An Insider's Guide to Visiting Newcastle with Kids | Top Tips and Hidden Gems

Newcastle is my favourite city in the world and the more people I can encourage to visit here, the better I think so today I've put together a bit of an insider's guide and I'm sharing some top tips for visiting our city with kids.

An Insiders Guide to Visiting Newcastle with Kids | Top Tips and Hidden Gems

Free places to hide when it rains 

Newcastle is in the UK so chances are, it may rain during your visit! Luckily, we have lots of places to hide if the heavens do decide to open. First of all, we have a huge covered shopping mall (in the form of intu Eldon Square) which is packed with shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. You'll find the main entrances near Grey's Monument and via Northumberland Street. The Great North Museum is just across the road from Haymarket bus station and you'll find a small soft play area for kids, lots of exhibits including our favourite snake floor and real mummy! If you're near Newcastle Train Station and you need somewhere to hide from the rain, the Discovery Museum is a hop, skip and jump away and will keep you amused for a good few hours and finally, if you're in the Quayside area, I'd recommend the Baltic as a good place to escape the weather. There are changing modern art exhibitions, a cafe and fantastic viewing platforms.

The best baby changing facilities  

Sprog on the Tyne was so impressed with Fenwick's changing area, that she dedicated an entire post to just how good it is (check it out here). With private, lockable feeding rooms with comfortable chairs, changing stations, nappies, bottle warmers, large accessible toilets and more. As far as changing areas go, this really is the creme de la creme. You'll find entrances to Fenwick via Northumberland Street, near Grey's Monument or via intu Eldon Square.

Treats your kids will love 

Newcastle is home to lots of places where you can really treat your kids - my top tips are crepes from Julien at La Petite Creperie in the Grainger Market. Kids LOVE Julien and he may even encourage them to practice their French skills, the crepes are tasty and inexpensive too.

For freakshakes and cakes, a trip to the Great British Cupcakery on the Quayside has to be on the cards. Their Instagram account will have you drooling! Finally, if ice cream is your treat of choice, Mark Toney has been serving ice cream in Newcastle for over 120 years. There are 3 Mark Toney cafes serving delicious ice cream sundaes and other treats in Newcastle and you can order to takeaway too.

The best toy department 

Ok, I'll admit it. Sometimes I bribe my children with the promise of £5 to spend on a new toy when we're out shopping or sometimes, just the mention of simply visiting a toy shop for a spot of window shopping is enough to placate them. Newcastle's best toy shop has to be inside Fenwick (just off Northumberland Street or via intu Eldon Square). Fenwick's toy department is huge and there's a toy for all tastes and interests - look out for the LEGO Darth Vader! For older kids, a trip to the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Grainger Street is also recommended.

Where to stop for coffee with kids

Newcastle City Centre is awash with coffee shops. Our favourite places to visit with the kids include Tyneside Bar Cafe off Northumberland Street and Garden Kitchen in Eldon Garden (part of intu Eldon Square). Both of these coffee shops are nice and welcoming, serve decent coffee and have a basket of toys for kids to help themselves to.  Tyneside Bar Cafe sometimes has free children's cartoons on their big screen (especially during school holiday mornings) and Garden Kitchen serves inexpensive children's lunches on mini picnic tables which are cute.

Where to find a city centre play park 

The best city centre play park is Exhibition Park - you'll find this park just behind the Great North Museum and near the RVI hospital on Claremont road. There are multiple play areas, a cafe/ice cream kiosk, sports courts, a water play area, gardens, a lake, skate parks and there's even a microbrewery if you need something a little stronger.

FREE movies in the summer 

Throughout the summer, Newcastle NE1 erects a giant screen at old Eldon Square (30 seconds from Grey's Monument). This outdoor cinema is completely free and shows a wide range of family films and sporting events. Check out the Get into Newcastle website for updates and listings.

Where to find Primark 

Most teens visiting the city will want to know where to find Primark. You can't miss ours at the top of Northumberland Street! 

Best burgers for kids 

The best burgers for kids in Newcastle are definitely to be found at The Fat Hippo Underground. You'll find this hidden restaurant just beside Newcastle's Theatre Royal off Grey Street and their children's menu is perfect for fussy eaters who can build their own burger.

Where to charge your phone/tablet 

We've all been caught short with a low phone battery and tweens and teens will be happy to know they can charge their phone completely free of charge using the free phone lockers inside intu Eldon Square. You'll also find charging plugs in the seating area near the male changing rooms at Primark (you do need your cable to use these ones though).

You can visit a FREE city farm 

Newcastle has its own city farm. Ouseburn is a Newcastle suburb and can be reached if you walk along the Quayside or catch the Qualylink bus. Ouseburn Farm is home to lots of animals, both indoors and outside and there's a community cafe on site too (donations welcome).

Fun dining for kids

If you're looking for somewhere fun to take the kids to dine in the city centre, I'd highly recommend The Botanist (through the day) or  Georges Great British Kitchen. Both welcome families, offer fun menus for kids and serve their food in quirky plant pots, buckets and spades or wheelbarrows.

It's easy to escape to the beach 

In the warmer months, Newcastle is home to it's very own Quayside Seaside where you'll find fish and chips for sale, deckchairs to people watch, a small play park and buckets and spades. You'll find the Quayside Seaside not far from the white Millenium Bridge.

If you'd like to visit a real beach and experience the North East coast, it's really quick and easy to catch the Metro train to Tynemouth, Cullercoats or Whitley Bay from Newcastle City Centre. Cullercoats is one of my favourite beaches to take the kids - it's a beautiful sheltered bay with its own loos and restaurants/fish and chips available along the prom.

Where to find a city-centre soft play 

If you're looking for a city centre soft play centre, head to Jungle Jacks at intu Eldon Square. Here you'll find soft play, a climbing wall, ten pin bowling and more. Perfect for a quick coffee stop.

How to ride a free mini train 

A free mini train ride on the first Sunday of every month (excluding winter) runs around Exhibition Park behind Wylam Brewery between 11am - 3pm. Kids love this! Donations are welcome.

Where to take the kids for pizza 

Most kids love pizza and for a quick and easy family meal it can't be beaten. I recommend Bella Italia for fantastic value with wonderful staff, Pizza Storm for picky eaters (you can create your own pizza with unlimited toppings for £5.95), Gusto or Babucho if your kids want to physically make their own pizza and deliver it to the chef, the Herb Garden for pizza in beautiful surroundings and Pizza by Slice in the Grainger Market if you need a super quick and cheap fix.

If you enjoyed this post and are looking for more ideas for places to visit across North East England, why not join my FREE North East Days Out Facebook Group? There are almost 2000 members and it's a fun and friendly place to share recommendations for places to visit, post photos from across North East England and ask for advice from other members. You can request to join here.

Do you have any insider tips or favourite places to visit with kids? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to this guide.

Linking to Mummy Travels and Wander Mum's fab City Tripping Link Up - Check it out here. 

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An Insider's Guide to Visiting Newcastle with Kids | Top Tips and Hidden Gems



  1. What a brilliant post Sam! My niece and nephew LOVE visiting me in Newcastle, they are obsessed with the Angel of the North and a visit to the beach is always top of the list in summer! I think it's great that our many city centre theatres also put on regular shows for kids. I'll definitely be sharing this post with my friends who have kids xx

  2. I love this post Sam! Especially how you've included the Great British cupcakery for freakshakes! They're lush! Katie x

  3. Very informative, we have three grandchildren 7, 11 & 12. This will be very useful for us

  4. This is such a useful guide! I love the idea of the free movies! And I've heard great things about the Discovery Museum #citytripping

  5. Definitive post for families visiting Newcastle! I love when cities do summer cinema too - so fun! Cheers from Copenhagen. #CityTripping

  6. Sounds like Newcastle is a great place to take the kids. We'll have to check it out when we finally plan that trip to England. #citytripping

  7. I miss Newcastle so much! I was born there, went to university there and used to visit regularly. Haven’t been for ages now I live overseas but a trip back this summer is on the cards :)

  8. There are so many places to visit in England. I know I'll never get around to them all, so love having a peek when I see posts. Thanks! #citytripping

  9. Love this ..... many many years ago I was at university in Newcastle when The Great North Museum was called the Hancock and the Discovery Centre was the Museum of Science and Industry. Time for a visit with the kids! #CityTripping


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