I have lived in Gateshead most of my life and have generally ventured to Newcastle and surrounding areas when I’ve wanted to do something. With two kids I’m not as mobile as I once was and logistically it is hard to rally the troops, so to speak. I’ve compiled a list of places to go with the kids, specifying ages the activity is suitable for in my opinion. I have a 17 month old and 15 year old, so it takes a lot to entertain them at the same time. Thankfully the Teen loves his little sis and doesn’t complain too much about soft play and the like if he gets to spend time with her.
This list is not completed and I will add to it as I go 🙂
GO Bears Den
Newly opened within Gateshead Leisure Centre, GO Bears Den is a soft play area for ages up to 12. I went along with Dinky at 9am to avoid the school holidays madness. By 10am it was busy and I’m pleased we made an early trip. There is a dedicated baby and toddler area but it isn’t segregated off from the older children’s section which means there’s a bit of ‘through flow’.
I spent time trying to fish my LO from the ball pool that was for older kids, and she also got quite frightened when they were clambering over her in the toddler part too.
My personal opinion is that it is better for older kids. I felt she wasn’t really enthralled in the way she has been in other local soft plays historically. It was £4 for a 2 hour session (with a GO Gateshead card), which was more than enough time for Dinky. Some parents have agreed and said it is better for children 4 and above who can play independently and blow off stream.
Refreshments are available in the hall from a ‘tuck shop’ set-up. I felt disappointed by a council run facility selling Slush Puppies, to be honest. I’m sure many parents are badgered for sugary treats but that didn’t sit right with me. No soya milk in their canteen either – never mind pesky vegans but what about kids with milk allergies – but I took along my own mini cartons so I could have a cuppa while I let the LO do her thing. The food options were incredibly limited for those with dietary restrictions and it makes me wonder how difficult it will be as Dinky gets older with chocolate being paraded in front of her like this.
Clip ‘N Climb
Also housed within Gateshead Leisure Centre is an exciting new climbing experience called Clip ‘N Climb. Aimed at ages 4 upwards, this experience is suitable for the whole family. It is an activity the Teen is bound to enjoy as he has a head for heights.
No previous climbing experience is necessary and each session has a safety briefing factored in. With names like Leap of Faith and drops of 25 ft, it seems like an exhilarating experience and one that will entertain many in the family.
Prices are from £10 (for children) per session.
Watergate Forest Park
If the weather is nice a walk around the many trials of Watergate Forest Park is a great way of tearing the kids away from the computer/TV and getting them into the great outdoors. There’s also a cafe on-site for refreshments. You can find out more in an older post here.
The Nest, Low Fell
As well as the lovely downstairs cafe, The Nest has a range of classes and activities scheduled weekly for little ones. You can find out more here.
Voted as one of the best parks in the UK, it’s easy to see why Saltwell Park has remained a family favourite for generations.
Dinky loves having a wander on her reins or being pushed round on her new trike.
With separate play areas for different age groups, the Lake and Saltwell Towers housing art collections, there’s plenty to keep them occupied. In my day there was a full size plane to clamber on (do you also remember that? Let me know in the comments :)) but the facilities have improved since the 80’s.
The upcoming Proper Food Festival looks set to put the park on the foodie map, with over 60 stalls selling their scran to local punters on the 5th and 6th of August. Looking forward to it!
If you’re wanting to feed the ducks and swans on the lake please remember not to take bread along as they are not able to eat it, contrary to popular opinion, is it can lead to malnutrition. Corn, peas and lettuce are far better for them instead.
Gateshead Central Library
With Storytime events. Activities and a secret garden that I knew nothing anout, Gateshead Central Library is a good place to take the kids to encourage them to read.
A free resource, I can think of no better way to spend an quiet hour with Dinky encouraging her to love books. Even the Teen had a search through the shelves to see what was available. Let’s make the most of these cultural provisions while we still have them!
Gibside, National Trust
Not far from the Metro Centre is an impressive National Trust property with grounds me and the kids still haven’t fully explored.
With activities scheduled over the summer months, play areas and the Pub Nights which attract quite a crowd, Gibside is steeped in history and a beautiful place to visit come rain or shine.
The Angel of the North
There’s a track to walk around this iconic sculpture, which happens to be one of the most viewed pieces of Art in the world. Finding out a little bit more about this national treasure is sure to engage the little ones, while older children might find the engineering side of the project of interest.
Thanks for reading,