Five Free Family Days Out in the North East – Part Two

Following on from my original Five Free Days Out post I’ve visited some more places in the North East I felt are fantastic options to entertain bored children during the summer holidays. Picnics can be packed to avoid eating in expensive cafes, or you can check out my Free Kids Meals post to help save the pennies. If you have any more suggestions, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom 🙂

The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

imageI took Dinky along for one of Shipley’s Creative Baby session which cost £5, but of course you can visit free of charge at any time. With activities suitable from birth until 12 months, it is a great way of introducing art to small children. The gallery is located a short distance from Gateshead’s Central Library and Leisure Centre, and there’s parking directly outside the gallery (subject to availability).


The Magic Carpet is also available at any time, which contains a selection of specially designed toys, these will entertain little ones for hours on end. During our visit Dinky sat up unaided for the first time while playing with sponges 🙂image

For more information about the gallery, exhibitions and learning, visit their website here.

Saltwell Park, Gateshead

Making a day of it if visiting Shipley, prepare some sandwiches and pop along to one of the finest parks in the area – Saltwell Park. I have many fond memories of visiting as a child, especially with the aeroplane the park used to house. I kid you not!imageWhile there may not be something as exciting as a full-sized plane in the park nowadays, what you will find is a beautifully maintained hidden gem. No wonder it has won many accolades, including Britain’s Best Park historically.

imageWith plenty of grassy areas for children to let off steam, a boating lake and the magical Saltwell Towers, there is so much to do and see. There are also play areas and a maze. A must-visit.

The Playground Project, Baltic Mill

imageimageWhile my sister-in-law was visiting from Brazil we took her to Baltic Mill, which affords fantastic views of the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside area. It also allowed Dinky to spend some time getting to grips with some Duplo in the gallery library, and we had a look round the new Playground Project which has been recently installed here. imageimageimage

I wasn’t sure whether Dinky would be too small to enjoy this, but she happily sat in the sand pit while the older children played round her. Big kids will also like larking round on the rope swings or sliding down the red and orange snake, which is difficult to miss in the centre of the room. imageAs a fan of those adult colouring in books that seem so popular now, my sister-in-law picked up a felt tip in the Baltic Shop and had a scribble. image

While the art exhibitions may not be to everyone’s tastes, it’s great to see the gallery becoming a great place to take children. The cafe is pretty good too, although if you fancy something more substantial Newcastle’s Quayside is home to many fantastic children-friendly restaurants like Gusto.

NE1 Screen on the Green, Newcastle City Centre

At the start of the school holidays, Newcastle’s Old Eldon Square area welcomed a huge cinema screen to entertain the folk of Newcastle over the summer months. Usually located beside Grey’s Monument, this year sees the screen also de-camp to the Quayside beach on a Thursday (see our review of Riley’s Fish Shack for some lovely photos of our visit). imageFor a list of film screenings visit the Get Into Newcastle website here.

The Beautiful North East Coast

imageWe are blessed to live in a region where we are never too far away from a beach to visit with the kids. From Bamburgh to Sunderland, there’s not one stretch of sand that doesn’t afford a stunning view of our coastline and the North Sea. Of course, the British weather isn’t always great, but come rain or shine the beach is always a great way to tire the kids (and dogs!) out.


Make sure you take a towel, as even in the cold children like to plodge 🙂 There’s always a little cafe close by to pop into for refreshments, like the recently opened The View on Tynemouth’s Longsands Beach.


Don’t forget the bucket and spade!

Thanks for reading,

Pip x



  1. Nyomi

    Sharing on Friday. Can’t wait to take mine to this Baltic playground project. The only other one they’ve not been to is the Shipley.

  2. Sarah freeman

    Great post.
    Have you tried house of objects at the rising sun?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *