10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year

I love nothing more than discovering a hidden gem on our doorstep and luckily for us, the North East has many to choose from. I have put together 10 of my favourites (with a little help from my friends) - perfect if you are looking for somewhere new to visit this year.


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year




Our list of North East Hidden Gems includes:

  1. Cherryburn
  2. Seaham Beach
  3. Harestanes 
  4. Butterfly World  
  5. Curious About Walking Tours
  6. Air Trail Tees Barrage 
  7. Howick Hall
  8. Plessey Woods
  9. Paxton House 
  10. RSPB Saltholme

Read on for more information and photos.....


National Trust Cherryburn



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - National Trust Cherryburn
Cherryburn 

Cherryburn is one of the smaller National Trust properties and often forgotten about but 100% worth a visit. It is beautiful and one of the best places to enjoy a picnic.

Near Prudhoe, you can have a nosey around Thomas Bewick's house, pull up a chair in the gardens, play lawn games or take a gentle stroll around the grounds. There are often farm animals to meet and greet too.

You can find out more about Cherryburn in this blog post.  

Cherryburn is free to visit for National Trust members. Postcode NE43 7DD 

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - National Trust Cherryburn
Cherryburn 


Sea Glass Hunting & Blast Beach in Seaham



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Sea Glass Hunting & Blast Beach in Seaham
Seaham Sea glass : Credit - Here Come the Hoopers 

This hidden gem is FREE to try and you will literally be rewarded with lots of gems. Head to Seaham Beach, follow the tide out and you will be rewarded with lots of stunning Sea glass.

There is so much Sea glass here thanks to the bottleworks in the area which was open in the early 1900s, any glass which was not up to scratch was simply thrown into the sea!

People travel from all over the world to search for treasure here and it is a brilliant way to kill a few hours. Read more about Sea Glass Hunting over on Here Come the Hoopers here.

  • Car Park Postcode: SR7 7AF
  • Parking is FREE, plentiful and has no restrictions
Afterwards, I can highly recommend a trip to Lickety Split or Creams Ice Cream Parlour on the Sea Front - delicious.


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Sea Glass Hunting & Blast Beach in Seaham
Blast Beach
If you drive along the seafront for a couple of miles from Seaham, you will reach Blast Beach (park in Noses Point Car Park - Postcode SR7 7PS).

Blast Beach is a real gem of a beach - it kind of feels like you are on another planet! You will find lots of fossils here and it is where Alien 3 was filmed.

You can walk along the cliff top or head down to the beach. It is a  short steep climb down but worth it (if I can manage it, anyone can).




Harestanes Play Area


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Harestanes Play Areas
Harestanes Play Area 


Harstanes Play Area in Jedburgh is just over the border in Scotland but only takes around 90 minutes to drive to from Newcastle and is still in the North East so deserves a place on my list I think.

This park is probably the best free park I have ever visited - there is LOADS of play equipment for all ages and there are sensory areas and equipment for wheelchair users too.

If the weather isn't the best, there is an indoor games room and cafe too plus there are plenty of loos on site and parking is free too.


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Harestanes Play Area
Harestanes Play Area 


Harestanes is definitely the kind of place you could take a picnic and spend all day. Use postcode TD8 6UQ. You can read more over on my full blog review of Harestanes here. 


Curious About Walking Tour of Newcastle 




10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Curious About Walking Tour of Newcastle
Heritage Tour of Newcastle - Credit : Nomipalony

My friend Nyomi highly recommends trying this self-guided walking heritage tour of Newcastle as a fantastic way to discover hidden gems in our city - there are clues for kids to follow and the treasure-hunt style ensures you spot a lot of hidden gems that you may have otherwise walked past.

Curious About is a collection of 160 self-guided walks across Great Britain. You can download the walk for £5.99 or order a printed copy for £6.50 (see here for details).

There are two back-to-back walks, perfect for families with children aged 6+ and they are accessible too. Curious About recommend stopping for a bite to eat between walks.

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Curious About Walking Tour of Newcastle
Credit : Nomipalony

I love taking walking tours around other cities but have never tried one in Newcastle - looks like this might be something for us the try in the summer.

Read more about the Curious About Heritage Walk around Newcastle here. 


Butterfly World 



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Butterfly World Stockton
Butterfly World - Credit : Daddy Voyage

Did you know the North East has its very own Butterfly World? Located on the same site as Preston Park in Stockton-on-Tees, it is a lovely day out for all ages.

You can walk around the tropical greenhouse and admire the vast array of butterflies flying around you or resting on the greenery.

There are other animals too including reptiles and meerkats. Read more & see more photos over on Daddy Voyage here. 

Admission is super reasonable at £4.25 per adult and £3.75 per child. Butterfly World do close over Winter - keep an eye on their Facebook page for an announcement of when they will re-open in Spring.

Postcode: TS18 3RH (free parking)

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Butterfly World Stockton
Butterly World - Credit : Daddy Voyage 

Butterfly World is on the same site and just next door to Preston Park - it is worth combining a visit to both of them. You do need to pay to visit the museum, but you can visit the park free of charge and it is fantastic! The photos below don't do it justice.

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Butterfly World Stockton
Preston Park Adventure Playground


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Preston Park Adventure Playground
Preston Park Adventure Playground

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Preston Park Adventure Playground
Preston Park Adventure Playground

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Preston Park Adventure Playground
Preston Park Adventure Playground

Air Trail Tees Barrage





10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Air Trail Tees Barrage
Air Trail Tees Barrage 

We visited Air Trail Tees Barrage over the summer and had the best time. Children over 1.22m can tackle the high ropes course themselves - there is no hooking/un-hooking required - your rope is attached the whole time and you can go as high or challenge yourself as much as you like.

You are given a one hour timeslot and can try different levels and zip wires too. Grown-ups can also have a go and there is even a mini course for toddlers.


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Air Trail Tees Barrage
Air Trail Tees Barrage 


Parking at Air Trail Tees Barrage is FREE and it costs around £10 per person to tackle to course - full harnesses and a safety briefing are provided.

Postcode TS18 2QW

You can read more and see more photos over on my review of Air Trail Tees Barrage here.

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Air Trail Tees Barrage
Air Trail Tees Barrage 

Daffodils at Howick Hall 



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Daffodils at Howick Hall
Daffodils at Howick Hall - Credit : New Girl in Toon

Howick Hall in Northumberland is a North East Hidden Gem recommended by my friend Chloe. Spring is the best time to visit when the daffodils are in full bloom.

We are going to try and make the snowdrop festival which runs during February Half Term.

Admission for adults is £8.80 and children go free - they have a lovely Earl Grey tea room and often run garden trails for children in the school holidays.

Postcode: NE66 3LB

Find out more over on New Girl in Toon here. 


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Daffodils at Howick Hall
Howick Hall - Credit : New Girl in Toon



Plessey Woods



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Plessey Woods
Plessey Woods 

Plessey Woods is not really a hidden gem for me as I only live a few miles away and spent a lot of my childhood here. Whenever I post about it on Social Media though, lots of you mention that you have never heard of it so I thought it deserved a place on my list.

Plessey Woods is located in South East Northumberland between Bedlington, Cramlington and Morpeth.

Postcode NE22 6HZ. Parking is £3 all day.

Plessey Woods is a fantastic day out as there is just so much to do! It is dog-friendly too.

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Plessey Woods
Plessey Woods 

There is a woodland sculpture trail running through the woods which is always fun, a new play park, lots of grass for picnics, ball games and BBQs, a cafe, ice cream van, visitor centre and more.

Read more about Plessey Woods over on North East Family Fun here. 

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Plessey Woods
Plessey Woods 

Paxton House



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Paxton House
Paxton House - Credit : Northumberland Family Diaries 


Paxton House & Gardens is a real hidden gem near Berwick as recommended by Northumberland Family Diaries (you can read more about their trip here).

Postcode: TD15 1SZ

Entry to the house and grounds is £25 per family.

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Paxton House
Paxton House - Credit : Northumberland Family Diaries

There is loads to see and do at Paxton House and it is the kind of place you can spend the whole day. Activities at Paxton House include:
  • Adventure Playground with Zip Wires 
  • Den Building Area 
  • Wildlife Walks 
  • Jingly Jangly Bridge
  • Fairy & Woodland Trail 
  • Exhibitions
  • Waterwheel 
  • Tearoom
  • Boat Trips 
  • Net Fishing & more....


10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Paxton House
Paxton House - Credit : Northumberland Family Diaries

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - Paxton House
Paxton House - Credit : Northumberland Family Diaries



RSPB Saltholme



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - RSPB Saltholme
RSPB Saltholme

RSPB Saltholme in Teesside is inexpensive to visit (check website for admission charges) and a brilliant day out with loads to keep you occupied.

Postcode: TS2 1TU

10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - RSPB Saltholme
RSPB Saltholme

Activities include:

  • A fantastic adventure playground
  • Wooden sculpture trail (including the Mad Hatters Tea Party)
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildlife activities in the school holidays 
  • Walks and wildlife hides
  • Picnic areas and cafe
  • A welly splash zone
  • Small water play area 



10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year - RSPB Saltholme
RSPB Saltholme 


There you have my 10 North East Hidden Gems - let me know if you have visited any from my list or if you would add any others.

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10 North East Hidden Gems to Visit this Year


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3 comments

  1. Love this post Sam, so many new places for me to visit. Can’t get over Blast beach - wow! Looks like somewhere you’d be amazed at on holiday in a sunny European country, can’t believe it is on our doorstep. Melis x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for including me in this wonderful round up! So many great places here in the North East 🙌🏻

    ReplyDelete
  3. So many great recommendations, I love how many hidden gems we have here in the North East! We went to Cherryburn on a baking hot Summer's day and there was no one there! We had our pick of the deckchairs and the lawn was empty - such a treat!

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