Exploring North & South Shields - A family day out with Tyne & Wear Metro

*This is a paid collaboration.

Steve and I car share and as his job often involves weekend work, unless I want to be stuck in the house with the kids (and let's face it - nobody wants that), I rely on public transport to get around at the weekend. We've travelled all over the North East via public transport but a place I haven't really explored much of without the car is South Shields. It's one of our favourite places but as we normally take the car and always park by Ocean Beach Fairground, we never really get beyond the beach, fairground and Marine Park. I had been reading all about the other attractions that South Shields has to offer and I was keen to explore the area more so a few weekends ago Heidi, Jack and I caught the Metro from Haymarket in Newcastle to discover more.

Buying a Metro DaySaver Ticket for Unlimited Travel 

A DaySaver ticket provides you with unlimited travel across the day with Metro, the Shields Ferry & some local train services. Tickets cost £5 per adult (3 zones) and £1.20 per child (3 zones). We bought ours from the ticket machines at Haymarket and Heidi and Jack loved using the touchscreen computer to buy their own tickets. The machines take cash or card. You can find out more about the day saver ticket here. 

The Word | South Shields

Our first stop was The Word, National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields. The Word an easy 10-minute walk from South Shields Metro Station (exit the station, turn left and follow the ferry signs). The Word is FREE to visit with a packed calendar of events - you'll often see them pop up on my weekly What's On guides. There are pirate exhibitions, craft corners, free treasure trails, thousands of books, interactive spelling games, digital drawing stations, viewing platforms looking across the river Tyne, a cafe and so much more! We really enjoyed it and would certainly recommend a trip. We spent around an hour here but it could have easily stretch longer if we didn't have a ferry to catch. 

Don't miss the LEGO model of a Metro train in the foyer.....

How to use the Nexus Shields Ferry

First of all, check out the ferry timetable here. The ferry service runs every 30 minutes. The South Shields terminal is right behind The Word and there's an enclosed waiting area if the weather isn't the best. Ferry travel is included in a daysaver ticket so we didn't have to pay any extra which is good - you simply show your ticket to the staff as you board. If you haven't bought a daysaver ticket, there are other options to buy tickets including paying cash as you board (£1.50 adult, 60p child).

Heidi and Jack were super excited to be boarding a boat and it's a mode of transport that is most definitely becomes part of the fun of a day out. The trip across the Tyne is short and you can sit in the covered area downstairs or up on the roof terrace for the best views.

We disembarked at North Shields Fish Quay and walked along the river to find somewhere for lunch. 

Lunch at North Shields Fish Quay

There are lots of options for family dining along North Shields Fish Quay but Jack had his heart set on Fish and Chips. We discovered Ocean's Fish and Chip Restaurant and popped in for lunch. Their prices were very reasonable, the staff lovely and friendly and our lunch really hit the spot. Ocean's is owned by local fishermen so you really are putting something back into the local economy when you dine here. Of course, Rainbow the dog had to join us too.

After lunch we walked back along the ferry terminal and caught the ferry back to South Shields where we walked up the street back towards the Metro Station.

South Shields Museum & Gallery

South Shields Museum & Gallery sits in the heart of the town centre and is just a couple of minutes walk from the Metro Station (as you head out of the station turn right). Again it's FREE to visit and definitely worth popping in. It's actually one of the better free small museums I've visited.

One of Jack and Heidi's highlights from our full day out was meeting this Lion who greets you as you step into the first exhibtiion space. There's lots to learn about South Shields past and the exhibitions are fun, bright and engaging.

The first floor is home to a LEGO Little Landmarks exhibition featuring 11 landmarks from across the town. They really are fantastic and we spotted a few of the places we'd walked past or visited during the day. There's a LEGO play area too where children can build and display their own little landmarks - perfect for a rainy day. If you'd like to catch this exhibition, it closes on Saturday 28 October so you'll need to visit sooner rather than later.

Ocean Beach Pleasure Park

A day out at South Shields is not complete without a visit to Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. If you leave South Shields Museum and turn right, it's a straight walk down to the seafront where you'll find the funfair, parks, amusement arcades, ice cream parlours, the beach and more.  I purchased 25 tickets for £10 and this allowed Heidi and Jack to go on three rides each with a couple of tickets left over which was pretty good value. There's a lot of rides to choose from including ghost trains, rollercoasters, swings, dodgems and teacups.

Ice Cream at the Seaside

I'm not going to lie, I was ready for a sit down by this point! Scoop & Bean is a South Shields favourite and we all selected an ice cream to enjoy as one last treat before heading home. I recommend the amaretto flavour! You can buy ice cream to takeaway or grab a seat in the indoor parlour or outside on their terrace.

Where else to visit, discounts & offers

We really enjoyed our day out with Metro. Their daysaver ticket really provided excellent value for us. There are so many other places to explore and little treasures to enjoy that are close to a Metro Station and these are just a few that we discovered. Metro has put together a little book of things to see with lots more ideas for days out with kids via Metro. You can download the booklet here or pick up a free copy from a Nexus travel shop.

Metro has teamed up with some top North East attractions this autumn to provide discounts for families travelling by Metro. Offers include discounted bowling, a FREE bottle of wine when you dine at Sachins, £1 soft play at Hebburn and FREE child admission to Life Centre, Newcastle. Check out the special offers section of the Nexus website here for more information. 

I'm not going to lie when I say that our day was the most jam-packed day out we've had in a long time. For around £50 we had such a fun day out that included lunch, travel, fun fair rides, a ferry trip, LEGO, ice cream, pirates, digital art and so much more. If we brought a packed lunch along our day would have been cheaper again.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for a day out that's close to a Metro Station for us to try next. 



  1. Wow what an awesome jam packed day! You know I've never caught the ferry but my kids would love that. I'll have to do it soon as we love the fish quay. I've been meaning to take arlo to that lego exhibition, I think he'll love it and time is running out. I think we'll go this week.

    1. It's just a short trip but lots of fun for kids and the views are beautiful too x

  2. We got the ferry on one of my very first trips up to the North East - we had a crazy busy day getting the Metro to Whitley Bay and then walking all the way to North Shields and getting the ferry across to South Shields .. really need to do it again!

  3. I've never heard of The Word, looks lovely, also, even bigger confession... I have never been on the Shields ferry! Great value though with those tickets, looks like you had a great day out!

  4. I'm desperate to get on the ferry! I might have to convince Matty to take me on while he's home. I've been meaning to visit the South Shields museum now for a while. I think I'll probably wait till Matty is back at work and have a little wonder along myself. Katie x

  5. Looks like a brill, great value day out. we really enjoyed the Word and the kids have been to a few of the events on at the museum. those ferry skippers can be a bit dodgy though ha ha!!

  6. It looks like you had such a busy day! I really need take my little two on the ferry as I have never taken them, I used to love going on it when I was younger x

  7. Something to add on this is the new bus route that will be going from South Shields to North Shields via Royal Quays, Stagecoach service 10/11 starting from 26th July :)


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