20 free & discounted family days out to enjoy by bus with Go North East this summer

*This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy for details

It's that time of year again - our school breaks up at 2pm on Friday and I can't wait. We have lots of fun planned this summer and we've been counting the days down until that final school bell rings.

There's no denying that 6 weeks is a long time though and keeping the kids entertained can end up fairly expensive. We're half way through decorating our living room and I've had to put it on hold until September as I just know that despite my best intentions, the kids are going to cost me a fortune. With a view to saving us all a few pennies this summer, I've teamed up with Go North East to bring you 20 free or discounted days out to enjoy with the kids and Go North East this summer. 

The Go North East Family Ticket

First of all, let me tell you about the Go North East Family Ticket. This ticket offers unlimited travel across most Go North East services (although some exclusions apply) for up to 2 adults and 3 children for one day. The opportunities for fun are endless and the best thing is, a ticket costs just £10 through the Go North East app or £13 from your Go North East bus driver. A family ticket will also provide discounted entry to many of the North East's top attractions (I'll go into this more later) which will save you even more money. We enjoyed a Go North East day out a few weeks ago and combined a few of these ideas together - it's a good way to get the most out of your ticket I think. 

As I've mentioned in the past, Steve and I car share and he will be using the car most days for work this summer. I love that for £10 I can still travel far and wide across the North East with the kids and we'll definitely be enjoying a few bus adventures this summer. Even when Steve is with us, I like taking the bus as there is no stressing about finding a parking space and it means we can both have a cheeky pint if we happen to stumble upon a beer garden. 

20 free & discounted family days out to enjoy with Go North East this summer

1 - Life Science Centre - Kids Go Free

One child is admitted free with every paying adult if you show your Go North East (same day) bus ticket at the admissions desk. This is a saving of £7.50 per child. We used this offer to visit Dino Jaws recently and have to say we loved it. You can easily spend 4 hours at Life and team a visit up with the free Discovery Museum nearby to make a day of it. My top tip would be to visit on a sunny day as in my experience, it tends to be a lot quieter then. 

2 - Cullercoats Beach - FREE day out

We travelled from Newcastle to Cullercoats using the Coaster 1 bus last weekend. It has been years since I visited Cullercoats and I don't actually think I've ever taken my own children. I always struggle getting parked and we usually opt for Blyth or Whitley Bay as they are closer. I am so pleased we made the journey though as Cullercoats is easily my new favourite beach in North Tyneside. You can hire deck chairs, buy drinks and buckets and spades from the kiosk, watch the Lifeboats and it is super sandy and sheltered. We loved it. If you haven't visited Cullercoats in a while, I honestly cannot recommend a trip highly enough this summer. We felt like we were in the Med.

3 - Angel of the North - FREE day out 

We are lucky to have some superb landmarks in our region. We visited the Angel of the North for the first time last year and loved it. The Go North East Angel 21 bus will drop you right outside. It's a fab spot for a picnic and until you see her up close, you don't really appreciate just how huge she is. 

4 - Shipley Art Gallery - FREE day out

The Go North East Q1 & Q2 stop right outside of the Shipley Art Gallery. Entry is free and there are oftern free special events running during school holidays. Don't miss their giant garden games including giant noughts and crosses and dominoes this summer.

5 - NE1 Screen on the Green - FREE day out

The Newcastle NE1 Screen on the Green returns this summer. Head to Old Eldon Square in Newcastle City Centre and you can catch free family movies on most days during the summer holidays. I recommend taking your blanket and grabbing a picnic from The Grainger Market to enjoy with the movie. You can find the latest screening information here.

6 - Ocean Beach Pleasure Park - £25 worth of ride tickets for £15

South Shields is one of our favourite places for a big family day out. If you have a Go North East smartcard, you can buy £25 worth of ride tokens for £15. This will get you on a fair few rides. The Ghost Train and the Dodgems are our favourites. Hop aboard the Go North East 88, 88a, 20A or  Go North East 50 to get there. 

7 - Saltwell Park - FREE day out

After catching the Go North East Angel 21 bus to Saltwell Park last year, it's been a firm favourite of ours. It's just a short bus journey from Newcastle city centre and you really could spend a full day here. There's lots to keep you entertained from boating lakes to mazes, play parks, pets corner and ice cream huts. 

8 - Beamish Museum - 25% off admission

If you show your Go North East bus ticket at the admission's desk at Beamish, you'll receive a 25% discount off your ticket. This includes annual passes so is a real bargain. Beamish can be reached via the 8, 28, 28A and 128 buses. The museum has a whole host of events planned over the summer and it will be very easy to get your money's worth from your ticket. 

9 - The Word South Shields - FREE day out 

Combining a trip to Ocean Pleasure Beach (see above) and The Word makes sense. This cutural hub hosts a huge range of activities over summer and many of them are free. There's everything from young writers workshops to story time. There's a library, story lab, fab lab, interactive areas, gaming zone and more.....

10 - Blue Reef Aquarium - £2 off admission

Now I will be the first to admit that I'm not a huge lover of the Blue Reef Aquarium. I find it to be fairly expensive for what it is and we've never spent longer than an hour inside. However, if you have a Go North East smart card you are entitled to a £2 per person discount which makes it more affordable. You can also come and go all day so can check out the animal talk times and combine a trip with a visit the beach or Tynemouth park. My three are probably a little old now but they really did love visiting the aquarium when they were younger and toddlers will especially love the huge variety or fish and marine life. You need to catch the Go North East Coaster 1 bus and it will drop you pretty much outside of the aquarium.

Credit | Life in Geordieland Blog

11 - Great North Museum - FREE day out 

The Great North Museum is a real favourite in our house. It's interesting, interactive and free! A quick visit is a fab way to begin or end your day.  The museum has a whole summer of fun planned with various weekly activities ranging from 'Explore the world week' to 'Wildlife week'. Check out their website for details. 

12 - Rising Sun Country Park - FREE day out

The 42 and 42A Go North East buses will drop you off right outside Asda Benton. If you follow the path around the (McDonalds side) building for 5 minutes you'll stumble upon the Rising Sun Country Park which I think is a real hidden gem. There are picnic tables, BBQ areas, a water sensory area, a shaded play area and a cafe all overlooking the gorgeous pond. There are lots of family trails to explore through the woods too and you can visit the animals at the free community farm and watch the birds from the hides around the lake. We used to live right by the Rising Sun (and Steve's parents still do) and to this day it is one of Jack's favourite ever days out and a place he asks to visit time and time again. If you're lucky you might also spot the Rising Sun stag. 

13 - Red Kite Trail - FREE day out

Hop aboard a special Go North East Red Kite Bus and explore the Red Kite Trail around Derwent Valley. There will be plenty of opportunities to spot lots of nature around this circular walk (including the star of the show - Red Kites). Pack a picnic and make a day of it.

14 - Bill Quay Farm - FREE day out 

Bill Quay Farm is a much-loved community farm that is free to enter and nice to have potter for an hour or so. You'll need to catch the Go North East Crusader 27 bus. Check out Nomipalony's video review below for an idea of what to expect:

15 - intu Metrocentre - FREE day out

Some people laugh at me when I mention intu Metrocentre as a fab place to take the kids but I really believe it is! First of all there's the FREE soft play at IKEA where you can leave your children with qualified staff and enjoy a coffee in the cafe (which is also free if you're a family card membere). Then you can pop into Pets at Home to meet the animals (they also run a range of free workshops for kids - see here for details) before letting them go wild in Toys R Us. Finally, head over to intu Metrocentre where you'll find 4 weeks of FREE pirate fun happening from 31st July with a new Metrognome show every week. There's also a nice little play park outside of the Qube and if your kids have saved any pennies, they'll love the amusement arcades. Here's a handy list of places where kids eat for free or £1. 

16 - Chester-le-street Riverside Park - FREE day out 

Hop aboard service 36 or 78 - both stop right beside this fabulous park. Riverside park is always popular with little ones and the outdoor water play area and paddling pool has to be one of the best in the North East and perfect for a sunny day. There's also a play area, beautiful gardens and riverside walks to enjoy too.

Thanks Jayne for the pic

17 - South Beach Blyth - FREE day out

The 309 and X39 Cobalt Clipper stop by South Beach in Blyth which is one of our favourite spots to enjoy a family day out. There are 2 large play parks, there's plenty of grass and it's a lovely walk along the beach too. You can pack a picnic or enjoy fish and chips from Coastline or a cheeky ice cream from the ice cream parlour too. If you fancy making a day of it, why not hire a beach hut?

18 - Newcastle Quayside  - FREE day out

My three love riding the Go North East Quaylink buses along the Quayside. They love that it's an electric bus and the way they can follow their stops on screen and listen to the Geordie voiceovers. Catch the bus from the Haymarket and enjoy your ride down to the Quayside where you can experience what has to be the ultimate free day out. There's the opportunity to build sandcastles on the Quayside Seaside, the chance to experiment with art and enjoy the views from the Baltic, a free small soft play area in the Sage and you can walk along to Ouseburn and meet the animals at Ouseburn farm. 

19 - Exhibition Park - FREE day out 

Another Newcastle-based day out. Exhibition park is a fab place to enjoy the last of the day's sunshine after a day's adventure. There are two lovely play parks, a boating lake, sports courts and more. Mum and dad can even relax with a drink from Wylam Brewery if they're lucky.

20 - Diggerland - save 20%

You can save 20% off regular admission for up to 4 people if you show your Go North East key card or bus ticket along with this voucher when purchasing your tickets at Diggerland Durham. Services 13, 14 and X25 will drop you at Langley Park which is a short walk from Diggerland. I think Diggerland is definitely more suited to children who are taller than 90cm as there are a lot more rides they are able to go on then.

We enjoyed our own bus adventure with Go North East a few weeks ago using their £10 family ticket. We packed a lot into our day and really made the most of it from the NE1 Motor Show in the morning to DinoJaws at Life over lunch time and then ending our day at Cullercoats beach. Check out my vlog below to see what we got up to:

Let me know if you have any suggestions for places to visit with the Go North East Family Day Ticket. I hope I've inspired you to try somewhere new this summer.

Are you looking for more ideas for days out across North East England? Why not join 2000 other parents in our North East Days Out Facebook group. It's FREE to join and a fab place to post your own recommendations, find inspiration or ask for ideas. You can request to join here. 



  1. Some brilliant days out ideas here! Exhibition park looks good and not far from us

  2. So many new places to try with Dinky!

  3. We live in Durham - thanks so much for the great tips! Now to start planning the 6 weeks x


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