What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - all accessible via public transport

Living in the North East, you can always count on one thing - you're never too far from a rain shower. It doesn't matter what season it is, there's always going to be rain at some point. Sometimes we like to embrace the rain, pop on our wellies and go out for a walk and other times we like to hibernate and have a day at home baking and watching movies. There are times when I can't stand to be in the house a second longer - especially during those weekends where it rains non-stop so today I thought I'd share a 20+ places to visit with the kids when it rains and they're all accessible via public transport too. Let us know in the comments if there's anywhere you'd add to the list.

What to do when it rains in North East England | 20 places to visit with kids - all accessible via Public Transport

1 - Discovery Museum, Newcastle 

The Discovery Museum is a free-to-visit attraction in Newcastle City Centre. There's lots for families to enjoy from the Newcastle Story exhibition where you can walk through the toon through the decades to lots of fun interactive and temporary exhibitions too.

2 - Inflatanation, Royal Quays 

Inflatanation is a fantastic place for kids to let off some steam. From inflatable pillows to giant drops - there's loads to do. There's a nice mezzanine cafe area where grown-ups can enjoy a coffee and watch the action too.

3 - The Word, South Shields 

The Word in South Shields is a fantastic FREE attraction just by South Shields Market Place and Ferry Terminal. There are permanent engaging exhibitions, hands-on fun with tablets around the building, glorious views of the Mouth of the Tyne (with binoculars you can try), lots and lots of books to read, interactive displays and regular additional activities too. Don't miss the LEGO Metro Train at the entrance.

4 - South Shields Museum 

South Shields Museum is a fantastic free-to-visit Museum in the heart of the town. Just a short walk from the metro station, you'll find interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions and special events. Don't miss the history of South Tyneside and Creature Corner featuring live reptiles and small animals.

5 - Blue Reef Aquarium, Tynemouth

From Rays to Clownfish, Otters, Seals and Marmasets, there's a lot to see and do at Blue Reef Aquarium and you can come and go as you please throughout the day - perfect for ducking inside if you're visiting the beach during a day of sunshine and showers. There are regular animal talks and feeds throughout the day - don't miss the sharks!

6 - Great North Museum, Newcastle 

The Great North Museum is a free-to-visit attraction in the heart of Newcastle. Permanent exhibitions include a real Mummy, a replica of Hadrian's Wall, Ancient Greeks and Fossils. There are changing temporary exhibitions on the top floor providing a new reason to visit plus a Planetarium and a fantastic free/low-cost events programme.

7 - Clip n Climb Concordia, Cramlington 

Clip n Climb in Concordia Leisure Centre in Cramlington features dozens of climbing challenges and experiences. No previous experience is required as a full training and safety briefing is provided. Tackle the Lightning Crack, take on your friends and challenge them to a head to head race or try the Leap of Faith. There's a bowling alley, soft play and swimming pool in the centre too if you want to make a day of it. 

8 - Sunderland Museum Winter Gardens 

Visit Wallace the Lion, the first Nissan Car to be produced in Sunderland and take in the ship-building galleries in the museum before enjoying over 2000 plants in Sunderland Winter Gardens. 

9 - Life Science Centre, Newcastle 

There's always something going on at Life Science Centre for all ages and its location is perfect if you're travelling by train or metro. From the experiment and curiosity zone to science shows and a planetarium. It's difficult to get bored here!

10 - Mr Mulligan's Space Golf, Newcastle

A bit of rain doesn't stop the crazy golf at Mr Mulligan's as it's all indoors. Choose from three Space themed Golf adventures (or try them all). Mr Mulligan's is right next to the Gate so perfect to combine with a cinema trip or a bite to eat.

11 - Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle 

The Tyneside Cinema is the last operating News Theatre still operating as a Cinema today. This independent cinema runs lots of events for families from a popular egg and spoon club at their bar cafe in the holidays (complete with classic cartoons) to Bringing in Baby Screenings and a Children's Film Club. 

  • How to get there: Via Bus or Metro (Haymarket or Monument)
  • Cost: From £5
  • Find out more here: www.tynesidecinema.co.uk

12 - Wet n Wild, Royal Quays

Swimming is a fab choice for a rainy day and Wet n Wild with its flumes, slides, lazy rivers and wave pools is somewhere you can definitely spend the full day and get your money's worth. 

  • How to get there: Via Bus (Go North East 19)
  • Cost: From £6.95
  • Find out more here: www.wetnwild.co.uk

13 - Dunes Soft Play and Bowling, South Shields 

The Dunes in South Shields is an indoor complex featuring lots of fun. There's a giant 5-level soft play, bowling alleys, arcade, bar and popular Sunday Carvery. Lots to keep children of all ages entertained.

14 - Baltic and Sage, Newcastle  

The Baltic and the Sage on Gateshead Quays are both free to visit and next door to each other so perfect to combine on a rainy day in the toon. Kids will love exploring the various galleries and exhibits at the Baltic and the fantastic views from the viewing platform and lifts. The Sage is home to a nice little cafe and small play area that's free to use too.

15 - Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick

You'll find the Bailiffgate Museum in the heart of Alnwick. There are toy and local history exhibitions as well as regular special events and activities too.

16 - Seven Stories, Newcastle

Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children's Books and something we are so lucky to have on our doorstep here in the North East. The seven-story building is packed with hands-on exhibitions based on children's books, lots of books and interactive activities, craft areas, storytelling sessions, dress-up opportunities and plenty of opportunities to discover new books.

17 - Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend 

Segedunum Roman Fort is super easy to get to via Public Transport as it is right next door to both Wallsend Bus and Metro Station. Inside you'll find lots of Roman facts and hands-on fun. There's a fantastic viewing tower with glorious views over the Tyne and fort. The entrance fee is definitely worth a visit.

18 - Thought Foundation, Gateshead

The Thought Foundation in Birtly, Gateshead is a place where creativity and play are both encouraged and nurtured. There are galleries and exhibitions, a calendar of special events, a play zone and imagination station for ages 0-5 years, a fab community cafe serving healthy food and a gift shop selling unique and beautiful items. The Thought Foundation is a lovely place to provoke thought and inspire.

19 - Barter Books, Alnwick

Barter Books is one of the UK's largest second-hand bookshops and a fantastic place to hide away on a rainy day. Enjoy a hot chocolate and biscuits by the roaring fire or something more substantial in the station cafe, browse the vast collection of children's books, barter your old books for new and watch as a toy train travels around the ceiling. 

20 - Lane 7, Newcastle 

Lane 7 is our favourite bowling alley in the North East. It's trendy and also home to crazy golf, ping pong and karaoke too so lots to fill your day! The food is cracking too. 

21 - The Fun Shack Newcastle  

I normally don't tolerate soft play centres very well, especially on rainy days but the Fun Shack is my one exception to the rule. It is HUGE and I love how much there is to do for kids here. Heidi and Jack absolutely love it here and although it's loud and busy, you get 1.5-2 hours play which I think for what's on offer is really good value. There are also Fun Shacks in Stockton and Seaham. 

22 - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens 

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is in a beautiful setting by the river. There are several floors to explore with both permanent and temporary hands-on exhibitions to explore. The winter gardens are beautiful to walk through and I like that you can see them from different perspectives. Lovely coffee shop too. 

23 - The Bowes Museum 

The Bowes Museum is huge and somewhere you can easily spend a whole day. There are ever-changing exhibitions and there is lots and lots of hands-on fun for kids too. 

24 - Durham Cathedral 

Durham Cathedral is absolutely stunning and well worth a visit. There is a small charge for the open treasure exhibition or you can visit the cafe if you'd like to extend your visit. Part of Harry Potter was filmed here! 

25 - Stephenson Railway Museum 

Stephenson Railway Museum is a small but fun museum in North Tyneside. Dedicated to everything to do with trains you can climb aboard a carriage, learn about the history of trains or play with a train table. There are train rides on certain days too. Check opening hours before visiting as they aren't open every day. 

26 - Jarrow Hall 

Jarrow Hall is a Roman Museum with a hidden upstairs play room for children - expect dressing up, a book corner and small soft play area. If the weather clears up there's a farm outside too. 

27 - The Gate 

The Gate is free to visit and there's lots to keep kids occupied including giant game tables, a state-of the art cinema, gaming rooms and more

28 - intu Metrocentre 

intu Metrocentre's offerings to families have really improved over the past few years. There's a climbing wall, train rides, free soft play area, Namco soft play, bowling, arcades and more. Sign up to their Family Club for offers and discounts. 

29 - Better Leisure, Newcastle 

Better Leisure is hidden inside of intu Eldon Square (access via the Grey's Dining Quarter). There's a bowling alley, climbing wall, soft play, trampoline park, squash courts and more. They often run excellent bundle deals via their Facebook page.

Let me know if you have any places to add to my list 

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What to do when it rains in North East England | 20 places to visit with kids - all accessible via Public Transport



  1. Fantastic ideas. I like that you can get to them all via public transport as neither my fella or I drive. You have given me some great ideas for the school holidays x

  2. Museum's are a godsend when it's raining! You seem to have quite a few interesting ones around there!

  3. Great selection, popped on to look for somewhere to go in this terrible weather. Thanks!


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