown, only adding to the creative wonder of the Ouseburn.

            Want to find out more?

            Although NewcastleGateshead host many free events across the year, there are a whole range of events taking place throughout the city often only for a small fee. Keep an eye on our events page and socials to find out what's on. 

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