Spending a holiday or a weekend break with your kids can be challenging, but not in Newcastle upon Tyne. This vibrant city offers a great range of family-friendly attractions, from exciting live science shows to peaceful public parks where you can enjoy nature. Check out these ten options to choose the best one for you and your little ones.
1. Life Science Centre
The Life Science Centre is not your usual museum but a state-of-the-art science village with almost endless interactive, brain-teasing exhibits and engaging activities for all ages. Aiming to inspire curiosity and fascination for science, it invites you to carry out practical experiments and enjoy immersive live science shows. It is easy to lose track of time by creating a live heat map of your body with an infrared camera, looking at the effects of climate change on a digital globe displaying Earth, or exploring the constellations in the biggest planetarium in the North.
Address: Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP
Cost: £16.50 for adults and £9.00 for children; the museum also offers discounted family tickets
2. Ouseburn Farm
Ouseburn Farm is a perfect place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and get up close with animals, including cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and even lizards. Situated underneath three soaring bridges just a mile from the center of Newcastle, this green oasis offers a range of activities, such as animal petting and feeding sessions. You can explore the meadows, stroll around the garden, and also visit a café to try dishes prepared with local fresh produce. And it’s free! One of the best things to do with kids in Newcastle, no doubt about that.
Address: Ouseburn Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PA
3. Great North Museum: Hancock
The Great North Museum, specializing in natural history, archaeology, and world cultures, is one of those places that can brighten the rainy day and keep you and your children entertained for hours. It features Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman artifacts, full-sized models of an elephant and a great white shark, an Inuit kayak, and aboriginal religious items. You will learn about mummification, explore an interactive model of the epic Hadrian’s Wall, and come face to face with a T. rex (this skeleton cast is always a hit with kids).
Address: Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT
Cost: free, although donations are welcomed
4. Jesmond Dene
One of the greatest options for a sunny day is to get lost in Jesmond Dene, a wonderful historic park in a tranquil leafy suburb of Newcastle. It offers plenty of walks and nature trails, large open spaces for picnics, many bridges to stroll over the river, and a beautiful waterfall to admire. One of the most popular spots is Pet’s Corner, where you can find animals of all shapes and sizes, from alpacas to colorful birds, and a play area for kids up to eight years of age.
Address: Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DZ
5. Seven Stories
The National Center for Children’s Books named Seven Stories is a book-lovers paradise and the only place in the country that celebrates British children’s literature, its creators, and its readers. The collection, spread across seven levels of the renovated Victorian mill, includes works by over 250 writers and illustrators. Here, you can step into the kitchen that inspired the famous book The Tiger Who Came To Tea and take a journey through the Wild Woods to explore magical worlds, including Narnia and Hogwarts. Also read about the best art galleries in Newcastle.
Address: 30 Lime Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ
6. Discovery Museum
Discovery Museum, housed in one of the iconic buildings in the city center, invites you to immerse yourself in the history of Newcastle, focusing on science and technology. As you step into the building, you will be immediately amazed by Turbinia, a 34-meter steam-powered ship that was once the fastest in the world. You can also discover many important inventions made on Tyneside, such as Stephenson’s locomotives and Armstrong’s guns, and experience the thrill of the cockpit in the museum’s flight simulator.
Address: Blandford Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4JA
Cost: free, but donations are welcomed
7. Go Ape Matfen
If your kids are at least ten years old and all of you are ready for new adventures, Go Ape in the picturesque village of Matfen near Newcastle is the right destination for your family. It is a rope park that offers a tree-top rope course with extreme obstacles, free-falling swings, and zip lines. There is also a stress-relieving axe-throwing experience as an option for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground. The rope course remains open even on rainy days — just don’t forget to dress for the weather.
Address: Matfen Village, Newcastle upon Tyne NE20 0RH
Cost: £35 for treetop challenge and £18 for axe throwing
8. Flight Simulator Centre
Flight Simulator Centre is a perfect place for those who dream (or used to dream) of becoming a pilot. This extraordinary attraction allows you to take control of a Boeing 737–800 holiday jet as a real captain or try other ultra-realistic simulators to get an unforgettable immersive experience. The center also offers VR experiences with a great selection of games suitable for eight years old and over. The kids are bound to love this!
Address: Brunswick Industrial Estate, Unit 5, Newcastle upon Tyne NE13 7GB
Cost: from £29
9. Rising Sun Country Park & Countryside Centre
Choosing a place for a peaceful family day out, consider Rising Sun Country Park, which is well-maintained and extremely rich in wildlife. One of the highlights is the Swallow pond, surrounded by bird hides for keen birdwatchers to use. If you are lucky, you will see not only birds but also a red deer, a roe, or a fox in this beautiful green oasis. Walking through the park, you can find a farm where your children can feed donkeys, ponies, and other cute farm habitats.
Address: The Lodge, Whitley Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 9SS
10. Beamish, the Living Museum of the North
Are you and your little ones curious about how people in North East England lived in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century? You can find all the answers in Beamish, a world-famous open-air museum located 8 miles from Newcastle. It allows you to step back into the Georgian era with its old houses, magnificent gardens, traditional cooking and craft activities, and see Rowley railway station as it looked in Edwardian times. You can also explore the 1900s and 1950s towns and even take the retro tram.
Address: Beamish, County Durham DH9 0RG
Cost: £21 for adults and £12 for children’s unlimited pass valid for one year
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.