Five Free Kids Days Out in the North East

With the average person spending £7.85 on sundries at the cinema BEFORE including the cost of the tickets, I started to think about how expensive kids are! There aren’t many ways to entertain the kids during the school holidays that don’t cost an arm and a leg. We are actually very fortunate in the North East to have a number of museums and activities that are free and, while Canny Food is very much all about the grub, I thought I’d share some of these with the mums and dads out there who read the blog.

Teessaurus Park

imageimageTravel back in time to Jurassic Teesside! While this won’t necessarily take more than an hour, Teessaurus Park is a good place to drop into if you find yourself in the area with the sprogs. As we live in Gateshead we don’t often venture to the south of the region. We’d made a special trip to Middlesbrough to eat at new veggie-vegan bistro The Green Room on this particular day however, and while in the vicinity took the opportunity to go with the kids. Mine aren’t the right age to appreciate it properly, although Mr. Canny and the Teen enjoyed clambering over the fabricated creatures.

imageimageA collection of life-sized sculptures in the shape of dinosaurs, the park is something many locals don’t even know exists. Under threat from vandals and bureaucracy, the beautiful walk around the models is one to take care on if you have small children because of litter. It is such a shame as with a lick of paint and a clean up this would be a fantastic place for picnics in the summer. As you can see by the photos though, we enjoyed the experience. It’s not often you can say you stood beside a T-Rex!imageimageimage

Laing Art Gallery


Da Vinci

We have yet to visit the new exhibition at present but have thoroughly enjoyed seeing Da Vinci and Picasso’s works in the past at the fantastic Laing Art Gallery.


John Martin

There is a charge for these special events, but the gallery has many exceptional collections you can walk around for free. I have written a longer post about one such visit myself and the Teen made, which can be read here. We’re fans of local artist John Martin’s apocalyptic paintings which are housed in the gallery, but on each visit we seem to discover other pieces which catch our eye!

Arbeia, South Shields

imageArbeia Roman Fort was something of a revelation for me. I never visited as a child like many Geordie kids have – my son included. We took along older family, but I think on a sunny day there will be plenty to do and see to keep little ones entertained.

imageimageWith full-scale reconstructed Roman buildings and housing one of the biggest collections of objects found at a Roman military site in Britain, I was surprised it was free to look round. Donations are welcomed, as with many of our museums and galleries.

imageDuring the holidays there will be re-enactments and events, such as live excavations. Have a look round the impressive West Gates, or take a wander through the Commanding Officer’s house on site. The kids can always be taken to Minchella’s for an ice cream or Fish and Chips at Colman’s afterwards as a reward for all the learning they’ve done 🙂 See our post here about a family day out in South Shields.image

Great North Museum

The Great North Museum is a fantastic free resource in the centre of Newcastle. There are many events scheduled to keep the kids amused during the school holidays, so it is worth checking on their website or Facebook page for more information.

Photo Credit: GNM Instagram

Photo Credit: GNM Instagram

I recommended GNM to my sister-in-law while she was visiting from Dublin with her daughters. She was apprehensive, thinking they would find it ‘stuffy and boring’. Using the word museum tends to put a lot of people off, conjuring up thoughts of books and boring displays. With a planetarium (fee applies) and lots of interactive activities, kids of all ages will find it fascinating. I can’t wait until Dinky is old enough to appreciate this amenity.image image

The Discovery Museum

Another place recommended to in-laws, the Discovery Museum has one of the largest collections of scientific material outside of London. Children interested in Science will find it fascinating that Tyneside was the cradle of pioneering industrial and technical developments for more than two centuries. Us Geordies have bigger claims to fame than Broon Ale, that’s for sure!

Photo Credit: Discovery Museum Instagram

Photo Credit: Discovery Museum Instagram

With events scheduled throughout the holidays for children of all ages, Discovery Museum is definitely a great place to take the kids on a rainy day.

Thanks for reading,

Pip x

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  1. Nyomi

    Arlo loves the discovery and great north museums. We’ve not been to a couple of the others so we’ll have to check those out.

    1. Emma Phillips (Post author)

      I think it’s amazing we have these great resources so local to us. Until recently I hadn’t botgered with some of them since school trips. As Dinky gets older I’m sure we’ll be using them more too.


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