Newcastle is a cool, quirky, vibrant place and a great destination for a short break with the family. Newcastle is in North East England and the River Tyne runs through it. I went to Newcastle for the fabulous Traverse conference for travel bloggers, but I managed to see some of the city too as it’s a compact place which is easy to walk around. Here are some suggestions for great things to do with kids in Newcastle which won’t cost you a penny.
The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is a place to experience and learn about art as well as create it. Even if you’re not into art it’s worth a visit just to see the building and the views it offers. It’s a vast, iconic structure which sits next to the River Tyne at the foot of the Gateshead Millennium bridge. It’s open every day and hosts a series of contemporary art exhibitions as well as free family art activities. There’s a café and a spectacular view of the city from the picture window on Level 5. If you want a treat then afternoon tea at Six Restaurant is fabulous – my favourite was the mini banoffee trifle – and good value at £14.95.
Cost: free (apart from afternoon tea)
Quayside & seven bridges
On the opposite bank of the river to BALTIC is the Quayside and this is a great area to explore. There are interesting buildings to look at, bars, restaurants and views of the seven bridges which span the River Tyne. It’s a wide, pedestrianised area so very safe to let kids run around. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is fun to walk across and at night it is lit up and changes colour. On Sunday mornings there’s a street market on the Quayside.
Practically next door to Seven Stories (I’m going to write a separate post about Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books and a wonderful place to visit) is the charmingly ramshackle Ouseburn farm. It’s a small city farm with goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and pigs as well as a vegetable and flower garden and fields and woods to explore. The farm is a charity run by volunteers, is open every day and has a café. Look out for free family events such as the Little Growers Club which ran over February half term.
Cost: free but donations welcome
Great North Museum
This Newcastle University museum has an eclectic mix of exhibits including dinosaurs, stuffed animals, Samurai warriors and Egyptian mummies. There’s lots of hands-on stuff which kids will enjoy and the most popular exhibits include a life-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and an interactive model of Hadrian’s Wall. There’s also a planetarium and a café.
This is an annual arts festival at the end of October showcasing the creativity of children and young people. There are all sorts of things going on from workshops to parades to storytelling to exhibitions and it sounds like lots of fun.
Cost: many events are free
If you’ve ever been to Newcastle do you have any tips for things to do there for families?