What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - 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.

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


The first part of this post features a list of rainy day ideas which are due to reopen from 17th May (or there abouts). Most will be accessible by public transport. The second part of this post features rainy day ideas for Newcastle and the third part of the post features rainy day ideas available to visit by public transport. 

Rainy Day Ideas / Indoor Family Days Out 

(Most of these will be open from May 17th and many will require pre-booking - check individual links for details)



  • Tynemouth Aquarium Find out more here

  • Locomotion Museum Shildon - Find out more here
    Locomotion Shildon is a fantastic FREE museum with train displays, model railways, train rides (small charge) and a fantastic train-themed playground. It is accessible, can be reached by car or public transport and has an indoor picnic area which is always a bonus. Read our full guide to visiting here. 

  • Bowes Museum Find out more here
    The Bowes Museum is a large museum in Barnard Castle with a wide range of exhibitions. Check out their website to see what's on at the moment. 

  • Head of Steam Museum Darlington - Find out more here
    The Head of Steam Museum is a small but perfectly formed train museum with hands on exhibitions for kids. It is accessible and can be reached by public transport or car (see their website for information). You can see photos from Head of Steam & find out more in this blog post (we visited as part of a Wildlife Warriors Trail). 

  • Angry Birds Golf / Clip n Climb / Namco at the Metrocentre - Find out more here
    The Metrocentre is always a good shout on a rainy day. As well as shopping / going out for a meal, you can enjoy Angry Birds Golf, Clip n Climb or bowling/amusements/soft play at Namco. Read our full review of Angry Birds Golf here. The Metrocentre is easy to reach by car or public transport. 

  • Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn - Find out more here
    Book a tour and experience life in a Victorian Waggonway. A good one to combine with a trip to Seven Stories / Ouseburn Farm / Ouseburn. 

  • Soft Play 
    Soft Play is always a good rainy day option and they could definitely do with our support this year. Our favourite is The Fun Shack. 


  • Segedunum Museum & Roman Fort -  Find out more here
    We love visiting Segedunum - it is somewhere which is very easy to visit via public transport (it's across the road from Wallsend Metro and Bus Station). The viewing tower offers magnificent views of the fort and Tyne, there is a small playground and gardens, cafes and various Roman displays and hands-on activities. 

    From the end of May, there is a new escape room style outdoor adventure game with characters in costume to try too (book online in advance). 

    Segedunum is a good museum to visit alongside Richardson Dees Park which is fantastic and just a short walk away. 

  • Sunderland Winter Gardens - Find out more here 


  • Roman Army Museum - Find out more here
    The Roman Army Museum is on Hadrian's Wall and managed by Vindolanda Trust - you can buy a discounted/combined ticket to both if you'd like to make a day of it. The museum is all indoors so ideal for visiting when the weather isn't so great. It features galleries explaining life as a Roman Soldier, a Roman School and more. If you are looking for somewhere to eat nearby, try Twice Brewed Inn or The Sill (the Sill is also worth popping into, it is free and mostly indoors). 

    The Roman Army Museum has free dedicated parking and you can access by the AD122 bus. 


  • Amusement Arcades 
    This is a brilliant fall-back idea if you need to get out of the house, they usually require no pre-booking. We like Whitley Bay arcades as they are our closest. 


  • Climbing Walls 
    A fab activity for tweens and teens, there are a few clip n climbs in the North East plus various independent climbing centres. Most will be busy during school hols and I would recommend booking in advance. 


  • Flight Simulator & VR Gaming - Find out more here 
    This centre in Brunswick Village offers a range of VR gaming experiences, 4D racing and flight simulators. The minimum age for most experiences is 8+ but please double check on booking. A fab rainy day option for tweens and teens. 


  • Trampoline Parks 
    Another popular choice for rainy days (again, they do get booked up in advance in school holidays so try and book early if you can). Our favourite is AirBox Bounce in Cramlington. 


  • Ten Pin Bowling 
    Ten Pin Bowling is a good rainy day option - we like Concordia Cramlington, Gutterball (opposite Royal Quays) and Lane7 in Newcastle. I recommend booking as far in advance as you can. 

  • Shipley Art Gallery - Find out more here
    An art gallery sharing various exhibitions. Check out their website to find out what's on now. 

  • Bailiffgate Museum & Barter Books - Find out more about Bailiffgate Museum here and and more about Barter Books here
    These two attractions are both indoors and less than a 5 minute walk from each other so ideal to combine. 

    Bailiffgate is an award winning museum which mostly shares the history of Alnwick and the surrounding areas. There are two floors of permanent exhibitions to enjoy and the top floor is a gallery which changes throughout the year. 

    Barter Books is the most wonderful second hand book shop with a mini train which runs above the bookshelves, a nice children's section and a brilliant tearoom (part of an old train station) and ice cream kiosk. 

    Alnwick is easy to reach by car or public transport. Dogs are welcome in Barter Books. 
  • Swimming 
    Another classic rainy day option! Our favourite pools are Concordia in Cramlington, PaddlePod Shiremoor, Waves Whitley Bay and South Shields. I always think WaterWorld Prudhoe looks fun too. 


  • Butterfly World & Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees - Find out more about Butterfly World here and Preston Park Museum here. 


    Butterfly World and Preston Park Museum share the same site so it is easy to visit both on the same day. Indoor options include Butterfly World, Preston Park Museum, the cafe by the playground, the Victorian Tearooms and Old Fashioned Sweet Shop. Preston Park has a large free car park and is accessible by public transport. 


  • Whitley Bay Ice Rink - Find out more here
    Whitley Bay Ice Rink is open for lessons and skating. It's easy to reach via public transport / car too. 


  • Hatchet Harry's, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    Hatchet Harry's in an indoor axe throwing centre just behind the Centre for Life. It is suitable for over 8s and you can book family sessions. We loved our visit a few years ago and would recommend. Things can get competitive though! Hatchet Harry's is accessible by public transport (Central Station is the closest) or car. 


  • Baltic, Newcastle -  Find out more here 
    Baltic is a large, contemporary art gallery on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside. It is free to visit and always worth a look. My kids always enjoyed the speedy lifts and the viewing platform which offers fab views of the Quayside. You can combine with a visit to the Sage next door too. Both have lots of space and child-friendly cafes with lush views. 


  • Seven Stories, Ouseburn -  Find out more here The museum/gallery are currently closed. 


  • Discovery Museum, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    The Discovery Museum is running some fab events over half term (some need to be pre-booked so please check their website for information) and you can visit their galleries and exhibitions which are perfect for a rainy day. I like to combine with a trip to the Great North Museum and Exhibition Park for a brilliant free day out in Newcastle. The museum is easy to reach by public transport, Newcastle Train Station is just a short walk away. 


  • Great North Museum, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    A trip to the Great North Museum is a brilliant free option. At the moment you can view their permanent exhibitions including a replica T Rex, model of Hadrian's Wall and their popular Ancient Egypt exhibition alongside 'Other Worlds : The Art of Atomhawk' which is available until the beginning of September. This design studio is based in Gateshead and contributed to films and video games such as Guardians of the Galaxy & Minecraft. The museum is easy to reach by public transport with Haymarket Metro and Bus Station being just a short walk away. 


  • Climb St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay -  Find out more here
    It is free to visit the island but at the moment, you do need to book to visit and climb the lighthouse. Please check crossing times before visiting. The Facebook linked above will have the most up to date information. 



  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Find out more here

    You do not need to book to visit the free areas of Laing (the free exhibitions, cafe and shop) so this is a fab option if it's raining and you fancy a trip out but have nothing booked. The Laing Art Gallery is in Newcastle City Centre and easy to reach by public transport. 


  • The Gate Find out more here.
            I highly rate The Gate as a brilliant rainy day option, especially with tweens and teens. There is                loads going on including:
Plus, you have a few food and drink options and Mr Mulligan's Golf is next door. The Gate is easy to reach by public transport (bus/train/metro to Newcastle City Centre) or car. 
  • Mr Mulligans Crazy Golf Find out more here
    Mr Mulligans is a popular themed indoor golf course next to the Gate in Newcastle. They are due to reopen on 17 May and bookings are now being taken. Mr Mulligans is easy to reach by public transport (train/bus/metro to Newcastle City Centre) or car. 


  • National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool - Find out more here
    I have personally not visited this museum but I have heard lots of good reviews and might be worth a visit if like us, you've not been and fancy something new. 


  • Newbiggin Maritime Centre Find out more here
    Newbiggin Maritime Centre is small but shares life in the historic fishing village. There is a lovely cafe and it is right by the sea too. They have lots of fab info on their website re: access and the museum is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Newbiggin bus terminal is a 2 minute walk from the centre. 


  • Quasar Amusements South Shields - Find out more here
    We love playing Laserforce here - an indoor multi level laser tag arena which is fab for young and old. South Shields is easy to reach by public transport and car, you can combine with The Word / South Shields Museum / the arcades / Dunes Soft Play & Bowling on a rainy day. 


  • Oriental Museum Durham Find out more here
    This museum is devoted to the archaeology, art and cultures of North Africa and Asia. 




Heading into Newcastle.........? 

Rainy Day Ideas in Newcastle


  • YuMe World in the Gate - VR gaming, arcades & amusements. No pre-booking required.
  • Try an Escape Room - there are options in the Gate or on Westgate Road

  • Enjoy at Teppan-yaki lunch at Fujiyama

  • Visit the climbing wall at Better Eldon Leisure 

  • Play a round of crazy golf at Mr Mulligans

  • Treat yourself to a luxury cinema date at Everyman on Grey Street 

  • Visit LIFE and Discovery Museum

  • Play Ten Pin Bowling at Better Eldon Leisure

  • Visit Baltic & the Sage - both FREE

  • Book onto the trampolines at Better Eldon Leisure

  • Indulge in Kids Afternoon Tea. Cake Stories and the Vermont Hotel both offer children's options

  • Try axe throwing at Hatchett Harrys

  • Visit Seven Stories and Ouseburn Farm

  • Take a guided tour of the Victoria Tunnel followed by lunch at The Cluny

  • Book a board game table at Meeple Park

  • Book Bowling / Mini Golf at Lane 7


20+ Rainy Days Accessible By Public Transport 


1 - Discovery Museum, Newcastle 


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


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.
  • How to get there: The Museum is a 5-minute walk from Newcastle Central Station (trains, bus and metro). 
  • Cost: FREE 
  • Find out more here: www.discoverymuseum.org.uk

2 - Inflatanation, Royal Quays 

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


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


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


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


From Rays to Clownfish, Otters, Seals and Marmosets, 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 


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


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


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 


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


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


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


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - all accessible via public transport - Mr Mulligan's Space Golf


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 


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


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  


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids-  Baltic


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


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - Seven Stories


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 


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - Segedunum Roman Fort


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


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - 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. 
  • How to get there: Via Bus, Train or Metro (Central Station)
  • Cost: From From £5 per activity 
  • Find out more here: http://lane7.co.uk

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 - Palace Green Durham


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - Palace Green Durham


Palace Green is a brilliant child-friendly museum / gallery space next to Durham Cathedral. It's FREE to visit with ever-changing exhibitions. I was really impressed with how much there was for kids to do during our last visit, especially as it's all free. 

23 - The Bowes Museum 


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - 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 


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - 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 


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - 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 

What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - The Gate Newcastle



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 


What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - Angry Birds Golf 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, Angry Bird Adventure Golf and more. Sign up to their Family Club for offers and discounts. 

29 - Better Leisure, Newcastle 

What to do when it rains in North East England | 20+ places to visit with kids - Better Leisure Bowling



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.
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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 

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




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3 comments

  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

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

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

    ReplyDelete

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