Things to do in Newcastle Gateshead this summer Family Friendly Newcastle Gateshead copy

Are you looking for things to do with the kids in Newcastle, Gateshead and the North East during the summer holidays?

If you have a brood of restless kids on your hands – we’ve got some great suggestions of how to fill your school holidays with family-friendly things to do in Newcastle and Gateshead. The fabulous attractions and venues in Newcastle and Gateshead will be providing a packed programme of events and activities to keep all ages busy. 

The sun will be shining, but it's not a British summer without a little bit of rain, so it's always good to have options of what you can do when it’s raining in Newcastle and Gateshead too. Here is our guide to great indoor and outdoor activities to have up your sleeve in the North East. Whatever the weather, you’ll have fun!

Take the kids for free on the Metro and Shields Ferry! Families who are looking for things to do this summer in Newcastle and Gateshead are invited to hop on the Metro to whizz to the beach or head into the city to visit a museum. Wherever you're heading, make the most of free travel for the kids thanks to Nexus. The offer allows for up to three kids aged 11 and under to travel for free on Metro and the Shields Ferry, all day, every day when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. Find out more here.

Check out where the nearest metro stop is to the attractions and events below or take a look at the Metro Map.

Life  Science Centre 

  • Nearest Metro stop: Central Station (6-minute walk)

Life Science Centre is a great day out, and so close to Newcastle Central Station, Life Science Centre is a must-visit attraction in Newcastle with hands-on exhibits to test, inspire and educate families. Wonder at the seven-metre recreation of Planet Earth - Gaia as soon as you enter. Families are invited to get hands-on with multi-sensory exhibits including light play, dramatic demonstrations controlled by you and the ‘Big Machine’ which stands over 6-metres-tall in the Wow Zone. Join our Explainers to see yourself (and things that share your body with you) as never before in Gross and Glorious Me: Live Science Show! How does your body battle against germs? What makes you break wind and what does the colour of your wee say about you? It’s not for the squeamish! The Life Science Centre is open everyday from 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Newcastle Castle  

  • Nearest Metro stop: Central Station (4-minute walk)

Newcastle Castle is rich in history and bursting with stories. The attraction is a brilliant day out for the family and also has excellent views across the River Tyne from the roof. Open Fridays - Mondays, Newcastle Castle is a great starting point for anyone looking to discover more about Newcastle's history. They have a whole host of activities on, including Kids' Castle Adventures Tour.  Enjoy an activity driven, after hours visit to the Castle Keep. Your guide will lead you around the atmospheric Keep, where you will hear stories from the castle's past and take part in a range of activities. Will you dare to brave a visit to the castle dungeon? Can you triumph against renowned knight Sir Aymer de Atholl in combat? Test your aim as an archer with an archery challenge!Remember, your ticket now gives you access to the Castle for one year after you purchase it!

Free Museums and art galleries

  • Nearest Metro stop to:
    • Discovery Museum: St James (9-minute walk), Central Station (7-minute walk)
    • Great North Museum: Haymarket (5-minute walk)
    • Shipley Art Gallery: Gateshead Interchange (19-minute walk)

Take your pick of great free museums and pay to enter attractions which will be hosting activities and events as well as giving you and your family chance to explore their collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions. From Great North Museum to Shipley Art Gallery, Segedunum Roman Fort and Discovery Museum.

Discovery Museum have lots of free family fun this summer. Explore the museum and pick up a free trail to explore the amazing transport collections – from trains, ships, fire engines and more. They are also hosting a couple of Discovery Days including a family craft session inspired by Bird Builds a Nest by Martin Jenkins, an introductory science and bird themed book. Little ones can then get creative with crafts inspired by the themes in the book. Join the museum on the 3rd and 17th August for Play on the Plaza, for crafts, experiments and play throughout the day. Don't worry if it rains, the day will take place inside in the entrance hall next to the ship Turbinia.

Great North Museum have some great activities planned for the summer holidays as well as their permanent exhibitions. Join The Moss Troopers, a roving trio of storytellers, historians, educators, entertainers and fools as you explore the museum. For the summer holidays the Moss Troopers will bring to life elements of the Myth Quest exhibition to bring parts of the Myth Quest out of the page and into reality. This will take place on Wednesdays throughout the holidays, starting from July 26.  The museum is also opening for a relaxed early opening on Tuesday 25 July, Tuesday 1 August, Tuesday 8 August, Tuesday 15 August, Tuesday 22 August and Tuesday 29 August from 9am until 10am. This relaxed session is for visitors with autism, learning disabilities or sensory and communication disorders, along with their families and carers. If that's not you, please visit after 10am.

Shipley Art Gallery host the Family Arts Festival on Tuesday 25 July - Thursday 31 August which is a brilliant way to get creative during the school holidays. Enjoy creative activities together on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer holidays. Each session has a different theme, and you'll take home something special you've made every time. Be inspired by the artworks on display and try a range of art materials in the beautiful surroundings of the gallery. The friendly artists are there to support and can't wait to see what you create!

Entry to the venues is free but charge may apply to certain events. 

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

  • Nearest Metro stop to Seven Stories: Manors (12-minute walk)

Seven Stories is a family-friendly attraction in Newcastle's popular Ouseburn area with creative exhibitions waiting to spark your imagination.

 Join them this summer at the Shakespeare Summer Club, and join your very own theatre troupe. Seven Stories takes on the master storyteller himself, William Shakespeare, and his delightful, mischievous play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Join them in their beautiful attic space for a creative and collaborative exploration of magic, fairy feuds, bewitched lovers and the rude mechanicals. Taking inspiration from Michael Morpurgo’s Ten Tales from Shakespeare and the bard himself, the company of young players will create their own version of this timeless classic. The Summer Club will start on Monday 24 July and will run Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm throughout the 6 weeks of the summer holidays. Book your place here. 

Take part in historical fun and become time-travellers at Seven Stories as you take a guided tour of the galleries and exhibitions and celebrate all things historic this Summer. In this fully interactive experience you will explore the wonderful museum, discovering the rich and rather putrid past, followed by a showing of Night at the Museum in the magical attic.Tickets priced at £8.50 per person, book your place here. 

Entry to the venue is free but charge may apply to certain events.

Tyne Theatre & Opera House

  • Nearest Metro stop to the Tyne Theatre & Opera House is Central Station (4 minutes)

65 million years in the making… Are you ready for the adventure of Dinosaur Adventure Live? 

Join the intrepid rangers on a quest to recover the data crystal, restore power to the island and save the Dinosaurs! Stomp, roar and swish your tail as you are introduced to some of the most incredible species ever to have lived on planet Earth. An unforgettable Jurassic experience for all the family to enjoy. Learn their history with the amazing Dino-facts, meet the beautiful baby dinosaurs and even feed them, but watch out…. you could be on the menu! Book your tickets here.

The Alnwick Garden 

Take part in an exclusive Augmented Reality Trail only at The Alnwick Garden this summer! Join Reg the Heg, the official Alnwick Garden mascot find his friends who have gotten lost all over The Garden. Simply scan the QR code on arrival or visit the LetsARgo website here. Your phone will ‘buzz’ when it senses you are near one of Reg’s friends and once you find the marker, scan and have fun! Take as many pictures and videos as you like with your new pals and make sure to tag them in your snaps.

Did you know there is a new arrival in the Poison Garden?  The gympie gympie, also known as the 'Australian stinging tree' is the newest arrival that is known to be the "most venomous of all plants". Dare to enter the world’s deadliest garden on an exclusive guided tour? Filled with hundreds of toxic and narcotic plants, The Poison Garden Tour is a must on your visit to The Alnwick Garden. Discover a world of danger as the guides deliver gory stories about the history of poison, high profile murder and what’s lurking in your own back garden!

Make the most of the sunshine at WWT Washington Wetland Centre

Whatever the weather – a trip to WWT Washington Wetland Centre is a brilliant family day out in the North East. Discover the great outdoors and take part in the daily Flamingo and Otter talks. See the flock of pink Chilean flamingos up close and learn interesting facts about the flamboyant birds, plus find out more about their innovative solar-panelled house during daily talks at 11.45am and 2.45pm. Head to meet the cheeky otter family Musa, Mimi and Buster during commentated feeds at 11.30am and 2:30pm every day. Enjoy watching them forage and swim as they tuck into tasty treats and explore their enclosure.

Take part in a wild walk on Sunday 23 July at 11am and locate amphibian and dragonfly ponds in search of a variety of dragonflies and damselflies with the help of a guide. Or if bees and butterflies are more up your street, take part in a wild walk on Saturday 5 August at 11am and explore Wader Lake footpath looking for bees and butterflies, learning how to spot and ID key species.

There is also a play area and picnic benches for fun all day long. 

Explore Beamish 

A day out at Beamish Museum is always a great choice for families. The award-winning living, working museum has plenty to keep all the family busy as you immerse yourself in North East heritage as early as the 1950s and way back into the Victorian era. Did you know you can get the number 28 Go North East bus from Eldon Square and it drops you right at the gates of Beamish?

Head to the Beamish Tractor Show 2023 on 22nd and 23rd July and admire traditional tractors on display at the museum. Head to listen to the Inspire Ladies Choir on Saturday 22nd and enjoy the sound of the choir, who will be performing in the chapel in the 1900s Pit Village from 11-11:45am and 1-1:45pm. 

Tap your foot along to the sound of Cleveland Concert Band, who will be performing tunes in The 1900s Town bandstand from 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays throughout August. 

Towards the end of August, join Beamish for the Beamish Allotment, Garden and Craft Show, a weekend of vegetable displays crafting and flower arrangements. The annual contest will see home-grown vegetables and flowers battle it out in an attempt to take first prize.

Do you grow lovely leeks, perfect potatoes and the best beetroot? Why not bring your home-grown vegetables and flowers along to the museum and compete in the show? Entry is free of charge with certificates and rosettes up for grabs. Download your entry form here. 

Need somewhere to stay in NewcastleGateshead?

Are you visiting NewcastleGateshead in the summer holidays? Take a look at some family-friendly places to stay here.  Make the most of your time in the North East and visit the beautiful coastline, dine out in style and take part in some unmissable events and festivals. 

What do you want to do?


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